Amber Rudd: Normalising abuse

You won’t read this Amber, it’s one of those posts that people write for catharsis because they are powerless. In 2010 your government got in and it was decided that single parents shoudl take the brunt of ill thought out austerity measures, which revealed policy makers didnt really understand the systems they shape. Initially I thought how can this be? Our institutions and legal context will not allow this, and sure enough as policy after policy targeted women like me they fell apart. And will continue to do so. I am a civil servant by nature, so although I could now comment on a political issue, I have no ability to think tribally and as it was not even remotely appropriate here, did.

I didnt know the cultures on twitter could only think tribally, could only see their own identity and would abuse anyone for reminding them it was false. A lot of internet based astroturf movements are about, declaring their voices the will of the people, and then defending their position by abusing anyone who dosagrees on social media. But it wasnt random iondividuals abusing me. It was sanctioned by major political parties, major news organisations, and Guardian columnists encouraging it. Because apparently their legacy identuty meant I was the poor and the instiututional and legal context to impossible policies the state trained me to understand insulted them.

My daughter repeatedly put at risk, me almost relentlessly abused, you want us to say this is not normal. To protect your policies the Labour left unleashed the kind of abuse and hate we have not seen since actual fascists, and between them and their polar opposutions, have reintroduced anti-semitism, actual abuse and intimidation of people, to democratic processes. Noone can take part in political debate safely because of these people. These people were energised by policuies which could not be delivered. Your government needed a protective fringe from reality and that abusive culture, left and right is the consequence. The cost of this not just to individuals, but to the country and to our political system is immense. We have nasty, racist, and very violent thugs, dominating our political processes because the civilised policy makers who needed to hear no come back on policies thaht could never be deliverd, needed to be protected from us.

There is something quite poetic about the inevitable consequence of this political economy being hte empowerment of the hard left and swivel eyed right because quite frankly neithe will ever be accepted by the British public.  But complaining abouy abuse in political debate is shutting the door after the horse bolted. You needed the abusive cultyre to protect the abusive reflexes in policy and here we are. You say we must not normalise this, in your culture it is apparently normal to terrorise single mothers and their children if they injure your political identity. Its so normal that major publications do it, political parties do it and if you complain you notive the silence fall that says actually if abuse happens to you its not abuse. The culture of abuse we have seen unleashed on twitter is dangerous, and its directly the responsibility of those at the heart of politics. And all it has really done is demonstrated to us what the [problem was all along.




Fact and fiction: Objective reality

We have a generation of media and politics class, who can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction. We discuss the right, and certainly the right wing objectification of key groups and issues has defined the last thirty years, even as the tabloids wane we still havent quite broken free. We haven’t broken free because in order to protect that we developed a left wing media culture, whose speciality is triangulation. Saying one thing, tallying market needs with things that have nothing to dow ith the market, and selling it. Largely it’s a legacy identity and the reduction of the electorate to objects in an identity, but these people have no sense of objective reality.

I sat in a class about synthetic inequality modelling and while the calculations were complex there was nothing in the formulas that was real. GDP, measures of opinjon, a reference o Rawls. I spent three hours in that lecture, including an hours seminar and it becae apparent that nopt one person in there felt the difference between material reality and their identrity was important. Not one.

We have spent seven years watching this cul;ture try to use a chatroom to subvert material reality to fit their identity the way the newspapers allowed them to and now they have a toxic echochamber on twitter, but they are held in place by elite institutions who dont change. The false identity as representative of the poor and the right to impose your delusions on others is something they take as a given. I dont know how this ends. but I was reminded of a quote by Hannah Arendt.

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists. We are in the process where media’s power wanes and we learn the difference between fact and fiction. This is the process which allows us as a country to resolve the tension between our identity and our real position in the world. I think it was this state that led to both World Wars of the twentieth century. Now we are in the twenty first and we find out if this will have the same impact.


Dear @kathviner

Hi Kath, One of the women who equality was rolled back for here, you won’t remember me but your newspaper asked me to write poverty porn while your columnists subordinated activism for Labour, and then used your pages to assist with the decimation of the systmes which allow basic female independence from abuse. It wasn’t malice. Your columnists have a weird legacy identity and believe they are our representation, you never thought they needed to actually know anything about the country or the systems and people they suffocate. So you recruited vulnerable people to your paper, and they were abused by your readers and your colleagues. You used to refuse to pay them their pittance if they didn’t go below the line to be abused. Your social affairs editor commissioned articles to say the baby supply had been interrupted when a High Court judge intervened in thepolitical use of adoption. I note your paper is trying to pay attention to domestic abuse, WHILE your columnists use the banner of feminism to completely eradicate women’s rights.

I just wanted to write you a note to say the power of the internet was that it added a social dimension to political communication, and the power of the net was always chronology and careful observation over time to disrupt the influence of your colleagues. This is a warning Kath. We are in a national crisis, it is unfolding and you have no idea of the size or the significance. Your trust fund is running out. You have a very short time to make amends for assisting in the complete decimation of every right women fought for and paid for with blood over a century. You never could return a country back to the 19th century by the power of newspaper comment alone. You could only show you were not aware of the development in citizenship since the post war period began. Which your paper did.

You can run the occasional article whining about domestic abuse refuges, but you were observed facilitating equality being rolled back and it failed. We now enter a crisis which I dont think your paper will survive but understand this Kath, your paper will NEVER survive without making amends for what it just attempted. You never would have survived trying to roll back citizenship for millions of people and the toxic echochamber your columnists are in on twitter is your final destination. Good luck.

History will judge you: TERF Wars

We need to discuss the actual turf being fought over in TERF wars, because there is some confusion. I know many trans women, largely fucked over by same things I am. Intersections of inequality around marginalisation, economic inequality, violence, with a few added bonuses that I dont feel, and the inequality I feel is largely slightly different but the same in character. This is not complicated. We are not twats, we are able to understand we are different and the same and to know that inequality is a fucker that creates concrete walls around our lives.

Feminism is how 3.5billion women discuss inequality they face. This is not controlled by media organisations like the Guardian, and the New Statesman who turn everything into misogyny and have a disturbing belief this is their role. I can’t ‘exclude’ someone from discussing inequality they live with and no woman I know looks to the Guardian and the New Statesman to find out what to think.

That Terf wars are about media feminists and a bunch of twitter accounts arguing about the right to control how the worlds women think, conceptualise themselves and discuss inequality on the basis that these twitter accoounts and media feminists identify as having the right, we can safely assume the TERF wars are abnout narcissists fantasising over something that ios not in their control.

When someone says you are an object in my identity and will be abused if you fall outside that, you need to run. Tahts not a gender. Its narcissistic abuse. We have known this for a long time. Lots of women know this. We train women to recognise this in domestic abuse services. Equality legislation is at best recognition for women that equality is contested, its toothless. Equality legislation does not give you rights over someopnes ezlses perception, nor does it remove their ability or right  to risk assess, nor does it give you right to claim the need to overcome someones sexual boundaries, nor does it give you the right to abuse lesbians for not wanting cock. Whatever that is on twitter, presenting itself as trans activism, with the help of the Guaredian, New Statesman and the elite left, its not. Its narcissistic abuse. When Owen Jones says women have to accept narcissistic abuse as feminism, its the same thing as when he said he identified as the voice of austerity and would therefore be using the labour media machinery to prevent discussion of political consensus on it. I think we need to draw a line between narcisstic abuse and feminism. I know its difficult with the Guardian and co muddying the waters.

All that is happening with TERF wars ie the nature of masculnity is being expoed. The tangible difference between men and women is not our appearance, it is the violence that means men hurt women. And other men. And themselves. Abusers do not like being perceived on the basis of their behaviour, they like to be perceived on the basis of their identity. Women know this.

When we are discussing whether women  need rights try adding the phrase ‘ in a world where women are beaten, raped, and murdered by men regularly and without comeback’. I don’t know any trans women who don’t know this. I don’t know any trans women who think the right to sexually coerce and abuse should be theirs, I dont know any who think violence against women can be part of feminism. I do know lots of elite left commentators and activists who think everything should be abuse of women. The problem is these people, much as they did with austerity, want their misogyny conflated with trans rights. We object to abuse we are somehow attacking trans women. And they’ll throw trans women under a bus the way they threew those living with austerity under a bus. No. Abusive fuckers have tried this and it doesnt work. Misogyny is not feminism. Not ever. Nor is misogyny a right. I don’t confuse the violent misogyny online with the needs of the trans women I know, because they are not related.

Owen Jones says ‘anti-trans bigots’ will be judged by history. Given twitter provides historians with a written, chronological record of him preventing discussion of consensus on austerity while it killed people, it’s kind of sweet he is worried about history.

Graduation day

So its graduation day. Am sat in my dressing gown, watching a Russian drama about Catherine the Great with some very dubious subtext about domestic abuse, and the way I feel is complex.

Something has turned this winter. I sit and I reflect on what has changed since 2010. The law is the same, my rights are the same. We are now in a process where crisis will correct the distance between my perspective and those I have met in the last seven years. Those crisis in social care, child protection and our cash transfer system should play out over the next four years and however grim it is now, should provide an evolution in our understanding of inequality and the correct the blindness to these institutions and the rule of law among policy makers. Nothing the left could have offered in those earlyy days would have changed this, and my daughters rights are probably not under threat.

And yet. I dont know if its the cold, I dont know if its that am fairly sure there will be funerals by the end of Jan, I dont know if its the way I have been treated, or its the things that our mediating class have revealed about themselves, but all I feel is anger. Not red anger, not showing off rage, just ice in the veins, cold, hard anger. It’s not anger at a political party, its anger that this should have occured and it was nothing but reflex and always would have. It’s anger that those responsible are a culture, not malicious individuals and they absolve themselves of responsibility while providing an impenetrable barrier to knowledge they actually need to survive this crisis. It’s anger at the unnecessary pain and suffering of the last few years and the relentlessness of it. It’s anger that those who provide the protective seal to this believe themselves to be good and will lash out t oprotrect that. Its anger that the university I attended will learn what the first university I attended taught me, through crisis, even though that knowledge is available to them and identifiable.

It’s anger that  it’s two weeks before christmas. It’s anger that if I am honest I did not want to take my daughter to see my graduation, because I don’t feel any of the pride am supposed to feel. I don’t  feel lost. What I have done is a first step, and won’t be wasted. By the end of January, I will have ensured that enough people know what they need to navigate and use this crisis and am proud that I did that and can do that. It doesnt stop me feeling helpless.

Its knowing that this crisis will resolve and there will be no recognition of what was done. That we will backtrack and pretend it did not happen and just move on. It’s anger that children wont be returned to theor mothers, that childhoods cannot  be restored, and its anger that my daughter has known nothing but poverty from me because the institutions at the heart of policy making did that to me in 2010 because they never bothered to pay attention to the rule of law. When I asked why was equality being rolled back, the simple answer was that our polucy making and media culture never bothered to learn what those institutions did and the crisis unleashed on women like me was the consequence. And when told and begged they showed they just thought that an acceptable price to pay, because they were not paying it. The crisis we are going through will correct their misunderstanding. At no point should me knowing the wider institutional and legal context of policy, and knowing what the state trained me to know, have made me a ‘radical’. At no point should me saying ‘the law applies to me too’ have made me radical and yet in 2017 even though nothing has changed, and that law still stands, and these policies have failed, I am now a radical for saying it. I could be a hard left thug and I’d be at the core of policy making but am not. Am not a thug, I believe the civil service shouod be non partisan, I believe the rule of law is what politicians servoce and am no more radical than Edmund Burke or Tony Bloody Blair, and yet somehow me saying the law applies to me makes me radical because of who I am. Which says something is deeply wrong.

An earthquake is shaking Westminster, they are pretending not to notice. In two or three years, me walking into certain environments and saying what am saying will not even be remotely a problem. But right now it is, it is for me. I cant wa;lk into that world and the aice that is setting in my veins is about me knowing my identity means I would never want to be part of the culture who did this. Which is fucking amazing, given how hard I worked to get here. I am not lost, I am revising statistics again, am doing past papers and am quite excited about developing this. I am excited aboutd oing my a level maths, am excited about applying to Paris in two or three years. But I dont feel the way I should feel, and all I feel is relief that I wont be walking my daughter into that building to see me being handed a piece of paper that says I understand why her childhood was nearly destroyed by a fucking banking crisis.


Benefits of being off twitter

I feel aggrieved that that network was taken away but to be honest, being out of the milieiu of twitter is no bad thing. I dont know how we will explain in fiture that policy making, politicians and journalists moved into a chatroom while the most abusive policy in generations was unleashed, and after seven years they were literally watching themselves waste away in ever decreasing circles. It really is like the curtain fell down in the Woizard of Oz but he just carried on./ It is no bad thing to have had the demonstration I have had over the last seven years, of how these people respond to a social dimension being added to political communication. I realised that this was a huge gift, that I had been allowed to witness that and they had demonstrated what had always been there. Those people could directly beg their representatives on twitter and they would not even be acknowledged as human.


The counterrpoint to what is offline. Not everyone is doing badly, but the people who are have been subjected to this relentlessly now for seven years.  I dont know how to explain  how tired people are, how exhausted, how eroded they are as they face another winter or how it feels to know the people doing tis to them are sat in a chatroom like its business as usual. I think this is how identifies form. I think the feeling of ice in veins as you contemplate the harm being done and who it is being done to is identity forming. I think it probably payus to be careful and to keep an eye on reality when that ice is forming, but

am not sure pretendig it isnt there is worth it. It may have a purpose.