Saturday, 13 March 2010

Interesting Fact of the Day.

As you may have noticed, I like facts- especially facts that undermine arguments that promote bigotry and discrimination. And, usually I like to save said facts until a topical news story comes up, and then show how people, usually politicians, are talking nonsense. But, I found this one and I thought it was too good not to share (plus it is something that I and probably most of you have long suspected).

There are more British living abroad than foreigners living in the UK.

In fact, 1 in 10 Brits live all or part of the year abroad.

So, next time somebody complains about immigrants taking our jobs, why not ask whether they'd prefer that all the British come home (which surely is only fair?) And for that matter, next time the BNP suggest that all coloured people should be 'repatriated' -do you remember when they used to make those demands- ask them whether we really want our diaspora (you know the Australians, the Americans, New Zealanders, Canadians, South Africans etc etc) to be repatriated too?

Monday, 8 March 2010

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day to everyone.

It seems that everybody is a bit down right now- everyone I know has a story of redundancy and restructing woe and if politicians are taking note, we need a morale boost! Yet, rather than seeing economic downturn as an opportunity to reform a clearly broken system, it is repeatedly being used as an excuse to curtail women's rights and social equality. It seems, whatever party you support, recession is an excuse to be conservative- to claw back money from our poor, to reinforce the structures of the wealthy, to ignore principles of fairness and equality because it seems easier than structural change. Every day is another story of lay-offs and doors closing in the media (and often closer to home!) and yet at the same time, we hear politicians moaning about getting people off unemployment benefit as if the poor just weren't taking the opportunities being offered. Even those people who are using redundancy as an opportunity to retrain are finding doors closed, as the government reduces spending in universites, which has led to a drop in numbers of places, despite unprecedented demand.

To blind us to this situation, the parties seem to have unanimously agreed to make this election about 'family' not economy- clearly because they don't have any economic policies- yet, the family they are selling to us is antiquated model with no relevance to the modern world, and only reflects a very small minority of people's lives. It's as if politicians are trying to pretend the recession didn't happen and if we just ignore the reality of the best part of the population's lives, we can try and sell a story of a non-existent golden age and hope that people are tired enough to buy it.

Well, I am tired- so tired that I find it difficult to celebrate this International Women's Day- but I am not so tired that I am going to buy this bullshit that is being fed to us during the least inspired political campaign in history (and I AM HISTORIAN SO I SHOULD KNOW DAMMIT). So political parties, it's time to get your ass in gear and gives us some real policies. Policies that:

- have social equality for all at their heart

- that see social equality and a sharing of wealth as the key to a nation's stability and prosperity

- that understands and celebrates social difference and does not try to push us into a white, middle-class mould of imagined family life

- that understands that real choice for all is at the heart of modern democracy and understands that choice does not mean conforming to a middle-class vision of normality

- that recognises that we have historically sold women, children, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the gay community, the working-class, and every one who not a white, middle-class man down the river, and we need to change

-that recognises that our wealth is based on the exploitation of the poor in our own country and on the material and labour resources of the rest of the world

-that recognises that we believe in the sharing of wealth, in recycling and looking after our planet, and that we do not want our comfort to be based on the poverty and exploitation of ourselves or other people, the destruction of our natural environment, or short-changing of other cultures


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Women's History Month

March is women's history month. That is, a month dedicated to the study of women's history and with making people aware that women do have a history, that is is an important history and that women, alongside men, made the world what it is today (something that was remarkably forgotten in traditional histories). I have been involved in a project to celebrate women's history month and we have created a blog with posts every day this month (and hopefully beyond) on a topic of women's history. Please go check it out.