Sandeep and Reena Mander

There is a story doing the rounds that Sandeep and Reena Mander have been discriminated against when they tried to exercise their right to adopt a child, because they are Sikhs. people are sharing this story because this poor couple with their five bedroom house apparently had the right to adopt a baby, and its racist to consider that baby’s cultural identity. Sandeep and Reena are deliberately obfuscating what they were told, which is standard.

They were told we minimise cross cultural adoptions and they were told this because we do. There are good reasons for this. We have learned over a long time how harmful it is to treat adoption like a consumer activity, its not buying a doll. Children from ethnic minority families placed with white families, growing up without a sense of identity or culture, children with already interrupted attachments and identities growing into adulthoods of confusion, feelings of loss and incredible pain as they grew up without the thing most of us take for a granted. An identity you dont have to consider. They were told that adoption is not a consumer service, they were told the central consideration in any matching process is the child and not the rights of the adopter and they were told its not like other parenting because the child is not a doll or a blank slate, they were told that theprimary consideratoin of adoptive families after that child is adopted is that child’s identity and attachment, and had they gone further in the process would have been shown the catastrophic consequences of failing to consider this. You can go check adoption breakdown rates, particularly international adoptions and cross cultural adoptions.

And here’s what they did when they were told that. They went to the media to tantrum like children denied a chocolate bar. Because Sandeep and Reena cannot prioritise a child over their own needs, because they thought their infertility made adoption a service to provide them with a baby, they were told to reflect on this and consider it and that at present they were not suitable. They were not told they were not allowed to adopt because of their skin colour. They were told it was about abiluty to prioritise a child’s identity and the wait might be longer for them because of the ethnicity of children coming into htis system. Children who have an identity and for whom a terrible thing has already happened and the attachments that shape their lives have been interrupted by legal order.

If I had been presented with a couple saying the things they said in their interview, I would have told them to go away and learn what adoption was and I’d have been thinking they needed to grow up. No judge would approve an adoption for these people, not because of their skin colour, but because they cannot see why we prioritise a child’s needs over theirs. And that makes them ineligible to take on this very serious responsibility.

Adopters are entering into a situation where their skills as parents will need to be exceptional, with children with very serious needs and likely children who come from a very complicated background. The use of the media is manipulative and the people sharing their story are mistaken. I am not saying Sandeep and Reena are deliberately lying, they probably aren’t. They just are ont mature enough to enter into this process  amd meet a child’s needs by their own admission and their 5 bedroom house doesn’t actually come into the equation when that is the case. I have used their names in this blog post. The Local Authority cannot comment on this, but have upheld it. THis blog post is in case they search for responses to their manipulation of the media and to tell them that had they expressed those attitudes in any introductory session for adopters, I’d have told them to go home and take some time to learn what adoption is, what it involves and I’d have been thinking they needed to grow up,

They won’t find a judge or a social worker who will approve an adoption for them. Because they are not fit and have demonstrated this. Adoption is not a consumer activity, you are not buying a doll and at no point durig the adoption process are your needs anyone’s primary consideration and nor should they be. You cannot be discriminated againts being turned down for something you are not entitled to in the first place. They are now going to use their financial resources to deplete Local Authority resources to avoid the very basic truth that they need to grow up and the job of Local Authority’s is not to farm out the babies of the poor to the spoiled affluent couples who think they are buying a doll.

When is a welfare cut not a welfare cut?

Its a welfare cut when John Mcdonnell will swim through vomit to vote against it. It’s a welfare cut when Jeremy Corbyn bases a leadership campaign on encouraging abuse of MPs who abstain on the vote for it. It’s a welfare cut when IDS resigns because even he thinks it;s a step to far. It’s a welfare cut at the same time as inflation increases food prices, hitting people on fixed incomes hard and those suffering that cut even harder. Its a welfare cuts when a judge says its impositin is causing misery for no good reason. It ceases to be a welfare cut when Jeremy Corbyn includes it in the manifesto and then the people who abused on MPs for abstaining, will abuse welfare claimants for saying it’s a welfare cuts.

Cos we looked from pig to man, man to pig, and nooone could tell the fucking difference. Except me. I could tell the difference. Cos at least Tory welfare cuts didnt come with an army of personal abuse demanding you pretend malnutrition tastes better under Labour.

Telegraph Article: Reproduced here

Jeremy Corbyn told the £250-a-pop Glastonbury crowd on Saturday that his platform was politics “for the many, not the few”.

His manifesto kept the Tories’ benefit cap in place at the election three weeks ago, even though he was initially propelled to the Labour leadership by his one-time opposition to it, and even though former welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith had called it arbitrary and unfair.

Meanwhile Corbyn committed billions of pounds in the same manifesto to axeing university tuition fees – a move that would be of most benefit to high-earning graduates.

Corbyn’s speech at Glastonbury came just days after the High Court had upheld a legal challenge to the benefit cap. Following a judicial review brought by young single mothers in poverty, Mr Justice Collins said the cap was causing “real misery for no good reason”.

To secure this verdict, which will help 26,000 struggling families, these women had to painstakingly demonstrate a relationship between childcare, the job market, benefit payments and maternal poverty. They did this with little outside support.

“For the many, not the few”. Because the political left rely on Twitter, historians will be able to marvel at the audacity of this statement. Twitter will allow them to trace how a small group of comrades from elite universities, media organisations, and a political party, built a trade union-funded ‘movement’ over seven years. They’ll be able to trace the younger comrades back to one small peer group from Oxford University and other Russell Group institutions.

Watching their journey from the anti-fees movement to the cult of Corbyn, taking in the ‘radical’ media of Novara, and the exploitative whining of Owen Jones, historians will be able to study how this tiny privileged peer group extracted maximum career benefit from austerity and then prioritised bribing middle class students instead of reversing welfare cuts.

Historians will note how Corbyn used welfare cuts to get his job as leader, and how families hit by austerity drove the vote that denied the Tories a majority. Instead, he assumed it was driven by students. The same historians will note Momentum was a company owned by a Jon Lansman, not a movement.

What the Labour left do not understand is the archaic juvenile nonsense they call socialism will have to be ditched. The rule of law will have to be applied to our welfare system and the data within it used to inform us about the economy and inequality. This means an end to welfare politics where the poor must audition to the left for pity and sympathy. New institutions will have to be created via cross-party consensus if they are to survive for another seventy years, not just a faction of one party.

Corbyn may be boosted by tragedies such as Grenfell, but he has a harder job than the Tories, and the omission of the benefit cap from his manifesto says neither he nor our trade unions can see it. His execution of a hyper-partisan media strategy on the back of Grenfell won’t be remembered as evidence of how much he cared about the victims. Meanwhile John McDonnell sees Brexit and our economy as crises to exploit, and is jumping up and down on the ice we’re skating on while telling us there’s warm water underneath.

It’s been the best part of a century since the working classes were enfranchised.  Corbyn is now going to have allow us a voice that isn’t injury, tragedy, and loss.

Corbyn may think ‘the poor’ are fuel for his movement, but he needs to adjust to the precariat as swing voters, and the scale of the crisis he just rode in on.

Lectureporn: The Vulgar Art of Liberal Narcissism

Lectureporn: The Vulgar Art of Liberal Narcissism

Reproduced from here.Joan Didion began covering political campaigns in 1988. By then, she had switched to being a Democrat, which did little to change her views of the world or change her life in any tangible way. This made her incredibly skeptical about America’s two-party system. Back then, she noted that, “[T]he political process had become perilously remote from the electorate it was meant to represent. It was also clear in 1988 that the decision of the two major parties to obscure any possible perceived distinction between themselves…” was done purposefully in the hopes of appealing to a small niche of “target voters,” and had “imposed incredible strain on the basic principle […] of assuring the nation’s citizens a voice in its affairs.”

The poverty of distinction was, in other words, intentional. Bill Clinton embodied this tendency, especially when it came to his domestic policies. Let’s take two important examples that seem to be ripped from the GOP party platform. First, his infamous repeal of the Glass-Steagal regulation that brought us the 2007 financial crisis, absolutely ravaged the middle and working classes, and nearly ended the world economy. Second, in 1992, he ran as a “tough on crime,” “law and order democrat.” His 1994 Crime Act, of “superpredator” fame, was a disaster for the black community and for the criminal justice system. As Keanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes:

Clinton lobbied for his legislation in the same Memphis church where King had given his last speech the day before he was assassinated. Clinton’s pulpit speech demonstrated the tremendous shift in racial politics. King had used that pulpit to support poor Black maintenance workers attempting to unionize; Clinton used it to ask Black people to support expanding the death penalty. Clinton claimed to be using the words he assumed King would say if he were alive to deliver the speech himself: ‘I fought to stop white people from being so filled with hate that they would wreak violence on black people. I did not fight for the right of black people to murder other black people with reckless abandonment.’

An appalling statement and a merciless policy. As a result, we have 4.4% of the world’s population and 22% of its prisoners. The human cost has been incredible, the drain on the state unbearable. By 2015, Clinton would admit it was a horrible mistake even if he didn’t fully understand why. With Clinton’s presidency, we had finally arrived in the era of the Third Way consensus, the “post-political” and “post-ideological” era (Obama, of course, would complete the third part of this trinity: the “post-racial”). This political consensus created new challenges for the media. After all, if there’s little difference between Democrats and Republicans, why bother? The horse race of electoral politics, especially for the media, needs to showcase the difference. And it can’t look vague.

In 1996, the recently deceased elephantine orb of Elmer’s Glue, friend of Rachel Maddow, and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes took over the network. He cultivated an incredible propaganda machine dedicated to scaremongering senior citizens into thinking gender neutral bathrooms are the first step towards sharia law. Ailes’ monstrosity has been disastrous for modern life. It is hard to name anyone else so successful in polarizing the country, especially given that he started off at a time notable for its political blandness. His network also created a backlash in the liberal media. In response, the liberal media catered to the dumbest, pettiest, most self-congratulatory parts of their viewership. They created a culture of smug narcissists, and narcissists fiend on two compulsions: short term ego boosts, and shitting on other people. More clinically, ingratiation and aggression. That’s called narcissistic supply. And it’s not just a habit. It is a need.

To get their fix liberals tuned into The Daily Show, MSNBC, or the Aristotelian quaalude that is Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. Each monologue, each snide quip about NASCARnation was meant to affirm the viewers’ sense that they felt the right feelings, saw the world the right way, and, most importantly, weren’t hateful slobs who refused to floss their only tooth while singin’ the songs of that old time religion. Never mind that most liberal policies are now built around marshalling state violence to immiserate and discipline minorities and working class whites, or marshalling state violence to needlessly carpet-bomb the Middle East or go Zero Dark Thirty on some children (remember: consensus!). This largely took the aesthetic form of lectureporn. It is the apex of narcissistic supply delivery.

So what is lectureporn? It is the media spectacle of a lecture whose audience is the opponent of the lecture’s intended target. Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow (again, friend of Roger Ailes), Aaron Sorkin, and a whole host of others have built their careers on this form. Lectureporn pulls off an amazing trick: it simultaneously delivers both elements of narcissistic supply. You sit and watch someone ingratiate themselves to you while they eviscerate someone you don’t like who is, in turn, unlikely to watch said lecture.

We’ve all seen the the moment when one of these well-coiffed smirks turns to camera three and says, “And I’m talking to you, Red America. You whine so much about taxes and welfare and yet you’re the ones that suck up all that nanny state help. Well, I’ve got news for you. From now on, everytime you say ‘welfare queen,’ or ‘culture of dependency,’ we’re going to personally drive to your house and hold up a mirror to you and remind you that we, the blue states, make your lives possible with our generosity. Be grateful we don’t refuse to pay up because we actually believe in decency.” Or any time an Aaron Sorkin character starts a sentence with, “And by the way,” while talking to any female character ever. The whole point of lectureporn is to get off on a political opponent getting rhetorically owned by the best version of yourself. That’s what the media alleges to present: the best versions of ourselves.

But the problem isn’t just that lectureporn is snide, tedious, elitist, lazy, and naive—and it is. The problem is that it’s dangerous. It breeds confirmation bias and a lack of empathy—two things liberals saw backfire in 2016 after years of media class scoldkriegs. Confirmation bias is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the habit of looking at new information strictly in a way that confirms your beliefs. Everyone does this to an extent. But this is the “short term ego boost” part of the ingratiation in narcissistic supply. All you experience is media coverage that psychologically reinforces how you already feel and what you already believe. You feel rewarded for having all the right perspectives and feelings because you’re smart and worthy enough to understand how it really is.

Constituents and politicians alike end up confusing the map for the terrain. It has real consequences. The book Shattered and the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone have ended the need for post-mortems on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, so all I need to say here is that her defeat, taken with the fact that the Republicans are something like five state legislatures away from being able to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, highlight the danger of lectureporn and the narcissistic pathology it encourages.

There are more reasons for our present political reality than lectureporn, but lectureporn is without a doubt a contributing factor. It has shaped the liberal perception of the world. In the Bush era, I remember every arrogant suburban dad big on Monty Python and “REALITY HAS A LIBERAL BIAS”-type bumper stickers telling me they only watched The Daily Show, because it was the only real news out there. Even at 16, I knew that was not a good sign.

The thing that falls out of this kind of confirmation bias is a lack of empathy. Narcissists are known for being totally unempathetic, but this has a unique character. Bill Nye’s new show and the March for Science perfectly illustrate one of the fundamental contradictions of liberal ideology: the truth is both politicized and neutral in the way that science is alleged to be neutral. The level of cognitive dissonance here is incredible. There is no such thing as political neutrality. And this ideological contradiction creates a major problem: the fetishization of rationality. The fetishization of rationality means you think reasonableness paves the road to political office and, on an individual level, that anyone who opposes you is an idiot who can’t understand reality. Thus, you have no purchase on someone else’s perspective because you’re narcissistically invested in your own view—the “correct” and only perspective. Dissenters are just the unworthy. Matt Taibbi puts it like this in his piece about the rash of Democratic special election losses:

The unspoken subtext of a lot of the Democrats’ excuse-making is their growing belief that the situation is hopeless – and not just because of fixable institutional factors like gerrymandering, but because we simply have a bad/irredeemable electorate that can never be reached.

This belies an important distinction between liberals and conservatives, lectureporn and the ubiquitous tirade in conservative media. It’s the Nietszchean distinction between contempt and hate. You can hate an equal or someone with power over you. So conservatives hate liberals (hence their paranoiac victim narrative), whereas liberals have contempt for conservatives, which means they’re arrogant. Arrogant people are lazy in general and inept when it comes to empathy. If you can’t empathize with people, you can’t understand them. And if you can’t understand their worldview, you can’t hope to either win them over or defeat them. You’ve played yourself. No one cares if you’re right and ineffective. That’s called being an impotent loser. For all the talk about “bleeding heart liberals” who vote with their tears, they’ve proven to be staggeringly emotionally incompetent.

Now, let’s go back to that part about thinking reasonableness makes ready the path to power. The lethality of lectureporn to political thought and participation is its misapprehension of what political power actually is. Regardless of whatever we think or feel about the GOP’s platform and its coterie of alleged rapists, bigots, and unfuckable sneers, they actually get what it means to gain, maintain, and wield power. In 2011, when the Republicans shutdown the government, everyone wondered why Obama couldn’t have his “LBJ moment” where he grabbed Boehner by the lapels and said, “And by the way, you son of a bitch…” and brought him around with sheer rhetorical force.

But even LBJ didn’t have an “LBJ moment,” as his biographer, Robert A. Caro reminds us. Johnson’s real power on Capitol Hill came from his access to a money pool that could make or break political careers. These grab-them-by-the-lapels moments known as The Johnson Treatment were, as Caro writes, “only tassels on the bludgeon of power.” Obama had no such reservoir of financial power. While he tried to grand bargain and concede his way to victory, the Republicans banded together to deadlock Obama’s regime through dirty tricks, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and intercine parliamentary rules. That’s political power—even if it’s corrupt political power.

The idea that rhetorical force can be equated with political force is a fantasy. Lectureporn perpetuates this fantasy. It is the ultimate narcissism to say, “We lost because they’re dumb. They are our inferiors incapable of grasping the righteousness of our cause.” If they’re so dumb, why’d you lose so bad? Let’s face it, the Democrats have been losing for decades. They don’t think it’s a bar fight.

Too bad—it is. And bar fights only have two rules: punch hard and never assume the other guy’s gonna fight fair. That’s why it’s crucial to get people on your side. But in order to fight at all, it must be clear who and what you’re fighting for and who and what you’re fighting against. This is one of the major lessons to be learned from Jeremy Corbyn’s recent success in the UK general election. He made an honest and real distinction. “For the many, not the few.” It’s that simple. If you can’t make a real distinction between you and your opponent, you’re getting your nose broken for nothing and for no one.

Emmet Martin Penney is a poet and essayist. His writing has previously appeared in Paste Magazine, HollowMadcap Reviewand The Bad VersionHe also runs the blog Museum of the Half-Forgotten, and co-hosts the leftist political video/podcast How to Talk to Girls at the Mall. You can find him on Twitter.

Me, Telegraph, Corbyn and the Benefit Cap.

So I only write for the nationals when I have something to say, and am going to be pitching to the Telegraph as often as they will have me over the rest of the year. THis is me on Corbyn, and his tuition fee bribe paid for with welfare cuts. I chose the Telegraph very deliberately and approached them, and would never do the same with the Guardian. Ever.

BBC Complaint at normalising extremists, anti-semites, conspiracy theorists.

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Complaint Summary: Announcement that Kerry Mendoza is to be on BBCQT

Full Complaint: HI, I heard the announcement you were to have Kerry Mendoza of The Canary on Question Time. I am writing to complain because this is an extremist publication, which specialises in conspiracy theories, anti-semitism, and incitement to very dangerous behaviour. It is a fantasy site for cranks. I have included a link to a blog post I have just published, which contains conversatoin with Steve Topple, one of their columnists about a made up conspiracy theory that led to people receiving death threats. He wrote the theory to encourage the breakdown of he labour party and is seriously mentally ill and believed this was a way to bring about(and I quote) ‘economic and social collapse’. The blog post contains screenshots of the conversation and a transcript.


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My political priorities.

My political priorities do not relate to a political party. They are as follows:


1- A sane Brexit with as much damage limitation as possible, which leaves us with a good relationship with our allies.

2- Minimising instability generated by system failure acorss multiple systems and cross party consensus on social care, child protection, welfare, and Local Authorities. Learning from this system failure so those systems can be redefined.

3- Redefinition of our cash transfer system, application of rule of law, and an end to it use as a tool to strip people of citizenship.

None of these can be achieved by tribalism, by intransigence, and by whipping up division and instability. All are essential.

I assess politicians by whether they are maintaining stability and working towards this, or generating instability. Party binary is dead, and we have to make it through to a new consensus being born. I have realised this may not be pretty but it will happen eventually.

The Canary. Question Time. Portland Conspiracy Theory.

So the Canary are on BBC Question Time this week. Last year the Labour Party was torn apart by a conspiracy theory they used, which resulted in real threats to people in real life. THis is who wrote it. A very vulnerable man Kerry Mendoza exploits because he will write such things.screenshot1screenshot2screenshot3screenshot4


This is the text., I had messaged, alarmed at the way this theory was being used.

‘ Yes, I hear you ­ and agree.
However, the collapse of the Labour party (which would be
the ideal outcome) will (IMO) no way be a bad thing. And
the more entrenched each side gets, the likelier that is to
happen. I assume you’re saying this because of what I’ve
been writing about. Therefore, if so ­ that’s my personal
rationale. I’m not wet behind the ears. If Corbyn WAS antiEstablishment,
he would’ve left the Labour party years
ago. Me adding some hefty fuel? Will quicken the process
of a fracture. xxx’

I’m not suddenly going to become
some Labour supporter, nor if Corbyn stayed in charge
would I vote for them. Obviously. I just see an opportunity
with this crisis, that’s all. I was hoping Brexit might have
had more of an economic impact than it has. Sadly that
hasn’t yet materialised… x

See? You know what my ideal scenario would be.
Economic and political collapse. Would be bloody, but
would be the best thing that could actually happen to
society. Somehow after Brexit, “they’ve” managed to
avoid it, which is bloody annoying. xx”


This was the reason the Portland Conspiracy site was written, the one that Len McCluskey cited. This is who BBC Question Time are having on, Tis is what they sell.



Update: Because crisis

Broadbrush, the country changes every day. There is the terrible sense that Corbyn could ride the waves of system failure to Downing Street, but May appears to have stabilised. SHe is plodding, there are responses to Grenfell, Brexit talks are going disastrously, but the DUP deal has been struck. Chaminda said it seemed like the Tories had learned lessons from the election but Labour have not. Convinced they are heading to Downing St and able to hide a hard brexit, a sub gramscian stragegy of trying to destabilise the country and exploiting tragedy for partisan gain are unlikely to win people over long term. Jeremy Corbyn has told the families who voted for them he cant see them or the system failure that drove their vote and thinks it is students who caused his surge. He has discounted those people, and Remain voters and Paul Mason says if you want a Remain Party you need to go set up another party.

By and large underneath it things are stabilising, there is a road out of this summer with a stable country and a road to political consensus being reformed. Corbyn poses the biggest threat to that and should he enter Downing St we have a twitter POTUS, a twitter PM, Putin is delighted, and the its an unseemly end to the UK/Washington Consensus. We are in the half space where the future is refusing to be born, but we are definitely beginning labour pains.