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
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Of States and Secrets

Studying Law when weighty questions are being asked in Scotland on (mostly misunderstood) matters of equality, human rights and the uncodified UK constitution is fascinating enough. Recently, I’ve also been preparing for legal action, quoting the Vento bands, setting damages for Injury to Feelings, down the phone to the ACAS mediator as my former employer seems to be running scared of the public humiliation of yet another Employment Tribunal case, preferring to settle out of court.

Fascinating though the 15th edition of Smith & Wood’s Employment Law is (I’d read about half of its 829 pages a few days after it was posted to me) it’s Stanton & Prescott’s 3rd edition of Public Law that’s more pertinent to the recent failed attempt by Holyrood to modify legislation passed by Westminster. I’ve observed previously the difference between the gracious restraint of legal discourse and uninformed party political rants on the (il)legality of the GRR Bill.

Brain whirling, I took time off my studies to watch J. Edgar, the Warner Bros biopic of the Hoover who headed the FBI for around half of the last century (not the previous and unrelated US president associated with the New Deal). Subtly directed by Clint Eastwood, its understated masculine gaze, verging at times on film noir, was enough to have critics calling it ‘controversial’ on release in 2011.

11 years on, One Nation Under Blackmail, Whitney Webb’s damning dossier of US politics, detailing and evidencing the ‘sordid union between Intelligence and Organised Crime that gave rise to Jeffrey Epstein’, is far less coy about Hoover’s rumoured homosexuality and transvestism.

Where Eastwood hints, with scenes of the devoted son so distraught by his mother’s death that he dons her clothes in front of the mirror, and of a touching and tragically frustrated bromance between Hoover and his second in command and longtime companion, Webb (ch. 2 & 4) quotes eyewitnesses to the scandal of this infamous inquisitor and blackmailer frequenting the blue suite of New York’s Plaza Hotel, known as ‘Mary’, in wig and dress, pleasuring Tolson and having sex with ‘blond boys’ and with Senator Joe McCarthy’s righthand man in his persecution of suspected communists and homosexuals.

J. Edgar is a difficult film to watch, its portrayal of the public derring do of his ‘G Men’ busting mobsters and his private stoic restraint in matters of the heart undermined by the evidence of Hoover’s hypocrisy hiding in plain sight: that he was soft on crime and unconcerned about being seen in flagrante as he was simultaneously being blackmailed to go easy on organised crime and blackmailing anyone who could publicise his sexual predilections.

Two decades before It’s Time, the Scottish Government-sponsored Equality Network’s moving 2013 video campaign for equal marriage (featuring several of my old friends) there was a scandal involving senior members of the justiciary being blackmailed by the pimps of rent boys. With associated concern over the autonomy of their judicial deliberations.

It seems to me that a secret of a public figure, however well-known, does not help a nation. It festers and starts a canker at the heart of public life. Catalyst for either compensatory action or reaction, it can lead to extreme decision-making in a state of schizophrenic politics where the truth is shouted in silence.

At the height of the US ‘Red Scare’, reticence about disclosure of sexuality would be understandable. Now, certainly in any liberal democracy, being so candid might be uncomfortable or even embarrassing if the game of Let’s Pretend has been played for some time (Hoover never married but the convenient strategy of the homosexual ‘beard’ is well-known) however the health of the body politic may depend on it. For the sake of the people, and government policy, a responsible state official may decide that it’s time.

Rusty padlock covered in cobwebs on a wooden gate

Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his image Padlock into the Public Domain.

“Mother Goose” by Kirky Players—A Review

“It’s more intimate” said the oldest member of the Kirkintilloch Players, sitting with her grandkids beside me and my elderly Mum—who smiled and laughed all the way through their production of Mother Goose. The wee 60-seater Turret Theatre, bought by the company, a cosy venue for this first relaxed performance, catering especially for any, young or old, who might be made anxious by the usual bangs and crashes onstage.

The cast were onstage as we entered slowly through the side door, the very gentle slope easier than a step for Mum, and the kids especially, as they came in with their mums and dads, clearly loved seeing them up close, reassuringly approachable even in the costumes. Good natured banter and cheery hellos were followed by words welcome to any parent or carer: there was no problem if kids couldn’t sit still or if anyone needed the loo.

Then the lights went down (which they did only momentarily throughout the show) and we were treated to the fairy magic of Jennifer Lochhead and Anne-Marie Connor, who as well as being a fun double act also have lovely singing voices. The dashing demon Ross Harrison was suitably booed—one wee boy sticking up for him but the rest of us very happily opposed to the Baddie.

Lynn McDonough and Julie Cassells as Mother Hubbard and Miss Muffet had all our sympathy with the plight of the wee dug Nancy (her cupboard being bare) and the Unfortunate Incident (with her tuffet) and played the part of the good Scotch chorus, gossips and guardians of village morals, hilariously.

Christopher Connon’s good looks made his sneaky plans as Squire Spurtle even more scurrilous and his sidekicks Hackit and Maukit, Chloe Rooney and Isla McFadden, dafter than daft, had us in stitches. Of course we booed them too!

Claire Connor and Emma Wilson, another great double act with lovely voices, were entertaining as Jack Goose and Jill Spurtle, with a Romeo and Juliet element to their romance, but the accolade for the adults—with special mentions of Michelle Lawson, for multiple quick costume changes as the amiable but confused player out of place and the forgetful Judge, and of Natalie Manly for such an eloquent mute performance as Priscilla the Goose—must go to Adam Cooper as Silly Billy Goose and to Hilary Linas, fantabulous in double drag as Mother Goose, whose antics and patter had us roaring with laughter.

The eleven-strong youth chorus were simply a joy. Congrats to the Choreographer and Youth Supervisor. It’s wonderful over the years to see kids grow in stage skills and confidence, and as I watched the show today—alternately laughing, applauding, booing, and just feeling so moved by the evident energy of everyone onstage, knowing how this kind of success depends on all the hard work backstage—I thought “we’re back!”

After the drab and Draconian regime of the past few years, the extent of which people seem to be increasingly waking up to, I was thrilled to see this community drama club bounce back. At the finale the entire cast sang: “Oh you can colour my world with happiness all the way!”

And in this well-directed, hilariously costumed, skilfully stage managed joyous and most hospitable production I think they did just that.

All productions of Mother Goose are sold out but you can keep up to date with future initiatives of this thriving club on the website: https://www.kirkintillochplayers.co.uk/

Thanks to Karen Arnold for releasing her image Red Theatre Curtains 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.

I Love the Law!

Silhouette of woman brandishing sword and holding scales

The phrase is from Psalm 119–and it’s not one I ever thought I’d agree with. Decades ago I volunteered at a youth centre and we used to play The Raft Game. Not the popular video game but the pragmatic, utilitarian thought experiment that’s the ethical equivalent of Musical Chairs – with no music and a succession of democratically agreed murders. Week in, week out, as supplies dwindled among the shipwrecked survivors crowded onto a rope-tied bundle of balsa wood, first in the water was the lawyer.

Why? Because we all agreed that they were useless parasites whose only purpose was to trick you. I’m not saying that some of them are not. (That’s the double negative version of some of them may well be.) I just understand now that trickiness is not really what the law is for.

Recent events, among them joining and standing for election on behalf of a political party, have changed my perspective. During Lockdown—most of which was illegal, and the rest just downright dangerous—the law was our best friend and, surprisingly, it still is.

Wielding my rights as a citizen, I empowered people to shop and study unmasked, accessing goods and services without let or hindrance. I got a Russell Group university to update its door policy, forced a (former?) spy to stop using her public platform to doxx me, saved the professional career of a promising young artist—who’d been banned even from his degree course Zoom classes for not wearing a mask – and generally got abusers to back off, [£√©≤] off, and get back in their box because I could prove they were breaking the law.

In this endeavour, I’ve been greatly helped in various ways. Firstly by paying attention to those compulsory HR courses that most professionals have to do these days when employed by any kind of company. Phrases like “anticipatory duty” may sound tedious but try flinging it in some lanky teen’s face next time they try to ask why you’re not wearing wear a mask at the door of a hardware store or a polling station, along with “you’re breaking 3 Acts of Parliament, 3!”, without breaking stride. It works like magic. Cos Pimpled Pete doesn’t know the law, and you do.

Secondly, by listening to friends. So many ordinary people have legal know-how. Tune in! Yes, I advise you to check what they tell you but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the law it’s that it belongs to us. All of us. Not just the legal professionals.

Thirdly, by studying it at university. Don’t panic, you don’t need to do the LLB course, there are free online courses too, from the Open University. At the moment, I’m working my way through the OU course 12 Introductory Steps to Law and I produced the PDF below as a mnemonic (memory aid). It’s English law, and I have some questions about these categories of Public/ Private; Civil/ Criminal Law:

  1. Where does Equity fit into this scheme?
  2. What’s the relationship with Customary and Tribal Law? (I’m thinking of the Nollywood legal drama Castle & Castle, the Plaints of Welsh Law familiar to the readers of the mediaeval monk detective Cadfael, and also of Irish Brehon Law)
  3. I often read, elsewhere, that the English system is based on Common Law whereas the Scots is Civil. The OU courses specify that in Scotland we in fact have a mixed system, and that there is some fruitful cross-fertilisation both sides the Tweed. I don’t think that use of the term civil is the same as this one. Here I think it refers to law that isn’t about criminal matters but there I think it described a system of law.
  4. My intuition, and it’s only that, is that the difference between Scots and English law is that the former tends to be deductive whereas the latter tends to be inductive. In other words (despite Arthur Conan Doyle using the term to mean the opposite) the English system is all about evidence and working back from there towards theoretical positions whereas the Scots system starts with legal theory and attempts to apply that to particular cases. I could be quite wrong. What do you think?

I think I’ve got more studying to do and I intend to blog about my legal studies journey. (If that doesn’t diminish my followers nothing will!) I’ll open the comments on this post—I don’t usually do that as I have enough to answer on social media but I’m taking a break to get some writing done. So if you have answers to my questions please comment.

Thanks to Mohamed Mahmoud Hassan for releasing his image Lady Justice Silhouette into the Public Domain.

The Spy Who Doxxed Me

Crack open a beer and start popping the corn. This is a saga.

In December 2019, I sent an email to a woman I shall call M who in the tedious and inexact language of modern bureaucracy (language from the factory floor inapplicable to education) is the line manager of my line managers. It contained four bullet points:

Following the lack of success in gaining an interview (for the position of Lecturer in […]) I’m concerned about the possibility of bias in HR recruitment for the following reasons:

  • I fulfil all essential and desirable criteria and exceed some (e.g. a doctorate is not essential)
  • I am disabled which, given the above, should grant me an interview
  • Gender equity can be a factor as that would work in my favour not against me—as I am a man and about 70/115 of School of […] Research & Teaching staff are women
  • On my Twitter account (personal but my posts are public and I use my full name) I am vocal about the legal rights of free association, freedom of expression and the need for EIAs. In universities across the UK those rights have been challenged and staff being sacked for proclaiming them

In this instance, I would be glad to know that there are simply a large number of highly qualified and experienced candidates and that I just didn’t make the shortlist. What concerns me is that HR staff may be filtering candidates in regard to an ideology (which we have discussed) which has not been officially adopted by the University executive or academic community.

([…] ellipsis mine)

Of course I was reassured that it was nothing of the sort. Nothing else happened in connection with this, till the next year. But that year was 2020. When the world went mad. In September 2020, I had occasion to complain to 3 sectors of the University where I worked that their recently-published disabled access policy was incompatible with that in the HR modules which all staff had to do every year or so (based on the Equality Act 2010 and Data Protection Act 2018). Their policy was also incompatible with the Coronavirus Act 2020. I’ve explained why this is so in a previous post about shopping in Scotland but it’s applicable to disabled access across the whole of the UK.

I won’t quote all the email ping-pong but 2 of the 3 sectors accepted what I said, changed their policy, thanked me—and one apologised and reassured me explicitly that anyone who entered campus without a mask would be assumed to be exempt and would not be interrogated but allowed to access the goods and services of the University without let or hindrance. (I paraphrase.)

The exception was M. Her reaction contained none of the above and instead berated me for causing distress to colleagues and attempted to carpet me. I resisted and persisted. Thus began a campaign of victimisation that has lasted over two years. Note that by this protected disclosure (unrecognised as such by HR) I was not only acting in the public interest, which is the definition of whistleblowing, but I was also warning my colleagues of their possible liability for legal action should they do any of the things recommended by senior management which included emotional blackmail of unmasked students, including many young international students; coercion of students to do the job of cleaners, unpaid and uninsured; and reporting anyone who complained to an anti-terrorist organisation. (I’m not making this up, you know.)

But that’s not the story. That’s just 2020. You know. You remember.

In April of that year, I had emailed M again and my two doctoral supervisors, both professors of the University. At this point I still had confidence in M. I certainly had confidence in them and I still do, they were quite simply a delight to work with—a combination of erudition, charm and the very rare ability to ask the right questions. That email was simply giving them a friendly heads up because I had responded to a university consultation on the pandemic response. Unsurprisingly, my questions were never put to the panel. But I was contacting them in case they were, and someone contacted them, asking about me. I explained that I’d been writing about the incoherence of the pandemic narrative and give them the link to my blog.

That’s not the story either.

In August of 2021, a tedious correspondence started after I was invited to speak that June at the Holyrood Faith Debates as part of a panel of RE teachers discussing LGBT issues – during which I mentioned the Maya Forstater judgment. Apparently I wasn’t PC enough for one of the participants because they tried to doxx me. The colleague who emailed me about this, whom I’ve known for decades, was wise enough to desist when I pointed out that intrusive surveillance of my social media posts by my employer was not provided for in law.

There followed more tedious correspondence about the honorarium (which I still don’t know if they’ve paid me) which M inserted herself into, in order to accuse me of bullying the person holding the purse strings (PS?) because I’d advised her not to write emails as if from the DVLA (underlined and bold) and not to violate the provisions of GDPR by attempting to coerce staff into providing necessary personal information. She (PS) apologised and I thanked her and explained that I was under great stress. Admittedly I didn’t apologise to her for pointing out robustly that she (PS) was not doing her job and breaking the law – a fact that M gleefully seized on months afterwards. To establish ‘a pattern of hostile and aggressive communication’. Like ‘obey the law’ and ‘leave me alone!’

There followed a pile-on from HR and senior staff. I have RSI in my hands and wrists. It’s a condition I manage and every University email has that information as part of my signature. So it was literally torture for me to have to answer this relentless flood of emails, especially as I no-longer had access to the voice recognition software I’d used for over a decade so all that human-machine mutual learning had gone and I was trying (and failing) to use a crappy Microsoft version that was clearly not designed for anyone with a manual disability—and shoved in punctuation and all caps according to the stress patterns in my voice.

Here’s the story:

On Saturday 26th March 2022, [let’s call her PG] (a middle-aged lecturer from Crewe and former BBC journo) was quoted in The Times newspaper. That article is behind a paywall but The Scottish Sun (26th March 2022, updated 28th March 2022) reported her libellous words as follows:

Dr McManus, an associate tutor in the School of […], is reportedly under investigation by the uni for spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus and Ukraine, according to The Times.
[PG], a political communication lecturer, has called for McManus to be sacked.
She told The Times she believes the university should “no longer employ” him.
[PG, spelled wrongly] told the paper she would “would personally be quite concerned about someone who expresses those kind of views, conspiracy theories, and apparent indifference to the suffering of Ukrainians, holding a teaching role”.
The lecturer went on to say she feels McManus’ views do not reflect the values of [the University].

Please note “apparent indifference”. Mind-reading. Note also that there is no mention that the source of this misreading is from an article published on 14th March 2022 in The Ferret (an online Scottish magazine) by one Jasmine Andersson, a young woman from Hull, based in London, who usually writes for Vice, described on trendhunter.com in these terms:

VICE Magazine has developed an impressive penchant for its following of censored subject matter. Transsexual lifestyle, drug-abusing models, and just about anything sexually suggestive has been favored by the VICE team. What’s more is that the media conglomerate does not attempt to sugar coat their controversial slant. The images selected for the spreads are straight forward (sic.), and are often the only references needed to comprehend the message of the editorials.

My point is that a middle-aged native speaker of English and former BBC journalist now a lecturer in Political Communication should know better. If she wanted to know my thoughts on the suffering of Ukrainians (or of the forgotten Yemeni or the kids mining for mobile phone conflict minerals in the DRC) she doesn’t have to presume, she could be polite and professional enough to ask me. She knows my name, she can easily find my email address and the articles she is quoted in (with her permission) give my social media handle.

In all there were 8 smear articles, the source of each is in brackets: Ferret (Vice), Ferret (Vice), Times (Ferret), Times (Times), National (Ferret), National (National), Scottish Sun (whatever x2). The one I quoted goes on:

A University of […] spokesperson said: “The matter is now under investigation by the University. We can’t comment further at this time.”

The source of that last quote is from an unknown member of staff tweeting as @Uof[…]. I have several times asked the identity of that person and I have been stonewalled. The tweet, which breaks GDPR and is libellous (therefore not only against University policy but actionable) has since been deleted, as has a tweet from @[P_G] where she states that, as I am an Associate Tutor, I will have a rolling contract so that should simply not be renewed (I paraphrase from memory).

At the time that [PG] directed hate towards me, I was a standing candidate in a Scottish election. The period known as Purdah starts from the date of publication of notice of the election (14th March 2022) and runs till the day of election (5th May 2022). Harassing candidates at this time is a police matter. This is because the murder of Jo Cox (RIP) highlighted how few women were standing, out of fear. It does not matter that I am male. All candidates should be safe, by law. This applies especially to anyone from a Public Body. All these articles quoting her referenced her academic position and institution, as did her twitter account at that time (my social media accounts do not, as I write as a private citizen). The University of […] is considered a Public Body as it is “a formally established organisation that is, at least in part, publicly funded to deliver a public or government service, though not as a ministerial department.” (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-bodies-reform, accessed 15/09/22)

Therefore [PG] violated Purdah, endangered my reputation, my employment, my person and also the mental and physical health of my elderly mother—as I am her chief carer after her cancer operation and I was forced to publish my address as I acted as my own agent. This reckless endangerment, which could have easily resulted in some flag-wearing crazy throwing a brick through my window and causing my mother to have heart failure, based on the spicy speculation of gutter-press journalism, has led to almost 6 months of inquisitorial investigation by senior staff of the University of […]. I cannot believe that a person of her experience would not have foreseen this and I find this public abuse of a colleague (apparently for self-promotion aided by her media savvy) not only distasteful but contrary to the core values of the University and of the kind of democracy for which we pride ourselves in Scotland. It is also contrary to my inalienable rights, recognised in the ECHR and by both the UK and the Scottish Parliament: Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion and Belief.

I could forgive such behaviour from an inexperienced young student, but this mature professional woman obviously knows full well what that libel would do. Indeed not only did these articles lose my campaign support (former supporters told me this) but her actual words regarding my precarious employment have been repeated by a senior member of staff in an ongoing abusive HR process started by further malicious accusations—which (at one point) also included those of this self-promoting lecturer.

Democracy must be protected and Purdah is in place to do just that and it is a legal wrongdoing to break it. The University of […] should not be sheltering someone guilty of such an affront to Scottish democracy. This libellous lecturer is not fit for post.

  • The University has refused to reveal the identity of the staff member who tweeted about me as @Uof[…], revealing personal information and bringing the University into disrepute.
  • Neither the University nor [PG] have publicly, or even privately, apologised to me using the same media by which I was slandered by the University—which is vicariously liable.
  • I have demanded that [PG] (who is teaching Political Communication to students) be sacked. Given the effect on my campaign, my mental health, and the potential life-threatening risk to my extremely vulnerable mother, I think it fitting that both I and my party receive a public apology from both members of staff and the University and that we are recompensed for their complicity (and vicariously that of the University of […]) with slander and reckless endangerment.

PG, ‘an old Antonian’, who was in her youth quite pretty, has odd gaps in her online CV and ever since she graduated with a First in Modern Languages has been the recipient of various grants and fellowships. I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation of the location of her first job—2004 to 2011 on the CV—(Senior Monitoring Journalist, BBC) as: “Moscow (Russia) / Caversham (UK)”. Let’s not jump to conclusions. It’s true that Caversham, near Reading, is the location of BBC Monitoring:

For nearly 75 years BBC staff at a sprawling stately home on the outskirts of Reading have been listening in to some of the world’s most seismic events, from Nazi Germany’s occupation of Europe to the death of Stalin and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Since 1943 Caversham Park has been the home of BBC Monitoring, whose offices still summarise news from 150 countries in 100 different languages for the BBC.

Caversham Park: End of an era for BBC listening station
Published 7th July 2016

It’s true that St Anthony’s College, Oxford, where PG went next, is informally known as ‘spy school’ but not everyone was involved, as another alumna points out:

I myself was not a spy, even though the place I was doing my Soviet history doctorate, St Antony’s in Oxford, was notorious in both the British and Soviet press as a “spy college”, having been founded after the war by ex-intelligence people.

It’s also true that PG, from criticising Ukrainian state crackdowns on journalism (by beating up journalists) in 2014 changed her tune when the 8-year conflict started to be reported by the BBC, claiming that most people there understood why the media and the opposition parties has been repressed.

Caversham also has a rather nice golf club. And there were plenty of other Oxford language and politics graduates involved in espionage who attended other colleges. Finally, the person posting as Zanon, in the 22nd comment on the Moon of Alabama 2018 article “British Government Runs Secret Anti-Russian Smear Campaigns” who lists her name next to that of Ian Bond, is probably just making it up.

So, a middle-aged Englishwoman, lecturing in Political Communication at one of Scotland’s Russell Group universities—who moved from Crewe to Caversham and Moscow, with a Modern Language degree then a Master’s in Russian & East European Studies at a notorious Oxford college—despite her doctorate in Politics and a respectable body of academic work (such as the Bad News series from the Glasgow University Media Group) on critical engagement with propaganda, disrespected democracy by using her public platform to uncritically push UK Government policy and to take great virtue-signalling umbrage at my suggestion that the current stage-managed theatre of war in the media is a pantomime of politics.

As “monitoring” seems to signify espionage, my question is: what critical distance from her assigned teaching subject of the political communication in general and in particular of various governments, including that of the UK, Russia and the Ukraine, can PG claim to employ as a lecturer…if she is, or was, a spy?

A once-beautiful bejewelled hard-faced woman has window blind shadow across her face with a mystery man, drinking with his shirt unbuttoned in the background of a darkened room.

Thanks to Hal Harrison for releasing his image Film Noir into the public domain.

Ash Wednesday 2022

A university library is not one of the places I would associate with Ash Wednesday, but that’s where I am. I debated going to the “Vigil for Ukraine” down the road but I know me. At some point I might have found myself on my feet shouting WHEN’S THE VIGIL FOR YEMEN? Or the DRC. Or Canada, Australia and New Zealand for that matter. When’s the wake for all our school kids? For our elderly? For all those top sportsmen suddenly collapsing on the playing field?

I’m not going to comment on Ukraine other than to say:

  1. It’s been going on for 8 years. Do you really think the WEF-controlled media and Governments focussing on it right now is a coincidence?
  2. If you want a critical evaluation (including the above point) I recommend as your guide, because she says what she can evidence and distinguishes that clearly from what she can’t, Whitney Webb.

[Whitney & Ryan Cristián in discussion on this.]

Meanwhile this is the third year when my elderly mother hasn’t received the ashes and heard the words “dust you are and to dust you shall return”. Actually last year I did an impromptu ceremony for her myself, burning the Holy Week palms from last year. She bears it well. Unlike most of her contemporaries she doesn’t mask (unless manipulated into it) and isn’t vaccinated. It’s probably why, ages with the Queen, she’s still alive. That and her faith, her excellent nutrition and her positive outlook.

One of the reasons why I come to the university library is to read the student newspapers, to see what their concerns are. The issue in the plastic shelves is from September last year. Presumably “Cos of Covid” (CoC). What are their concerns?

  • Accommodation (or lack of, CoC)
  • Administrative chaos, CoC
  • Online exams, CoC
  • Sexual violence (cause: toxic masculinity)
  • Impact of Texas Heartbeat Law on “women, BIPOC and transgender people” (sic.)
  • Phobophobia (sic.)
  • Terrorism
  • Mental health (lots of new counsellors)
  • Student stereotypes (not true)
  • Self-care
  • Lookism
  • The Arts
  • Covid tests
  • Mars
  • Women’s sports (no mention of biological males in them)
  • Paralympics

[Heartbeat Law]

I have great affection for the students in general and my own in particular. Sheep without a shepherd, mostly, they are trying to find their way in a world mostly out to confuse them. Because the confused are easier to control. So many have been vaccinated with these uncontrolled substances, experimental drugs used on an unsuspecting population in callous privileging of profits over people. They regularly miss class due to adverse reactions. So far, no-one has died.

But others have died in my extended family. Of course this is put down to coincidence. To compare the mortality of the vaxxed and unvaxxed is to be a conspiracy theorist – but only if your conclusions are not those sanctioned by the State. Likewise all the “sudden death”, CoC, of course. What else could it be?

So this Ash Wednesday I sit alone in a university library, wishing I was in a world where I had a symbolic mark of death on my forehead – wishing I wasn’t surrounded by a heartbreaking number of young people naive enough to have allowed death to be injected into their arms.

Dust you are and to dust you shall return.

Black and white drawing of skull and crossbones

Thanks to Dawn Hudson for releasing her image Skull and Crossbones into the public domain.

Vive le Roi?

Amid all the speculation over an event that is inevitable, as “no-one can slow the passage of time”, perhaps a more fruitful (and respectful) enquiry might be into the role and qualities of the Head of State of the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Firstly, a comment on the speculation. Any household that has suffered a bereavement knows that divulging the news and dealing with the reaction of others is an exhausting task. People do not limit themselves to expressing sympathy but demand that you mourn with them, right here, right now. When perhaps you’ve already spent hours doing that and have just managed to pull yourself together sufficiently to phone, it’s simply selfish of them to try to pull you apart.

When the head of the household dies, there are also all the extra legalities. Now scale up that experience from a household to a state, remembering the public hysteria over Princess Diana, considering the past two years of restrictions on public assembly and the general mental health of the populations subject to this monarchy and you can begin to have some idea of the problem.

So let me state clearly, that if the public actions of the royals and dissemination of news about them seems scripted, I don’t blame them. Every family deserves privacy and there are reasons of state for news about this one to be carefully controlled.

Respectfully, therefore, let us as a second consideration acknowledge that the heir presumptive to these 4 thrones (which are not, technically, one, in the way that applies to the UK, Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories) is the present Prince of Wales and ask: if Charles is to be king, what kind of king will he be?

Let’s get all the slurs out the way, otherwise they’ll hamper us. In order of barking madness (starting from guano and moving up to bovine manure) they are that Charles & co. are:

  • shape-shifting reptile aliens
  • baby blood-drinking vampires
  • Satanists
  • paedophiles
  • murderous eugenicists

I’m not going to waste energy on the first three, I don’t believe in guilt by association, I do believe in the rule of law and, as for the last, yes, Charles could certainly keep better company.

Why doesn’t he?

I could be wrong (I’ve never met or spoken to him) but Charles, in his own archaic, elitist and paternal way, appears to believe he’s doing the right thing. I don’t think that can be said for Klaus Schwab or any of the trillionaires funding Big Pharma or Big Data—including those under cover of Big Philanthropy.

What I do know about Charles, and this is from people who have witnessed his support and participation in local projects, is that he comes across as genuinely interested in the kind of thing that is generally nowadays named (by secularist mistranslation of Aristotle) as “human flourishing”.

So why is he supporting those who want to kill us off like weeds? I have 4 hypotheses:

  • 1. I’m wrong about that list.
  • 2. He’s being blackmailed because of his brother.
  • 3. He’s stupidly naive.
  • 4. He thinks he can harness rapacious commercial interests for the good of the planet while controlling their worst excesses.

At the moment, I’m prepared to believe a combination of the last two, because the evidence of just how much misinformation, wishful thinking, misguided policy and downright evil people can continue to deny is all around us.

Charles is a great believer in Public Private Partnership projects of cultural and environmental regeneration. From Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye, (£??M) to the Eden Project, the eco-centre in Cornwall, (£134M) he has been specifically supportive of, or directly involved in, combining corporate and public money for creative projects. That do benefit the local community and do do what they set out to do.

So what’s the catch? Well, PPP is problematic because public spending is so wasteful and disorganised whereas corporate funding is so self-interested and predatory. Managed extremely well, it can work but the required skill set is basically that of an ambitious Renaissance magician conjuring demons and trying to control them.

Heard of Faust?

Many who are awake have highlighted in alarm the militarism and clear call for unelected global governance in a section of Charles’ speech at the opening of COP26 when he called for:

a war-like footing … a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector, with trillions at its disposal—far beyond global G.D.P. and, with the greatest respect, beyond even the governments of the world’s leaders—it offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition.

This is to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change. (Presumably he meant global warming which, presumably, is actually happening.) However, there is a later COP26 speech of his, to the chief negotiators, that I believe contains the key to Charles’ patrician mentality:

I remember going to the Amazon in 1992 and managing to create a gathering on the old Royal Britannia in the Amazon, with the then President of Brazil, just before the Rio summit, the first one.

“Managing” and “gathering” tell us all we need to know. This is someone with the power to persuade the president of a country of 127 million people (then) to come to an unofficial meeting organised by royal fiat, with no oversight or accountability, on a superyacht, in the middle of the Amazon.

Charles may genuinely wish to save this sick world but he doesn’t live in it, and his Boy Scout attitude to big business may mean that, under the unelected global military dictatorship he’s (perhaps) naively seeking to install, the disease is a hell of a lot less deadly than the cure.

Hand drawn woodcut style illustration of a royal crown.

Thanks to Dawn Hudson who has released her image Crown into the Public Domain.

Suffragette friendship bracelet

For an important meet up later today (as it’s now the wee hours of Tuesday morning of 20th July) I was inspired by the suffragette coloured braids, made my Twitter friends, to try to remember how to make a friendship bracelet.

First attempt, I tried to simply braid the green, white and purple wool strands without cutting them off the ball. So I tied them in a knot held by a safety pin on a cushion then spent as much time untwisting as twisting.

At this point I remembered to measure out three lengths from thumb to elbow and cut them there. After that I tied all three in another knot then rather randomly tied successive knots in each pair.

The resulting band was a couple of times too long for my wrist and the joining strand at the end longer than the one I’d braided at the beginning.

I tried again. This time I measured out two lengths not three and used little cardboard shuttles cut from cereal boxes which I soon realised should have been bigger.

I also changed the knotting technique. I’d basically used braiding before (right over middle then left over middle and keep the tension) and knotting as I went.

This time I knotted each colour from the left over the other two successively. So green left, white middle, purple right goes like this: hold white, knot green over; hold purple, knot green over. Then do the same with white then purple. Some kind of pattern emerged.

Then I braided the end, and tied that off, unknotted the beginning and rebranded that then cut the tails of the three threads equally. Not bad. I put the first one on the handlebars of my bike, and wore the second on my wrist – as I cycled off to meet wonderful women protesting on Glasgow Green against the invasion of their space and silencing of their voices.

But you know what, women won’t wheesht!!!

Giving Shelter

Last year I bought some bedraggled strawberry plants or rather I rescued them from outside a shop where they were dying of thirst. The staff inside told me the watering machine (can?) was broken and they didn’t have time to go outside to water them anyway. I don’t think they were uncaring, just overworked, and they did give me a discount.

I brought them all home and could almost hear their sighs of relief as they sooked up the water I stood them in, through their roots. The next day they were looking a lot less sorry for themselves and the day after that they were positively sprightly.

I repotted them into trays as they were also pot bound, their roots wrapped round and round the wee pots, seeking more soil. Then they started growing with gusto and sending out lots of shoots, which I buried under the earth so they could root. By the end of summer, the greenhouse was full of trays of strawberry plants. The nitrogen-rich organic compost I’d added to the soil apparently primes them to grow lots of lovely leaves, but very few strawberries.

But I was happy they were happy and decided to be patient and dedicate one year to propagation and the next to fruition. The problem was winter. Our plastic greenhouse isn’t heated and I didn’t think they’d survive.

We’d taken down the old garden hut and I eventually got round to constructing a cold frame using the wood, the window and the long triangular door hinges. In went some netting, some more compost and soil – and in went the strawberries.

It rained all autumn and all winter when it didn’t freeze. I’d get on the Mac and the wellies and lift the lid, sometimes covered with snow. And there they were, surviving, snuggled into the soil with the wood between them and the weather.

Come the spring I was opening the lid more, to let the air circulate and let the sunshine in. Occasionally I’d water them, especially along the edge nearest the hedge that gets less rain. I was happy to see that, while there were still some shoots like last year, there were a lot more flowers.

Now in the summer the lid is mostly open, unless it’s very windy, to let the pollinators in and I can see lots of wee berries starting to form. I might have to put some netting up eventually, or the birds will eat the lot.

Even if they do, I’ve learned a lot from those once struggling and now thriving plants. As a fulltime carer trying to fit in 3 PT jobs with far too much time on social media (cos there’s always a crisis) I sometime just wander out into the back garden seeking serenity. And as my eyes, tired from lack of sleep and too much screen time, rest on the green leaves and little white flowers, I find it.

It strikes me that they needed so little in order to survive and that, once they got that, they managed to thrive.

This year in Scotland a lot of berries won’t be picked, as Brexit has put paid to the migrant workers who usually harvest them. This year in Scotland, for the very first time, refugees (even with limited leave to remain) were allowed to vote. In time, hopefully, we may get to the point of allowing anyone seeking asylum to work legally.

Sometimes intervention is necessary. There are situations where that makes the difference between life and death. Then there’s a period of adjustment to new conditions and that may involve some protection or support. But life is ingenious and finds ways to thrive.

People, like plants, just need some shelter to flourish.