Monday 21 November 2022

My Footballess World Cup


Support LGBT+ fans may not be seeing this World Cup

My first memory of World Cup was Argentina 1978 as the UK was on the March with Allie's Army. There was the first wall chart in Glenn family history hung on the cork tiles in the kitchen and one of the first games I may have watched involved Iran who played Scotland in the second of their group games.

This year Iran are gain taking on some home nations today playing England and later will take on Wales. However, unlike 1978 and every World Cup since I don't care. You see almost 10 years ago when the venue of this World Cup was announced I blogged with the concluding remarking saying:

So I guess I'll not even be watching the 2022 World Cup, even on TV, thanks to decision of FIFA today. Wonder what I'll end up doing instead?

Well true to my word I am not.

The announcement today that the 9 European nations who said they would wear the One Love armband all backed out of their commitment when it turned up that their captains would face a football sanction for doing so, makes that decision all the more real.

Before the tournament started FIFA President trying to rally people around te football rather than the failures of Qatar said amongst other things "Today I am gay". Sadly the actions of him and FIFA show that he is not gay. 

Also those who promised to be allies of LGBT+ fans have proven they are only allies in words alone, not when they might face consequences. They promised to wear an armband saying one love, in support of LGBT+ fans, but when FIFA said they would face football sanctions possibly a yellow card, those promises vanished. The LGBT+ fans were up in arms. You see gay people face consequences.

At the weekend, there were five people at a nightclub in Colorado Springs who lose their lives when a shooter invaded a gay nightclub, in a reasonably liberal society. In Qatar LGBT+ people face prision time for being who they are, today even some fans have been told to take off shirts with the price colours on them.

It reminds me of an anecdote of my time supporting Livingston. When you support a small team home and away the stalwarts all know you, there were three coaches of fans at away matches at the time, we were a large family. But occassionally we had more fans than normal travelling away. At one League Cup tie at Celtic Park we have a wedge in one corner of the stadium. So when a Celtic player stepped up to take a corner and as the players raised their hands calling for the ball, one of my teams fans started shouting "Put you hand up if your gay". So I did. He was only about 4 rows behind me, so I could hear some of the regulars telling him to stop, as they know I was was there and what me raising my had was all about. Survice to say he never tried that again suring that match.

Gay fans have step by step taken fans to stand up. Face consequences. Become bolder. Follow our teams, our countries and not hide who we are. Sadly today FIFA, the FIFA President, certain Associations and players have all shown that unlike gay fans or gay players they are not prepared to face the consequneces when it actually matters. 

Their words are hollow. Their support fair weather.

My World Cup for 2020 will remain footballless.

Thursday 17 November 2022

The Fable of the Critical Control of Freedom of Thought

 Once upon a time, not too long ago, a political party could think what it wanted, propose ideas it espoused and work to make the world a better place. But sadly those days are now the things of fairy tales.

Now you see it is not the right of polical movement to come up with ideals, hold them steadfast and work to making them take shape in society. No, now, even here in the UK, it is they who have the biggest crowdfunded legal fund who pull all the strings.

Yes sadly even if for years you thought your party's vision was that nobody should be enslaved by conformity, a small group of people, critical of changes in our society that are in the early days of being enshrined by law, will jump upon you at ever utterance of progress.

They believe they they should have the freedom of speech to speak their minds, even if what is on their mind is to make everyone conform to their ideal. They will challenge you from entering their spaces even though this has been established in law. They want to call you by a name you no longer use, without ramifications. They want to label you by whatever term they want to use and not what you want others to use for you. Indeed they say that you asking to be called what you want, labelled as you want is an intrusion on their liberty up with which they will not put.

Thus it have come to pass that through some legal challenges those critics of change have got their hate filled, harmful agenda recognised as a system of belief and those views are protected under law in certain circumstances. However, once judgement, while it does not give them carte blanche to express those views without restriction is actually not how they see it. They see the limited extent that one judgement has been made in their favour as validation that what they think is correct. It certainly isn't a pleasant way of thinking, it isn't kind, it isn't gentle. 

When any dare to challenge them they harrass and pile on. Allies of those impacted can be called all manner of slurs when they raise their heads above the parapet to defend those they attack and dismiss. Names like mysogynist, homophobe and when defending children who they attack paedophile is also thrown into the mix.

Yes what I am talking about is those who self identify as gender critical. In reality I will call them what they are transphobes. They have an irrational fear of trans women it would seem trans men are not the subject so much of their vitriol. They want everyone to only use the public toilets, changing rooms of the sex they were assigned at birth. So they start to challenge women cis or trans who look a little masculine. Heaven helps them if they get their way and trans men actually start to enter women's facilities and they get challenged about being where those critics have been campaigning for them to be.

But the sad thing is that apparently political thought is now dead. A political party that stands for liberal thought, that has long stood up for the underdog and the oppressed now must kowtow to those who express gender critical tought. This is the new watered down code of conduct on transphobia from the party I hold dear.

Well when like me you are someone who responds to a large number of  government consultations basing those responses very much on the thoughts laid out in the preamble to our constitution. When I also base my votes at oonference on those same ideals. When many of my speeches and answers to questions on doorsteps or in hustings also hark back to that document, I know where I stand. I know I shall not be moved. I too have a belief, a belief that the preamble to our constition sets out goals for  a liberal future.

Yes in a liberal society you can be critical of things, but when that criticism causes harm, maligns whole sections of society and is in fact intolerant rather that critical it does not have a place within liberalism. It is facism, it is thought control rather than freedom of speech of expression. When you cry defamation at anyone who questions you critically. When you slur and harrass anyone who questions someone on their motivation to the extent it takes hours to check on their notification. They you are in the business of subverting freedom and enslaving others to your conformity.

And that destopia is something I do not want to see come to be.

Other takes on this: 


LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

Saturday 12 November 2022

The Paradox of Tolerance

 In a note on chapter 7 of his 1945 book The Open Society and Its Enemies, Karl Popper wrote the following.

Less well known [than other paradoxes] is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

This is somthing I've been returning to in recent months, as was something from the study of philosopy as part of my Economics degree, it was a little aside I went down in he age before Wikipedia and the rest.

But it is something that is becoming very real again to. Popper wrote this just as Facism was facing defeat. Now we have a new idealogy that seems to want to forbid their followers from listening to rational argument. Whether that in the form of the Brexiteers calling all arguments "Project Fear", Trump supporters denying the result of the 2020 election and the Gender Critical brigade who want everyone to conform to a binary definition of gender defined at birth.

All three of the above movements show an intolerance to other views. There were times during the Brexit debate some people said I did not know what I was talking about, despite having an Economics degree and taking options in European Economics in both by second and third year. As well as writing my dissertaion on the effect on European Economics with the then possible expansion of the EU.

The same applies now whenever I stand up for Trans rights I have people jump on who call me a mysogynist, homophobic and/or a paedophile. The latter is especially true when I say that people under the age of 18 can realise their sexual indentity and gender and need support in that. Apparently yet again lived experience that this is true is not enough for some, now is having studied medical sources. 

So do we live is an age that is post rational argument?

When I was studying economiccs at University one of my tutors told us read the news from three sources every day. One paper from the view you agree with, one from the opposite opinion and also if you can find it a neutral point of view. This daily exercise of going into the library to look at how other papers expressed the same news was eye opening. It also made me more aware to look to the source material where possible. Sadly today too many people only get their news, their opinions and their talking points from those who share their beliefs. It is too easy to only wallow in the views you have.

However, if that leads to intolerance, don't argue that we must tolerate your intolerance. We will provide reasoned argument that you are wrong, but if you block us, say to your follows we are deceptive, use bullying tactics to try and silence us, we will stand up to your intolerance. We will call it out. We do not have to tolerate intolerance to be liberal and tolerant.