Nick Conrad, the feminist’s nightmare…

Ah, the Ched Evans debate. Causing people everywhere to shout their mouths off (be patient, I shall be joining them in a minute), whether it be in defence of the man or if you just want to tell everyone what a vile arse-biscuit he is. Nick Conrad is one such person. On Monday the BBC Radio Norfolk DJ (well, there’s one reason not to take the guy seriously) held a debate on whether the former Sheffield United player should be able to return to the club after being convicted of rape, a crime which he has shown no remorse for whatsoever. Conrad attempted to persuade his listeners that if a woman says no and a man persists, then this is an abhorrent action. Unfortunately, he had preceded and then followed this comment with remarks such as this:

I think women need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire; that when you’re in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity there’s a huge amount of energy in the male body, there’s a huge amount of will and intent, and it’s very difficult for many men to say no when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm. And it’s the old adage about if you yank a dog’s tail then don’t be surprised when it bites you. Or you can’t keep snakes in the garden and think they’ll only bite your neighbours.”

Conrad also went on to talk about how ‘man-hating’ feminists had ‘hijacked’ the Evans debate (to be fair, he did say the use of the word ‘hijack’ was extreme) and referred to ‘grey areas’ of rape.

Being the outspoken gobshite I am, I had a number of thoughts on this issue. Firstly, as has been stated in many opinion pieces in British newspapers on the subject, Conrad’s views on sex and sexuality are long, long, long out of date and, to put it bluntly, fucking bollocks. A woman needs to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire? I think women have been aware, since the beginning of fucking time. The same as we have been aware of our own, which is just as strong, just as potent, sometimes just as all-consuming as a man’s sexual desire. We just don’t feel the need to bloody parade it around so much. Hell, I’m female and I’ve yet to have a boyfriend who can keep up with me in the bedroom. Conrad makes the mistake of thinking that if a man is horny, the only way of resolving the matter is get to his end away there and then, with the person who ignited the horniness. Bullshit. Take a cold shower. Watch some porn and beat off. Visit a prostitute. There are other options.

Conrad also seems to be of the presumption that if a woman teases a man, then he has automatic rights to her body. Sorry pal, but it’s no-go there, either. Yes, a minority of women are prick-teases, leading a man into thinking he’s going to have sex with her. But you forget one very important thing: teasing a man is not illegal; rape is. Just because a woman makes a man think he’s going to have sex does not give him the entitlement to have it. I’m not saying she’s morally correct; I think it’s a shitty thing to do. But one immoral action does not make an illegal one right. Still having problems controlling your libido? Think about this: Peter Sutcliffe didn’t feel he could stop himself murdering women because he was on a mission from God. Does that absolve him?

There is also the mistaken belief that rape is about desire. Rape is not about desire. It is a vile, violent act with the intent of dominating the person being violated, whether it be a woman or a man. It is a repulsive act perpetrated by individuals who believe it is their right to have control over someone else. Conrad’s comments make it sound like every man has the capacity to be like this. They don’t. Most men have the ability to keep their sex drives in check and to actually have respect for other human beings. Most men know that if a woman says no, at any point, whether it be in the bar or in bed with the man, then it means no. In rape, there are no grey areas.

And then we come to the ‘feminist’ argument. Feminists have been getting a bad wrap in the news of late, what with the Ched Evans and Dr Matt Taylor debates. According to some downright disgusting dickwads that call themselves supporters of Ched Evans, Jessica Ennis deserves to be raped herself, just because she opposes his return to Sheffield United. Which just shows how fucking seriously the crime of rape is taken by some sad, pathetic excuses of human beings. But Jessica Ennis is one extreme example. If you look at a lot of news stories where women have spoken out against bad treatment against them, there is often a comeback of ‘those bloody feminists’. Well, we’re so fucking sorry for not wanting to have our human rights violated. But that’s beside the point. In the case of Nick Conrad, he should not have even brought up feminists. Rape is not a feminist issue. It is not even a women’s issue. It is an issue for all of society to contend with, regardless of gender.

People have obviously complained about Conrad’s comments and have called for his sacking from the radio station. A bit harsh, considering he has obviously realised what a numpty he’s been and has since apologised. I actually feel sorry for Conrad. Having listened to the show, he doesn’t seem to be a bad sort. And let’s face it, his views are shared by many people. This does not, however, make it right for him to think it. But we can’t blame him. We are living in a society that likes to attack individual people for their views when actually the rest of society is not that much fucking better. We live in a society where a very small percentage of rape cases lead to conviction, and that’s only the ones that are reported and taken to court: I don’t even want to think about the number which aren’t. We live in a society where people think that if a woman is drunk, or is wearing a skirt which is considered a shade too short, or if she is openly flirtatious, then she only has herself to blame if she is raped. Nick Conrad is not the one to blame here. Society is.

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Children are not idiots.

Children’s fiction. As an adult, it’s like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it. I personally love it. Well, unless it’s something like Winnie the Pooh. Then frankly I’m a bit old.

Take Harry Potter, for instance. Yes, they are children’s books. But they are extremely well written, have very intricate plots and at times are very amusing. They also deal with a lot of issues which are extremely adult. Themes such as death, grief, oppression, survival and the need to question authority and not blindly follow like lemmings over a precipice. They teach children that life is not all hearts and flowers and sunshine and moonbeams. They also deal with issues that are seen as adolescent but actually are still prevalent in adult life: fancying someone you are too scared to tell you like, romantic rejection, heartbreak.

A few months ago Lynn Shepherd, author of what she calls ‘literary mysteries’ (I’ve never read any of them so I can’t judge, but from the blurbs they sound like glorified fan fiction to me), got into a lot of fucking shit for writing an article saying that JK Rowling should stop publishing as it stops other writers from having a chance of selling their books. There were a lot of things which were bullshit about her article – for starters, other writers being around has never seemed to stop others from selling, if they’re good enough. Also, she seems to have a very limited knowledge of how the publishing industry works. What fucked me off the most though was her comment about adults reading children’s books: “I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.”

OK. Let’s start with a favourite book of mine, Goodnight Mr Tom, about a boy who is evacuated during the war, and who suffers abuse at the hand of his mother. Next, Bridge to Terabithia, a heartbreaking tale of loss of a friend during childhood. Another one, Mr Stink, a story of how a rich man loses his wife and home, becoming a tramp. I could go on – To Kill A Mockingbird, Narnia, His Dark Materials, etc, etc. But the point I’m making is is that these are not stories which are of no value intellectually or morally. To insinuate that they are is an insult to children and teenagers everywhere. Just because you are not an adult doesn’t make you stupid. Being an avid reader I’ve found that the same themes crop up in both books for children and adults. It’s not like we’re different fucking species.

And so, onto my main point of the evening. I’ve just read an article about this year’s Carnegie medal winner for children’s literature, Kevin Brooks, for his novel The Bunker Diary, about a teenager who is captured and imprisoned. Brooks’s win has caused controversy due to his book’s depiction of violence. To comment on this, I’d like to quote JK Rowling. I was once an interview with her, where she said she’d received letters from parents after the fourth book, asking for there to be no more deaths in the next books as it upset their children. Her response? Basically, if you don’t like what is in my books, don’t read them.

I remember once having an argument with someone who said that children’s books shouldn’t contain themes such as death, violence or anything that would cause upset. Well you know what? Upset is a huge part of life, whether you fucking like it or not. You can try and protect children from it, but eventually it will affect them in some way. Surely it is better for them to be introduced to it via literature, or films, or TV, so they can see how best to deal with it once it does come? After all, it’s not like in Harry Potter someone died and then that was it. We went through the grieving process with the characters, and came out the other end, showing children that life does go on after we lose someone we love. Is that a bad thing to teach children? And going back to Brooks’ novel. Yes, it’s not nice to think about children experiencing violence. But unfortunately some do and other children should know and understand this. How else can they learn empathy?

We all experience death, rejection, loss and heartbreak at some point. Yes, children may get upset if they read about such things. But it does not do to hide these things from children. In fact, if we do, it is an insult to their intelligence and their ability to deal with such matters. I’ve found that they’re generally more resilient than adults. So let’s treat them as such.  

You’re wearing what?

21st century Britain. Where people are treated equally and people are judged on their achievements and how they behave in society. Bollocks. This week has reminded me how fucking low and bitchy people can be.

Last year Sarah Millican, a fine example of a comedian,went to the BAFTAs in a dress from John Lewis. Which won points from me in the first place. She’d been nominated for a non-gender specific award – still a rarity for female comedians – and was obviously thrilled. After the ceremony, was this mentioned in the media? Was it fuck. No, all eyes had been on what she was wearing and she was subjected to a barrage of abuse. She looked like someone’s grandma. Had she made the dress out of old curtains? She looked fat, she looked ugly. The worst thing in my view? Most of these comments were from other bloody women.

This whole situation has raised its head again after Millican recently published an article in the Radio Times about her experience. She explains how she had to buy her dress in John Lewis as, being a size 18, most designer shops just do not stock dresses in that size. She talks about how excited she had been, what a great night it was even though she didn’t win. Then she checked her Twitter account. And cried in the car.

The people who sent those messages should be fucking ashamed of themselves. Millican is a brilliant comedian, she is fantastic at her job. She is one of the few female comedians (some might say unfortunately) that is actually fucking funny. And, as far as I can remember, she is the only female comedian since Jo Brand who hasn’t relied on her looks in her career. Because that’s the sad thing: most female comedians in the UK are what you might call classically attractive. Meaning that they are what society deems attractive. Now I’m not saying you can’t be beautiful and funny. Of course you can. Dawn French, for example, although many may disagree with me. But if we’re talking about female comedians who are touring and appearing on panel shows regularly? The majority of them are annoying fuckers, gladly admitting they know nothing of what’s happening in the news and making ‘jokes’ about celebrities and pop culture and clothes, because obviously that’s all women are interested in. Tossers.

Saying that, the way Millican was treated after the BAFTAs does make it look like women are only interested in those things. After every fucking awards ceremony there’s some piece of shit section on daytime TV programmes about who was wearing what, which designer was it, was it nice, was it shit, did the shoes and accessories go with it. Who gives a flying fuck? Many people, by the looks of it. I’m obviously in a fucking minority when I think it’s up to Millican what she wears. Of course I have my own opinions on what she wore. But that’s irrelevant. If she was happy, then everyone else should be happy too. 

What the whole episode shows is that, even today, women can be incredibly talented and funny and intelligent and good at their jobs. And for most people it means fuck all. Because what you look like is what people care about. As Millican said in her article, no one asked her husband where he got his suit from (ASDA, by the way. More brownie points from me). Because men are allowed to be talented and funny and intelligent and good at their jobs without having to look good as well. Whereas women are supposed to look like goddesses all the fucking time. It’s probably why I’ve been so bloody unsuccessful in my life. I have shit dress sense, my hair has a life and mind of its own and I don’t exactly starve myself. Far from it, in fact. 

So, my point being? Basically, women are bitches and society is a fool. Millican says she will wear the dress to the BAFTAs again if she’s invited, just so she can say ‘Oh, it’s just last year’s, pet.’ I bloody hope she does. Give those fuckers the finger.  

The Legacy of a Fanatic

The recent death of Fred Phelps has inspired joy in the hearts of many. In articles about his death he’s been called ‘monster’ and ‘Satan’s servant’, among others. It’s not hard to see why people are glad he’s dead. Described by Louis Theroux as ‘an angry, bigoted man who thrived on conflict’, he spent years fronting the Westboro Baptist Church, brainwashing his family – and others – into spreading hatred against all those who don’t fit the Westboro ideal. Which is basically anyone but themselves. Their infamous pickets, where they brandish signs with slogans such as ‘God hates fags’, ‘Fag troops’ and ‘Thank God for dead soldiers’, have brought them worldwide ‘fame’, for want of a better word. They are seen as evil cunts who think nothing of who they might offend or distress. But ask yourself this: in terms of what they believe, are they any different from a lot of other religious groups out there?

I see a lot of myself in the Phelpses. They are outspoken fuckwits who use foul language to get their point across. So am I. They thrive on conflict and argument. I too enjoy these things, to an extent. They are stubborn fuckers who won’t change their opinions for love nor money. Yep, me again. Of course, I also see major differences between myself and them. I don’t necessarily think I’m right all the time; I just think what I think. If someone disagrees, then fine. The Phelpses believe that they alone speak the truth: that God is punishing America by killing soldiers in war, creating natural disasters and giving people cancer, all because of America’s acceptance of homosexuality. I don’t intentionally go out of my way to offend people (although I accept that this is what I inadvertently do sometimes); the Phelpses love offending people, they love it when people shout abuse at them when they picket.

This week I’ve read a lot of articles about Westboro, and rewatched Louis Theroux’s two documentaries about them, and I’m still buggered as to why they do what they do. OK, they hate gay people and ‘fag enablers’ (I personally prefer the term ‘gay enthusiast’, a club to which I happily subscribe). So do many churches. But other churches seem to want to convert people in order to save their souls (which, admittedly, can be fucking annoying). But the Westboro Baptist Church don’t want to do that. They say they have no interest in winning souls for Christ. Jael Phelps, Fred Phelps’ granddaughter, said in Theroux’s documentary that, by picketing, they’re doing a ‘loving and courteous thing’. But going on their beliefs – that they are the only ones who will be allowed in heaven and everyone else is heading straight for hell – even if someone does heed their word and change their behaviour, if they don’t join the church they won’t be going to heaven anyway. By all accounts, it’s quite difficult to get into the church. They’re not exactly known for welcoming people with open arms. So, someone is going against the word of God, and Westboro tell them so, and, whatever path they then choose, they are condemned to hell. The church have no interest in taking them under their wing, so they’re definitely going to hell. So, the church’s idea of being loving and courteous is telling someone they’re going to hell, regardless?

Of course there’s one explanation for their behaviour. It gets them a fuckload of media attention. They seem to thrive on all the shit that is written about them. They believe it gives them power. Which is essentially what every church wants. Of course it’s false power: they’re a tiny church in a ‘bourgeois, middle-class area’, as Keith Allen put it. So, they exert their power in other ways. Such as excommunicating Fred Phelps last year. Not allowing the younger members to have friends outside of the church. Threatening members with expulsion if they don’t adhere to the doctrine. In recent years there are been many defections, and these ex-members are cast out with no chance of seeing their friends and families again.

The practice of excommunication is something they have in common with other religious communities, for example the Amish. They also share many other things with churches around the globe. A belief that they alone are following the scripture in full, when actually they’re picking and choosing what to believe. A belief that they have a right to judge people on how they live their lives because they are God’s ‘chosen ones’. A belief that pride has no place in worshipping Christ, and yet everything that comes out of their mouths is tainted with pride and arrogance. A belief that if you’re in a relationship with no intention of getting married then you’re only in it for fornication, when in reality it’s those who oppose sex before marriage that are obsessed with shagging. And, of course, hypocrisy: condemning others to hell for things which those in the church are also guilty.

Fred Phelps has left behind a lot of hate. And probably his death will only tighten the bonds of the church, making them more determined than ever. If only they saw what we saw. When they see themselves in the media, they see their message being spread and think this gives them power. Yes, their message is being spread, but it doesn’t make them powerful. It makes them look like the fucking brainwashed, ignorant, intolerant wankfoxes that they are.      

The Insanity of the Radicals

Living in Poland, I sometimes get slightly behind on some issues which have been raised in the UK. Reading the MSN website, I happened across an article about the RTS awards. Looking through the list of winners, I saw that Stephen Fry had won an award for his documentary Stephen Fry: Out There. Not knowing anything about it, I looked it up. In the documentary, Fry explores attitudes to homosexuality across the globe. This includes a visit to the USA to explore ‘reparative therapy’, a visit to Brazil, where a gay person is killed every thirty-six hours and also to Russia; well, everyone by now probably knows Putin’s stance on homosexuality. What incurred my wrath most though was Fry’s visit to Uganda, and his interview with that fucking vile, despicable excuse of a human being that is Simon Lokodo.

Lokodo, for those that don’t know, is the Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity. A former Catholic priest, he holds very strong views on homosexuality, in February describing it as ‘repugnant’. Well, Mr Lokodo, let me tell you, I think some of your ideas of what’s right and wrong are goddamn fucking repugnant. Here is a quote from Stephen Fry when he was interviewed about his talk with Lokodo:

“I actually got a Ugandan Minister to say on camera- he’s the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, it’s the only such ministry in the world. I said to him… there’s so much more to worry about in your country than the odd gay person going to bed with the other gay person. For example, you have almost an epidemic of child rape in this country, which is just frightening. And he said ‘Ah, but it is the right kind of child rape.’ I said ‘That was on camera. Do you know that was on camera?’ He said ‘Yes.’ I said ‘Can you just explain what you meant?’ ‘Well, it is men raping girls. Which is natural.'”

Yes, this man thinks that child rape is preferable to consensual homosexual sex. Purely because it takes place between a male and a female. If you watch the interview between Fry and Lokodo and read interviews with the guy, he makes other, just as outrageous claims about being homosexual. In the interview with Fry, he said that anal sex is dirty, and causes infections, something which only gay men get. When Fry pointed out that actually most sodomy takes place between heterosexual couples, Lokodo replied: “Not in Africa”. According to him, no heterosexual couple in Africa has anal sex. What, he’s carried out a fucking sex survey across the whole continent? What a cunting wankfox. And when introducing himself to Fry, he started with a warning of how Fry shouldn’t try to convert him to his way of thinking and his way of behaviour; apparently being gay means you’ll automatically try and ‘convert’ other people to be that way too.

The child rape quote is of course the most disturbing. Uganda has a massive problem with this and, for all his talk of wanting Ugandans not to lose their dignity and to live with morals, he doesn’t seem that inclined to solve it. As far as he’s concerned, as long as it’s between a heterosexual couple, age and consent are irrelevant. And with opinions like that, how can anyone expect him to have any empathy towards homosexuals? He probably doesn’t have a fucking heart, just a piece of rock. Or a shard of ice.

In January a bill was signed in Uganda making homosexuality illegal. Obama expressed his disappointment, saying it was “a step backward for all Ugandans”. It’s bad enough as it is, but the Ugandan government can’t even give decent reasons as to why they hate homosexuals so much. The only reason which comes across is ignorance. Ugandan Gay Rights activitist Frank Mugisha said:

“If you ask ordinary Ugandans about why they fear or why they are very homophobic, they will not have a clear answer to you…They will just tell you ‘We don’t want homosexuality in Uganda,’ but they won’t give you a very clear explanation. That alone shows that it’s actually because of ignorance.”

The Ugandan Prime Minister, Yoweri Museveni, has equally odd things to say about the matter. According to him, homosexuality is caused by ‘random breeding’. I don’t even know what that’s supposed to fucking mean. Surely most breeding is random? Unless he means inter-racial or inter-religious breeding. And lesbianism is caused by ‘sexual starvation’. Jesus Christ, if that was the case I’d be a fucking raving lesbian. 

It’s probably going to be a long time before Uganda moves forward with this. It’s not like they’ve had the best human rights record ever (remember Idi Amin?). All I can say is good luck to Mugisha, who plans to fight the new bill back in his home country, despite the risk of being imprisoned. If only there were more like him. 

Love, sex, dating, blah, blah, blah: revisited

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a few conversations on the topics of love, sex and dating. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that these are topics I’ve covered quite a lot. However, these recent conversations have compelled me to revisit the subjects as, more than ever, I’m completely, utterly, cunting perplexed by them.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a pub with a female friend of mine discussing whether we, as women, should actively chase a man we fancy and want to date. From a personal point of view, I’d love to be able to do that. I’d love to be able to say ‘I really like you and I’d like to go on a date with you sometime’. So why don’t I? My friend put it beautifully: ‘We have to look after our dignity’. I grew up believing that if women actively chased men, they were either (a) clingy and obsessive, or (b) sluts. Of course, now we live in the 21st century, equality and all that, but the mindset has been ingrained in me. There’s also the fact that I’m a fucking emotional retard with the courage of a cocking hamster. One of my major character flaws is that if someone tries to have a really serious conversation with me, I deflect with jokes. It’s how I deal with any uncomfortable situation. Another character flaw of mine is the complete inability to read subtext. On the rare occasions I’ve lost my head slightly and asked men out on dates, men who I thought fancied me, they’ve all come back with a resounding ‘no’. So, not something which has done wonders for my confidence. And are men happy with women asking them out? Or do they still like to be gentlemenly?

And then say you do get into a relationship, what then? In my blog post ‘No sex please, I’m British’, I talked about my utter confusion about sex, when it should happen in a relationship and a trillion other issues I have with the subject. One thing I do know: I’m far too old, lazy and just damn not interested in one-night stands. I was talking to a friend on Saturday regarding one-night stands. This friend has friends who are happy to go to a Polish nightclub, not being able to speak much Polish, and get off with some Polish person, who can’t speak much English, then go home and shag them. As, for them, being able to talk with one another isn’t deemed important. Fair enough, if that’s what you’re into. But surely that must be really fucking awkward in the morning? Not only do you wake up with a monster hangover, feeling like a badger’s died in your mouth, after a night of probably shit sex (see blog post ‘No sex please, I’m British’), with someone who really didn’t look like that last night in the club, they then can’t understand you when you tell them to piss off home.

I’m not saying I don’t want to have sex. I love sex. I’d just rather it be with someone I felt comfortable with. Which means dating someone for a least a little while instead of jumping into bed on the first date. Something else which attitudes have changed towards. As an adult, if you’re dating someone it’s naturally assumed you’re going to have sex with them right from the beginning of the relationship. Which would be OK if I wasn’t worried about them fucking running and screaming for the hills after catching a glimpse of my naked, wobbly body. I need to make sure I’ve snared them with my charming personality before I let them into the boudoir.

And snaring is bloody hard to do. There’s always the chance that you’ll go on a few dates with someone, and they realise there are more shitty things about you than good things. One of my favourite comedians, Jon Richardson, said once in a routine that dating would be so much easier if you saw someone you liked, gave them a laminated list of what you’re good at and what you’re shit at, and then let them decide if they want to see you or not. At least then they couldn’t complain about your flaws, because they already knew about them.

So what am I looking for? I always thought I’d find someone who was a cross-between Charlie Brooker and Ben Fogle. Weird combo, I know. Charlie Brooker for his wit, talent and humour; Ben Fogle for his sense of adventure and inherent sweetness and kindness. I suppose I want what everyone wants: someone who I can talk to, someone to hold, someone to travel and share adventures with. It’s just asking them out which is the fucking problem…

Working-class vs. Middle-class: revisited

After my last post concerning various newspaper articles on the subject of how working-class people should be more like the middle-class in order to fit in. Peter Brandt, the gentleman who was quoted in these articles, has since commented on my post to set the record straight. He sent me a link to both his original post, and the blog post which it was inspired by; both make for interesting reading. And goes to show how the media pick and choose what they print.

Reading Brandt’s post, I suppose I can see where the media got the idea from that all the uneducated heathens in the country should shape up and be like the fucking toffs. However, it’s also blindingly bloody clear that what they wrote in the papers was completely taken out of context. Brandt does talk about the barriers of being working-class – how they are more likely to fail at school, how they have less life choices, how they have less opportunities to fulfil their potential; he does talk about how many working-class people feel uncomfortable in certain social situations; he does talk about how we need to challenge this and make them feel more comfortable. Does he say that working-class people should learn how to be middle-class? No, he doesn’t. Which is where the media (and myself) got it wrong.

I also read the blog post which inspired Brandt’s, and it makes for interesting reading. The post is basically the experiences of a woman from an extremely poor working-class background, who had to steal money from her dad’s alcohol fund to buy food from herself and her sisters; who had to clean sick off her comatose dad; who had to hide behind the sofa to avoid being beaten up by her mum; who had to start work at the age of thirteen to buy her own food; who was living on her own at the age of sixteen; and who felt completely like a fish out of water when she went to Cambridge University. Understandably so. It’s a terrible thing she went through, and more should’ve been done to help. But it does raise a few points.

For starters, the people the blogger grew up around consisted of the unemployed, long-term sick and working in menial jobs. As I said before, someone has to do the menial jobs, or else society collapses all around us. And if you’re unemployed and actively looking for work, or are genuinely sick and can’t work, fair enough. Unfortunately, we do live in a society where a minority of the population take the fucking piss and take advantage of a benefits system which we’re lucky to have. Not only that, but they are bloody proud of the fact that they don’t work and get to live on handouts. These people don’t have the fucking right to call themselves working-class. Hey, the clue is in the cocking name.

This minority is now how the majority of the country view the entirety of the working-class: lazy cunts who can’t be bothered to do a day’s work. Which is bullshit, obviously. I’m working-class, and both my parents worked. Brandt grew up working-class, and both his parents worked. A lot of my friends growing up were working-class, and their parents worked. Yes, the blogger had a horrific childhood, but it’s not the only example of working-class life. She grew up with a lack of confidence in ‘middle-class’ scenarios; something probably more likely to have been caused by shitty parenting than being working-class. And shitty parenting crosses class boundaries: there are many middle-class people who have issues dealing with everyday situations because of this.

Of course, numbers don’t lie. Statistically working-class people are less likely to apply to top-class universities and for the top jobs due to lack of confidence. Not hard to see why: I myself was asked in an interview for a place at a conservatoire, ‘Don’t you think coming from a state school is a disadvantage?’. But the solution doesn’t just lie in making (certain) working-class people feel more confident. Attitudes need to change as to the whole idea of working-class and middle-class. People need to stop thinking that being middle-class makes you better. The education system needs to be changed in order to be more inclusive. Employers and universities need to stop being so discriminatory and to judge people on their talents, their grades and their personalities rather than their backgrounds.

So, Mr Brandt, I apologise for any offence caused. Although I did read various articles on the subject, I now know to also check the original source before putting things down in print.