Mar

23

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: Miscellaneous

In a state of normality

Four years ago, we went to a Secret Cinema production of 28 Days Later which was great fun, what with it being fictional and all.

As the dress code was “scrubs and surgical mask”, I purchased two pairs of green scrubs and a box of 100 cheapo paper masks from a medical supplies website. It was the smallest quantity available.

The scrubs turned out to be a fantastic stay-at-home outfit and we have been wearing them on a daily basis ever since. The masks, on the other hand, have been sitting in a drawer. I occasionally used one when sanding wood but apart from that, what can you do with a box of paper surgical masks?

Then the coronavirus struck.

Now the country is in lockdown and we wear the masks to go shopping. Eek.

Feb

22

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: Miscellaneous

This is not just discrimination… this is M&S discrimination.

Transgender person kicks up a fuss for no good reason and makes themselves look like a whinging moron. Again.

This story is utterly grotesque. If I were a non-binary transgender person™, I would cringe at the way my community™ is being represented™ by these fuckwits™.

Recalling the incident in December, Myla said: ‘I’d picked up some shirts and jumpers from the menswear section and went into the changing rooms nearby. There was no attendant so I just went on in. I left the changing room to grab a bigger size in one of the jumpers and a female attendant approached me on the shop floor.

She told me I couldn’t use the changing rooms there as they were “only for men” and said that I had to use the changing rooms downstairs which are for women. I was utterly shocked and the only thing I could think of to say was “I’m not female” to which she looked me up and down, apologised and walked off.

Here is a picture of Myla for your perusal:

Sorry, I meant this one:

Yeah, clearly totally not female-looking at all. What was that shop assistant thinking?

‘I felt sick, like I was being accused of some kind of crime just for trying on clothes.

Laying it on a bit thick there, aren’t you love? Who said anything about a crime?

Afterwards, I went home and cried. I have never been accosted like that in a store before. I had to go back in and speak to someone in store because no one took it seriously the first time and I started crying even trying to talk about it again with them.’

I don’t want to be accused of championing misogyny or anything, but how about toning down the blubbing a little bit if you don’t want to be taken for a woman?

An M&S spokesperson said: […]’Clearly on this occasion a mistake was made, we have apologised to our customer for this incident, additionally our store manager wrote a personal apology assuring the customer they have spoken to the team.’

Massive overkill. How on earth can calling someone who looks like a woman ‘a woman’ be a mistake? And all that apologising and arse-licking is frankly pathetic.

Myla said: ‘I don’t think the apology was enough to be honest, it shouldn’t have ever happened to start with and I have lost confidence in Marks and Spencer as a company for standing up for trans folk like myself. I still feel scared to shop at Marks and Spencer in case it happens again elsewhere or if I have to deal with that same person again.

“Scared” FFS. Fuck off to H&M then, they’re Swedish and probably just woke enough for you.

‘The fact that I saw a female using the space at the same time in full view of the attendant when I left the changing rooms just made it so much more of a personal attack.

Oh, “a female”, is it? How the hell do you know that person was female, pray tell? Would that be from the way she looked, by any chance? Well I never.

Not to mention the “female attendant” who was mentioned earlier… Snowflake can’t even follow their™ own rules.

‘I am still very much upset by what happened and if I were to go back I wouldn’t go on my own and I would not be shopping for clothes there again.’

May I suggest you stick to the food hall in future:

Oct

19

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: Miscellaneous

The devil wears Primark

This new BBC column is rather fascinating. It involves members of the public keeping a money diary for a week and telling the world about their spending habits. Reading this kind of thing makes me realise that I am amazingly frugal and calculating compared to a lot of people. For instance, the over-reliance of many people on corner shops due to a total lack of advance planning never fails to surprise me!

This week we’re getting a treat: getting inside the head of a stupendously vacuous bint. It’s really spectacular.

This isn’t her but quite frankly it should be.

• Olivia is 20 and is currently a second year student at Salford university, studying broadcast journalism. She also works 20-30 hours a week at Nando’s.

This empty-headed creature is a student and a future journalist! There is no hope for the world.

As every girl knows, we’ve got this obsession to keep on top of our eyebrows, lashes, skin, and body

Notice the conspicuous absence of “mind” from the above list. She probably just forgot.

Also, let’s pay extra attention to the “As every girl knows” bit, as we will soon find out this sheep only feels validated when she’s doing what everyone else is doing.

I’ve met girls like that. I wanted to drown them.

I ended up buying Bondi Sands everyday gradual tanning milk as everyone knows how much easier this is than trying to get that perfect streak-free finish with instant tan at 23:00. I also bought myself some facial wax strips! Being a dark-haired girl, the moustache and mono brow is always there.
I got these products through Pretty Little Thing, where I’ve got free next day delivery for a year! So I only ended up spending £14, including delivery. I tried to get student beans discount on these products but they don’t do it on beauty for some reason.

A student with a part-time job spends £14 on overpriced beauty stuff without batting an eyelid. Don’t they have a Boots or Superdrug in Salford?

Or this, even.

I’ve finished work! And the beauty of working at Nando’s, free food! So, no spending money on my lunch when I’m on a shift, happy days.

Nothing wrong with this but it will soon become relevant.

I’m going out next weekend to Newcastle and of course, I need a new outfit

No, you tragic case, there is no “of course” about it. Need is not the same as want.

but recently I’ve been trying to buy new outfits off Depop and not off the original sites! It’s so much better to buy second hand and do your little bit to recycle clothing, so I had a scroll and found a perfect little red Oh Polly dress for only £23 with delivery. The dress on the original site is £38 so saving myself a lot of money considering it’s only ever been worn once.

“It’s so much better to buy second hand and do your little bit to recycle clothing”, “so saving myself a lot of money”: this is some first-class rationalising here.

If I decided not to bring my own breakfast, I could’ve had some at work, I could’ve been very tempted to get a McDonald’s breakfast from the restaurant next door.

McDonald’s? Whatever happened to the beauty of working at Nando’s being free food?

Jordan, my boyfriend, decides it’s time we need to go to the Trafford centre and get him the Vans he’s wanted for so long!

And the boyfriend is just as bad… “The Vans he’s wanted for so long”. Then again, his name is Jordan, you can’t expect too much.

The object of desire. Nabokov clearly didn’t have a clue.

If I ended up with a boyfriend called Jordan who craves Vans, I would take a long, hard look at my life and wonder where it went so dreadfully wrong.

Just imagine the conversations between the two of them. I bet they call each other “Babes”.

We buy his Vans and debate getting some tea but we choose the option, “we have food at home”. I swear we’ve grown old already!

Your medal is in the post.

I also took a look round some shops for some wet-look leggings, as they seem to be what everyone wears nowadays, but I can’t find any I like, and I’m not about wasting money so I leave it! Which leaves me spending a grand total of absolutely nothing today!

I had to google “wet-look leggings”… Who invents this shit? And how hard are they laughing all the way to the bank?

This is so educational, isn’t it?

“As they seem to be what everyone wears nowadays”, here we go again. She doesn’t want the stuff because she likes it, but because she absolutely must look exactly like everybody else in her social circle. It’s a bit sad.

I’m not saying I never bought the same things as my friends when I was at school (although in my case it tended to be gadgets and accessories as clothing was and is terminally dull), but only if was made aware of its existence by someone else turning up with it and only if I thought “I really like that”. I would never had bought stuff out of fear of being seen as uncool if I didn’t have it. Goodness me, if your friends are like this get better friends!

At 20 she should be considering growing out of this behaviour and becoming her own person anyway. If that is possible.

“I’m not about wasting money” AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!

No, of course not dear. It’s a trick of the light.

My mum’s actually started doing gym classes, and she’s desperate for a stopwatch to time her classes and make sure she’s filling the classes right, so I have a look on Amazon for her, I find a nice blue watch but the delivery wouldn’t let me have it for another week… too long, I’m impatient. I did have free next-day delivery but it was a trial for six months with being a student, so I decide to wait until tonight and use my boyfriend’s account to order the watch and save some dollar.

Uh… don’t they have an Argos in Salford either?

“Save some dollar”… *puke*

Fast forward time a little bit and I’ve gone to the gym but I’m now waiting for the next class to start. While waiting I get a little thirsty but I forgot my water bottle, so I have to buy one for £1.

Wow. “I’m not about to waste money”, huh?

So, as you do, I start scrolling through Instagram and see this gorgeous make-up artist. I’ve been looking for someone to do my make-up for my birthday in a couple of weeks. I message this MUA and she immediately replied, £20 now as a deposit, and £20 on the day, which somehow to me, makes it seem that little cheaper in two instalments… so that’s me £20 down within a matter of minutes.

I… what? Seriously? £40 for someone to do her make-up for her birthday?! With all the crap she buys, she can’t do it herself or ask a friend? For that price, Stacey Dooley should be be doing a running commentary of the entire process, dressed in shapeless overalls. At the very least.

Gym’s all done, and I’ve drove to my boyfriends, to see him of course but to also rob his Amazon Prime account to order the stopwatch wrist timer for my mum. I pop in my own card details on his account and BOOM, suddenly £14.99 less rich!

Where’s the BOOM for the £40 make-up artist? Or does it only feel like spending money when she’s spending it on others?

“I’ve drove”… *double puke*

Fast forward to the evening and I’ve finished an eight-hour shift at work, where I successfully didn’t spend a penny! But now I’m at the Trafford centre, and I’ve got a long, long list of things I need! Such as jeans, a new foundation and wet-look leggings.

And books? No? Not even a little one? With pictures? Ah, go on go on go on go on go on…

Anyone that knows me, knows I always wear the same things

Sure you do. That’s why you’re so good at saving money.

Oooh pretty butterflies oooh

I also purchased a new foundation, my skin is really dry so it’s hard for me to find anything that sits nice but I heard lots of good things about Fenty hydrating foundation so here I am, £27 more out of pocket, after treating myself to that particular foundation.

£27!!! My eyes are bleeding.

Oh, don’t worry, the spending hasn’t stopped yet, Friday 13th seems to be unlucky towards my bank account. We decided to go for a meal but I grab tap water, and a pizza so only end up spending a bargain of £10.25, happy me!

That growing old and eating at home phase didn’t last long, did it?

oh, and don’t forget the £10 petrol I need to put in every Friday (joys of driving).

So who pays for her car insurance then? The mother, I assume. That kind of skews the calculations juuust a little bit.

there’s nothing really in the house to eat as mum hasn’t done the weekly shop yet, so we nip to the corner shop and she buys me stuff to make an omelette! My favourite.

“Nothing in the house to eat” is a concept that totally escapes me. It would simply never be allowed to happen in my household. Even if we haven’t been shopping this week, the cupboards, fridge and freezer are constantly creaking under the weight! We might end up eating random bits and bobs once in a while but there would always be something and plenty of it. I don’t even remember the last time I had to resort to the corner shop.

I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m still too French to comprehend the notion of letting yourself run out of food. *shivers*

Our basement. Well, one of them.

Now it’s time for my three-nine shift today! I was so tempted to buy myself an iced latte from McDonald’s before work, everyone knows I’m an iced coffee addict! But after my heavy spending yesterday, I decided it better to make my own at work (mine are just as nice anyways)!

Medal #2 in the post. P&P is getting to be a bit of a bitch.

Today, so far, I’ve been helping my boyfriend clear out his room. I bought him a lovely bracelet for Christmas but he somehow lost it this summer and we’ve been looking for it ever since. He always seems to lose his most expensive items as just last week he lost his airpods… I’m starting to think me helping him “clear out” his room is really his last desperate attempt to find his bracelet.

What a keeper that guy is. See what I did there?

IT WORKED! We found his bracelet, and I’ve never been happier. It was hidden somewhere between all his unfolded clothing in his wardrobe, at least I won’t have to fork out for a replicate this Christmas! Win, win.

Fork out for a replicate? You cannot possibly be serious! Grow a spine and let him face the consequences of his actions, for crying out loud.

Rent – £60
Clothing – £83.35
Beauty – £61
Petrol – £10
Food and drinks – £15.25
Gifts – £14.99
Leisure – £21.99
Total weekly spend: £266.58

Not a single penny spent on even the most vaguely culturally-related items. Not even the cinema or a magazine or music. She didn’t even mention any interests apart from fashion and beauty products.

What an empty life she leads. Why on earth is someone with zero intellectual curiosity studying journalism again? Bloody hell.

Feb

11

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: The DM Strikes Again

There isn’t enough WTF in the world


And they illustrate this with a picture showing Argus Filch and Mrs Norris from Harry Potter… words fail me.

Feb

3

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: Miscellaneous

Going to uni? BYO race shoehorn

“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” – Groucho Marx

Anoushka Mutanda Dougherty has been offered a place at Cambridge University, but she’s mixed-race and from a state school – and only 3% of students who started at Cambridge in 2017 were black, or mixed-race with black heritage.

So? Ten seconds of Googling gets me this:

In 2011, 7.5 million people living in England and Wales (13% of the total population) were born outside the UK. Amongst the 56 million residents in England and Wales, 86% were White, 8% were Asian/Asian British and 3% were Black/African/Caribbean/Black British.

3% at Cambridge, 3% in the general population. I’m not seeing the problem here.

There’s no escaping the fact that Cambridge is a majority white and majority posh (!) institution.

Posh (!) is clearly much worse than just posh.

Born with an exclamation mark in their mouth

My mum, Anjula, is Ugandan and fled from Idi Amin’s tyrannical regime in the 1970s. The story of people like her with a mixed Indian and Ugandan background

So her mother is mixed Indian and black and her father is clearly white. This makes her only one-quarter black at best, yet she says things like “I would be one of only a handful in my year from a mixed white/Black African family” showing she only cares about her black heritage and happily ignores the Indian bit – maybe because it isn’t cool/relevant/woke enough?

The experience of minority communities has helped shape my interest in unwritten histories (you try explaining this in a UCAS statement with a limit of 4,000 characters)

I dunno, she just managed to do it in one paragraph. Also, this kind of whingeing doesnt really look very good from someone who is apparently Cambridge material.

so it stands to reason that I would focus on racial diversity in the universities I’m considering.

Because focusing on academic excellence and reputation is so white.

the fear of being pushed to behave like someone from a specific socio-economic group, just to fit in.

Like what, taking up punting?

Don’t be seen without it.

“I hadn’t gone back before and when I did I was at the train station [in London] and I was like, ‘Why are there so many black people here?’ I was just so used to not seeing them.”

Again, the percentage of black students at Cambridge is representative of England as a whole – London is the anomaly here. If this person lived in, say, the Cotswolds, she wouldn’t bat an eyelid when getting off the train (and might even think “How hideously white!”).

there was just one club that played R&B, and that it charged £12 entry – more than any other student venue she’d been to! Talk about having a monopoly on the market.

It is highly likely that the managers of this club are black. Why are they choosing to exploit their own people? And how is this anybody else’s fault?

“I have never, like, self-segregated but I did go to a Hip-Hop Society event and I’d just never seen so many black people in one room at one time in Cambridge! I was like, ‘Wow, this is where we all are’.”

Meanwhile, Sanjeev is at the library and Quentin is punting. How rude of them!

“I just thought the people at Cambridge wouldn’t be the people in my crowd,” he said. “I don’t want to be with so many white kids from private schools.”

And if a white student from a private school said they didn’t want to go to university with a bunch of black kids from state schools, I’m sure everyone would react very well to this announcement.

(I have to give a special mention here to my white friend who, for the first three years that we knew each other, thought that I curled my hair every morning.)

And this is supposed to be proof of what exactly? That this white friend is racist and ignorant? Countless other girls of all skin colours own a hair curler and do use it every morning, why couldn’t you be one of them? Only a frenemy would choose to take it the wrong way.

It is also perfectly normal not to be aware of what personal grooming involves for people of other ethnicities. I once had a black woman – a professional hairdresser, no less – advise me to stop dyeing my hair as it would eventually get damaged (needless to say, I have never dyed my hair in my life). Did I immediately scream racism? Answers on a postcard.

Just like Kier, who wants to study with people in his crowd, my girlfriends said they wanted to share university accommodation with students who “look like them”.

I mean, the things non-white people can get away with saying!

I asked her about the racial imbalance and the relatively high number of students from private schools… wouldn’t she want her son to be somewhere that more reflected the real world?

“That’s a good question. I mean I think I’d like him to go just wherever he’ll do really well and enjoy it but I must admit, I’m probably not choosing or thinking about where he should go from that basis,” she said. “You know, I just want him to go where he’ll get the best degree for what he wants to do.”

Oh dear, someone didn’t get the right-on memo. “The best degree for what he wants to do”? Who thinks like that?! I bet she votes Tory!

The horror… the horror…

Did I decide to wear a pink fur coat that made me look like a relic of an early-2000’s 50 Cent video? Yes. Did I question this after taking my admission test with a room of prospective law students, who were all suited and booted and ready for employment in the City? Yes.

Were you determined to make the situation as awkward for yourself as possible, just to prove some sort of a point? Yes.

I took some of my concerns about racial diversity – or the lack of it – to the press officer at Cambridge University, Paul Seagrove. He said that 58 black students got places in 2017, which was higher than the figure of 39 for 2016.

“We recognise that it is still too low,” he said.

Oh please. As per this very article, there are more white students at Bristol than at Cambridge. Where is the outrage?

It seems that there is a self-perpetuating cycle. Smart kids from diverse backgrounds won’t apply because they think they won’t fit in, because they don’t see people like them. This in turn means that the demographic of students will never change, so the view that it’s not the right place for people of colour will persist.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear everyone who’s complaining also wants somebody else to be the guinea pig.

I think this girl needs a little reminder of what she could learn from her other ethnic heritage:

Yes, I know he didn’t actually say that.

Nov

17

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: WTF

The cultural appropriation is strong with this one

From an American on Quora:

I… what?

Oct

7

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

These boots are made for whingin’

For the Guardian and its readers, everything is political. Even walking for pleasure.

A reader describes her evening walks through Edinburgh and of course feels the need to shoehorn some leftie rhetoric into her prose:

The families, joggers and dog walkers in Braidburn Valley Park help me shake off the stress and insincerity of my corporate job.

Virtue signalling alert! What the hell is this woe-is-me bullshit? If her ‘insincere corporate job’ (that she presumably wasn’t forced into at gunpoint) clashes so hard with her ethics, what’s stopping her from resigning and applying for a less well-paid job at a non-profit organisation? Hmmm? Would the filthy lucre be too much to give up, by any chance?

“Hello, the She-Wolf of Wall Street speaking”

I’ll then head towards Hermitage Drive – where I might resent the obvious wealth if I weren’t so chilled out.

“Resent the obvious wealth”? Yeah, how dare these people be richer than she is! The sheer nerve!

Unspeakable. Unspeakable.

Can I just point out that she walks through that area by choice, because it’s pretty. And why is it pretty? Because the locals have the means to make it that way and keep it that way. If she doesn’t want to be surrounded by the trappings of wealth, may I recommend walking through the nearest council estate instead? Urban decay galore! Nothing to be envious of!

Welcome to the Trainspotting Experience! Your first mugging will occur in 3, 2, 1….

Then we have this other reader:

I am very fortunate that I can walk and do not require a wheelchair; however, my disabilities cause me severe pain if I walk long distances. There are millions like me who fall into the zone between able-bodied and wheelchair confined. When I hear the term “pedestrian friendly”, my first thought is “disability unfriendly”.

This person lives in the USA, where pretty much everything is car-friendly by design and pedestrian-friendly features are few and far between. The average American never needs to walk anywhere. And that’s still not good enough! She still feels discriminated against!

It is rather disingenuous to say “I do not require a wheelchair” if she can only walk short distances without excruciating pain. If she refuses to use a wheelchair when she needs one, what exactly is the city supposed to do to accommodate her? Provide conveyor belts? Or maybe she could just ignore the pedestrian-friendly areas, get in her car and drive wherever she wants!

There is a new outdoor mall near me with a pedestrian-friendly town centre design. It is a sprawling, lively place, but I can’t shop there.

Look, it’s very sad that she can’t walk very well or very far, but it’s nobody else’s fault. That mall wasn’t built to spite her personally, it was build to give pedestrians a bit of a break from the all-pervasive car culture. Not everything can be or should be inclusive (controversial statement).

Walking needs to be encouraged in a way that does not forget about the needs of the disabled.

Like how? Genuine question. What are these needs? How are pedestrian-friendly areas supposed to welcome someone who can only walk short distances but won’t use a car or a wheelchair?

Living in an airport is an option

Sep

27

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: Miscellaneous

Aaand it’s time for another RRR (Rowling-related rant)…

Now we find out that Nagini used to be a woman

OK, at this point I do believe old JK should be forcibly relocated to a room on a remote Scottish island, far away from all computers, telephones, telegraph systems, carrier pigeons, post owls and all other means of communication with the outside world.

Dementor’s Kiss optional

Her retcons are getting more and more ridiculous. Not only is it now supposed to be canon – thanks to Cursed Child – that Hermione is black and that Voldemort had a child with Bellatrix (which is impossible for several reasons, but that’s another rant), his giant snake also turns out to be a woman under a curse!

Give me strength. How many more things is she going to ruin? Is the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets going to be in a unisex bathroom in future editions? Is Professor Flitwick going to come out as transgender? Will the Dursleys move to America and become Trump supporters?

A brave soul did try to take her to task:

“Representation as an afterthought for more woke points is not good representation”: now here’s a sentence that would have been totally incomprehensible ten years ago, by the way.

Rowling’s reply was as arrogant as ever:

“Have a lovely day”?! Could she possibly be more dismissive and passive-aggressive?

She’s also missing the point. Why cast a Korean woman to play an Indonesian character? Even in these ‘woke’ PC times, being yellow and slitty-eyed appears to be enough to play any character from any region of Asia. So much for representation!

Right. Let’s take a minute to remember that in the HP books, Voldemort regularly orders Nagini to kill and/or eat people and she happily complies. What exactly is her motivation if she’s not evil?

Uh-huh. If I believe that I’ll believe anything. If she really had planned to eventually unveil Nagini as a human being back then, it would have meant turning poor Neville into a murderer and ruining his heroic moment!

I call bullshit on an epic scale. She must really think HP fans are stupid or is too arrogant to care. Or both.

This is sad though. I was really disappointed by the first Fantastic Beasts film (pandering to Americans, uninteresting story, charisma-free protagonist, far too much filler and the only interesting character was the Muggle), then they cast Johnny Depp (who has become a caricature of himself, on top of the domestic violence incident) in the second one and now this. Cursed Child was a spectacular show ruined by a silly storyline and almost everyone behaving out of character. And they destroyed Pottermore!

I’ll stick to the books (and, to a lesser degree, the HP films) but this is where I check out of the franchise.

Aug

18

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: Miscellaneous

I was defeated, you won the war

Every time I read about the Swedish government’s outrage at the latest antisocial or criminal act committed by immigrants, their reaction reminds me of a toddler who is learning for the first time that life isn’t fair.

“I am really furious, what the hell are they up to?” Stefan Löfven told Swedish radio on Tuesday morning.

Aww bless him, he’s really furious. Stamping his little foot and everything.

The Prime Minister of Sweden sounds like a sad and disappointed social worker who has just been just told the underprivileged teenager they’re looking after was caught buying drugs. With people like that in charge, Sweden is truly fucked. It’s like they genuinely cannot comprehend the concept of not being a nice person. Why wouldn’t someone want to be a nice person? Why don’t immigrants want to be like us? Can’t they just see it’s the best way to be? This seems to be a complete mystery to most Swedes.

This mindset is very well explained by Kjell Andersson (a Swede) on Quora:

“We have been taught that Sweden is the best.

When I was in school, in the 20th century, it was a constant message in school books and in media. We were taught that Sweden was a precursor for hunanity. A road model. By being so good we set an example for the rest of the world.

The ideology of Swedish supremacism was based on Hegels Dialectics: Progress occurs when history has created a thesis, like capitalism. This will create an opposition that create an antithesis, like communism. Conflict will follow until a synthesis, like Sweden, is created. The synthesis will combine the best of the two and be superior to both. The synthesis will then become the new thesis and history continues. Everything can only get better.

Note that Swedish supremacists do not legitimize their claims by history but by what will happen in the future. The result was a strong nationalism that claimed not to be nationalism. Contrary! All of humanity would become Swedish. It was the irresistible force of history. It was progress. Swedish chauvinism was not chauvinism but international solidarity.

This mentality is still alive. People in, for example, Afghanistan are not Swedish. Their culture is not Swedish but they are supposed to be longing to become Swedish. This is natural.

Example: No man really can be against gender equality because no man can wish that his old mother will be locked up in a small house when she could be free to move wherever she please.

A lot of Swedes believe that people with a very un Swedish attitude, like an Afghan taliban has an inner Swede who is longing to get out. Just give them a chance and they will show themselves as good Swedes. If you do not agree to this idea: You are a racist.

The chain of evidence is like this:

Development always means progress
Sweden is the most developed nation in the world.
Sweden is the best
Everyone wants improvement
Everyone wants to be like us
Claiming that there are people who do not want to be Swedish means claiming that there are people who do not want to improve
Claiming that some people do not want to improve means claiming that some people are bad.
Claiming that some people are bad is racism.”

Miranda was wrong. So is Sweden.

Aug

5

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

The sob story that never was

The Guardian is like the Terminator, it absolutely will not stop.

Here’s yet another immigrant’s tale of woe for your entertainment.

Five years previously, when I had entered the UK on a Writers, Artists and Composers visa I thought the road to settlement, and then citizenship, was flat and paved. As long as I could maintain myself financially, continued to work as a writer, and didn’t break any laws, I’d be eligible for ILR in five years, and citizenship a year later. And then there would be a citizenship ceremony to end it all, which seemed a pleasant enough idea.

So far so good, although I did raise an eyebrow at “which seemed a pleasant enough idea.” A rather curious choice of words to talk about acquiring citizenship, isn’t it? It almost sounds as if she isn’t really taking the concept seriously.

Fancy that.

But I wasn’t prepared for the mutable nature of immigration laws, and their ability to make migrants feel perpetually insecure, particularly as the rhetoric around migration mounted.

Weren’t you? Don’t you read the Guardian then?

“I didn’t think that would affect someone like you,” a large number of Brits said to me over the years, with the implacable British belief that if you’re middle class you exist under a separate set of laws. They weren’t entirely wrong – the more privileged you are in terms of income and education the more likely it is you’ll be able to clear all hurdles. It’s only the rich around whose convenience immigration laws are tailored.

And you’re what, shocked and disappointed? Of course a rich, educated immigrant will always be preferable to a poor, illiterate one! You need the skills, tools and social graces that money and education can give you in order to function in a First World country or else you’re wasting everybody’s time, including your own.

Seriously, show me one country in the world which is run as a charity and only takes in waifs and strays. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Soon after my arrival, I had heard of an overhaul of migration laws which would bring in a new “points based” immigration system; but the migration lawyer I spoke to said there was no way that the Writers, Artists and Composers visa could be brought within that system, since there was no way to actually measure “cultural value”. Speaking in a manner that suggested deep insider knowledge, the lawyer said that the migration route I had entered on would remain unchanged. I had enough faith in his polished assurance that I paid little attention when the new points based system was announced.

I’m afraid that lawyer had zero clue about it (how could they?) and therefore told you exactly what you needed to hear – and you believed them because you wanted to. You can’t exactly blame the government for this.

Several months later, near the time when I had to renew my writer’s visa, I went to the UKBA website and discovered my visa category had simply been abolished. I would either have to find some other category for which I was eligible, or leave the country.

I’m flabbergasted. The random lawyer was wrong after all! Say it ain’t so!

Even in all my huge relief, I registered a sense of disappointment at having been transferred from Writers, Artists and Composers to the category Tier 1 (General).

Yes, now you’re just an ordinary member of the public like the rest of us, instead of being an Artiste™. It must burn. It’s almost not worth applying for that pleb visa… oh wait.

Wanna bet this person is a fierce critic of ‘elitism’ the rest of the time?

I never really felt safe after that. Every announcement of proposed changes to migration laws made my heart stutter, every politician’s announcement about slashing migration numbers felt like a threat.

Look, at the end of the day, you have no god-given right to live in London for the rest of your life just because you want to. Half the flipping planet wants to!

You’re not exactly stuffed to the gills with skills the UK desperately needs either. Writers are two a penny. Retrain as a orthopaedic surgeon and we’ll talk.

And so, five years down the line, I was able to apply for ILR – though first I had to take the Life in the UK test, which continues to be mistakenly referred to as a Citizenship Test. At this juncture I received a tremendous outpouring of sympathy from my British friends. “It’s ridiculous,” they said. “Why should you have to learn about the kings and queens of England in order to stay?”

She keeps quoting these mysterious “British friends” who sound too stupid to be allowed. Are they even real?

In fact, the test teaches you little about kings and queens and is full of information about employment rights, schooling, the history of gender equality laws and other rather useful things (though the Tories want to add the kings-and-queens stuff, which will render it absurd.)

No more absurd than the history of gender equality laws. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present.

This kind of knowledge will also allow you not to make a twat of yourself when playing Trivial Pursuit with locals (not your imaginary British friends though, they don’t sound the type).

I had thought dual citizenship would feel like a gain, not a loss. Instead, as I took my seat in the chamber I found myself reflecting on what it means to be from a country in which acquiring a second passport is regarded across the board as reason for celebration. Weeks later, I was trying to explain this to British-Libyan writer, Hisham Matar, who knew exactly what I meant. “In that moment you are betrayed and betrayer both,” he said. “You’re betraying your country by seeking another passport, and you’re betrayed by your country which makes you want to seek another passport”

So many insecurities and chips on both shoulders. Oh dear.

And she’s only got two countries to deal with. How does she think Jason Bourne feels?

What dissipated the feeling of melancholy was a glance toward one end of the council chamber. There was a picture of the Queen in her tiara, set against a large union jack. I might have laughed out loud. It seemed so American: the smiling portrait, all those flags. And then someone pressed “play” on a CD player and classical music filled the room. I want to say it was The Ride of the Valkyries but this seems so over the top that it must be a novelist’s imagination rather than memory. Mustn’t it? All I know is I kept looking across the room at my sister and giggling.

Well, I called it, didn’t I? Getting British citzenship is just a big joke to her, all that matters is that she gets to stay in London.

we all sang – or moved our lips meaninglessly in time to – the national anthem

Oh FFS. Just tear up her certificate and send her back to Pakistan. What a waste of space.

However high my levels of anxiety might have felt along the way, I always knew I had the luxury of another home to return to, as well as a livelihood which wasn’t contingent on being in one place rather than another.

How interesting. What was all that guff about feeling ‘unsafe’ then? Check your privilege, you silly moo!

We had all been given envelopes for our certificates, and when I opened mine out popped Theresa May. Or at least a letter of welcome from her, with her photograph at the top of the page. Just a few weeks earlier, May had sent her “Go Home” vans across the UK, so this hardly inspired a feeling of belonging.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.

LEGAL IMMIGRATION.

TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.

is it even necessary to add that the irony here that the resources of the state, as embodied by institutions such as the NHS, would probably collapse without migrants?

But you’re not one of them, are you?

Also: hooray! The legendary “the NHS relies on immigrants” trope makes an appearance! We have a full house!

The first thing I did on returning home was download and fill out a passport application form. Wanting to stay was my primary reason for acquiring citizenship, but the added benefit of a passport that allowed me to travel without the visa nightmares that come attached to a Pakistani passport was also a strong motivating factor.

This says it all. What a worthy addition to the UK this person is. Not.

I filled out the form, took it to the post office, and handed it across the counter to a bearded man with the name tag Khaled.

Khaled, huh? Just like back home!

“First passport?” he asked.

“Yes.”

Khaled looked gravely at me.

“Welcome,” he said, and everything uncomplicated and moving I had wanted to feel in that citizenship ceremony, I felt then.

Oh, now you feel like you belong in the UK. Because Khaled said so. Right.