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Red Card Homophobia

I've been meaning to post about this for a few days -

A new community has started up, rc_homophobia, to try and fight against homophobia in football. It's still in the organising stage, but it looks like it's going to be quite active. I thought that there were a few on my flist who might be interested - and it's going to need all the support it can get, I think, if it's going to have any impact at all.

Jul. 20th, 2010

My mum called yesterday, to let me know that our dog Brandy has only about a month to live.

He has cancer, which we've known for a while. It started with a large tumour on his back. This was removed, then regrew, and at about that time they also found a small tumour in his liver. But yesterday he was supposed to have the tumour on his back removed a second time, with the hope that the inoperable tumour in his liver would turn out not to be cancerous. Except they x-rayed him before the surgery, and found about a dozen new small tumours in his lungs.

So. No operation. It all depends on how fast the tumours in his lungs grow, but the vet thinks about a month.

I've got some time off work to go visit him (luckily my boss also has dogs). He's about the best dog you could imagine - a collie/spaniel cross, absolutely gorgeous and dead clever, and he always knew when you were upset, and would come to you. Most of the time he considered himself too far above the us to pay any of us much attention, but whenever you were upset he'd somehow sense it, and appear to let you hug him. He was found abandoned at 5 weeks, and we got him shortly after that. He's 14 now.

He doesn't seem to be in pain. He gets breathless easily, but that's it. I know he's just a dog, but he's also family, and I am going to miss him so much.
So. David Cameron is now Prime Minister, and the next five years (although I pray it won't last that long) are looking increasingly depressing.

One thing I do have to comment on is Theresa May as Home Secretary. She'll also be Minister for Women and Equality in her spare time, because obviously being the Minister for Women and Equality isn't a big or important job at all.

Her voting record on equality issues? She voted for reducing the abortion limit, against repealing Section 28, against allowing gay couples to adopt, against allowing lesbians IVF, and against equalising the age of consent.

Also in the cabinet in Iain Duncan Smith (Work and Pensions), who believes marriage is the cure to poverty; George Osbourne (Chancellor), a multi-millionaire who likes the idea of a flat tax rate and once attempted to insult Gordon Brown by calling him 'autistic'; Andrew Lansley (Health), who seems to believe that obesity is infectious; and Liam Fox (Defence), an enthusiastic supporter of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who also wants to reduce the abortion limit to 12 weeks and supports 'traditional families'.

Doesn't the future sound fun?

Another interesting fact: 54% of Tory MPs and 40% of Lib Dem MPs attended a feepaying school (compared to 15% of Labour).

ETA: The Guardian has pointed out that two years ago, Cameron pledged to give a third of jobs in his first cabinet to women. But in the actual event, only 4 of his 23-strong cabinet are women, and one of those is the unelected Minister with Portfolio, Warsi. She's also (I think) the only non-white member of cabinet.

six election thoughts

1. At the moment, I think that a Lib Dem-Tory agreement is a real possibility. I would have thought that the Lib Dem rank and file would rise up in rebellion against any such thing, but the Guardian seems to be of the opinion that Lib Dem MPs would in fact defect if Clegg considered backing Brown. English politics confuses me.

2. My idea of a happy ending would be a rainbow coalition. This is possible. Labour (258) and SDLP (3), plus Lib Dems (57), plus some combination of SNP (6), Plaid Cymru (3), Greens (1), and Alliance (1) would get over the 326 needed. Alex Salmond has ruled out backing the Tories, and is planning to/already talking to Gordon Brown. Alliance I'm sure would follow the Lib Dems, and surely Caroline Lucas would extract what she could and then back Labour? At which point Plaid Cymru wouldn't actually be needed, although I'm sure they'd still be welcome.

I'm not sure how long that could actually last, but we'd get electoral reform.

3. Someone asked me what I'd prefer: the above rainbow coalition, or a Falkirk win tomorrow. I'm ashamed to say I did actually need to pause and think about it.

4. This is the second 'big' election in a row where there's been a fight at the Glasgow count (yay stereotypes?). In 2007, if I recall correctly, which I may well not, it was some kind of Solidarity-Labour-Socialists affair. This time it involved the BNP. And while I know that violence at election counts is obviously wrong, the BNP were apparently being quite provocative: for the Glasgow East announcement, the other candidates weren't happy about standing on the platform with the BNP, but the BNP candidate insisted on following them around as they tried to avoid him. Also, there were several Muslim candidates standing for both Labour and the SNP, and allegedly some BNP supporters made some remarks.

My source at the count would also like people to be aware that while the media seemed to blame the fight on the Socialists, plenty of people from other parties piled in as well. And if we do have to have a punch-up at the count, at least this time it was aimed at the BNP, rather than another Judea-related incident.

5. One thing I'm genuinely worried about is Cameron's plan to reform the size of constituencies. It's hard not to see it as targeting the Labour/LD support in Scotland. Also, while the Tories are wittering on about how Gordon Brown has no 'moral authority' or whatever to govern, could they please pause and notice that in Scotland they have 1 seat and only 17% of the vote?

6. I did vote SNP in the end, for all the difference it made. And while I may be biased, I think that if I could pick one UK politician to lead my party through a situation like this, I think I'd pick Alex Salmond. He has his flaws, but sometimes you just need a canny politician.

ETA: Initially I forgot to mention this, but it's more important that any of the above. Much of the voting chaos last night seems to have been caused by simple disorganisation. However, in Sheffield, election officials made the decision to discriminate against students in favour of 'residents'. There are some key quotes at the bottom of this page, while more info can be found on Facebook. Contrary to what is now being claimed in some media reports, students generally DID bring their polling cards and DID arrive in plenty of time - only to be left standing in the rain for three hours while said 'residents' were ushered in and out in under 20 minutes. My brother's a student in Sheffield (although he forgot to register at all, the muppet), and knows several people who were unable to vote, despite queuing for long periods of time.

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Election tomorrow

I'm not one of those people who believes that the only important thing is that everyone vote. In fact, if you're feeling like voting Conservative I'd honestly prefer that you stay home and put your feet up.

The Tories have a long history of homophobia, racism and sexism. Whatever promises they're currently making on gay rights, please remember that over 70 of their policies were apparently written by a woman who believes that homosexuality is caused by demons and can be cured through prayer. Oh, and that a woman's role is to joyfully submit to her husband. The majority of what Labour's done which I most disagree with - the war in Iraq, renewing Trident, the anti-terror laws - the Tories have backed. And their idea of a cap on immigration is both stupid and unworkable.

I have many problems with Labour. I do appreciate much of what they've done - gay rights, devolution, Sure Start centres, a better NHS (and yes, it is better now than in 1997. Just ask anyone who works in it.). I like their ideas on voting reform. My job brings me into lots of contact with people on or below the poverty line, and I have no doubt that if the last 13 years had been Tory, not Labour, they would be far worse off. But against that is the war, Trident, etc.

I'm not convinced by the Lib Dems. The 'Clegg bounce' hasn't (according to polls) had much of an impact in Scotland, and I can't help but think it's because we've had experience of them in government. And they weren't terrible, but there was nothing very new or shiny either. Also, their party is extremely white/male/straight. Not that there's anything wrong with white straight men, but given that they're supposedly the party of change, they look very similar to what we've always had. Finally, during this campaign they've sent me 23 leaflets. I would like to point out that a) if the 20th didn't convince me, the 21st isn't going to work any magic, and b) you're supposed to care about the enviroment, so stop sending piles of junk mail.

In all other elections but general elections I vote SNP. I agree with (almost) all of their polices, I like the leadership, I think they've done a good job in Holyrood. David Cameron seems to have spent much of the last few days whining about the possibility of a hung parliament - the SNP have spent the last three years with a majority of 1 seat, and still gotten a fair bit done. But. They're not going to win. There's a tiny chance of them taking my seat from Labour - which could then contribute to the Tories getting in.

So, in the end, I think I'm going to be voting against the Tories. That depresses me, and the only bright spot is the prospect of electoral reform. Please may the next election be a little fairer.

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Apr. 7th, 2010

Well, at least we got beaten by the best team in the world. And how good is it, having four different nations in the CL semi-finals?

Two days of election coverage and I'm already bored. I can also already tell you that on May 6th my MP will be Ann McKechin (Lab). I know electoral reform isn't the sexiest of issues, but it's worth pointing out that almost 400 seats are safe and won't be changing hands - that's 25 million people whose votes won't count.

I know it's Austism Awareness month right now, although I'm not sure if it's a worldwide thing or just American, but I'm kind of ignoring it. I don't really think we need more scaremongering or tragic stories from parents about their autie kids, and my optimism of anything better happening was kind of soured when CafePress announced they would be donating 10% of proceeds from all 'autism' tagged products to Autism Speaks this month. Because that's how to help ASD people - donating money to an organisation which hates us, thinks it's understandable to want to kill us, and claims we have no souls.

/anger

In other news, I have started rewatching The West Wing, and now remember how completely awesome C.J is.

Mar. 19th, 2010

I realise there are many good causes, all asking for your money, but please do read this. Steve Perry, a comic book artist and one of the writers of Thundercats, is terribly sick and in serious need of help. I know that many on my flist consider themselves geeks and comic books fans - so help a fellow out?

From logophilos, since she says it better than me:

I got a lovely thank you note from Steve Perry, but the contents break my heart:

I want you to know I am so very grateful to you for being so kind, generous and wonderful — my own fate is pretty iffy and I care most about my five year old. He has been with me 24/7 all his life, and even more so since his mother left a year ago because she could not deal with the discovery that I had cancer. Now that it has returned, the future is pretty raw, and while Leo and I face homelessness again, your kindness will be forever appreciated. Thank you so very, very much.

He also says he’s still trying to get his electricity back on. In case it wasn’t clear from my last post, Steve is dying of bladder cancer. And on top of that, he has no home and is trying to look after a young child. No one should have to go through all this in the last months of their life. So, again, I’m asking you to send a donation, however small, to his PayPal account (sandramaples48 @ yahoo.com). Some of you boosted the signal on this, and a lot of you went ‘eh, nothing to do with me’. Which is sad, really, because anyone can end up with cancer, and anyone could end up homeless too.

Well, if I can’t incentivise you any other way, I will give a free copy of any of my ebooks – self-published or not, including the one which I can’t officially give you – to anyone who sends me a receipt for their Paypal donation of at least $10 to Steve. Redact your real name, but I want to see proof. Forward it to me at logophilos@gmail.com and tell me the book you want.

Feel free to repost this message.

Please spare this poor guy the price of a fancy cup of coffee or a cheap DVD, will you? For humanity’s sake?

ETA: In case people are wondering if the paypal address above is legit – I had the reply from Steve at a separate address, containing documents and stories and further information which make it completely clear he’s the real deal, and money sent to that address, which he assures me only he has access to, will reach him. So please give in confidence.

The response just this morning has been lovely. Keep it up!

*

She writes very good books that I highly recommend, in case that tempts you further. Please give something, however little.

We are now managed by Elvis

So, Steven Pressley is our new manager. I think it's an interesting choice. And by interesting, I mean I'm covering my eyes and hardly daring to watch. I can't help but wishing they'd hired someone with a little more experience. Or, you know, any experience.

I'm a little sad about Eddie May. He was good at bringing players through the academy. On the other hand, we've lost 15 of our last 27 games, are on 17 points, and he really should have been fired weeks ago.

I do like Steven Pressley, and he seems to have the inspiring speeches part down. It's just that he only stopped playing for us six months ago. But I'm hoping! Not too hard, though. Last season I would have been so gutted by relegation, just absolutely devastated. This season, sadly I'm a little more mentally prepared, mainly because it's seemed a 90% certainty from day one.

But. I'm hoping.

Help Haiti

I would just like to pimp help_haiti, where people are auctioning off everything from fanfic to socks to tarot readings to try and raise money for Haiti. I'm sure everyone's aware of what's happened there, and how desperately help is needed.

So. Go bid on something, or even offer something if you can. You'll be helping Haiti and getting something cool.