The Good, the Bad, and Andrew Neil?

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Is this title a joke about Andrew Neil’s appearance? I’d like to start by challenging those on the left who attack him for his appearance. I’m raising this issue, but only to explain to socialists who go down that road that they are not helping us. It’s beneath them; a distraction at best, one that provides powerful commentators with a handy excuse to block us, so they can’t be blamed if they don’t address any serious points we go on to raise.

The serious problem on Twitter is making disparaging comments about what women look like. Few male leftist still make that mistake, thank god. But making cheap comments about what men look like because we don’t feel confident we can score goals where it really matters doesn’t help us. Andrew Neil may not care – or maybe he secretly does care more than he lets on; I have no way of knowing. But the point is other men without any power could end up getting bullied by neighbours on council estates if the left contributes to a culture that promotes that sort of thing. Let’s leave that crap to the Tory tabloids. It’s no less shameful to know men who are not Greek gods are driven into depression by such bullying as it is when the victim is a woman. And if that makes me too politically correct for some, frankly I don’t care. Depression and similar mental health issues are not a laughing matter, and those needlessly contributing to it should be called out on twitter or wherever. I don’t care what Andrew Neil looks like, and neither should anyone else. What I do care about is how he does his job and what, if any, criticisms should be made on that score. And that is what I’m now going to address.

I seem to be almost unique on the left in arguing that attacks on him as one of the worst examples of broadcasters make zero sense. During the EU referendum, he did his job better than anyone else on television. It was genuinely impossible to tell how he was voting, although I do think I’ve worked it out in retrospect. But I was always confident I knew how pretty much every other broadcaster voted, including Faisal Islam.

Faisal shares with Andrew Neil the ability to make politics entertaining, just like Eddie Mair and Chris Mason. All the above are also masters of their brief. All of them at least try to be fair. Those, on the left or right, who argue they are biased have got it wrong. I disagree with all of them from time to time. Nevertheless, all the above play devil’s advocate to tease out the contradictions in the positions of everyone they’re interviewing. None of them seems to deliberately stop anyone making their points – not so long as they’re not trying to change the subject and hope no one has noticed. On the whole everyone does, including the viewer/listener.

Politicians trying to avoid the question get teased for doing that. And Andrew Neil can’t be blamed for doing his job. That is not to say he doesn’t have blind spots which sets limits on his ability to do his job. Like everyone else, he makes mistakes, has a bad day etc. But they’re not, in my humble opinion, deliberate attempts to stop the facts getting out there.

Many on the left will find my defense of Andrew Neil baffling. He does have problems in having prejudices against what we on the left believe. Andrew Neil is no shrinking violent when it comes to sharing his prejudices with the license fee payer. But should we really blame him for this? I would argue we should not – at least not in any crude way.
The serious flaws in Andrew Neil’s approach to political broadcasting could be addressed by having others challenge his prejudices, which was something Diane Abbott did masterfully when she was a regular guest on one of Andrew Neil’s programs every single week. Since she was needed elsewhere – as pretty much the only member of Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench who, imho, is doing a good job -, her replacements on This Week have been dire. None of them challenge Andrew Neil’s prejudices partly because they share those prejudices, and when they don’t they lack the ability to expose them.
The problem posed by Andrew Neil is that those on the left capable of forensically unpicking his right-wing rhetoric are denied air-time on the BBC, including on his many programs, all of which I watch religiously, often more than once each as there is always something to enjoy. I don’t blame Andrew Neil for not letting Jeremy Corbyn voters on to challenge his criticisms of him. But I do blame the editor of his three shows: Robbie Gibb.

Apparently nothing can be done to get socialists onto Daily Politics, Sunday Politics or This Week. At any rate, nothing can be done by voters and license fee payers to get a balance corresponding to our support amongst the electorate. That must not stop us exposing – in real-time – the abysmal Tory biases of the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News as well as ITV and Channel5 which I hardly ever bother to watch.

We left-wing critics of the BBC, SKY News and Channel4 News are dismissed as trolls for daring to cast doubt on the integrity of their editors. I don’t care. They are clearly working for the CBI, Rupert Murdoch and/or in all probability either on MI5’s payroll, or victims of NSA/GCHQ blackmailers, possible honey traps, or victims of Special Branch entrapment. If the owners of these broadcast networks had their way, socialists on twitter would be sent to prison for the rest of our lives for exposing their Tory and NATO bullshit. They’d no doubt believe a suicide note next to our disembodied head, and tell voters not to waste time listening to ‘conspiracy theories’ on the INTERNET.

There are a lot of bad taste jokes on Twitter, and I don’t deny I indulge myself in that along with everyone else. Twitter’s 140 character limit reduces much of what we can say to little more than heckling broadcasters who refuse to do their job. Andrew Neil is rarely one of my targets because, on the whole, I do think he does his job rather well, in almost every respect.

But Andrew Neil can’t put the case for Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters like me. And that means the official opposition has next to zero representation in the broadcast media, with Tim Farron’s pledge-breaking bastards, anti-Catholic Unionists, KKK-loving Nigel Farage cheerleaders, and Caroline Lucas’s Greens contributing to the Fifty Shades of Toryism vomited into our living rooms 24-7.

Jeremy Corbyn is an alternative to this garbage. But his voters are censored almost entirely out of existence. The pretext for Big Brother’s censorship is their inviting one of Tom Watson’s ballot-rigging McCarthyite war criminals on to ‘represent’ Labour. These traitors do this every hour of the day by explaining why Jeremy Corbyn must be stopped from ever becoming Prime Minister.

Labour voters are being crushed by what is little more than the mass media of a one party state with liars wearing a brightly coloured clown noses so we can distinguish who belongs to which ‘party’. The differences between Nigel Farage, Tim Farron, Theresa May and Hilary Benn mean a great deal from Andrew Neil’s perspective. From where I’m standing they are four sides of the same pyramid.

Time for Labour’s members to deprive Andrew Neil and the rest of the BBC of their ready-made excuse for not inviting Jeremy Corbyn voters on to challenge anti-socialist prejudices. Pass votes of no confidence in every single sitting Labour MP who is actively destroying their own party. Members want to see the back of these traitors. Labour voters won’t waste our votes on unelectable Theresa May fans. To accelerate this process, every single Labour MP who contributes to their party’s unelectability by treachery and/or incompetence on #bbcdp #bbcsp #bbctw #newsnight #marr #bbcpm #bbcaq #bbcqt #r4today etc – and equivalents on SKY News and Channel4 News – should be met immediately by hashtags on Twitter alerting them to how rapidly we want them to face votes of no confidence from their local CLPs. Twitter should end up being dominated every day and every night by Labour voters demanding CLPs put us out of our misery by select candidates worth voting for: #HashtagDeselectBlairiteTraitorMPs

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Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister strategy document

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Strategy document for socialists inside and outside the Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn is the Prime Minister for me. I have never been a member of Labour, but have been considering joining from the day Corbyn was overwhelmingly elected leader. However, a snap election looks increasingly likely, although not yet an inevitability. This raises questions of strategy and tactics for those socialists, such as myself, who wants to work for a Jeremy Corbyn government but who are not yet Labour Party members. There is simply no time for me to get past Tom Watson’s gate-keeper: the McCarthyite ballot-riggers and war criminals who dominate parliament and whose general secretary rigged Labour’s conference by pushing through a mass purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporting delegates.

Jeremy Corbyn now stands practically alone as a Labour MP I would be proud to vote for. My support for Diane Abbott is every bit as strong. Dennis Skinner and a handful of others from the past are on the right side, but they’re not going to be around for much longer and they’re too old to become ministers in a Corbyn government. Very, very few others in this ludicrously misnamed ‘Parliamentary Labour Party’ deserve to be legislators. They are the voice of the anti-democratic British establishment. And there is barely a shadow of a doubt that the overwhelming majority of members will flush every last one of them into the sewer where they belong the first chance they get.

Most Labour MPs deserve to be expelled: our hearts are screaming at us to get a move on with that. However, politics requires us to think with both heart and head. And – let’s face facts, comrades – these MPs are desperately trying to get themselves expelled. Why would they do that? For a variety of reasons. When combined with Britain’s Tweedledee/Tweedledum electoral system, the Blairites’ mindboggling unpopularity within the party’s membership means Blairites need an excuse for splitting the anti-Tory vote. Their only hope of occupying the high moral ground is by unloading responsibility for vote splitting on Jeremy Corbyn. That is why they’re deliberately provoking expulsion, hoping to get themselves pushed out of the party, rather than to jump of their own free will.

These MPs are confident that electoral arithmetic in the House of Commons will make it impossible for Jeremy Corbyn to stand up to them. But he’s surprised them, and inspired Labour voters and members. The reality is the Parliamentary Labour Party are obscenely torturing the most decent member of parliament the Labour Party has ever had. And they will never ever be forgiven for this wretched behaviour. In the long term, Tom Watson and co would happily drive Jeremy Corbyn to an early death — and not necessarily a natural death at that. If they can kill Labour’s leader by having him die of a broken heart due to intolerable stress, that’s what they’ll do. But if that doesn’t pan out, they’re up for having him suffer Salvador Allende’s fate. And that, by the way, is not an over the top joke. I’m one hundred percent serious.

Tom Watson: the leader of Labour’s Pinochet Tendency
The organiser of Owen Smith’s Chicken Coup, Hilary Benn, is perfectly well aware that his dad — Tony Benn — reminded voters in his last ever televised interview that an MI5 officer once told him once that if he was elected Prime Minister they’d assassinate him. But the son of this great man, this legend in left-wing politics, backs MI5 killers. Hilary Benn and Tom Watson want more power for Britain’s would-be General Pinochet. Hilary Benn has a longstanding record of voting to hand ever greater powers to those behind Freddie Scappaticci, the state sanctioned serial killer.

Hilary Benn won a standing ovation (well, a sitting ovation) from Tory MPs for making a speech on Syria that echoed what war criminal David Cameron had just said, a speech designed to draw a target on the chest of Jeremy Corbyn (Tony Benn’s favourite MP, btw). Hilary Benn was allowed, courtesy of degraded Chief Whip Rosie Winterton, to bookend the debate on Syria in an identical way to how David Cameron started it: attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

In these two speeches, every other member of the Stop the War Coalition ended up with targets drawn on our chests by the paymasters of the killers of Catholic Civil Rights lawyers like Pat Finucane. Socialists can be shot dead as far as MPs are concerned for the audacity of opposing British Imperialism’s illegal and immoral wars. Terrorist sympathisers? Threats to national security? David Cameron and Theresa May are advocates of extra-judicial killing, of a shoot-to-kill policy with no questions asked. And Jeremy Corbyn could easily suffer as a consequence of these wretched Tory killers, including the Tory scumbags representing Labour in parliament today.

Most of today’s Labour MPs stand shoulder to shoulder with Theresa May and David Cameron’s shoot-to-kill policy. No questions asked by the guardians of MI5’s Kincora paedophiles or the rapists of Special Branch’s undercover cop unit (including the one paid to spy for decades on the woman who is now leader of the Stop the War Coalition).

Labour Party in exile must work for Jeremy Corbyn
This Labour Party at Westminster is rotten to the core. These MPs will not find Labour members canvassing for them. In the secrecy of the ballot box, many may not place their cross against the name of any supporters of Theresa May and Tony Blair’s state sanctioned killers, rapists and paedophiles.

I had hoped to join Labour before the next general election. But I no longer think that’s likely — not unless the snap election is avoided, and nothing can be ruled in or out at this stage. The left outside Labour needs to draw up plans for a variety of scenarios that remain largely outside our control.

If there is to be a snap election — ostensibly fought over the triggering of Article 50 and the single market -, socialists need to make plans long before it is called. The CLPs must launch votes of no confidence in sitting MPs immediately. Jeremy Corbyn has nothing to worry about. Nor does Diane Abbott. But most of those pretending to be on Corbyn’s side look dodgier by the day. Their behaviour in the mass media has, on the whole, been utterly wretched. However, the mainstream media have only been able to get away with their Tory bullshit thanks to the utterly disgusting Parliamentary Labour Party bailing out Theresa May every single day on the BBC, SKY News Channel4 News, ITV and C5, with Ofcom bosses clearly unwillingness to rein in what is little more than a one-party state. Labour MPs are with few exceptions a fifth column. Their days as MPs are rapidly drawing to a close.

The Parliamentary Labour Party is actively trying to destroy Jeremy Corbyn, and I include many MPs ostensibly backing him. They have no interest in Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. They are hoping to con Labour members in the vain hope they’ll lend them their votes so they can steal Corbyn’s job after they’ve lumbered al voters with a Tory landslide government for a five-year period with a mandate to do pretty much what Donald Trump intends to do in the United States of America. Clive Lewis et al will blame Labour’s leader for this mess, rather than their own conscious bid to make the Labour Party as unelectable as possible.

Labour Party split is inevitable, and everybody knows it
If CLPs remind Tories masquerading as Labour MPs that not one of them has a job for life, we know what will happen next: they’ll do their level best to expel all Jeremy Corbyn’s voters. That could prove very tricky indeed, with the trade unions who formed the Labour Party to give them a voice in parliament siding with the members. Tom Watson and Hilary Benn would have to rely on funding (and canvassing too?) from the CBI and MI5. Good luck with those as your allies, you daft Tory bastards. Any attempt by Tom Watson to expel Jeremy Corbyn’s voters will lead to a split. Tom Watson’s new party would end up clinging by their fingernails until the next election, at which point they’ll be obliterated under first-past-the-post.

In such circumstances, Labour will shift dramatically in a healthy democratic direction, while Hilary Benn and Tom Watson’s new electoral vehicle would probably end up using ‘Open Britain’ or ‘Open Labour’ as the name of their party, the name depending on the extent to which Tory and Lib Dem MPs are drawn into a new electoral vehicle in the event of a snap election. It’s impossible to pin down what is most likely: there are simply far too many unknowns at this point in time. History seems to have entered a new phase: we wake up every day into a brand a new episode of the Twilight Zone. At this rate, it won’t be long before that happens every time we blink.

If it looks like the PLP is getting into bed with the anti-Brexit wing of the Tory Party and the Lib Dems, it’s quite probable that Theresa May won’t dare trigger a snap election. The reasons for such reluctance is Open Britain could, I believe, at least according to the opinion polls, actually win under first-past-the-post. The reason for this is that the enemies of Brexit in the Tory Party could make it clear that if/when returned to parliament under a snap election, they’ll vote alongside others not to trigger Article 50 until they’ve won guarantees any negotiated settlement with the EU will be put to the British people in a subsequent referendum or possibly rejected by a simple vote in parliament. Retention of the single market is so important to so many Tory MPs, and to the vast majority of those running big business that this is a distinct possibility. The xenophobic Frankenstein Monster unleashed by Theresa May and Nigel Farage may not be as invincible as they hoped it was.

The need to appease at least some of the Tory rebel MPs could reinvigorate the splitting tendency of Nigel Farage’s UKIP racists tossing spanners into the works, left, right and centre. Theresa May’s wing of the Tory Party could, in such circumstances, end up being crushed out of existence. If polls and the markets made a wipeout of the Brexit Tories look like a serious possibility, why on earth would she call a snap election? She wouldn’t. Polls now depend on what Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters do, both inside and outside the Labour Party. So, what exactly should we be doing?

Corbyn’s supporters inside Labour
Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters inside the Labour Party must under no circumstances quit the party regardless of how many humiliations are dished out to them by the Tory entryists in the Parliamentary Labour Party. On the contrary, they need to step up a recruitment drive: get as many like-minded socialists into the party as possible. But they all need to be very careful. Socialists outside Labour can’t be too harsh on those who seem to be unable to challenge this rotten PLP. Both the socialist wing inside Labour and those of us yet to join need to map out a healthy working relationship with each other, drawing ever closer together. It is impossible to know how the left will respond to deselection of the MPs. Many who still claim to be on the left will oppose it. The credentials of such people lie in tatters. We can safely dismiss them all as ex-lefties. Those who want to reelect this PLP are, whatever role the played in the past, now nothing more than rotten Tories. Those hoping to select this shower of unelectable ballot-rigging war criminals as the left-wing standard bearers under first-past-the-post are enemies we may as well block on Twitter as bitter trolls. Let’s blank them as enemies of the Labour Party.

What should the left do who are not — yet — Labour Party members? To a very large extent, timing is out of our hands, at least when it comes to deselection. Socialists need to debate the pros and cons of what members should be doing, and we need to debate with respect, listening to each other. We need to persuade, not lay down the law, not issue ultimatums to Labour activists who feel paralysed, not knowing how to dislodge these treacherous MPs. CLPs should get a move on, and they’re cutting their own throats the longer it takes them to do this. But it’s perfectly possible that Theresa May will call a snap election before Labour’s members succeed in selecting candidates supportive of a Labour government lead by Jeremy Corbyn, one with a mandate to carry out manifesto pledges overwhelmingly voted for by the party’s membership where Tom Watson and Hilary Benn and even Tristram Hunt and Liz Kendall voted for a candidate who claimed to back 90% of Corbyn’s policies. What happens in such circumstances?

Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister Candidates?
If Labour MPs conspire with Theresa May to trigger a snap election, both sets of Tories picking war criminals and ballot riggers as the choice for Labour voters, then Jeremy Corbyn has zero responsibility for any of these anti-socialist bastards. Labour voters must do whatever it takes to get a Jeremy Corbyn supporter on the ballot paper for the next general election in every single constituency. And if the socialist doesn’t happen to be the official Labour Party candidate, so what? He/she will still end up as the democratically-elected Member of Parliament, and will then join Labour after the Blairite MPs get kicked out on their arses by Labour voters. That’s what I predict. That’s what I will be working towards. And that is what every Labour voter needs to work towards regardless of what are the plans of the MI5-loving scumbag at the top of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee.

No socialist should dream of splitting the anti-Tory vote when local members have chosen a genuinely supportive Jeremy Corbyn candidate. In such circumstances, we need to offer a clear field to the official Labour candidate, canvass for him or her enthusiastically, regardless of whether Tom Watson’s ballot-riggers have expelled better socialists, stealing our money and votes in the process.

Only in circumstances where CLPs have been denied their right to select their own candidate — having a ballot-rigging war criminal imposed on them and Labour voters by Iain McNicol (almost certainly on MI5’s payroll) should TUSC and others offer a real socialist as the real Labour candidate. In such circumstances, it would be wrong to advertise the candidate as standing for TUSC or any other left-wing splinter group. They should seek sponsorship from trade unions and all anti-racist, anti-war organisations. This candidate should select a name that increases our chances of winning support from the local constituency party, with imposed war criminals being condemned to the dustbin of history.

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Why my homework is late

Dear Mrs Pringle,

I got a quantum eraser for Christmas. I don’t write stories with it .I use it to rub out everything that I want to eliminate from the eleven dimensions of the multiverse that I don’t want to be part of my story. As you can imagine, this is extremely arduous work, and every story takes longer than the age of our universe. And that’s why my homework is late. Also, when I finished it the dog ate it, so I’ve got nothing to hand in at all. Please don’t give me another fucking F.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Delargy

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They Might Be Giants ending? Spoilers

I posted a short review on this blog yesterday. I lifted it [after eliminating a few typos] from a comment I left on Amazon about the 1971 cult film They Might Be Giants, after which the band named themselves. I had watched the film earlier that day. Have watched it a few times since then. It remains full of holes that I still can’t quite plug. It’s not a perfect film, but I’m starting to home in on what I think the writer/director were trying to get at. Want to add a few more thoughts to what I posted yesterday.

This is not a film to be taken literally any more than, say, Alice in Wonderland. It’s very stylised. Full of symbolism. Coincidences stretch credulity beyond breaking point. It is a comedy, and quite a surreal one at that. But it does veer towards tragedy in places, and the ending is so ambiguous that it could be read as a comedy where the main characters walk into their deaths. There is no satisfying resolution, and that’s disappointed many, including me.

The first time I saw it I loved it. I may have waited two decades or more before I got a chance to see it repeated on telly. In the intervening years, I’d got interested in how films work. And on the second viewing, all I could focus on was the weaknesses. Felt very let down. When I watched it on Film4 the other day, I had an open mind. I had prepared myself to dismiss it as junk, the guilty pleasure of a naive young mind. But I’ve decided it’s much more than that. George C Scott is as great as he always was. And I’d forgotten how good Joanne Woodward was. The rest of the cast contained some great actors/comedians, but they didn’t get to do much.

They Might Be Giants is not cinematic. For the most part it works as a piece of comic theatre. But the structure is extremely interesting, the more so the more I rewatch it. This is a story about two lonely people falling in love. It’s about individuals  unprepared to admit how lonely they are to others, unable to notice how they are drawn to one another. It’s a tragedy in that one of these individuals has quite literally lost his mind two years before the story begins. We feel deep empathy for Holmes due to what drove him insane in the first place (the loss of his beloved wife), and our warmth towards him is intesified by recognizing just what a caring person he was prior to his insanity, and how decent a person he remains despite his delusion that he really is Sherlock Holmes.

We feel for him for many reasons. We find out from the start that his brother wants to have him committed to an insane asylum simply in order to get his hands on the family fortune, and then to pay off blackmailers. We also know his brother is turning a blind eye to the blackmailers eagerness to have him murdered as they’ve lost patience in his ability to get the money by having him committed. We also know that the doctor charged with signing the papers to have him committed is under intolerable presure to sign those papers, and she sees no good reason to do this as he’s not a danger to himself or anyone else. And she is drawn to this sad man, this victim of a broken heart, surrounded by vultures, greedy individuals, and she sees his intelligence and skills make him better at doing her job than she is. She wants to learn from him as well as help cure him, or at least to stop him becoming a victim of a cruel system.

He admits to this psychiatrist that it is lonely for him to have no one call him Sherlock Holmes. We soon discover that he only has one friend left. The psychiatrist, we learn, in a very harrowing piece of psychoanalysis, doesn’t even have as many as one friend. Holmes challenges her to let him demonstrate how his method has penetrated her veil. She accepts enthusiastically, only to be shocked how much he’s managed to deduce:

This psychiatrist never knew her mother, brought up by a father, a tomboy who grew up to follow her dad into his profession of medicine. Her adolescence was utterly wretched. She suffered acne well into her mid twenties. She still suffers from insomnia, frequently drinking herself to sleep. She has never been engaged. Has no friends. And no one she has loved has ever loved her back…

She appears initially distressed to learn she is such an open book to a patient she knows next to nothing about. But on hearing her life summed up so brutally by a stranger who has bearly met her, her distress turns to anger, and in that anger she lets slip, for the first time, what her name is, and then everything changes.

This woman who is – apparently – pleased she’s getting old as this gives her an excuse for not looking for any romantic relationship is drawn, slowly, inexorably, into his world. When Holmes hears the name of this doctor is Watson, he assumes destiny must have handed him the Dr Watson he has been looking for all his life, that part of his life he still remembers. Then the romance starts to blossom on both sides.

The clues Holmes uncovers on his quest to find out about his brother’s blackmailer are like cryptic crossword clues that make zero sense. This is not a detective story. This is plot device, scaffolding upon which the writer and director constructs a  very moving love story.

There is a scene as we move into the climax where we find all the eccentrics marching in search of Holmes’s Moriarty. But when they arive at the address, Holmes discovers that not one of these oddballs has a clue what they are there for. So only Holmes and Watson carry on with the descent into a tunnel searching for Moriarty by matchlight.

This is a story about romantic love with two lonely people for the first time professing their love for each other. And it can’t be a coincidence that she appears to have dressed for their first date that night in what looks like a wedding dress. If you listen carefully, it does sound to me like they’re making wedding vows. They sound like two children agreeing to play a game. Once upon a time, it was Sherlock Holmes’s game, and his alone. But it’s now one Dr Watson embraces. She’s resigned from her job, and she has finally found someone who loves her back – he’s already told her he loves her -, and we already knew he had fallen in love with her long before he admitted it to himself.

When Watson had originally rejected Holmes, he turned to his only remaining friend to ask if he really had gone mad, if this psychiatrist had been right about him merely being a mental patient who had deluded himself. His friend knew this was the truth, but he was far too kind to let him know.

But at the end of this film none of this matters. All we care about is that these two lonely people have found each other. And if they choose to give the name of ‘Moriarty’ to all the slings and arrows outrageous fortune throws at them, who cares? It’s their game. They can make up their own rules. All they need is love.

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They Might Be Giants – review [spoiler alert]

Added the following comment to a review of They Might Be Giants on Amazon. I wouldn’t read it if you’ve not seen the film. If you’ve not seen it, I’d highly recommend it, despite it having a strange ending. If you love the film but don’t like the ending, my comment might make you change your mind about how disappointing it is. Then again, maybe it will do no such thing.

I think this is a great review, and pretty much agree with all of it. I can’t remember when I first saw it, on telly, but waited to see it repeated, and it never was. Took maybe two decades before I saw it again. Like many films I loved on first viewing, I felt disappointed when I did get to see it for a second time. Saw it again today, and loved it as much as I did first time round. It was hilarious. Everything you say here sums up what I think. And to some extent I agree with the march of the oddballs that looks embarrasing. And the ending does seem like they didn’t know what to do. But I want to search for a meaning that might keep me happy. And I’ve come up with something.
The other oddballs vanished because the film wasn’t really about them. In many respects, this film reminds me of The Fisher King. When a soulmate dies, the one left behind loses their grip on reality, and goes on a quest: Robin Williams for the holy grail and George C Scott for Moriarty. But in both cases, they are drawn to a woman. Both stories are about the rebirth of the one who lost their soul when their soulmate died. And in They Might Be Giants, neither lovers sought out a romantic relationship. One needed to do her job and protect someone who didn’t seem to need to be locked up for his or anyone else’s protection, the other admitting to feeling lonely as scarcely anyone calls him Sherlock Holmes. She is Dr Watson, and wants to write down everything he says? Can’t be a coincidence, surely. She must be his Dr Watson. They come to need each other, and this need blossoms into real love. You have to be blind not to see that.

Maybe the final scene is symbolic. Maybe it is not meant to be taken literally. We have two people leaving the rest of the world behind, including the other oddballs because they’re not part of this relationship. This is the birth of a new bond, of two new soulmates battling against all the slings and arrows that outrageous fortune has in store for them, personified in the shape of an invisible Moriarty, and they’ll do it together because that’s what romantic love is: a form of insanity. Dr Watson has surrendered to that insanity alongside Sherlock Holmes, happily to share in his playfulness, as children do and as adults who fall in love do every single day. If that’s not what the ending means, I don’t care. I need it to make sense, and it will do for me.

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Email sent to Scottish Autism’s Jenni Roberts about Dr Bennie:

Email sent to Scottish Autism’s Jenni Roberts about Dr Bennie and cops gaining illegal access to my home with the help of abusive and intimidating Renfrewshire Council workers. Shortly after this, Dr Bennie prescribed me a drug that could kill me, then had me illegally detained without access to a lawyer for 29 days, during which I was tortured. No MP, MSP or journalist gives a damn. I wonder why not. #DrBennie?

WORKERS UNITED

I will be raising this with Dr Bennie on Wednesday. Last time we met I told him that I was feeling suicidal because I am a shut in at this address and have been since I was moved to ********** against my will, something known to Renfrewshire Social Work Dept. Also known to Renfrewshire Council Social Work Dept is the fact that I will have zero direct contact with anyone from Renfrewshire Council. Social Work agreed they would see to it that no one from Renfrewshire Council would try to contact me directly, given a history of abuse towards me by their employees. Renfrewshire Council Social Work Dept have broken their agreement with me. When I met Dr Bennie last time he said he was unaware that I do not leave my flat other than on the days I have visits from the Society. By the time we got round…

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Parable of ADHD loneliness and depression

I am writing a fictionalized memoir that targets some V.I.C.s – that stands for Very Important Criminals. What I am writing is fiction from a certain point of view, but it is fiction with a clear autobiographical element. Most novelists, if they are any good, probably punctuate fiction with thinly-camourflaged events and characters from their own life, names changed when necessary so as not to fall out more than is necessary with siblings, parents, ex-soulmates etc. Neil Gaiman would deny the protagonist of American Gods – Shadow – is based on himself, but that’s my theory. I won’t elaborate as to why I nurture that theory as it’s obvious he’d deny it even if I have in fact uncovered a secret or two. Anyway,…

My #NanoWriMo novel is a less thinly disguised memoir, but one that no more invades the non-fiction category than Dante’s Divine Comedy does. Making no claims to write anything so good; just announcing to the world that my account will introduce magic realist elements, dreams where the impossible happens, and multiple versions of myself coexist in the same space time, in a manner not dissimilar to Ebenezer Scrooge, seeing his past life. And my time travelling within the land of nod won’t be much prettier than Charles Dickens’s anti-hero. Any flirting with supernatural elements in my memoir are purely for the purposes of the story, to make it more readable, and memorable. I’ve taken dramatic license to help illuminate hidden truths by means of metaphor. Showing instead of exposition/narrative summary ‘telling’ is much easier this way. For the record, I don’t believe in the supernatural. But I do find stories spiced up with such elements to be much more psychologically tasty than the other kind. Anyway,…

I’m labeling my account ‘fiction’ while making no attempt to deny there are parallels with my own life, changed names notwithstanding. Almost every character who has a living counterpart will have their name changed, Prime Ministers and Home Secretaries, past and present, being an exception to that rule.

The protagonist in my novel is called Derek Thomas. He is based on me. Other characters may be combinations of two or more real people, in all such cases, they’ll not be named after any real individual. Chronology has been tampered with, and events messed around. Revelations that occur during real events often didn’t happen at that particular point. All such decisions have taken for dramatic purposes, and no other. Whenever that happens, I’m changing people’s names.

My novel is also going to address aspects of my life that don’t relate directly to the plot. And I’m going to try to explain how poorly those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are treated by the medical profession and by society at large.

My sixtieth birthday looms on the horizon. Don’t ask me how far away it is as I lost the ability to remember my precise age almost three decades ago. Can’t be that far away. Ever since I read Dr Gordon Serfontein’s The Hidden Handicap,  I realized I must have ADD, but not the most common variety, the one with a hyperactivity component. For about two decades I’ve had what I’m convinced is a credible theory as to why I’m not hyperactive. And I think it could explain why others with ADHD don’t suffer from hyperactivity.

My novel is going to explain how someone dismissed univerally by peers, teachers, parents and everyone else as a congenital idiot blossomed relatively late in the day, managing to do several things quite well. To the extent that I succeeded in anything, I put it down in part to hard work, but also to a set of coincidences: good luck. If I’m right about this, then others with my specific ADHD may languish in much  worse circumstances as they didn’t benefit from this set of bizarre coincidences. They may not have bothered to put in any work at all as they had no incentive to believe anything would come of it. If I’m right, then a lot of potentially intelligent and creative people have been badly let down by the medical profession, and by society as a whole. This is what I believe has happened, and my novel is going to deal with these issues.

The following story is a parble. It is a parable I wrote for the doctor who diagnosed me with ADHD after I’d fought for quarter a century to win that diagnosis, in the hope of then receiving appropriate medication. Given what I explained to this individual, the medication clearly should have been either Ritalin or another stimulant. However, this individual wouldn’t listen to me. He had zero sense of humour, and I became too intimidated to indulge my own sense of humour in case he put words into my mouth, pretending he thought I was serious. He couldn’t grasp any attempts on my part to resort to metaphor. His ignorance of the subject he was supposed to be a specialist in was terrifying. He lied about what we discussed within minutes of discussing it. Surely I couldn’t have been that unclear. He repeatedly ‘summed up’ what I had told him to mean the exact opposite of what I had just said. I wrote the following parable and sent it to him by email so he could no longer turn a deaf ear to what I was saying, and I would have documentary proof that he wasn’t listening to me. He responded by telling him he was to busy to read it. This parable was a clear cry for help for how quarter a century of untreated ADHD was making me lose the will to live. I appeal to others to read this, and to agree with me that I should have been listened to, instead of being prescribed a drug that very nearly killed me, and would have done had I not taken the trouble to do my own independent research on this highly dangerous drug via the internet. These facts have been studiously covered up by staff working for MPs and MSPs, as well as by individuals posing as ‘journalists’ in the print and broadcast media.

Dying of a Broken Torch:

Once upon a space-time, in a parallel universe far, far away… Some say this all began 3.919356 * 10 to the power 29 lightyears beyond the event horizon of our observable universe… Others say it happened much further away than this. Either way, whenever and wherever it was, there lived a strange young man. He was one of seven brothers. These young men were part of an experiment conducted by the most evil scientist on their home planet which, by a remarkable coincidence, was called Earth.

As young children, the seven brothers were forced to live for the remainder of their lives in a rather grotty little house. Never again would they be free to mingle with the other children, their parents nor anyone else. The entire house was completely devoid of light. They had to move around in that house completely blind. The evil scientist had set up his cameras to monitor their every move, making excellent use of a special night vision lens. Such fun he had, watching them bang their heads, fall over. cut themselves on sharp corners. How he laughed.

At the end of their first day, having screamed at each other, and for their mummy, their tears all dried into their salt-encrusted tear ducts, the evil scientist pumped in a sleeping gas. Having satisfied himself that they were all fast asleep, he went into the chamber where they were huddled together. And what did this evil scientist do then? Why he fastened on to each of their heads a pair of goggles. He also fastened onto each of their puny little hands a glove with a torch gaffa-taped to them. And all their torches were turned on. Then, absolutely delighted with what he had done, he left the scene…

Eventually, they all woke up. And they discovered they could now see things illuminated by their respective torches. However, by comparing notes, they discovered that their goggles and torches each worked only for themselves. What I mean by this is that not only do the torches illuminate what they shine on, every object in that house had clearly been specially treated with chemicals that allow them to glow – even AFTER the light beam has passed on! Their respective goggles only allow them to see those objects that have been illuminated by their own torch. Self-evidently, their goggles were attuned to only a specific part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and their torches only beamed that narrow range of frequencies.

As the days and week, months and years passed, each of them learnt how to open up the entire house. It all became accessible to their senses. If some patch was found to be dark, shine your torch there. That’s all they had to do, and it would forevermore be visible. Well, forevermore is a bit of an exaggeration, a point we’ll return to in due course.

In time, the entire house was visible to each and every one of them, and they forgot their unique situation. But they preferred to keep their gloves on at all times since the illumination did wear off after a time. Much more serious, removing their goggles would instantly make them blind as a bat. Still, they all adjusted to this new life. Well, that’s not strictly speaking true.

Derek… Poor Derek. Alas,  for some reason he never understood. His torch/goggles combo did not work as the others did. Sure, he could see those things his torch directly shone on. However, his torch appeared NOT to affect the chemically-treated objects in that house. He could only see what his torch pointed to. Move the torch and the visibility of the world simply shifted accordingly. The focus of his world was impoverished. While his brothers navigated their way around their artificial environment without any problem, he tripped and fell. He lost things. His food. Everything. He burnt himself, got electric shocks, got covered in all sorts of garbage. Eventually, his brothers all teased him. Taunted him. They tossed footballs and tennis balls all around that house. They bounced them off the floor, walls, furniture. He could feel the breeze of objects thrown just past his ears. He had no idea what it was, or who threw it. His brothers laughed at his failure to adjust the way they had. And then, one day, they found his corpse.

Derek was no more. He had died. Of a broken torch. And a broken heart.

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