Call-Out for Freedom Alliance Candidates!

The attack on women continues, the vaccine injured are now too numerous to ignore and 15 minute ghettos are coming your way! In the English Local Authority elections on 4th May 2023 you have the opportunity to stand for freedom!

Recently the UK Freedom Alliance party has diversified with some current and former members standing as independents and some former members forming a new party emphasising direct democracy in contrast to our emphasis on representative democracy. Our concern about that new party is that direct democracy is vulnerable to populism (undue influence by an unelected and unaccountable spokesperson) and in any case, as their Electoral Commission registration missed the advertised deadline, they may not be ready until after close of nominations.

Nevertheless, as a libertarian party we support all candidates genuinely standing for freedom. The difference is that—if you stand with us—you have the benefit of our experience and support.

Our key principles as a party are:

  • —We are a political party born out of the freedom movement as a direct response to government overreach into every aspect of our lives.
  • —We are the political wing of the freedom community.
  • —We are made up of people from all political backgrounds, moving the dialogue away from the left Vs right debate towards a right Vs wrong – what is right for the people not what is right for the elites and big corporations. We need politicians to start making decisions in the interests of the people. Our membership model supports us to be responsive to our members and speak up about what really matters to them.
  • —By standing up and questioning the narrative of the government and main political parties who have been captured and controlled, we provide an opportunity for open debate. There is currently no opposition to the government and we need this in order to restore a liberal democracy.
  • —We celebrate diversity and support equality for all; at the same time we recognise the valid and vociferous concerns over female safe space and robust child protection endangered by changes in devolved and UK legislation.
  • —It is time for the people to be powerful in politics. We need to demystify politics and make it accessible to everyone, show people how important it is we take back control of our country.
  • —We are radically different to any other political party. We are run entirely by volunteers, people passionate enough about making a difference to consider doing something unpopular (getting involved in the corrupt and dirty world of politics).
  • —We are more than just a party that opposes the governments infringements on our civil liberties. In bringing likeminded people together we have started to create a positive vision of how we would like our country to be governed. We need you to join us, to help develop this vision further and take back our country.
  • —We are sovereign beings. We care about humanity. We want a future for our children and grandchildren which is full of joy, hope and peace, one in which they can live freely and choose the life they want to live.

If you would like to stand for Freedom Alliance, please email info@freedomalliance.co.uk — providing this information:

— full name

— address & postcode

— local authority (council)

— preferred ward/ division

— social media usernames for vetting (we don’t need your passwords!)

You don’t need any political experience. You don’t need to be a lawyer or academic or business person. You do need to be awake, sensible, in harmony with our key principles and willing to engage civilly with opposing views—whether from other members or other parties.

You must be over 18 (there’s no upper age limit) and resident in the UK. There are further qualifications and disqualifications set by the Electoral Commission, and we require all of our candidates to respect election procedures and the rule of law. (That said, we are extremely concerned about possible vote suppression caused by voter ID.)

Accepted candidates may receive a link to a website supporting them through every step of the nomination process.

Crochet doll wearing black cap, black dress and suffragette shawl
Advertisement

Why I shop at Locavore

There’s a long wooden bench outside. It’s under the shelter of the awning running from the newsagents to the barbers and people, presumably, could take their chai or herbal tea out there, even in Scotland, in January, but I suspect that some passersby sit there too. Taking a restful moment off, from all the trundling about that’s so much part of modern life. It’s a nice touch. Human, simple, neat, good business sense. That’s Locavore.

Inside and…ah! The herbs and fresh fruit and veg and scented soaps and candles. I breathe it all in, immediately feeling better. I smile at the customer on her mobility scooter, coffee resting on the large wooden table in the cafe area, and head towards the free fruit and veg box.

I’m an inveterate recycler. I just can’t see things go to waste, so this is one of the many aspects of Locavore that I approve of. I start here because I’m thinking of what’s in the vegetable rack and fruit bowl at home. As a vegan who prefers whole to processed food, that’s where I start my meal preparation.

I always buy something too and recently decided to buy all my bread and pastries here. Everything’s organic. That sounds like a luxury until you think about the choice: with or without poison. Why do that to yourself and your housemates—then have to spend more on remedies for the harm those poisons cause?

The vegetables are interesting. Kohl rabbi and fennel as well as the usual cabbage, carrots and spuds. Paper bags or biodegradable plastic. There are huge containers of nuts and seeds and pulses at the back—I really need to investigate that end more—as well as refills for Ecover and other products that are natural and not tested on animals.

Okay it’s not entirely vegan, or even vegetarian, and I wish it was. But it’s shops like these where, looking along the shelves, someone who usually buys salami might see the vegan chorizo and decide to give it a try.

Let’s talk about cost. Yes, you’ll probably find an inferior version available for less in a supermarket but here’s the difference: this isn’t a shop where the emphasis is on sugar and starchy empty calories. This is good food and it’s good for you. So it terms of what you’re getting, pound for pound, this is better value.

Finally, the best thing about Locavore—apart from the unhurried time and space you have to pack your shopping—is the staff. People who know that their work makes a difference look different from other shop staff. Their eyes shine. When you chat about a recipe (3-ingredient vegan pancakes, for example) they’ve probably tried it or they want to and will tell you about it next time you shop. As they’re ringing your purchases up on the till, you’ll hear about the new baby, the new doggie, their visit to the Glasgow allotments where the produce is grown—and they’re interested in your news and views too.

I always come out of Locavore feeling better than when I went in. I’m a carer, going through considerable employment stress right now (and seeking legal remedies for it). My life at the moment is quite challenging. I shop at Locavore because it makes my life easier and reminds me of the consistent aim of philosophers down through the ages: the good life.

Colourful crammed Locavore veg box

Photo from https://locavore.scot/ (I’m not on commission, I just really like the shop!)

Homemade Tattie Scones

In these times of austerity, when UK elected leaders are using our taxed earnings to fund an Eastern European money-laundering scheme, it’s nifty to be thrifty. Tattie scones, Scotland’s parsimonious answer Spanish tortilla de patatas, are humble, filling fare that I usually buy. This morning, forgetting to stock up on porridge, I decided to give homemade tattie scones a try.

I found this recipe on BBC Food and it seemed simple enough. Boiled potatoes, peeled and mashed, pinch of salt (I think a teaspoon is exaggerating it) and veggie margarine. My tweak is a sprinkle of turmeric on the oil. Here’s how it went.

Chopped peeled potato in an orange bowl on a tan countertop.

I had about half a pound of boiled potatoes in the fridge, so I peeled them (easy when cooked) and chopped them up in a bowl, added a dollop of the margarine and bit of sea salt then I mashed them with a fork.

Vitalite margarine top

I used organic wholemeal flour, Doves Farm, bought in Locavore, and added baking powder.

Organic wholemeal flour packet, with a 50% off sticker
Dr Oetker baking powder tin

Combining all that and remashing carefully gave me this.

Mashed ingredients in bowl

Now at this point I decided to be lazy and rather than turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it till it was 1cm thick, as recommended, I just used a knife to press it down, going round in a circle, on a floured plate. I then quartered the mixture with the blade of a flat plastic spatula, to make it easier to fry.

Then a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of turmeric and it was time to fry the segments on a medium heat.

Oil and turmeric in the frying pan

I now realised the mixture was too thin so I used the flat, plastic spatula to press it down and, in doing so, erased the divisions between the segments.

It was at this point that I realised that rolling the mixture would have been a better idea. However, most of it held together and when I tasted a wee piece that had broken off it was okay. So a couple more flips on the frying pan and my homemade tattie scones were ready to serve up to the expert taster: my Mum!

3 segments of tattie scones with splashes of tomato sauce on an orange plate on a table mat with a woodland motif.

Mum had 2 tattie scones and I had 3, then she had another and I did too, and then split the last between us. As a most reliable taste test is whether they want more, I think this was a success! A little floury and a little crumbly, yes, but a tasty breakfast snack that’s healthy, vegan and organic. I think I may make these again.

10 Ways to Keep Warm in Winter

My brother remarked today that on his street there are houses with huge bay windows that may be double glazed but either lack curtains altogether or just never close them. He said they must be paying a fortune in heating bills. And probably walking round in tee-shirts shivering, I said. The remark made me grateful for being brought up by thrifty parents. So if you’d like some good Scots advice on warmth and economy from a previous generation, read on for ten hot tips!

  1. Dress for winter, not for the beach! Girls, thin tight leggings (rarely flattering) won’t keep you warm—thick tights or long socks under a long skirt or trousers that actually fit you with room to breath, because you need a layer of trapped air, will keep you warmer. And cover your midriff! My old Mum, a retired nurse, shakes her head at the sight of all these lurid crop tops and says “that girl will have kidney trouble later!” Guys? Same! And put on a long-sleeved shirt or blouse and a jumper over that tee!
  2. Invest in a pair of slippers. No, I don’t care if it’s not cool. It’s Baltic! Just do what you’re told!
  3. Get down to your nearest charity shop (that doesn’t support vivisection or child prostitution!!!!) and buy carpets and rugs till you cover every inch of that stripped blonde pine floor you insisted on getting cos you saw it on TV. And mats for the bathroom. Yes you do need one round the bowl. The one outside the shower you hang up to dry, by opening the bathroom window (remember to shut it before you leave the house) and closing the door!
  4. Close the doors!!!!!!!! It’s just physics. Freshen the air when you don’t need it warm (at night, when you’re in bed, asleep, not checking your phone) by opening the other doors to allow air to circulate—but otherwise keep them closed! If your living room opens onto the kitchen as well as the hall, block one of the doors with an easily portable chair on either side to discourage folk from wandering through and leaving it open. Portable because of fire. You don’t want a heavy armchair blocking an exit!
  5. Get visitors in and out of the front door (and the dog out the back) quickly! Do all your greetings and goodbyes in the hall with the door firmly closed then, after all the hugs and kisses, PUSH them out into the ice and snow—and shut that door!
  6. Hang a curtain over the front and back doors and keep it closed as much as you can. This is a Mediterranean trick to keep out the sun, because they mostly don’t heat their houses cos they don’t need to.
  7. Curtains. Thick, long (stop it!) and on every window. Close them as soon as it gets dark. That’s about 3:30pm in Scotland at the moment.
  8. Cover your head, your hands, your feet and your neck when you go out, well! Trainers are not made for snow. Neither are stilettos or even kitten heels. Get boots. A scarf or at least a neck warmer is a must, as are thick gloves, and a woolly bunnet (you might call it a “beanie” for some reason) that covers your ears for anyone without abundant locks—and even they could do with ear muffs.
  9. Turn down your heating. You’ll feel the cold less outside if you stop living like a hothouse plant.
  10. Use a small oil-filled radiator near the chair you sit on most. You don’t need the central heating blasting away all over the house when you can just heat the air in your vicinity.

Apart from all of the above, if your brain hasn’t totally shut down from hypothermia—or from the shock of seeing your energy bill—you could ask yourself why you keep voting for parties that agree with GIVING YOUR MONEY AWAY to government crony contracts; the poison industry (you might know that as Big Pharma); and a country-sized money laundromat located just to the north of the Black Sea! And then blowing up a pipeline (for political reasons) transporting cheap fuel!!!

In Freedom Alliance, we don’t agree with any of that—and we’re not alone! Check out the ADF and the (Scots) Libertarians too! So if you’re fed up with putting people in power who make you poorer, why not stop doing that and vote for the alternative?

Tan house with garage, with red roofs, green doors & 5 big windows—with no curtains!

Thanks to Karen Arnold for releasing her image House Illustration Clipart into the Public Domain.

Of Rats and Greater Manchester

Eric Adams, Mayor of the Big Apple, is seeking someone “somewhat bloodthirsty” to be the city’s “rat czar” (in popular parlance) according to Sky News:

The vermin have survived a multimillion-dollar effort under former mayor Bill de Blasio which introduced more rubbish pickups and better housing inspections in targeted neighbourhoods. The city also used dry ice to suffocate rats in their hiding spots. Mayor Adams, when he was borough president of Brooklyn, once demonstrated a trap which used a bucket filled with a toxic soup to drown rats lured by the scent of food.

Samuel Osborne, Friday 2 December 2022 21:36, UK

Typical resort to toxins. When Big Pharma (specialising in addictive drugs and poisons since long before WW1) runs the world, anything that pushes their profits is the default. As well as “data collection” and “trash management” the person specs include “highly motivated”, “determined to look at all solutions from various angles”, “improving operational efficiency”, “technology innovation”, and “wholesale slaughter” (all ibid).

So the Mayor wants someone who’ll really get their claws into the situation. Hmmm… 🧐

The State (not the city) of New York has 48 cat shelters, according to this website and if my arithmetic is correct they currently have 1,112 cats waiting for adoption…or death.

It seems NYC has two problems and one solution: any household or business plagued with rats should adopt a cat, ASAP!

Start spreading the news, it’s up to you New York, New York!

This side of the pond, results from the parliamentary by-election in the beautiful English city of Chester (currently suffering from raw sewage being dumped into the River Dee) show a similar lack of imagination. Seemingly unwilling to learn from decades of British bumbling—(slightly) Right, (slightly) Left, privatise, nationalise, repeat ad nauseam)—Cestrians have voted Labour, or rather, have voted against the Tories.

Each of these two parties appear principally interested in opposing the other, a project the Lib Dems enthusiastically usually join in with—seemingly having no fixed policies of their own. Yet, as well as the woker-than-thou Greens and their Scottish and Welsh supposedly separatist allies, and the various small wannabe career politician parties, there is an alternative.

Parties such as Freedom Alliance, ADF and the Libertarians don’t want to simply oppose (or become) government—they want an entirely different form of governance. Largely ignored for business as usual in Chester last Thursday, there’s another opportunity on 15th December in the Stretford and Urmston parliamentary constituency in Greater Manchester.

On both sides of the pond the question is: are you capable of thinking outside the box? If so, reject the usual poisonous approach and choose a real and wholesome alternative.

Layered images of rats in greyscale

Thanks to Linnaea Mallette for releasing her image Rats into the Public Domain.

More Business As Usual in Manchester By-Election?

As I did before – with Who’s Best For Chester MP? – I’m doing an ad hoc SWOT analysis of the first 5 candidates to post their profiles on Who Can I Vote For? (5 this time as the website was a bit tardy and gave candidates only 2 days to get organised!) It’s light-hearted and (hands up) I am a member of one of these parties – can you guess which one? I do try to be fair.

CANDIDATESTRENGTHS – from WCIVF? Public Twitter/ Facebook/ LinkedIn/ Party profile
Andrew Western: Labour PartyHas twice fought a Westminster election before; experience as councillor and Leader of Trafford City Council; responsibility for Transport; Director of a Housing trust; school Governor; supported firefighters’ pay; campaigned to save local amenities; established party infrastructure available.  
Christina Glancy: Freedom Alliance – The Real AlternativeLocal businesswoman with 15 years experience running a catering company; informed on local issues; volunteer for Manchester homeless charity.
Dan Jerrome: Green PartyExperience as Trafford City Councillor; informed on local issues; established party infrastructure available.  
Emily Carter-Kandola: Conservative and Unionist PartyPhotogenic; cute wee doggie; established party infrastructure available. 
Paul Swansborough: ReformLocal. Has fought a Westminster election before.
CANDIDATEWEAKNESSES
Andrew Western: Labour PartyMay be taking credit for party for achievements of Council. No mention of charity work.
Christina Glancy: Freedom Alliance – The Real AlternativeNew, small party with controversial policies.
Dan Jerrome: Green PartyOnly gained 681 votes for last parliamentary election. May be taking credit for party for achievements of Council. No mention of charity work.
Emily Carter-Kandola: Conservative and Unionist PartyNot yet 30, no political experience, Twitter account all about the Tories, nothing local. No mention of charity work.
Paul Swansborough: ReformRode the UKIP Brexit wave well previously but then only polled 75 votes in 2021 local election. No mention of charity work. Reforms all theoretical. No evidence of what party would do in power and even those in favour of Brexit complain about its impact.
CANDIDATEOPPORTUNITIES
Andrew Western: Labour PartyLabour recently undergoing a resurgence due to chaos at Westminster. Bold biscuit choice with McVitie’s (toffee) Trio!
Christina Glancy: Freedom Alliance – The Real AlternativeMay attract independent voters tired of older parties as well as women – as her party supports female safe space and robust child safeguarding – as well as older voters and their carers. May attract voters who want to vote for a woman, whatever her policies. Dark Chocolate Digestive is a popular guilty pleasure; not sure it tops Trio but definitely trumps Custard Creams in the biscuit stakes!
Dan Jerrome: Green PartyRoad safety is a cross party vote-winner.
Emily Carter-Kandola: Conservative and Unionist PartyMay attract voters who want to vote for a woman, whatever her policies. Fresh face.
Paul Swansborough: ReformReform want to reform everything and that may be attractive to some.
CANDIDATETHREATS
Andrew Western: Labour PartyPopular resentment of by-election triggered by resignation of Labour councillor. May attract blame for unpopular Council policies and Transport problems. Women & male allies may not vote for a party that does not support female safe space and robust child safeguarding – especially as a school Governor would know about that. May be tricky respecting Purdah, given Council role. Climate change agenda is a real vote divider.
Christina Glancy: Freedom Alliance – The Real AlternativeVoters may be put off by what Freedom Alliance is against and not know what it’s for. 
Dan Jerrome: Green PartyWomen & male allies may not vote for a party that does not support female safe space and robust child safeguarding. Green self-ID trans agenda not popular with older voters – who vote more than the youngsters. Climate change agenda also a real vote divider.
Emily Carter-Kandola: Conservative and Unionist PartyConservatives may be facing early General Election, despite new PM appearing to be a steadier pair of hands that the last one. Voter statement ticks some boxes but difficult for voters to back the party responsible for the problems she aims to solve. Despite featuring powerful women on Twitter, women & male allies may not vote for a party that does not support female safe space and robust child safeguarding.
Paul Swansborough: ReformLeader of the Reform now courting the Freedom Movement (the voter base of Freedom Alliance) but did not voice any resistance during lockdown so that appeal is likely to fail. Biscuit choice: if you can’t top Trio it may be best not to try. What’s more boring than a Custard Cream?

ANALYSIS

Andrew Western definitely has most political experience but in this election that may be a two-edged sword. Not only is there popular resentment against the Labour councillor stepping down to take up another post but, as Leader of the Council, any gripes voters have may land at his feet. A hail-fellow-well-met personality (see Facebook video) in a politician feel like more of the same and the mood in the country is for change. That said, he’s certainly capable and informed about local issues – and supporting the firefighters will be popular.

Christina Glancy is a fresh face in politics but combines novelty and maturity as well as sound business sense. What she has to say about running a small catering business under Covid restrictions may go down very well with middle-class voters. What’s less likely to please are some of the policies of Freedom Alliance however, with vaccine injuries being reported more openly (and not censored on Twitter now) and even hardline lockdowners calling for an amnesty for Covid collaborators, what may impress voters most is her passion for charity work with the homeless. As we face a winter of fuel poverty and food banks, anyone in favour of feeding the hungry may get the popular vote!

Dan Jerrome does frown at the camera, librarians are not known for the extraversion associated with political leadership and the Greens have some very dodgy policies at the moment (though the English & Welsh have been recently excommunicated by the Scottish branch office for not being radical enough) which only tend to appeal to the age group that doesn’t tend to vote! However road safety is a neutral topic that anyone responsible will support. Not sure being speed checked by the Green neighbourhood watch will be popular though. Shades of Desperate Politicians.

Emily Carter-Kandola will win or lose (let’s be honest) on her party’s policies and her looks. There doesn’t really appear to be anything else to go on. The problem with the former is that they’ve caused the mess we’re in so Vote Tory for Change just won’t work. The problem with the latter is that lithe and lovely aren’t characteristics normally associated with politicians. Leaders tend to be either hard-faced or stolid and she’s neither.

Paul Swansborough has a pleasant enough face for the camera – one can’t imagine babies screaming in horror on walkabouts and this isn’t his first Westminster rodeo. The problem here is that that was then and this is now. UKIP may (arguably) have changed the constitutional status of the UK massively by being the catalyst for Brexit but that party now feels like the SNP post-independence: what would be the point? (Let’s not get sidelined with that issue!) Jumping ship to Reform doesn’t leave him trailing glory either – especially now that their party leader is trying to woo the Freedom Movement without having expressed any solidarity with any of their aims or core values during lockdown.

PREDICTION

Labour may win the next GE as the alternative but that’s hard to sell here with this very well-established candidate. Voting Conservative here is simultaneously choosing inexperience and the status quo. I can’t see that combination going down well anywhere in Greater Manchester. The Greens may be impressing 16-18 year olds with their identity politics but, unlike further north and west, in England they can’t vote and the recent antics of Extinction Rebellion (especially when the food-spoiling perpetrators are outed as Chelsea public school jet setters) haven’t endeared anyone to their cause – I’m vegan and I can’t stand them! Yes road safety is good, and very necessary, but none of these parties are safeguarding kids at school and that’s another rebellion that’s gaining momentum. Let’s just burst Reform‘s bubble before it blows itself up any more. There are so many self-congratulatory parties that are a phenomenal success – on social media. It’s quite another thing to have boots on the ground – and not just the party leader flying in for a photoshot.

So that leaves Freedom Alliance. Do I think they’ll win? Honestly, it’s extremely unlikely. Twitter (surviving so far, despite predictions) may have opened up a bit but the impact of all the smear campaigns isn’t going to lessen all at once. Gradually, however, voters may come to see that there’s a consistent message of personal liberty, of protection of the vulnerable and a willingness to challenge the status quo and do something different. That’s all very well but the real problem is that the people who support all that quite often won’t vote. They’re not too lazy, they just oppose representative democracy. I think their day will come but only when one demographic group stops considering them too much part of the establishment and the rest stop considering them too radical.

Meanwhile, I regret to say, it’ll most probably be party politics and business as usual in the Stretford and Urmston parliamentary by-election on Thursday 15th December 2022.

Unless you, the voters, decide differently.

Thanks to Petr Kratochvil for releasing his photo Crowd of People into the Public Domain.

Who’s Best for Chester MP?

Taking a break from studying Constitutional Law, I’ve done a hasty SWOT analysis of the first 4 candidates to put their profiles on Who Can I Vote For? the popular and informative (if sometimes tardy) website that does what it says on the tin. My reasoning is that this lot are at least organised – which is the minimum you want for a Westminster election. Integrity would be great too of course and the ability to do the job. Here’s my thoughts. Full disclosure – I’m a member of one of the featured parties. Can you tell which? I have tried to be fair.

CANDIDATESTRENGTHS – from WCIVF? Twitter/ LinkedIn/ Party profile
Chris Quartermaine:Freedom Alliance – Integrity, Society, EconomyBest surname; grandfatherly face; local with 42 yrs of customer service in health food retail; 11 yrs teaching computing especially to sheltered housing sector; Border biscuits!
Liz Wardlaw: Conservative and Unionist PartyExperience as city councillor in Cheshire; established party infrastructure available.  
Rob Herd: Liberal DemocratsExperience as parish councillor in Chester; forties, fit and handsome; teacher & governor; charity trustee; local; established party infrastructure available.   
Samantha Dixon: Labour PartyExperience as city councillor and council leader in Chester, elected by 2,182 votes; local; MBE; established party infrastructure available.  
CANDIDATEWEAKNESSES
Chris Quartermaine:Freedom Alliance – Integrity, Society, EconomyNew, small party with controversial policies
Liz Wardlaw: Conservative and Unionist PartyOnly gained 934 votes for post.
Rob Herd: Liberal Democrats 
Samantha Dixon: Labour Party 
CANDIDATEOPPORTUNITIES
Chris Quartermaine:Freedom Alliance – Integrity, Society, EconomyMay attract independent voters tired of older parties as well as women – as his party supports female safe space and robust child safeguarding – as well as older voters and their carers. Only candidate to post a biscuit preference – so may get the fun vote.
Liz Wardlaw: Conservative and Unionist PartyMay attract voters who want to vote for a woman, whatever her policies.
Rob Herd: Liberal Democrats 
Samantha Dixon: Labour PartyMay attract voters who want to vote for a woman, whatever her policies. Labour seems to be undergoing a resurgence due to chaos at Westminster.
CANDIDATETHREATS
Chris Quartermaine:Freedom Alliance – Integrity, Society, EconomyVoters may be put off by what Freedom Alliance is against and not know what it’s for. Dousing a bit of a wildcard: may put off fundamentalists (as would any liberal policy) but a touch of the Dumbledore may attract others, especially the holistic minded.  
Liz Wardlaw: Conservative and Unionist PartyConservative facing General Election, despite new PM appearing to be a steadier pair of hands that the last one. Women & male allies may not vote for a party that does not support female safe space and robust child safeguarding.
Rob Herd: Liberal DemocratsLGBT early education/ gender self-ID is the wildcard: divides voters like Marmite. Women & male allies may not vote for a party that does not support female safe space and robust child safeguarding.
Samantha Dixon: Labour PartyWomen & male allies may not vote for a party that does not support female safe space and robust child safeguarding.

Summing up – if voters just vote for their party then the experience and qualities of the candidate don’t matter. However, especially with a General Election looming, Chester voters may want to see someone who connects with their issues rather that whatever instructions they’re getting from HQ. In that case, Rob Herd’s flagging up the raw sewage issue may be a winner, although he’s the least experienced of the three legacy party candidates and a Green candidate could still try to corner the environmental market. Voters may be swayed by a local, in which case no-one can beat Chris Quartermaine’s 42 yrs in retail but Samantha Dixon did get a lot of support last May, unlike Liz Wardlaw.

In terms of identity politics, if having a female candidate matters to women then the Labour and Conservative candidates are ahead. However, these days, what may matter more is a party that supports female safe space, single sex sports and robust child safeguarding, in that case Freedom Alliance overtakes them both. Rob Herd also flies the LGBT flag (as well as the EU flag) on his Twitter bio which goes down well with younger voters – but it’s the older generation who actually get their votes in on the day. The tipping point, I feel, is to engage that generation. They tend to vote for legacy parties and for social conservatism.

If Chris Quartermaine can leverage his local connections and work with older people to persuade them to abandon their usual party and vote for Freedom Alliance, the only party wholeheartedly against the isolation they experienced over lockdown, then he may be the dark horse that wins the race. If not, then my money would be on Labour…or possibly Lib Dems because their candidate is just so good-looking!

Chimpanzee looking pensive in Chester Zoo

Thanks to Petr Kratochvil for releasing his photo Relaxing Monkey into the Public Domain.

A Divisive Issue for the Freedom Movement

I don’t choose to write about this issue on Halloween from any lack of concern about its seriousness, but the very different views on this traditional celebration are a good place to start. My hope is that, by observing this difference about one topic that’s not very emotive, we might be able to do the same about another that in my experience can sunder fast friends and close allies like no other.

While Neo-Pagans celebrate the old Celtic Quarter Feast of Samhain this evening, tracing a line of continuity with the customs and beliefs of an ancient community that—like all religious claims based on historical fact—is contentious, to most families in the UK, Halloween is a bit of fun for the kids, a bit of careful safeguarding for the adults and no more religious than St Valentine’s Day.

The reaction of the western liberal and even fairly traditional Church includes a similar sense of indulgence, while stressing the significance of the images of ghosts and goblins—similar to that of the gargoyles on the Cathedral of Notre Dame—and that of the name: the Eve of All Hallows, the evening before All Saints Day. More Evangelical/ Pentecostal communities, especially those whose members originate from Africa, take the light-hearted devilry of the day extremely seriously, as evidence of Satanism. What the congregants of the latter religion feel about folk dressing up as demons I have no idea. Finally, commercial interests clearly see it as yet another way to make money selling unhealthy snacks and non-biodegradable single-use tat.

So that’s Halloween; what about abortion?

Stop for a moment and observe your immediate reaction: anger? sadness? dismay and disbelief? dispassion? Only you know why you feel about this issue as you do, and only you know the reason for the strength of that feeling.

A thought experiment—what would what is sometimes described as “the Freedom Movement” be like if everyone felt the same way as you do about this most divisive issue? What if everyone felt the opposite?

Breathe. Is it vitally important to you that we all are unanimous in support of your opinion on this topic? Can you allow for freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of expression?

Would it be possible for you to work shoulder-to-shoulder with someone who differs slightly, or even distinctly, from your stance? Could you accept their freedom to choose their own political path, even while utterly disagreeing with their ethical judgement?

Let’s break it down, because abortion means many things to many people but in terms of ethics the components are fairly clear: termination of a pregnancy (viable or not) by the action of an agent (self or other) with the intent to end the life in the womb (or at least begin that process inside and end it outside).

Ethics can seem like a cold calculation. It analyses according to categories, attempting to cut up the complexity of human experience to fit it into little conceptual boxes—but as the wonderful Professor Martha Nussbaum says,

…this is not how it feels to be in that situation. It does not feel like solving a puzzle

(The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy, Cambridge: University Press, 2001, p.32)

Before we continue let’s address a common reaction to any man venturing an opinion on this most female issue. Standpoint epistemology is a fancy name for “I know cos I am one/ cos I’ve done this/ cos I was there”. It’s a seductive stance and very popular these days, especially on social media but, if taken to its logical conclusion, it means accepting absurdities like “only cows have a say in their welfare”, “only astronauts can argue about footage of the moon landings” and “only the dead have a stake in their funeral arrangements”.

That said, anyone who could not possibly be faced with the choice of whether to continue with or terminate a pregnancy must at least acknowledge the moral gravity of the issue—as well as the deeply personal and emotional nature of that decision. So a basic respect for women in general and pregnant women (whatever the outcome) in particular would be a good start.

Abortion is ethically complex because pregnancy is ethically complex: one body inside another and utterly dependent; one mature and (otherwise) autonomous adult human being with a socially stable status, one developing human being whose status may change from one day to the next—from blastula to zygote to foetus to baby—or from one moment to the next—from wanted to unwanted, or vice-versa.

Immediately the reduction of complexity can be seen on both sides: pro-life attention to the baby, as if he or she is an astronaut in a space capsule instead of intimately involved in a particular woman’s body; pro-choice attention to “my body, myself”, ignoring the existence of another self, like and unlike, not-quite-identical.

At this point it has to be said that the “half my DNA” argument from the father, while factual, is overstated. Nature and nurture intertwine in gene expression so it’s very clear that the mother is not doing only half of the labour of pregnancy.

With all this in mind, the agency involved in abortion is similarly complex. Here are very different ethical categories:

  • I act, affecting my body
  • I act, affecting my body and another
  • I act, affecting my body and a dependent other
  • I act, affecting my body and a dependant other inside my body
  • I act to ask another to act…
  • I act to require another to act…
  • I act to coerce another to act…

This brings us to issues of rights and duties, and the ethical basis of both. “It’s gonna be my way cos I’m powerful enough to force you to comply” is not an ethical argument that commands widespread approval, yet both sides employ it and present it as such. “I know you don’t agree but if you’re a good person you’ll change your mind” is similarly manipulative and “this is too important for you to disagree with me” is also, at least, undemocratic.

I’m writing about abortion on Halloween because if the Freedom Movement is manipulated into in-fighting it will be over this issue. Just now, because we’re so powerless (no, Donald Trump is not and never was fighting for freedom and neither BTW is Vladimir Putin or Volodymyr Zelensky) this clear division isn’t being highlighted. When we, hopefully, start getting elected, will it be the hairline crack that the clever masons of the new world order chisel apart?

I suggest a pragmatic, principled truce. Call it the All Hallows Eve Agreement if you will:

  1. We respect each other’s right to disagree and to campaign to maintain or change the law.
  2. We acknowledge the coherence of our opponents’ stance on abortion with their view of pregnancy.
  3. We commit to work together to improve the socio-economic status of vulnerable women so that they may have better choices.
Crow standing on skull silhouetted by full moon in graveyard.

Thanks to Karen Arnold for releasing her image Halloween Background Poster Invite into the Public Domain.

5 Parties Standing Up for Scottish Women

As my contract was illegally terminated by a Russell Group university recently, following over 2 years of victimisation for blowing the whistle on violation of disabled rights, I have even more respect for anyone willing to stand up for what’s right, no matter the consequences.

Although there are individuals in other parties, and some opposition to self-ID without clear commitment to female safe space (yes, Scots Libertarians I’m looking at you) there are only 5 parties that I know are unequivocally standing up for Scottish women. I want to provide a link to their policies so that voters can make an informed—and perhaps strategic—choice.

In alphabetical order:

AlbaManifesto—“Standing up for women and girls” starts at p.10. Unique relevant points are that the Scottish Government should pause GRA reform until views of women’s groups, the EHRC and the Court of Session ruling on sex and gender are all taken into consideration—and calls for a citizens assembly to consult over any future reforms. These points are reinforced in the Scotland’s Many People section under Women’s Rights.

With the very greatest respect for the elder statesman at the head of Alba, I’d love to read his political (not personal) memoirs and I think it’s time he retired, let Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh take over and so remove the block to victory that is the lingering taint of the court case that means many women won’t vote for the party—despite the not guilty/ not proven verdicts.

Freedom AllianceManifesto—(This is my party but I’ll try to be fair to all.) Under “Personal Freedom”, unique relevant points are: “Freedom Alliance will: Legislate specifically to protect individual’s right to body autonomy and to prevent the state from mandating any medical procedures.” and “Always oppose any form of discrimination based on gender, age, sexual orientation, race, nationality, disability, health or medical choices.” So, to be honest, the clear commitment isn’t here—however it is in the section in Latest News named YOUR SEX IS A FACT : YOUR GENDER IS A FEELING which states clearly:

“We will protect sex-based rights and single-sex spaces. We oppose the Scottish Government’s reforms to the Gender Recognition Act”

I feel the phrase “bodily autonomy” is unhelpfully unspecific as may confuse positive rights (entitlements) and negative rights (protections). I suspect it’s being used a bit vaguely to cover the fact that the party supports politicians who agree on other party policies but have opposing views on abortion. Unlike the SNP, Freedom Alliance does not agree with a party whip, especially on matters on conscience.

Independence for Scotland PartyManifesto—the only mentions here are: “ISP supports the Equality Act (2010) and the Gender Recognition Act (2004).” However there is explicit endorsement of Women Speak Scotland’s Manifesto for Women’s Rights in Scotland. I can’t find that exactly (however that website is amazing for gender-critical resources) but I’m guessing it refers to the Joint Statement by Scottish Woman’s Organisations which contains this:

The Scottish Government must therefore:

  • ensure single-sex spaces, facilities and other provisions are fully protected;
  • strengthen the rights of women to create and access them through clear guidance;
  • ensure in-depth and thorough Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessments are carried out, especially in sectors and services where sex self-ID has been introduced by stealth ahead of legislation, so that public bodies in Scotland are not potentially in breach of their Public Sector Equality Duty.

Again I really respect the ISP, especially as they were so gracious in regard to not stepping on Alba’s toes, and my only personal concern is over their massive support for vaccines. I’m also not sure what differentiates them from Alba and I wonder (as my own party is exploring with ADF) whether a merger would be mutually beneficial.

Scottish Family PartyManifesto—basically they say everything about supporting women and children that everyone else says (at length but there’s a helpful electronic ToCs) with the difference that, although they explicitly condemn bullying of LGBT people, they are very clear that the heterosexual family is the basis of morality and stability in society, and that undermining it leads to a multitude of ills. Under “Supporting families”:

As well as being a great source of joy, family life underpins our society. In the family, care and love are embodied, and resources are shared freely. The state should not seek to supplant the fundamental role of the family in bringing up children and should refrain from interfering in family life. Instead, the state should be supporting families to enable them to provide for themselves, structure their family life according to their priorities, and bring up their children according to their values.

While I respect the honesty of the Scottish Family Party, I do feel that the tone and content of some of its messaging, especially on video clips, lacks the urbane respect for diversity that people in the 21st century expect from politicians. That said, there is absolutely no doubt that they oppose gender theory. Under “Values education”:

The philosophy of gender fluidity is dangerous to young people, leading to confusion and unhelpful experimentation.

Under “Policies”:

Currently children and young people are being harmed by the message that choosing a new gender identity is normal, natural and healthy. While we sympathise with those experiencing gender confusion, we do not believe that legal gender change should be possible.

Sovereignty (formerly Restore Scotland)—Manifesto—under “A Free Scotland”, unique relevant points are:

We oppose the SNP’s illiberal family policies. We believe in family autonomy and we will fight for parental rights, and the right of children to be raised in line with their parents’ beliefs.

We pledge to:
• Repeal the Hate Crime and Public Order Act.
• Ensure parents are not criminalised for using mild physical discipline.
• Outlaw Self ID as inimical to women and children’s rights and safety.
• Criminalise the purchase of sexual services and strengthen anti-voyeurism legislation.
• Mandate age verification on websites offering adult content.

Under “Investing in Education”:

  • Replace Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood education with politically neutral teaching.

Another party I deeply respect and my only concern is that the respect Sovereignty have (which I can testify to personally) for all persons covered by the Equality Act 2010 could be more explicit in their manifesto.

Other defining (for some) policy points are here:

Abortion—the SFP and Sovereignty are explicitly pro-life, the former (although pragmatic about an incremental legal reduction in time limits) quite militantly. None of the others mention this topic, clearly, in their manifestos.

Europe—whereas Sovereignty explicitly opposes rejoining the EU, Freedom Alliance doesn’t oppose the concept of free trade in Europe but supports decentralisation and opposes the technocratic bent of the EU; the SFP is neutral but respects the referendum result; both Alba and the ISP promote joining EFTA as a means, with the will of the people, to rejoin the EU.

LGBT—apart from the anti-bullying stance, the SFP is clearly against same sex relationships and trans identity. Sovereignty recognises gender dysphoria and the need for treatment but seems silent on LGB issues. Alba, the ISP and FA all are clearly supportive of same sex relationships and all seek to balance the rights of trans people with those of women—although this balanced respect is not always reflected in all the media content put out by all their members.

Scottish Independence—Alba, the ISP and Sovereignty are manifestly for independence; FA & the SFA are neutral, the latter explicitly so and for the former you’ll just have to take my word for it, however FA is explicitly for decentralisation of power, UK-wide, and both encourage more local engagement with political activity and decision-making.

This post is inadequate to convey the complexity and professionalism of the political stances of these 5 parties. If I have misrepresented a party, I apologise and please let me know on Twitter by post or DM. Please take the time to read all of their manifestos because there is much that is admirable in each of them.

Whoever you vote for, please make sure they will stand up for the beleaguered women of Scotland!

Vintage scrap of thoughtful young White woman with blue eyes and light-brown hair with a black butterfly clip wearing red tasseled jacket, colourful scarf and tartan-trimmed highland bonnet with 3 ptarmigan feathers.

Thanks to Karen Arnold for releasing her image Woman Beautiful Art Portrait into the Public Domain.

A Season in Hell

I don’t blame you for booing and applauding the various actors in the Parliamentary panto currently being staged in the UK. I’ve blogged about the deadly consequences of distraction and missing the point already, and the leader of the Freedom Alliance party has reiterated that point: which particular World Economic Forum puppet is in power doesn’t matter—it’s the same hands pulling the strings.

In that Freedom Alliance video, Jonathan Tilt speaks out against the criminal WEF agenda of digital slavery and for the FA manifesto of peace, freedom and the rule of law. The vision he shares is one of small, decentralised, government with minimal interference in the lives of individuals and the democratic decisions of local communities. He also strongly upholds equality and inclusion—well aware that these buzzwords have been misused.

Pantomimes follow a script and, although some ad-libs are expected, they’re very formulaic. There’s the man playing the Dame, the couple of clowns playing the Dafties, the young woman playing the Principle Boy singing duets with the young woman playing the Principle Girl, the older man as the Villain, and of course there’s everybody else playing the Villagers.

The scenes are also generic. Most pantos include some version of the following: Happy Village Life; Mysterious Stranger with an Offer; Kidnapped; Finding Courage; Journey to the Villain’s Lair; Slapstick…and right before the Finale there’s Community Singing.

This scene is usually performed in front of the closed curtains to give the stage crew time to set the stage for the Finale and for some principles to change costume. It involves the actors splitting themselves and the audience into two factions for a sing-off. In any good panto, the actors will start singing merrily, then halt, then complain to the audience that they’re not joining in. This unfair complaint will hopefully prompt some child to shout back that they don’t know the words. (If this doesn’t happen the adults, in the know after years of panto-going, will do this and if the audience is too posh to shout things out then the Prompt will.) At this point, the actors will stand amazed at this lack of provision by the theatre company (that they’re part of) and start to stir up the audience by getting them to repeatedly shout BRING OUT THE WORDS!!!

To the children in the audience, this seems like the pantomime characters solving a problem—especially as the words are then trundled out or lowered onstage. However all this is part of the cheerful fakery of the performance. In pantomime that’s fine. It’s all good fun and nobody gets hurt. If you know what’s going on, you pretend you don’t. The kids love it, and so do the adults. I go every year, whether I’m onstage or not.

Political pantomime has all of these characteristics: it’s distracting, it’s entertaining and it’s fake. However it’s not played out in a theatre. When it’s performed in Parliament or on TV it’s bad enough but the real danger is when it takes the form of promenade theatre—in other words it hits the streets. With massive audience participation.

Stop and think: did the doors open political pantomime of the invasion of the Capitol building in Washington DC on 6th January last year further in any way the aims of the protestors? The media may have focussed on the magnificent manly torso and horned helmet of one of the participants but people died in that incident and the outcome was to discredit the protest—despite the clear evidence that it was a set up.

Now in the UK, a Twitter account only set up in January 2022 named @PoIitics4You is demanding a mass protest in front of Parliament on 5th November:

Poster: Remember the 5th of November. Demand a General Election Now, etc.

At the bottom of the poster are these words:

Vote and be heard – MET Police are notified

So an anonymous citizen sets up an account in January of this year, and waits till July to start expressing opinions (before that it’s only public information and retweets of news stories) which are pro-Covid narrative, anti-Brexit, anti-Tory, pro-Monarchy and, from September, calling for a General Election. In October the account starts tagging the Met Police. At the moment the account has 5K followers.

Here’s my question: why does an account apparently set up by a rather obsessive and opinionated individual wait 6 months before expressing those opinions then, having claimed a vaguely crowd-pleasing identity, wait a further 3 months to call for a mass protest—encouraging others to keep notifying the police?

The 6th January protest at the US Capitol was clearly staged and was subsequently used to justify repression of anti-lockdown protest and social media dissent. This proposed protest is attempting to exploit the sympathy in the freedom movement for the repressed citizens portrayed in the film V for Vendetta yet the organiser is unknown, the pattern of posting odd and the immediate involvement of the police suspect.

For all the reasons that Jonathan Tilt has explained, in consideration of the repression after the protest at the Capitol and of the general Problem-Reaction-Solution dynamic that Spiro Skouras often warns us of, I advise anyone truly committed to freedom to stay indoors on Guy Fawkes’ Night and soothe their pets—there are already too many firecrackers going off on the 5th November—otherwise this political theatre vendetta will only result in a season in Hell.

“V for Vendetta” Guy Fawkes mask in monochrome on black background

Thanks to Piotr Siedlecki for releasing his image Guy Fawkes mask into the Public Domain.