Response to Sarah Vine.

This is the article from yesterday’s Daily Mail. Below is my response:

Ms Vine,

The only witch-hunt mentality on display here is your own as you seek to lambast the so-called millennials, whom you (apparently) believe to be stalking Westminster in packs, baying for the blood of your husband’s colleagues. 

Ms Leadsom stated that inappropriate behaviour “could lead to sacking”. That it could lead to reprimands and a loss of position. Nothing which does not occur in just about every other workplace policy everywhere else. But (according to you) Westminster should be different. 
The hallowed halls of Whitehall should apparently be exempt from such rulings for the same reason we overlook it when our elderly grandfathers grope the nurses- it’s generational and they don’t understand. Whilst I agree with giving Mr Smith a pass because he spends his days pissing into a catheter and is in the advanced stages of dementia, I am more than a little concerned that you want the same for our senior politicians. Surely if they’re capable of running the country, then they’re capable of taking responsibility for their own actions…unless you know something we don’t and they are mostly senile, in which case why are they still in such positions of power?
You state that you want women to toughen up and stand up for themselves, to take responsibility for their own safety…Isn’t that what they are doing when they report the gropers, squeezers and boozed-up leering old men to their seniors? 
Standing up for oneself does not have to mean threatening violence. Strength comes in many forms and, whilst I am of the “take your hand off my leg before I break it” school of thought, a lot of women aren’t (and shouldn’t have to be). We have anti-harassment policies to prevent easily dealt with issues from becoming inter-departmental witch hunts. Instead of devolving into a he-said-she-said bun fight, we have the power to report inappropriate behaviour to one central person who then deals with it as fairly as possible. This is not weakness, it’s common sense. 
I’m sorry that you are of a generation where the only way a woman could feel powerful was by emulating the bullish behaviour of the men by whom she was surrounded. Things are different now and we have the option to retain our femininity whilst still exhibiting strength in our actions. We are able to obtain power/positions previously saved for men, without having to adopt their less-than-desirable traits to do so. That is modern feminism and that is why No still means No, whether I’m punching you in the face or not.


An open letter on Extremism. 

Violence is not a solution. Angry tweets into the ether are not a solution. Blaming, shaming and finger-pointing are not a solution. 
There is no “alt” to the right or the left- there are extremes and it is time we started referring to them as such. Alt is a fluffy, tweet-friendly word which disguises the fact that the people we’re referring to are extremists. 
The alt right are not the Alt-ernative to anything. They are not some new breed of right winger; their mindset has been around for centuries from Slavers to Nazis and the scientists of the 1950s who believed that lgbtq people could be “cured”. By taking their actions as a new response we are ignoring the lessons we have already learned from history. We are ignoring the way we dealt with this in the past and the loss of lives that resulted in ignoring their progression for so long before we took action. 
The extreme left is not our hope. The solution is not going to be found by turning up at rallies armed to the teeth and looking for a fight. Take your rage, your well-earned anger and put it to constructive use! Use your minds to start dialogues and not your hands to start fights. There is nothing to be gained by punching a random Confederate flag-waver upside the head. All you do is give them further “proof” you are unreasonable and un-welcoming of discussion. Mr Trump has shown us time and again that he is looking for any excuse to paint this as a two-sided situation. Loathe to criticise those who put him in power, he will take any opportunity to single out the extreme Left and say
 “Look look, they did a bad thing too!” 
We have the ability to stop that. We have the ability to show the world that there is no comparison to be made between our protests and the car-as-weapon standards of the Far Right. 
Positive change comes neither quickly nor easily. The results we are wanting to see take time and the situation could get worse before it gets better. 
But it will get better if we stand together and show that we are not going to allow divisive, reductive ideologies to reshape our world. We need to be brave and to hold fast to the knowledge that we are on the right track. Read the proposals and policies before you agree to them, challenge laws and statutes if you feel abuses are happening, use your MPs/ Senators and be informed. When nothing else will do then get out there and March…but do it peacefully. Be the ‘bigger man’ and eventually Trump and his extreme right wing followers will have no excuses and no one else to blame. 

Being Candid

Today I set out to photograph the local, anti-government Protest. While waiting for things to get underway, I chatted to another photographer. A professional with years of experience, she advised me to ignore the fact I’m self-taught and focus on developing “an eye”. 

In the 5 years since I bought my first decent camera, I have been snapping pictures of anything and everything at every chance I get. From appalling beginnings, I am starting to feel like I have a voice and a style. My thing is definitely people. I love un-posed, unplanned pictures of people doing what we do best. It has now become a personal challenge to see if I can get the best candids possible without being spotted. 

While I work on my sneaking technique (helped by the cats), you can entertain yourselves with my current faves. 🙂 

The Art of Protest 

1992Twenty-five years ago I attended my first protest march. I was thirteen years old and told my parents I was going to town to hang out with some friends. Not because they were anti-my beliefs but because they were (rightfully) worried for my safety. I marched with the Anti-Nazi league in Leeds, a city which had a huge Combat 18 presence and where protests had previously turned into riots. 
None of this phased me however and, in my 13 year old hubris I took a wrench from my fathers toolbox and tucked it into my belt, hidden by a t shirt. What I thought I was going to do with it I’ve no idea, but it made me feel safer and grown-up, like I’d planned ahead or something. 
I went alone as I knew the majority of my friends would not be allowed to attend/ were too kind to lie to their parents. When I arrived on-site I grabbed a placard, took a deep breath and started a conversation with the first friendly-looking person I saw. He was a Nigerian man, joined soon after by his wife and baby who quickly realised I had no idea what I was doing and let me march with them. 
There were protesters in their thousands that day. The noise was immense, the sense of camaraderie even greater. We shouted, sang and made our voices heard around the city. I realised that the microcosmic world I knew in school was nothing compared to the world I’d found there. In the throng I wasn’t a weirdo or a freak to be ridiculed, in the throng I was one more fighter and friends were made more easily than I’d ever realised was possible.
The march went unchallenged by the opposition and I arrived home unscathed, with a fresh sense of who I could be. 
Last night I joined 400 other people in a static protest against the current POTUS. My banner hastily made, I joined a soggy rained-on rabble after work and watched as the crowd grew. 
 There were seasoned veterans who had been protesting since the 60s, trade unionists and teens at their first event. Some came to watch, others to speak and a few just for the experience, instagramming their hearts out. But the numbers and the message were what mattered and I feel that by then end of it, everyone left with a sense of triumph; that we can change our world for the better. 

United Separatist States of America 

This is how the dictatorship began. People who were there would like you to believe that it crept up on us. That we were sneakily led down the garden path, believing there’d be flowers but only finding wasps. 
But it was not.

From the start he told us who he was and what he planned to do. And we convinced ourselves that the senate wouldn’t let him, that the people he had to get approval from would put their feet down and say No.

And they will…to a point. 

His entire campaign strategy was to be as cartoonish as possible in order to convince the public he would never actually go ahead with it. To convince a public, so used to their news coming in twitter-friendly snippets, that he was foolish. So inept at using the media he could not possibly know what he was talking about. And it worked. 

One week in and he has shown his contempt for women, First Nations and political prisoners. His politics have more in common with Idi Amin than Lincoln. The America he’s striving to render “great” again, ceased existing in 1984. Destroyed by its own greed, the country he’s dragging his followers into is a wasteland of demolished promises. 

So share the memes, draw the cartoons and quote the silly mans quotes. But be aware that the agenda is very real, very serious and completely terrifying.


I am done with swiping,




Liking and

Hinting at changes.
Now is the time to be moving,





Hoping and

Pulling together.
The sharing of memes and

Repeating of sound bites,

Is nothing compared to

The impact of action.

Informed and inflamed is

The right way to fight;

Impassioned with knowledge 

To fight for your rights.
A click fix is never the answer.

Vogue knows breast…

So cleavage is officially “over”.

Not content with telling us what size and shape our bodies should be, Vogue have now progressed to telling us that breasts are out of style. 

Apparently we won’t be “getting them out for the lads or anyone else”. Well shit, guess I’d better strap mine down lest the natural shape of a woman offend someone.
Seriously Vogue, where do I begin with this??
Never mind the blunt force stupidity of declaring random body parts out of fashion, my main concern here is your implication that breasts only exist to be flashed. Beacons to declare ‘look at me! I’m the girl you want!’ which I must now lock away to avoid offending the critical eye of high fashion. 
Do your female writers really only see their bodies as vehicles for the promotion of designer goods? Are you being deliberately ignorant of your own humanity or have you worked there so long you’ve forgotten it? 
Women the world over have enough people telling them what to be and how to be it. We do not need to be shamed for the physicality of femininity. 
If you cannot see the problem in this article, Vogue, then I pity the pretty empty shell you have become.

Blowing the game.

Your football team.
Your good wholesome boys drawn in by Lilith’s drunken grasp.

Your mighty men who went willingly into the arms of temptation,

Only to find she had claws and teeth.

Poor, gentle boys who went out looking for a good time

And wound up vilified.

The boys you saw as heroes,

Now devastated villains, 

As your decades old dream crumbled softly into ashes.

And I hear you say that She is responsible.

For being drunk,

For being out,

For being there and then and how

She called them up,

Agreed to party,

And passed out amid the wreckage.

She’s responsible for things they did,

When she was comatose,

Because you’re scared to say

Your hero’s just a rapist after all.


New house spelunking

Last month we moved in. The wallpaper came down, paint went on and the place began to feel like ours. Today I investigated the loft. This is about 1/3 of what’s up there, mostly old toys and nonsense but a whole bag of children’s photos that left me feeling unsettled. Who leaves their children in the loft? What stories happened in this house before ours began?