We live in a partisan Britain. A country divided more than ever. Why?
On the 6th October 2022, I wrote on Twitter
“We live in a partisan Britain. A country divided more than ever. Why? The conveyor of hatred and vitriol for ‘difference’ by the media AND government in the UK that certain ‘charities’ & high-profile individuals encouraging hatred on the back of worming their way into positions of influence.”
This after the Home Office published the 2022 Hate crime statistics earlier that day.
What these showed is that RECORDED hate crimes had risen, across ALL sectors of society by an average of 26%
For the Trans community, the worst affected by the rise, it was 56%!
But it’s the same whether you are Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Gender Queer, Coloured, Jewish, disabled, an immigrant or anything else different. There are a growing number of odious people who feel it is acceptable to cause you anguish, pain or insult whether physically, verbally or in writing.
That doesn’t come out of a law-abiding society working in cohesion. It comes from division and individualism. Its not even self-protection, as it is the hate meted out by these individuals on others rather than in defence of anything done to them.
They do it BECAUSE THEY CAN. That’s the point. They have no fear of sanction or retribution.
For trans people, the rise in hate crime since 2006 (when cases were first recorded) has been a staggering 7,900%. Some of that is because numbers are still relatively low and a small increase in number is a large increase in percentage. However, that’s NOT the point.
The point is that anyone who is different in any way in today’s divided and broken society, is a target and likely to suffer hatred and abuse. That on its own is just awful. It is the beginning of the breakdown of the fabric of society.
But why, and why now?
The why can perhaps be traced back to the rise of Thatcherism in the 1980s. She changed society and created one that is individualistic and self-motivated. Yes self-motivation and aspiration for everyone, in any way is a positive. However, to do so at the deliberate expense of others and to be more and more greedy and self-righteous than others is just bad.
Where we can, we should all try and strive to be a better person and improve what we have. However, to do that by treading on and hating others isn’t the right way to proceed.
Being a ‘better person’ ISN’T just about money. It’s about helping others, being there, being part of a community and working together.
Society is made up of everyone and everyone is different. Those in positions of wealth and comfort should make a point of helping those in need.
That hasn’t happened, in fact it’s worse, MUCH worse than that. The society that has grown up since Thatcherism is a self-centred greedy one. One that cares little about the poor, weak and less able members of society. The same for the elderly, disabled and those in poor health.
The systems set up by government, mainly Tory governments, are deliberately skewed to make matters worse for those disaffected rather than to help them.
Taxes are cut and spending reduced to the detriment of the disadvantaged but to improve the lives and income of the rich. That, in a G7 country is wholly wrong. Draining the country and its people of money by lowering taxes, NOT encouraging big business to pay its share, allowing off-shore status and NOT replenishing the coffers for proper welfare spending ISN’T sustainable in the long term. Its feeding the rich at the expense of society.
The disaffected don’t always need handouts, but they need a society that they can be part of. One that creates wealth, helps and benefits everyone. Assistance should be a right for those who need it. No society will not have those people, it’s simply not possible.
A greed laden, corrupt, sleazy government that ring-fences riches at the deliberate and direct expense of the poor isn’t a society to be proud of. We are now in our THIRD such government in 3 months and probably our SIXTH in 12 years, all the same in one way or another and ALL Tory. The slide over 12 years has been steep and fast.
Yet, it can so easily be much different.
The tax and a benefits system needs to be overhauled and that it can benefit everyone. A low tax society isn’t a long-term solution. It’s a short-term w*nkfest for the rich. I’m sorry about the language, but that EXACTLY what’s happened. Only last weekend, there was news of an ‘entrepreneur’ making £70 MILLION in profit from buying PPE and selling it to the UK government at a VASTLY overpriced figure BUT most of it was useless and couldn’t be used. The indulgence of that profit, which was borrowed at taxpayers’ expense, was to be ‘given’ a cake in the style of a case full of cash! That is frankly disgusting. The whole VIP lanes scandal is yet to unfold, but it will.
With perhaps the worst government in power that we have had for a VERY long time, and there have been some very bad governments in the recent past, things aren’t going to change soon.
The government is hell bent on tearing up the rule book solely to pander to, protect and be ingratiated by the rich and powerful. Everyone else can, well, ‘do one’ as far as they are concerned.
Economically, socially and environmentally, this country is in one of the worst positions it could be in. This is the direct result of a fascist led government, building on the same immediately before. The policies and actions are directed in that way. This is due to how the party is funded, the influence of individuals and groups and lobbying to government.
The right groups get special treatment, and the rest are shut out.
This isn’t democracy, its legal dictatorship. The USA is the same (or was) under Trump. He still wields far more power than is healthy and is corrupting the nation from the side-lines right now. His actions are being scrutinised closely and lawsuits are many. So far he has squirmed his way out of jail, impeachment punishment (twice) and any real retribution. The GOP take over and bring in countless anti trans and anti LGBTQLGBTQ LGBTQIA+ is an inclusive term that includes people of all genders and sexualities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and allies. While each letter in LGBTQIA+ stands for a specific group of people, the term encompasses the entire spectrum of gender fluidity and sexual identities. https://abbreviations.yourdictionary.com/what-does-lgbtqia-stand-for-full-acronym-explained.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT laws across many US states is appalling and abhorrent. It is fascism by stealth. And not so stealthy at that. What is worrying, is The Federal Government seems unable or is unwilling to stop it.
Italy has elected a Far-right leader campaigning, specifically on a hated Ticket. Sweden of all nations has moved in the same direction. The world is slowly sliding into a far more hateful one. The problem is anyone with any form of difference WILL be singled out. Fascism HATES DIFFERENCE.
Some newspapers are quick to point out that things are bad but IGNORE the fact that they have directly had a hand in making them bad. Not in the short term, but over a long time, decades. Until they actually change, regret the past and put things right, nothing will change. Its clicks for kicks for them, just a fun game of sensationalisation and quickie ad money.
It’s easy to get sucked into the microcosm of social media and things look much worse than they are. Although with Elon Musk buying Twitter, that platform is now doomed and the rise of hatred on that platform in the early days since the announcement is already showing hatred being permitted MORE than it was!
In reality, things actually ARE much worse than it looks. The hate crime statistics bear that out.
This isn’t a game; people’s lives are at risk here. People will die because someone decides its OK to hate someone else simply because they saw it was ok somewhere. This is why an immigration centre was targeted by a petrol bomber, with “far right tendencies”
Society and its leaders and the social media platforms MUST stop this attitude, but they won’t. Both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak could have called out hatred and called for calm and improve diversity, but they DIDN’T. In fact, they did the exact opposite, they encouraged it by actions of government and choices of cabinet ministers. BOTH put known transphobes in the office of Equality. Both put hateful people in the Home and Foreign Offices. BOTH put anti trans people in Health. See the pattern here? This essentially remained unchanged from the Johnson government before. That undoes a lot of the good and positive work put in place by Theresa May in her government.
As NEITHER Prime Minister has sought to make ANY positive steps to calm attitudes of hatred, next year the hate crime figures will be worse, and worse the year after that. Each worse than the last, but no one actually standing up and doing anything about it. Not those who could, can and SHOULD do something.
Others are simply left to pick up the pieces and to comfort, console and help the affected. I saw that at the recent NDA awards ceremony in Liverpool, countless individuals, groups and organisations working TIRELESSLY to help those mentally and/or physically beaten by society JUST for being different in some way.
The point is, in a proper functioning and properly funded society, many of those groups wouldn’t NEED to exist.
A properly funded and socially positive society wouldn’t need 2000+ foodbanks where those same foodbanks feed Nurses, Teachers, Solicitors and professionals who are simply trying to earn enough to live. This is because borrowing £45BILLION to pay bankers bonuses and reduce tax rates for the rich is MORE important than funding workers so they can live, pay for school meals and provide a better healthcare system.
Society is broken, smashed and bleeding in the gutter, and those in government laugh and sneer as they carry their ill-gotten cash to an offshore pension fund. The government is treating the country like a Venture Capitalists (aka Vultures) taking control of it, stripping it of its assets and running it into the ground before f*cking off with the money, and selling the carcass to the highest bidder. This is a country, a nation and not some improperly run business deal ffs. Members of this government are parasites nothing more. They exist to feed the billionaires to pay the money and demand a tune.
Why does this matter?
It matters because, by not curbing hatred, allows people in society to make the lives of others horrible, because they can and do. Rapes go unpunished, Misogyny isn’t a hate crime, There’s no Domestic Violence register and cabinet ministers/MP’s are accused of bullying and/or sexual misconduct. That’s not just a Tory thing.
Leadership comes from the top, its about setting an example and showing what’s right and legal. That ISN’T happening and people see that as a free reign to disrespect others with impunity.
Mind you I said all this last year, and this year its worse.
We need a General Election, and we need it now. This might go some way to saving society.
We need [proper] watchdogs to have bite and sanction those who transgress.
Law in society works when it’s followed and punishment given if it’s not.
Government changing the laws, to reduce or remove rights and obstacles that stand in the way of increased power, isn’t democracy. Some of this IS the fault of opposition, for NOT standing and being an opposition. The resultant power vacuum has helped to create what we have today.
The rise in hate crime is the tip of the iceberg and we will ALL suffer when the berg hits.
ON the same day the hate crime figures were announced, Mermaids, a trans children’s charity, was forced to CLOSE its helpline from abusive callers!
The point is, those call handlers might be used to some abuse, perhaps from disaffected or non-supportive parents etc., but to HAVE TO CLOSE THE HELPLINE is on a totally different level.
The hatred can ONLY be deliberate and directed towards the charity. Why? Because this isn’t a support line to help if your air frier or cappuccino machine has broken, this is people making the DELIBERATE hateful decision to call up a charity helpline and target their hatred to towards the innocent people on the end of the phone.
This is because high profile individuals and hate groups are pointing out the direction followers should take, guiding them as they do for ANY pro trans article or view. The followers, acting on those comments are then calling the helpline. This is EXACTLY what I mean by people feeling empowered because there are NO sanctions.
They are pawns in the haters game, the followers follow and act on command. The followers cause the damage, and the haters move on. These days the perpetrators are visible.
Why was this hatred? Because it was reported by the (in itself hateful Times Newspaper) that a (no ex) director of Mermaids had given a speech at a pro-paedophile support event.
Mermaids admit they should have known but there policies and protocol at the time (not that long ago) didn’t find this. Yes, it’s bad and should NOT have happened. However, it DOES NOT excuse the level of vile abhorrent abuse that Mermaids have since received.
Don’t forget this is on the back of the same people spouting on about “free speech” and the constant ‘silencing’ of high-profile haters.
This abuse is about the power of social media and high-profile individuals to use the platform to ‘spread the word’. Hatred.
In another example, Graham Norton has been driven off Twitter, because he suggested people should talk to trans people and listen to them. He was driven off the platform SOLEY DUE TO HATRED for making positive comments about Trans people.
What can be done?
Frankly, without a change of government, not much.
This current government is hell bent on driving hatred. Showing desire to WANT to change the Equality Act 2010 to EXCLUDE trans people! That requires the UK to remove itself from the ECHR. A feat managed only by Greece (for a short while under a fascist government) and Russia (booted off for the war in Ukraine) That would put the UK in a VERY unenviable group! However, it IS a step that it IS willing to take!
That’s not a progressive government. That’s fascism unmasked.
A few days after the crime figures were announced, a fellow Co-editor of (then) Steph’s Place & I was invited to the national launch of a new App. This App, known as Zoteria, is a way of recording a Hate crime events.
The app is backed by Stonewall, the Vodaphone Foundation and Galop (an anti-abuse LGBTQ charity)
The App is available for free, and you can sign up with information. The App allow you to report hate crime incidents and get support from a large number of linked charities and organisations. The concern is that the hate crime figures reported actually only represent 20% of the crime that may actually be occurring. People are quite simply afraid to report and that means too many aren’t getting the support that is needed for the crimes that are occurring. The APP seeks to address that issue and get support to those who need it where they can.
Importantly, the App comes with a discreet mode to reduce the risk of further harm from it being discovered. This is why the name Zoteria was chosen as it is based on Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, Soteria (Ancient Greek: Σωτηρία) was the goddess or spirit (daimon) of safety and salvation, deliverance, and preservation from harm.
This blog isn’t a specific promotion of the App, but it is relevant, and the aspects are conducive to being linked.
The App DOESN’T link directly to the police and is a way of collating better data and understanding what is a hate crime. However, the charities behind the App cand guide users to the police and allow formal complaints to be made if this is considered appropriate.
What do we need?
The world desperately needs compassion. At present all we are getting is division and hatred fuelled and stoked by ever more aggressive world leaders.
When do we need it?
Now, as yesterday is too late.