Friday, 12 June 2015


Last week was Volunteers' Week. I was being a "bad volunteer" as some I know see it - too busy being ill, and in bed for a couple of days, so I didn't do much beyond day job, eat and sleep that week.  Oh, I ran a bi social/support group for an evening.  I knew there was something.

But I tweeted:
I could have named more projects and expanded on the theme a little but, y'know, 140 characters and all that.

I prefer "bi volunteering" to "bi activism" as a phrase at the moment. It sounds a bit more... accessible?  Anyone can be a volunteer, but activists must have sekrit superpowers.

The main lesson I've learned on volunteeringy activist doodah was from Natalya, whose wisdom is that you should do the volunteering that you enjoy and find least taxing. It is the one you are most likely to still want to do when doing it involves the equivalent of standing in the sleet at a bus stop on an evening in January when you could be warm and dry at home.

What bi volunteering would you like to do?

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Bye bye to the great Lib-Lab lie

I see that right-wing rag the New Statesman is flying the kite for Lib Dem / Labour merger. The magazine's columnists alternate between talking about that and Lib Dem / Tory merger as a distraction method to try and prevent conversation opening up about reunifying the historic Labour-Tory schism.

From Labour's point of view perhaps combining with the Liberals makes sense. Labour already have two puppet parties at their disposal, to variously neutralise anti-Labour votes and scare recalcitrant Labour voters to the polls. That's probably as many outlier parties as any election winning strategy needs.

What Labour need is a grouping that produces policies more progressive than Labour's own, to offer the positive social change many of Labour's supporters wish it represented. It turned out Labour's plans to introduce and then extend the bedroom tax, put ATOS in charge of disability benefits, charge citizens for mistakes the state made on their records, slash benefits for young people and so forth reminded voters so much of the Tories that they went and voted blue instead.

The Libs have kept coming up with proposals that Labour felt it had to leave untouched for a while before co-opting: the NHS, the welfare state, tax-and-spend economics, the mansion tax, opposition to apartheid, LGBT rights and so forth. Left to their own devices Labour spent tens of millions of pounds on policy development between 2010 and 2015 and still wound up borrowing Liberal proposals at the last minute. Moving that policy development unit in house looks to be a lot more efficient.

From the Lib Dem perspective though, never mind the gaping philosophical divide: the Liberals already did merging with a party to their right thing in the 80s, and it took ages to recover. Whyever would they do it again?

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Another legal inch forward

Colombia, which for everyone who enjoys the Weekly Show with John Oliver running joke about maps is the country top left of South America that joins the continent to Central America*, has just decided to join the small coterie of nations that respond to trans identities with "OK, carry on" rather than "Ew" or "Yeah yeah whatevs shutup".

As of once-the-law-is-implemented, you'll be able to amend your gender records on identity documents on the basis of "this is who I am" rather than based on dubious psych or surgery criteria.

Given how many flavours of wrong the gatekeepers can and do get it, taking away gatekeepers is surely a step in the right direction.

* I suspect more UKanian readers see the nation's name and think of the Rocky Horror audience par-tic-i-pation joke about drugs, but there we go.