On International Men’s Day

internationalmensday

I have to admit, I first thought what a lot of left leaning people think upon first hearing about this, this morning over my morning briefing: “isn’t every day International Men’s Day?” It appears that I’m mistaken. Normally I would argue against the existence of such a day in the same vein as I would against ideas like a “white history month” or “straight pride” event, but there is a very serious argument to be made here. So, being the snarky man playing devil’s advocate, I will endeavour to justify why I support such a controversial idea and day:

Imagine that there is a group of people in your society who are less likely to do well at school: who are more likely to commit suicide (just under 5000 in the UK last year), who are constantly demonised in the media as predators. These people are expected to keep silent when harassed, bullied and even worse, raped. These people have a higher rate of being homeless and have a shorter life expectancy.

Most people I’ve met would want to stick up for these people, and yet, they exist: They’re men.

This is where I expect a few thousand of my regular readers may stop reading, but I beg you, please keep reading.

This is an issue for both anti-feminists and feminists alike: everyone on the political spectrum should and probably have a position on it, but they all should be positive. In an era of male-degrading labels given to certain types of behaviour (“mansplaining” and “manspreading” to name two), the need for #InternationalMensDay has never been higher.

Here’s some food for thought, and a nice way of wrapping this post up.

According to CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably):

  • 73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men and 90% of rough sleepers are men
  • Men are three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent and 79% of drug-related deaths occur in men
  • Men make up 94% of the prison population
  • Men and boys from all backgrounds have shorter life expectancies than women and girls of the same background
  • Boys from all backgrounds are underperforming girls at every stage of education
  • 82% of fathers want to spend more time with their families and men are more likely to report work-life conflict
  • 75% of homeless people in the UK are men.

So I’m supporting this- will you?

imd2

Tim Martin, Brexit and Bullying

So, in another “let’s bash the UK and get away with it” move by a foreign power and inflicting the UK, Jean-Claude Juncker encourages European companies to boycott the UK in order to “make the UK pay a price for leaving the EU”.

There’s a lot to unpack there, so let’s get on with that statement. Firstly, the UK is already paying the price. The Euro looked positively unstable next to the pound and resembled The Titanic before the referendum, and now it looks stable. This has led to higher food prices and financial instability for smaller businesses in this country. This is having a knock-on effect on the average consumer, and as I said both before and shortly after the referendum, this isn’t unexpected.

Secondly, there seems to be an anti-UK sentiment in the world of international relations right now: Hillary Clinton has already made clear that she doesn’t value the UK’s “special relationship” with the USA. More to the point, Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel seem to have a pathetic, schoolboy mentality when it comes to dealing with Brexit. Instead of working with Theresa May (whom I can’t quite believe I feel sorry for right now), they seem to want to punish this country as much as possible.

Thirdly, the UK’s referendum only voted negative towards the EU by a hair’s breadth. Only 4% more of the country voted to leave and they were hoodwinked on a pack of lies fed to them by a beer-swilling idiot and the current foreign secretary, Boris Johnson. This is unfair on most of our 67 million people, and for a union that is trying or at least is mandated to bring equality to people across the continent, this quote seems self-defeating in purpose.

So I applaud Tim Martin, CEO of pub chain Wetherspoons for his statement in defiance of Juncker’s statements. He’s shown far more backbone in one speech than David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg put together. In his speech, he said that his chain could simply hit European businesses where it hurts by boycotting alcoholic drinks from member states of the EU. This will have a bigger effect than a lot of people from different countries may think: JD Wetherspoon as a company buys most of the country’s imports for alcoholic drinks, which will hit their businesses exactly where it hurts: Their Wallets.

Poppygate 2016: Round 1

So people, we’ve got only the first day into poppy season, and already there is newsworthy controversy. Both the England and Wales national football teams have been warned that wearing poppies at upcoming football games in the run up to Armistice Day 2016, which is held on the 11th of November.

Firstly, what is Armistice Day? In the UK, we celebrate the memories of our war dead on the 11th of November, the anniversary of the end of the first world war. Near to the time, we hold Remembrance Sunday, in which services are held across the country in the same vein. Traditionally, people wear a red poppy from the first of November until Remembrance Sunday in order to pay their respects to the war dead, and those injured during any conflict since WW1.

However, the poppy has become a bit of a “hot-button topic” (a topic which draws debate and controversy) in recent years due to the colour of the poppy and the way in which this symbol has been taken and used by people in our country over the last few years. In particular, the far-right movements have taken this symbol and used it as part of their rhetoric, as part of their campaigns. The reason for this is simple: Far right ideology draws from fascism, for which military power and respect for the military is an integral part. Weirdly enough, though, most soldiers and servicemen I’ve met (and I come from a military family) lean politically left, which draws from socialism.

As a result, I wear a white poppy, as opposed to a red one, but I will explain why again in another post (and hopefully a less expletive-ridden one than the one that was on here briefly last year).

So, back to topic, two of our four national teams have been warned of potential sanctions from the international football regulatory committee, FIFA, due to their rule on what footballers should wear on their kit. FIFA explicitly ban anything on a kit which may be seen as religious, political or otherwise inflammatory. This is why Billy Sharp and Mario Balotelli have landed themselves in trouble in the past, for wearing undershirts with messages on them. Again, I’ll post my own opinion in a different post soon.

Should the red poppy be seen as political? Again, I can’t really say one way or the other until my take at the end of this post, but in all fairness, no. On one hand, the UK is real melting pot of nationalities, and like the USA, we are a nation of immigrants, so wearing a red poppy, which signifies that you remember only the British war dead smacks of nationalism at least and at the worst, racism. Put yourself in the shoes of someone I know, who’s grandfather was a German soldier in WW2 and cannot remember her grandfather wearing a red poppy, because the red one only remembers the British war dead.

On the other hand, there exists within the politically left factions of this country, a shame to be proud of your heritage if your family come from our great nation, and a shame of being patriotic. This is partly to blame for why we don’t celebrate our Patron Saints’ Day (St. George’s Day on the 23rd of April) like other countries. This is where my political views come into play. As the grandchild of a man who lied about his age to serve with the Merchant Navy during WW2, I believe the political left should embrace patriotism (being proud of where you’re from, as opposed to nationalism, which embraces national exceptionalism), as opposed to the current policy of treating patriotism like a dirty word.

Again, I tangent away, so here is my opinion. If our teams wish to wear poppies during the football games, then they should be allowed to be without fear of recompense.