Monday 9 January 2023

That was 2022 in bisexual

Each year I do a roundup of the year for Bi Community News magazine. Here's 2022's.

Past years: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017

The 2020s have been a tough time for many people and while a lot of “normal” life returned in 2022, things are still not quite as they were before.

We start in January, with the brilliant and long-awaited news of human trials for a vaccine against HIV. The UK government announced the erasure of some more historic offences where bi or gay men were convicted under biphobic and homophobic laws. Student Pride announced it would be postponed in one of the last cases of COVID restrictions hitting a Pride date. We were sad to hear that The Owl House was getting a foreshortened third run before being dropped. And Brum Bi Group went to London to join in a protest on trans people’s human rights.

In February, war reached Europe as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, and queer culture joined in the wave of sanctions by banning them from Eurovision. New Zealand announced a ban on conversion therapy but Singapore rebuffed an attempt to decriminalise sex between men. Debateable bi rep on TV continued with the return of bi liar Loki. In sports, Ireen Wüst broke new records at the Winter Olympics.  Bi+ day out BiFest returned to the Midlands. Finally, we had remarkable research that mixed-sex couples commute differently from same-sex ones and showing the proportion of the population who are bi rising again.

The UK government leaked it was not proceeding with a long-promised ban on conversion therapy in March. The month is Bi Health Month but our minds were on ways to help LGBT+ people in Ukraine as the war started to unfold. American research looked at bi representation on TV in the light of new stats from Gallup.  The Lammy book awards announced their shortlists including several bi categories. Guatemala’s President got presidential and over-ruled a new ban on same-sex marriage. Lovers of the outdoors got news of a bisexual camping weekend.

April saw tickets go on sale for BiCon. The annual bi bash has been running since 1984 – until 2019 in person, then for two years online and this year in a mixed format with some in-person content and some online. A major international conference was cancelled when too many LGBT organisations expressed their lack of faith in the UK government and its reputation on equalities. Heartstopper dropped onto Netflix and became the big LGBT TV show of the year. YouGov found that most people disagreed with the UK government on outlawing “conversion therapy”. And research in the US showed how the pandemic had particularly impacted bi and other queer kids.

Monkeypox was the unfortunate new big thing in May, and we had advice about it. Between that and COVID, Leicester’s Big Bi Fun Day announced it was skipping another year. Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman back in the day, wound up the haters online in a delicious way. As Prides returned there was a special rainbow 50p to celebrate their work since 1972. IDAHOBIT was marked around the world including by Leeds Bi Social Group. The USA got ready to overturn the Roe v Wade judgement that made abortion legal across the nation. And the UK dropped out of the top ten countries in Europe for LGBT people.

In June six years on from the Orlando club shooting we saw something all too similar in Oslo. Also abroad, Thailand looked to introduce same-sex civil partnerships, and while the US Supreme Court had its eye on same-sex marriage as the next step after abortion, polls showed it was more popular across the country than ever. In the UK BiCon pushed its booking deadline back a little while monkeypox numbers kept ticking upwards.

The American Center for Disease Control noted that COVID was having a worse impact on bis than other groups in July. While some Prides were ruling that police could not march – or not march in uniform – in Greater Manchester the police decided to boycott Pride instead. Glasgow‘s Mardi Gla became the first UK LGBT+ Pride to put bis front and centre. Civil partnerships – expected to fade away after the introduction of same-sex marriage – proved to be booming especially since they were opened up to mixed-sex couples as well. Biphobia on the football pitch wound up in court for Tower Hamlets FC.

August saw annual bi gathering BiCon return in-person in Leeds (and also online). Andorra became the 33rd country to legalise same-sex marriage, though it won’t come into effect until 2023, while in Vietnam the health services declared that being queer is not a disease. Monkeypox continued to spread here in the UK, albeit more slowly. Summer bi telly included Never Have I Ever and First Kill.

Each year September is the month of Bi Visibility Day, marked for the 24th time in 2022, and a date that now has wrapped around it Bi Week (in the USA) and in some parts of the internet, Bi Month. Once more there were more than 100 events to mark the date across a host of countries. That included a host of flags, displays and events in the UK, and in the USA a meeting at the White House, the illumination of the Niagara Falls in pink, purple and blue, and America’s LGBT journalism network hosting a discussion on bi representation. In Cuba a referendum backed same-sex marriage, and in Canada the government announced moves to equalise blood donation rules. But most impressively given all going on around them, in Ukraine the organisers of Kharkiv Pride went ahead with their event.

In October America’s version of BiCon, Because, returned. Like BiCon it went for a mixed format offering both in-person and online participation. Mexico finished its jigsaw-like process of introducing same-sex marriage, and Slovakia went there in a single step. Meanwhile in Japan Tokyo brought in a local partnership register similar to those seen in the UK at the end of the 1990s. A remarkable court case in the USA sought to overturn employment protections for bisexual people, and by implication asexual people too, arguing that the existing rulings only covered gay and straight people.

November saw another deadly attack at a queer bar in the USA. One of the handful of openly bi MPs here announced she would not be restanding whenever the General Election comes. One of her counterparts in the US was also seen to have disengaged from her party, and later crossed the floor from Democrat to sit as an Independent. Some far-from-robust research suggested both Oxford and Cambridge universities now have huge numbers of bi students, with heterosexuals now in the minority. In a rare bit of good public health news, Monkeypox numbers had fallen significantly.

And we celebrated 24 years of the bi flag.

As the year wrapped up, court cases had led to the US government move to legislate to protect same-sex marriage and interracial marriage from interference by the Supreme Court. By the middle of the December that legislation had passed all three stages to become law before the Democrats lose control of the House in January. Governor Kate Brown commuted all death sentences in her state. But the cherry on the cake of the year was the dictionary adding and recognising bi synonym multisexual.




Friday 31 December 2021

That was 2021 in bisexual

 I wrote this round-up of the year's news for Bi Community News. That was 2021...

The original is here


It was another COVID year so the bi review of the year is a little different than usual – but here’s our roundup of 2021!

We start in January, which seems both a moment ago and a million years. New US President Joe Biden got off to a good start. Getting Lady Gaga to perform at his inauguration was only a part of it. New Zealand had fascinating research on bi experience of crime, and there were rumours of a new Sex And The City series that might have some bi representation – though that took a whole year to transpire. And Star Trek:Discovery star Mary Wiseman (who plays Tilly in the show) came out as bisexual.

February‘s news included research showing more bis than ever in the USA. The head of MI6 apologised for decisions his predecessors made while the MOD said they were going to start returning medals to servicepeople who had been stripped of them for being bi or gay. Angola decriminalised same-sex love at last. Big Bi Fun Day understandably announced it was skipping a year again. And actress Adelaide Kane (of the recent remake of Teen Wolf, This Is Us and Reign) came out as bisexual on TikTok. 

During March  Bi Health Month – London’s largest Pride event was thrown into disarray amid complaints over racism. Other Prides announced plans to return despite the pandemic. Leeds’ bi group declared it would shortly be closed down. In politics, the LGBT groups of eight parties united to call for action on conversion therapy while pan MP Layla Moran launched a campaign to put pressure on Poland’s “LGBT Free Zone” districts. Caroline Noakes MP attacked her own government’s failings on LGBT rights after three advisors on LGBT issues quit.

In April there was a chorus of disapproval over a homophobic, biphobic and transphobic lobby group getting charity status. Northern Ireland voted to end “conversion therapy“. And tickets went on sale for a second virtual BiCon bi conference. And Jason Ellis talked about being an openly bi MMA fighter yet not feeling welcome in the LGBT community.

One popular internet claim this year was that “lesbians are becoming extinct”. It’s a weird idea but in May the ONS proved it a lie. Eurovision was won by a band with a bi member – after it was won in 2020 by a bi singer who then held the title for an extra year, that trophy has been in bi hands for a while now. LGBT organisations attacked the UK’s EHRC equality commission for its inaction on LGBTphobia. The annual Rainbow Map of European LGBT rights reflected the reasons for this as the UK slid down the league table once again. Up until 2015 we topped the table. Blood donation rules were changed to remove bias on the grounds of orientation. The Queen’s Speech had nothing for us. Brighton was one of many prides deciding to skip a year rather than try to work out how to hold a safe festival in a pandemic.

June saw the Methodist Church vote by a huge margin to conduct same-sex weddings – a welcome step. Bi’s Of Colour closed down and the 2021 BiFi online festival was cancelled. Abroad, Hungary added to its stock of LGBTphobic legislation. In the US, out-bi Senator Kyrsten Sinema found herself under pressure for voting against the support LGBT people need. Also in the US, the Lammy book awards and Bi Book Awards were announced. Our last issue as a bimonthly print magazine came out, as we were about to move to being quarterly. But the big bi story was a donation of £80,000 to London’s Bi Pride.

From the USA there was research in July that showed a decline in LGBT representation in films in 2020 from GLAAD. Given everything else in 2020, perhaps not one to reach much into. Other research showed a perhaps equally unsurprising finding that non-binary people are more likely to identify as bisexual. A Spanish court overturned a dubious ruling about married bisexuals. Bristol council heard a proudly bi speech, as part of a discussion on LGBT people’s mental health. The NHS reported on the differences between gay, bi and straight people’s health. The Foreign Office apologised for its historic ban on bi and gay staff. And overseas Prides were under attack.

In August we moved to being a quarterly magazine due to spiralling print and postage prices in recent times – and in the nick of time as our longtime editor was involved in an accident that stopped her working on the magazine for months. Research showed the strength of the bi pay gap, whereby bi people earn less on average than our gay and straight colleagues. London’s main Pride festival, mired in controversy, cancelled its 2021 event. They weren’t alone as Manchester’s Pride found itself in a different scandal – this time about money. A new coalition in Scotland between the SNP and SGP meant little for LGBT rights as there is wider consensus in Holyrood on those issues than at Westminster. And as the COVID vaccine rollout spread across the world, we had heartening news of a vaccine for HIV.

September is Bi Month, centred on Bi Visibility Day. Despite much of the world being in kinds of lockdowns and with many people in areas without them nonetheless wanting to stay home or socially distanced due to the pandemic, there were more than 100 events noted around the world to mark the date on September 23rd. Most notably, in the USA Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania issued a statement recognizing September 23 as Bisexual Pride Day. Australia’s bi organisations hosted a huge joint event across the whole week. Switzerland voted overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage, and the first of Poland’s “LGBT Free Zone” counties abandoned that label following international pressure to respect human rights from the EU. In the Midlands, the annual Bi Camp added an extra date for Hallowe’en – dubbing it BooBiCamp. A Labour MP laid into bi men for co-opting the gay rights movement, showing her blissful ignorance of the history of the story of gay and bi men’s liberation in the UK. Gay and sometimes bi men’s magazine GT printed its final copy. And in weird science news we learned bis are more likely to be asthmatic than straight people.

Coming Out Day is marked each October. This time Superman came out as bi, and so did Conservative MP Dehenna Davison. On TV we had bi poly dating on new dating show The Triangle. The month wrapped up with a Westminster government announcement of action on conversion therapy – more than 1200 days after it had last been announced and with a further delay to follow before the year end. Overseas, Portugal ended blood donation discrimination and France inched toward a Conversion Therapy ban. The International Bisexuality Research Conference released videos of many of its speaker sessions, while long-running US bi conference BECAUSE was held in a mixed online-and-in-person format.

In November Google launched a dictionary of LGBT without the “B”. The BBC and Netflix both got caught up in problems with LGBT staff no longer feeling they were safe places to work after management decisions. Long-running bi conference BiCon announced an in-person event for next summer. Abroad, the new German coalition government had a packed LGBT+ equality programme. In the USA a fresh round of elections brought more out people in public office than ever before – and GLAAD reported an increase in anti-LGBT hate crime. And we learned that Lady Gaga wore a bulletproof dress to sing the US’ national anthem at the Presidential inauguration.

December saw some progress on issues of gender recognition, outlawing conversion therapy and blood donation laws. All that abroad though – here in the UK gender recognition reform for Wales and England got delayed yet again while ending conversion therapy had a vital “except in the places where it actually happens” change of direction, alas surprising no-one. On the upside, Chile voted for same-sex marriage and in the UK, people with HIV can at last serve equally in the armed forces. Our final BCN issue of the year snuck through customs and into the post with a change of house font after 20 years. And as the latest version of COVID ran rampant the year came to an end.

As the dad joke has it: last year was 2020, and next year is twenty twenty, too. Hang in there: maybe 2023 will be better… Happy new year!

Thursday 31 December 2020

Bi Review of the Year: 2020

 A piece I wrote for Bi Community News wrapping up the news of the past 12 months.

Original is here:

At the start of the year very few of us realised what might be ahead as the COVID-19 virus was still thought to be far away and most likely confined to a corner of China. So for those first ten weeks or so of 2020 things were happening as normal.

So it was at the start of January when Layla Moran became the first UK MP to come out as pansexual. Courts compensated a worker who had been told to pretend to be gay rather than bi in the workplace and returned confiscated medals to an ex serviceman. Northern Ireland started to consult on same-sex marriage while we learned women are more likely to divorce one another than men. There was good news on HIV figures and from the European Court declaring that government inaction on LGBTphobic hate was no longer acceptable. And the Welsh Government declared it would go a step further than merely repealing Section 28 with active work to ensure children are making informed choices on sex and relationships.

In February Bi Pride got a mention in the House, while LGBT History Month saw many more bi-related talks than usual. Overseas Switzerland voted to recognise LGBT hate crimes. There were bis on TV in Doctors and I Am Not OK With This as well as a new season of Atypical to look forward to. And new research showed peculiar findings about bi people and skin cancer.

With the pandemic seeing the start of lockdown in the UK during March events started to be cancelled like Birmingham BiFest and BiFest Wales. As Prides started to fall like dominoes, Eurovision announced its first ever rollover winner. In the USA a St Patrick’s Day parade barred a beauty pageant winner from marching on account of her bisexuality.

We had more bi representation on TV in Love Is Blind’s demonstration of double-standards over bisexuality, BBC polyamory drama Trigonometry, and Batwoman. The House of Commons held its first ever debate on LBT women’s health while Canada declared its intention to outlaw so-called “gay cure” so-called “therapy”. And new figures showed more people identifying as bi in the UK than ever.

In April many of us were starting to get used to life indoors and wondering how much a loo roll could fetch on eBay there were sobering thoughts about how the lockdown meant a lot of bi and LGBT people were now trapped in unsafe situations. The USA responded by relaxing its limitations on bi and gay men donating blood with Australia contemplating the same shift. The first LGBT club closure of the pandemic was announced in Brighton. On TV we had a raft of fresh bi viewing with the return of Flack, Killing Eve and Harley Quinn. But the big bi drama of the month was away from TV as BiNetUSA abruptly tried to claim copyright over the public domain bisexual flag.

Most LGBT magazines stopped publishing for the time being due to the pandemic but we took the decision to keep BCN coming out as one little strand of bi life we could keep fairly normal, so our April edition was the second of six in 2020.

Staying indoors gave people some time to organise and so in May there were online campaigns about the blood donation ban and conversion therapy. Being indoors also meant people could virtually visit museums worldwide. New research showed bi men were the most closeted group across Europe.

As the Black Lives Matter movement drew headlines worldwide in June dating app Grindr dropped its race filter. One of those “how did that take so long?” moments. There was a big victory in the US Supreme Court, while over here a new faux LGB equality campaign group came out against same-sex marriage, for anyone who hadn’t already realised they weren’t on the side of any queer folks. The BBC nonetheless carried on quoting them as if they were a serious human rights campaign. The annual Bi Book Awards winners were announced, though without (for now) the usual glamorous awards event. The Grammys got their tongue tied online. In good news, Gabon decriminalised sex between women and between men and Scotland opened up civil partnerships to any couple regardless of gender. BiCon had a bumpy month with two organising teams quitting in the space of a week.

In July we had more happy news from abroad as Montenegro recognised same-sex civil partnerships and South Africa changed its rules on how marriage ceremonies are conducted. It was less good elsewhere as the budget for PrEP was cut in the UK and in Poland the presidential election came down to a knife-edge before going the wrong way. We learned bis have worse experiences of crime than other people and the GLAAD annual review of film releases noted cinema was getting Whiter and gayer, with no bi male representation in major film releases.

We are used to a host of Prides in August so it was a hot summer with so much less to do every Saturday! However some ran online and BiCon happened in a very slimmed-down online form. The run-up to Bi Visibility Day began with more Town Halls deciding to fly the bi flag. New US research showed bi youth experience of bullying.

It’s Bi Visibility Day, Bi Week and Bi Month in September and among the delights was improvements in dictionary definitions. Northern Ireland inched further forward on equality while the UK courts rules that the Equality Act includes nonbinary people. Coming-out guide Getting Bi came out for the Kindle. In the USA we saw the first research on how the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting the LGBT communities while here Stonewall had research on how many bis are out to their families – not many.

In October we learned there would be a biopic of former US Congresswoman Katie Hill. Netflix dropped GLOW. In good news for millions the Pope made a small shift toward a better attitude to LGBT lives on the part of the Catholic Church. And in bad news here, a BBC which was veering increasingly far from balanced and responsible reporting of LGBT issues warned staff they should not attend Pride events even in their own time and private lives.

All eyes were on the USA in November as Donald Trump lost by a huge margin in the election there – albeit not as wide a margin as many opinion polls had predicted. Biden won with over 80 million votes in the end – more than any previous candidate. Biden’s speech missed out the “B”. Europe considered its next five year plan on LGBT work without the UK, and in Poland there were symbolic protests against the hateful “LGBT free zone” populists. We all realised we had been too distracted by COVID to notice that the LGBT inclusion work in schools that had started under the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition had been quietly dropped by the new minister for Women and Equalities.

Most important, COVID vaccines started to be approved. After a very hard year, change was at last in sight.

In December the three month ban on blood donation for bi and gay men and their partners was completely rewritten – for better and for worse – though the new rules don’t come in until a few months into 2021. Kyrsten Sinema rocked a great wig and coat in Washington. There was divine justice as a homophobic MEP got caught breaking COVID rules at a gay party. And Switzerland – whose good news on hate crime kicked the year off – decided to let same-sex couples marry. And so ILGA’s annual world map of LGBT rights showed a ripple of changes. And our fifth edition of the pandemic landed on subscriber doormats, more or less in time for Christmas.

That was 2020. To our most sincere delight, it is in the past. Here’s to a very different year ahead.

Friday 30 October 2020

Labour: tackling the symptom but not the disease

This week Labour have - inevitably - suspended Jeremy Corbyn over what from the brief reports I have seen seems to be consistent and persistent enabling of anti-Semitic bullying, harassment and conspiracy theory promotion within the Labour Party.

I've seen people talking about it at a couple of levels.

At the level of setting distance in the public eye from the massively losing 2019 campaign it is a little bit of a "Militant" Kinnockish moment, albeit probably not enough when the average voter is still far more focused on COVID. And it's, so that logic goes, a great move by the new leader to separate himself from the old leader. He's manouvred Corbyn skilfully into being removed.

At another level some people are talking about how it was not an intentional move and that Starmer did not want to remove Corbyn because of the internal fighting it will prompt.

And then those who cannot deviate from the Momentum party line, the denialism. Being in the Labour party and being loyal to the cult of Corbyn means that he cannot have done anything wrong.

What I'm not seeing people talk about is how Corbyn is - while only too happy to be lifted to power by bigots and to defend their freedom to bully and hate - not actually the whole of the problem.

Because of which, suspending or expelling him will not address the problem in any depth.

The thing is that because the Labour rank-and-file does not see the kind of human rights enshrined in the Equality Act as inherent and inalienable, it sees respect for difference as something that should only be extended to those who are compliant and submissive to the cult of the party.

Anti-Semitism against people inside the party who dissent, or against anyone outside the party whether to the right of Labour and Momentum in the Tories and Brexit or to the left of them in the Liberals and the Greens is, from most Labour members' perspective, fine. Deserved. If you want to call them names, threaten or intimidate, throw a brick through their window, key their car or whatever... a-okay. They aren't compliant to the cult and so they do not qualify for human rights, from the Labour perspective.  It has been going on for many years - long before Corbyn's rise - and anyone who pays any attention to politics knows this well. 

Just briefly this is being thrown into the public eye.

But it doesn't stop there. Labour is not just a proudly anti-Semitic party that endorses anti-Semitism and has done for years. It also has those values for other racisms, for other religious hate, for homophobia and for biphobia, for transphobia, for sexism, for hating on people for being disabled.

And therein lies the problem with the tightly defined investigation Labour has faced. Removing Corbyn will not even lance the boil of anti-Semitism and yet it leaves all the other systemic prejudices that Labour helps promote in society. And as long as they remain our politics will remain just as toxic as the near-identical political culture MAGA has sculpted across the pond.

Tuesday 9 June 2020


How time flies. 
Around this time in the morning three years ago Labour were celebrating delivering another Tory led government, again to the right of the previous one. Maybe at the next election, in 2022, they'd actually make a stab at taking power, but it was vital to let the Tories do Brexit first and so avoid having the blame for its inevitable failures.
It was also the moment Nick Clegg left the political stage. I've mixed feelings about the chap, but he does still have the title "most effective politician on the UK left of the last decade."
Theresa May's coalition government duly fulfilled Mystic Clegg's 2015 warning of a "Blukip coalition" between the Tories and the DUP delivering UKIP's agenda - a programme which like Section 28 is quite definitely "for the many not the few".
People who never watched The Blame Game and only skim-read BCN suddenly came across the existence of the DUP, and what a rollercoaster ride that was for many of them. And indeed for the DUP - snubbed by Cameron in his search for a majority in 2010, at last having their fifteen minutes of fame.
The concessions won by the smaller parties in coalition type things are fascinating. The Liberals got higher tax for the rich, lower tax for the poor, same-sex marriage, the scrapping of ID cards and the trans tax, etc. The DUP got big fat wads of cash spent in their constituencies in proper "pork barrel" politics. I remain curious about what the Co-operative Party got in exchange for keeping Brown in power. I can't name anything - does anyone have any ideas?
Now Johnson has his 80-seat majority we've all been allowed to forget that Northern Ireland exists, which is a shame as the political system there is quite instructive for people who want to understand mainland UKanian politics better but need a blank slate rather than the world they are used to.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Misreading Tom

My social media timeline has a big dash of talk about the money raised by one man's sponsored walk.  There are about equal levels of "he's amazing and personally made these millions of pounds of difference", and "it is outrageous that this should happen as he should have been sat comfortably in an armchair and the money happened another way".

I don't think he raised this money in that sense that it would otherwise not have been forthcoming. I don't mean to belittle anything about his excellent efforts, but whether you run a marathon and get sponsored £100 or £10m you still do the same amount of marathonning. It's just about whether your run is drawn to enough people's attention and how they feel at that moment about the cause you're raising for.

Tom's fundraiser had lots of media-friendly imagery and notions and of course the papers - lacking celeb gossip, snatched photos from new TV series shoots, normal political interplay, sports or so much more to report on - loved it.

But people aren't, I think, really donating because of Tom.  They are donating because millions of us are living lives that have been turned upside down. 

We want to be able to do something that helps this end, something that makes it less hard for everyone in the world.  Except almost everything you could do for any other crisis is ruled out: all you can do is stay indoors lots to try and reduce the R factor, and hope the people working in healthcare are going to make it through okay.  A sponsored walk is something when people are wrung out and frantic at the feeling they can only do nothing.

Sunday 12 April 2020

Mentally Processing 2020

My favourite analogy for what is going on just now is that humanity has been dumped.

You know when you're on the receiving end of a breakup and you don't see it coming, and it is with someone you have been seeing for long enough that you kind of have a life together at least half-assedly mapped out in your head.

Your spending plans are tied to them. Your social plans. Your happiness. Your sense of who you are. Your sense that you can trust how things will be from one day to the next, derived from how things have been between you and them each day until now.

That's what happened to us all last month.  We were breezing happily along, suddenly the virus hit us like an "it's over between us" to everyone in the land all at once.

For the first few days of working from adjusting and switching to working from home or travelling in a zombie apocalypse, it was like the moments and days after a relationship breakup. Blinking, unsure it's quite real, wondering if they might just change their mind and this whole thing will be a horrible moment of staring into the void but then won't be so bad after all.

And all those ways we measure and plan and know ourselves fell apart.

So it makes sense you can't focus on your work properly.  Where normally feeling like this you'd fall back on your friends to reassure you of things, you can't see them or go to a pub and grouch about what has happened.  All those good things to do like taking up a new hobby that involves getting out of the house and meeting new people, getting drunk in a bar and dancing near strangers, or going away someplace new for a change of scene - nope. 

And this time whoever you are, you aren't one of the lucky, pretty, confident things that outside of analogy-land bounce straight into a new relationship in next to no time. Damn their eyes.

Inside I wonder how many of us are even at the equivalent point to that day however many weeks or months after being dumped by a serious love where you have mostly stopped crying?

This month before us is the time when you want there to be your love next to you and there is no-one. You want to make plans to go away together in the summer, to move to a new place together, to have them there to talk to and to be company when you need to share how your day was or on a day out in the Easter Bank Holiday sunshine.

We can't make plans for our new life yet. We have to stay home and will naturally tend to focus on what we lost.

Because we are grieving the life we all thought we'd have this spring, like we'd grieve the life we thought we had with someone that they suddenly snatched away from us.

And we're crushed and we're cross and we just want to hit fast forward and be past all this.  Normally we all know someone who's feeling like that but instead every single one of us is going through it at the same damn time.

On top of which a growing number of us have the non-metaphorical grief of loss to deal with as people we love die at the hands of the plague that our former life left us for.

This is why I'm trying to be more kind to myself than normal, more willing to accept that I have days where I just feel like I failed, and to extend the same to others. We are all shambling round shellshocked from being dumped by a partner we didn't even know we had: the 2020 we thought we were going to be living with.

We can get through this. Let's not beat ourselves up along the way.

Saturday 4 April 2020

Goodbye, Jeremy

With a new Labour leader elected, Jeremy Corbyn steps back into the shadows of centre-right politics, bringing a wave of reflection on his time at the helm.

Heck, let's go with the flow. How was his five year stint?

He succeeded in his central aims:
- Keep the Tories in power
- Enable every Tory measure
- Have a mass movement of people who have been sold a promise of a better yesterday working to ensure the Tories remain in power so that Jeremy can enjoy saying "no!" to an eager audience.

He got one of his stretch goals too: Britain out of the EU, leaving us free to adopt laws that go beyond what the EU allowed. Of course, the majority of the time since Labour became the second party of UK politics the Tories have been in power, so that was doing more to enable Conservative militancy than to empower the downtrodden, but if people aren't kept downtrodden you risk a terrible shortage of bandwagons.

As COVID arrived we got a textbook Corbyn move. Every MP up and down the land saw a huge surge in casework, with twice, three times, even four times the usual amount of calls on MPs for support from constituents in peril reported across the country and across all parties.

The House of Commons responded responsibly with an offer of extra office cost funding. Your staff might be off ill with COVID and you need to hire someone extra to cover for them, or move a part-timer up to full-time to make up the shortage. You might need more stationery, or to buy a new PC for one of your team to work safely from home.  Loads of MPs said "thanks, that's a useful cushion in case we need it." Jeremy loudly declared he wouldn't take a penny - no matter how much it might cause problems for the people in his constituency in need. "I'm alright Jack, sod the proles."

Bye bye, you posturing right-wing sossidge. Enjoy the retirement.