Nova Reid

Why should a 2019 TED talk be in the news? Because it opposes racism, and The Times thinks that’s a bad thing. An NHS site for senior employees includes a link to the TED talk, and even though there is no obligation on anyone to watch it and there are many other links, the Times is outraged. An Opinion article said women suffer microaggressions too (fair point) and everyone should just ignore them.

Should microaggressions be “seen off with scorn”? Aged seven, Nova Reid heard a younger girl ask her mother, “Why is that girl the colour of poo-poo?” Just after transition, I heard a child cry out, “Mummy! Mummy! Look at the strange man!” It lives with me, twenty years later. At that age, it profoundly hurt her.

I don’t blame the child, I am uncomfortable with the parent. So scorn is difficult. What I feel, rather, is pain at my inability to connect and communicate. Some children can be wonderfully acute and compassionate.

I would think the NHS Leadership Academy, for senior employees, has many topics explored as well as racism, and many articles and videos on challenging prejudice, but the Daily Mail as well as The Times found this newsworthy. Wearily, an NHS spokesman (sic) explained to the Times that the video was by TED, not the NHS, and the NHS does not require anyone to watch it. They can, if they are interested. Both the Mail and Times report early in their articles (before most people stop reading) that Nova Reid says that Britain is “a country that legalised oppression”.

Well, Britain is based on oppression. All legal and constitutional authority, including the identity of the Head of State and the official religion, is based on the Norman Conquest which was pretty oppressive to the common people. Our empire accumulated wealth on the backs of slaves and oppressed peoples. Still, Eton boys and billionaires tell the common people to despise “Metropolitan elites” who say racism is bad.

Someone probably said to Jarvis Cocker, “I wanna sleep with common people like you”. I just love the video, especially the bits in the supermarket. Most people in Britain suffer microaggressions, and still the Times and Mail micromanage the NHS, saying it should not provide a link to a video with a particular point of view on that, perhaps alongside other points of view. They don’t want NHS leaders to hear a Black person objecting to racism.

People who come for trans rights are coming for everyone’s rights. They don’t like people pointing out oppression because all their power is based on oppression. The slightest thing anyone does to oppose oppression is fair game, with the right wing propaganda mill screaming “Woke!” The Mail helpfully has a link to all posts tagged “woke-culture”, a chronicle of resistance which the Mail despises.

And yet, this feigned apoplexy has introduced me to Nova Reid and her book “The Good Ally”. “Once hate is gone, [we] will be forced to deal with pain,” wrote James Baldwin. She writes about healing, because racism and other prejudice drives people apart, and opposing it brings us together. Reid is our ally, believing in “the equality of all genders”. She knows about internalised self-phobia. Her tools for opposing prejudice are tools we can use, together, to help everyone.

That some senior employees of the NHS might choose to spend ten minutes watching a video about microaggressions, with the NHS’s approval, is not news. That oil companies plans for drilling would involve the equivalent of 646 billion tonnes of CO2 and an increase in global temperature of more than 2ºC is news.

Mirror propaganda

An oppressor uses mirror propaganda to claim that their victims are the true oppressors, by accusing us of doing precisely what they do. They then claim their oppressive acts are legitimate self-defence. For further reading: the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s book “The Media and the Rwanda Genocide”, extracted here.

The Council of Europe condemned the “virulent attacks on the rights of LGBTI people” in the UK, and the “false, dehumanising” “gender-critical, anti-trans” narratives which “harm women’s and children’s rights and social cohesion”.

Unfortunately, the UK sent anti-trans propagandists to oppose this resolution in the Parliamentary Assembly. Their speeches were a good illustration of mirror propaganda. David Maclean, “Lord Blencathra”, said the anti-trans campaigners were simply seeking an open discussion, but the problem was “a small militant group of extremist trans activists who will tolerate no discussion as they seek to impose their ideology”. He claims it is trans people who wish to change the law, while he campaigns to exclude trans women from women’s prisons.

He claims we “vilify and dehumanise” cis women, even as he does that to us.

Do we “impose our ideology”? There is no such thing as trans ideology. Trans people exist. We flourish when we present in our true sex. There is a virulent anti-trans ideology, claiming trans women are a danger to cis women, and extremists want to change the law to exclude us from women’s services.

Anti-trans campaigner and statistically illiterate MP Tonia Antoniazzi wanted to delete the UK from the countries specifically condemned, because she claimed her side was entirely reasonable, merely debating rights “to get them right for everybody”. That is the counterpart to mirror propaganda: reassure your side “We’re the good guys”.

Sometimes the mirror propaganda needs you to delve into the footnotes. When I did, I found Akua Reindorf, now on the board of the EHRC,  had accused Stonewall of saying the law as it wished it to be rather than as it was- falsely; but done precisely that herself.

The New Statesman had a disgusting article by Louise Perry. Her headline is classic mirror propaganda: “Trans activists ask us to redefine what most consider to be truth”. We don’t. We ask to be tolerated. Anti-trans campaigners redefine truth, by denying our existence: they claim trans women are men who transition on a whim.

In the article, Perry claims trans people force everyone to say trans women are women, to take a definite position on The Issue of Trans. But I don’t. I want people who know me to treat me decently, to object if someone doesn’t, and to use my pronouns, as a matter of courtesy. I don’t demand anyone change their view of the world. It’s the anti-trans campaigners who do this. Perry is saying everyone is affected by Trans Campaigning, and so everyone should take a stand.

Perry claims a threat to women in prison: she claimed trans women could choose to go to a woman’s prison rather than a man’s. She then wrote of Karen White, even though White could not now go to the general population of a women’s prison.

Then she says that trans people are arguing “We should all be free to be whoever we want to be, and other people need to bend around us, acting and speaking in accordance with our wishes.” But we are not. Trans people simply exist. Trans people like Arthur Corbett bend, and do not transition, because they fear persecution, though they suffer for it.

I accept Louise Perry does not think I am a woman, but she really ought to accept I am a trans woman. She thinks it is a matter of desire- I transition because I want to. In reality, I transitioned because I could not bear not to, though I fought my needs and tried to suppress them, even with conversion therapy. People do not transition on a whim. But for Perry, we’re the ones demanding others bend around us, rather than desperately trying to force ourselves to fit others’ expectations, even to breaking point.

By claiming trans is an extremist ideology, by claiming trans people are a threat, by claiming we oppress innocent people such as Maya Forstater, Kathleen Stock or JK Rowling, or even (as Perry claims) all cis people, the mirror propagandists make our oppressors feel self-righteous. They are the victims! We are the oppressors! So they should get to defend themselves from us, which in practice means violent attacks.

“Thoughtful Therapists”

Reading transphobes’ tweets can be rewarding- you learn bits of good news. “Momentum is in bed with the transactivists” wails some useless phobe with 18 likes, alongside (according to them) the NHS, the BPS, the UKCP and the Labour Party. Elsewhere the railing gets unhinged- journalists’ ethics and trade unions require “all material reality be abandoned”, wails some phobe with her hand out for donations. Actually, she means sometimes news sites print stories showing trans people in a reasonable light, rather than a transphobic one. No link, it’s a barely notorious transphobe called Julian Vigo if you really want to do a search.

Julian, your paranoia reassures me. It makes your hate ineffectual. Still, no doubt some US billionaire hard-right activist will bung a few bucks your way.

Another twitter account is called “thoughtful therapists”. They mean counsellors rather than physical therapists. I would say “thoughtful” is a bare minimum in a psychotherapist. It should not need to be said. So why do they claim to be “thoughtful”? Perhaps because they’ve been told they are simply reactive and not thoughtful at all. “We’re thoughtful!” they wail, failing to reassure themselves. They are up against the British Psychological Society and the UK Council for Psychotherapy. Looking down their 677 tweets since March, all they tweet is transphobia.

They want the right as “therapists” to insist that no-one can ever be trans and transition is always wrong. They want to search endlessly for some sickness, some reason that a patient falsely believes they are trans. When they try that, it does not go well.

Fraudulently, their profile picture includes the logos of NHS England, NHS Scotland, the BACP, and the Royal College of General Practitioners among others, as if they spoke for any of these organisations.

The trouble with individuals like this is that they give propaganda outlets someone to quote. One of these “thoughtful” therapists is named. I went to her site and found gushing praise for her quoted, from notour transphobes and the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph etc. But even The Times has not quoted “Thoughtful Therapists”.

And now The Telegraph, desperate for someone to speak out against trans people and give their ignorant readers a thrill of revulsion, has bitten, and quotes “A Spokesman for Thoughtful Therapists” ad longum. This spokesman is anonymous, perhaps because being associated with such a group should mean no-one consulted them except transphobe parents seeking conversion therapy for their children.

And The Telegraph, in its desperate attempts to horrify its readers and turn them against trans people, can’t help giving good news. Dr Igi Moon, chair of the group revising the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK, and the lead on the document for the BPS, is nonbinary. The Telegraph misgenders them, using “she” pronouns, and quotes them supporting trans rights. Then it refers to the anonymous “thoughtful” “therapist” by They pronouns, so as not even to give away their gender. They must be completely terrified of exposure of their hateful views. They want to avoid the reasonable disciplinary processes of the professional bodies- or perhaps the revelation that they are not a qualified therapist at all.

Propaganda rags like The Telegraph, and extreme right wing campaigning money, supports these transphobes yet they are few in number and mostly anonymous. The Telegraph reports that Momentum hosted Dr Moon. The truth is getting out, despite the efforts of the propagandists.

Powerful words

I saw passionate, self-righteous loathing of me, everyone like me and all that we stand for, distilled into one word. It took me aback. Non-trans people may get some echo of my feeling, seeing the word; trans people should beware reading this post because I quote it. I fear quoting it because I fear that some cis people might read it and have a revelation- that is why trans women are so objectionable!

The word is “Womanface”.

I type the word and start to weep. I feel decades of agony. I have wanted to die, much of the time, since my mid twenties and now Covid bothers me less than it bothers others, perhaps, because, well, it would mean it would all be over. So I will unpack that word. It echoes Blackface- so for this campaigner, whatever I have done, hormones and surgery, facial electrolysis- hours of pain- and voice training, is the oppressor’s mockery and appropriation. I am the oppressor and must be resisted, though it does not feel like that from where I am, right now.

For some women, trans might seem repulsive because of their principled politics and personal bravery. In January I saw a woman tell a familiar story: she is lesbian, was a “tomboy” as a child, was uncomfortable with bodily changes in puberty and worried that had she been born a few years later she would have been sucked in by internet forums and had a double mastectomy, a beard and a baritone caused by T injections. In her twenties she became comfortable with who she is, a lesbian, not wanting to appear conventionally feminine. There are variations on this story: one friend told me of four pregnancies, of the paps where she gave suck, of the meaning of the woman’s body so different from a man’s. There is pain and even threat to life in uterine problems. I get it, I really do.

And, Patriarchy exists. There is male privilege: often men are heard, women silenced, men celebrated and women judged for ordinary human reactions, and feminists resist it, and others seem just to go along with it. Would all women be feminist if only their consciousness could be raised? But how? I read that for Black, Indigenous, and communities of color (and among other marginalized groups), silence has been a form of oppression that cuts us off from sharing our voice and agency and more. For me it’s complicated. In some ways I am confident, and I know that I have worthwhile things to say and skill in saying them, and I expect to be heard.

I appreciate a feminist perspective- how are women wronged?- even though I see how it skews perception. The concern of some feminists about trans people is skewed. On trans men, they hate the thought of mastectomy and mutilation, though that denies that trans men can make their own decisions or see their own interests. On trans women, they hate the thought of penises in women’s space, threatening women, so that a post-op transsexual might be more acceptable, or they fear-monger about trans women allegedly with penises.

If the trans woman becomes the symbol of oppression, trans women are screwed. Some feminists say trans women are the first and most important threat to women’s human rights, that we poison women’s space like a drop of ink in a litre of water, and negate the very meaning of woman- a woman is someone who feels like it rather than someone with a female reproductive system, and that destroys women’s solidarity, women’s rights, women’s campaigning. Though I see it differently- we are an anomaly, a few more or less ridiculous individuals, scared and scarred in our own ways, rather than a threat a potential ally.

So my solution is this. Recognise that we don’t fit gender stereotypes any more than you do, and this is our way of coping. We are so alike! We face similar problems!

I have said this before, and I don’t feel heard.

I am writing now because of sensed discomfort in yet another encounter, where my attempt at empathy may have got it entirely wrong, where our attempt at fellow-feeling may yet establish commonality of experience and interest. I don’t want to write about that encounter so I write of previous encounters. Words like “Whiteface” may make people impervious to finding that common interest, might stop them seeing my humanity, make them see me only as threat. Words are powerful. When I was at university I saw on a toilet door the most disgusting joke I have ever seen, in twenty-two syllables elegantly and expressively constructed to work like a joke. I have always remembered it, only once shared it, and felt that because I know it a tiny part of me is sullied.


Who is the oppressor here, and who the oppressed?

I saw that word used by Dr Julia Long, radical lesbian activist and academic. On self-isolation, she asked “would I be… forced to accept a man in womanface bringing my shopping?” Objecting to trans women in loos is bad enough, objecting to a moment’s interaction with a worker or perhaps another person in a mixed sex self-help group is- out of proportion? I don’t know if Dr Long originated the word which horrified me and made me cry while “Tranny!” hardly bothers me, but she uses it habitually. I saw it in a trans activist space, shared to show how extreme anti-trans campaigners can be. If I complained, they might tell me to spend more time in support groups and less in activist spaces.

I could make a fair case that Dr Long is the oppressor. She is highly articulate, with a number of platforms including at times the Guardian and Channel 4, and she devotes a great deal of her time and energy to monstering trans women with speech and writing at all registers from academic to dehumanising mockery, in alliance with Rupert Murdoch and the Heritage Foundation. And at the same time she is oppressed- I do not know her or her history at all, but am quite sure she will have experienced unwanted sexual attention, probably sexual violence, and may reasonably believe that her career has been held back by anti-lesbian or sexist prejudice.

I have no wish to recite the arguments why I would be seen to be the oppressor, but it does not feel that way from where I’m sitting. As Dr Long says, “Even while isolating yourself in the midst of a global pandemic, it seems there is no escaping this shit.”

Any way of escape has to involve seeing the oppression of the other. All oppression has to be recognised, as well as all the good in it: the cleverness in its creation, the comfort that it brings.

anti trans propaganda

What about the rape victims excluded from women’s services by the presence of male bodied people?

That would raise feelings of concern and perplexity in kind, caring people. It does not mention trans women by name, because trans women also are a vulnerable group, who might gain sympathy from the well-meaning.

When seeking to exclude trans people, don’t name the trans people. Instead, suggest there are threats to vulnerable women, and make dark allusions to trans people. “Male-bodied” is a weird term to use in normal conversation, but does not have the sympathetic connotations of trans people. Instead it alludes to the well known phenomenon that some women after a sexual assault cannot bear to be touched by a man, even a male relative.

Make it a question. An assertion of fact- rape victims are excluded- could be answered by demands for justification. What about the vulnerable? demands compassion and care without leaving space for challenge.

Having raised concern and compassion in potential dupes, the propagandist can produce more and more detail, increasing emotion, until finally he names the solution-

Vulnerable women are excluded because we need single sex spaces.

There are no single sex spaces, because the male bodied people insist on going there.

At that point the natural sympathy for the underdog of the caring middle class person has been developed so far for the rape victims that it can outweigh their sympathy for trans people.

Stating that rape victims would not go to rape crisis centres because of the theoretical possibility that they might see a trans woman there would be obviously ridiculous, especially as there are so few of us.

Still the propagandist does not use the term trans woman. He refers to “trans rights activists”, unreasonable, domineering people pushing for the right to ride roughshod over everyone else, setting women’s rights at naught, entirely solipsistic and lacking any sympathy. Or to “male-bodied” people again, weird, as out of place in a rape crisis centre as a fox in a henhouse. Never mind that over half of Rape Crisis centres also help men who have been sexually assaulted.

To build up hate, avoid anything which could humanise your hate-group. That is the basis of the tactic of professing sympathy with “real transsexuals”, also allegedly the victims of the TRAs. Except that when pressed, no one is ever admitted to be a “real transsexual”, and even “trans women” are falsely distinguished from them. Even those who speak on behalf of WPUK are told to use the men’s loos.

See what I did there? I did not use the names of WPUK’s trans collaborators. I do not want the names to be remembered, because I do not want the people to be given too much significance, and referring without names dehumanises them a bit. They are “collaborators”, rather than people.

It’s about feeling. It’s about shutting off any sympathy for the out group, trans women, and creating a sense that they threaten people who deserve sympathy, such as children, or rape victims. The allegations have almost no substance, but can still be spun. So any act which can be portrayed as offensive by a trans woman is emphasised, and constantly returned to.

Of course people should be engaged and persuaded, but that should be primarily by facts. If you need to distort facts, and rely excessively on building emotion in order to persuade, you are a propagandist.

I tend to feel we need to persuade. Someone referred to anti-trans campaigners as “fascists”. That’s arguable: as she says, if its philosophy is of morally mandating marginalized groups out of existence it’s fascist. However, fascism is associated with nationalism, and British fascists like the BNP have sought to justify violence against Jews and non-white people. Fascism is abhorrent. Use of the word “fascist” without showing the arguments justifying that puts people off, even many trans allies. They think you absurd. Yes our opponents are arguably fascist- show what they are doing, building hate for a vulnerable group through lies and half truths, before naming this as “fascist”.

Examples: “If Corbyn were to declare ‘my pronouns are she/her’ Labour would have its first female leader”. Yes, but why would he? This spreads the canard that transition is a whim or fantasy, rather than the only thing we can do.

“It isn’t about trans rights because gender critical feminists are in favour of trans people having the same rights as everyone else.” She would take away my Equality Act rights and expel me from spaces I have inhabited since 2002, but she refuses to countenance the language that describes that, or anything anyone could object to. She is preaching hate, but claims it is love.

Now they come for the trans people

The government has abandoned any pretense of supporting trans people’s human rights. They claim to be protecting children from trans people. According to the Daily Mail, a source said,

‘The priorities of the brief are being put on ice. Fundamentally, it is the Secretary of State’s belief that adults should be given full freedom to decide how they want to live their lives and should not face barriers to doing so. When children are growing up, they are still developing those decision-making capabilities and there is a role to be played in protecting them and making sure that the implications of decisions are fully understood.’

This is irrelevant. The consultation did not propose gender recognition under 18. It proposed a Statutory Declaration- made in front of a solicitor or JP, with the penalty of perjury for falsehood- which is for adults only.

However, there will be no rights for adults, because of the fear that trans acceptance makes children transition, even children who are not trans.

The Daily Mail said This spared No 10 a direct confrontation with the well-organised, pro-transgender lobby. If we were well organised or powerful we would have won. This is the standard tactic of demonisation- Your enemies are powerful! We must fight them! Our children are under threat!

An unnamed source said making Liz Truss Women and Equalities minister was an opportunity to “strangle the issue”. TERFs rejoicing should note that Truss is no feminist. They put this symbolic issue, having almost no effect on women, ahead of real feminist issues.

The government will not stop there. David Cameron, a beacon of moderation compared to the current lot, wanted to repeal the Human Rights Act, and the Tories are now in full on demonisation mode. They will take away our current Equality Act rights if they are not stopped.

Who will be next? Johnson wants to win an election based on hate and fear. For every fact-based objection about Brexit, Johnson has a fantasy narrative. Food, fuel and medicine shortages? Blitz Spirit. Irish border? Technological solutions. Things going wrong? Remainer conspiracy. Delay past Halloween? Not his fault, he said Get Brexit done. His experience is that if his propagandists in the press and social media shout this loudly enough, sufficient voters will echo his rage fantasies, inflamed by his fighting words- surrender, traitor.

He uses an imagined enemy- the Metropolitan Elite- as the hate figure, but also real people- immigrants, by which his dupes understand Black and minority ethnic people and EU citizens who have made their lives here. Now he is moving on LGBT, starting with the most vulnerable. Any gender variant people- including many TERFs- will be next.

We must not let him. We must talk to people, canvass, point out better ways. When lies win over truth, democracy dies.

Spotting fake news

Dubious sources and buzzwords devoid of content in the Prime Minister ABdP Johnson’s bluster show he is not credible.

We are leaving the EU on 31st October come what may, no ifs or buts. This is essential to restoring trust in our democracy.

Leaving? Not if he can’t get a deal. Not by no deal if he can’t get an election before 17 October. It’s a promise he can’t keep. He can’t even legislate to unite Ireland as it would be contrary to treaty obligations. And he won’t endorse the backstop.

We are getting on with the job of renewing our country and building an enterprising, outward looking and truly global United Kingdom.

Renewing? Yes it needs renewed after nine years of Tory rule, but Tories are not the ones to do it.

Like you, I am proud that our party believes in freedom and opportunity for all. I believe everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and to be given the opportunity to succeed on merit.

Enterprising, outward looking, freedom, opportunity. Empty words from De Pfeffel’s letter to a new Tory potential candidate. Especially “merit”- what can an Etonian say about that?

A nameless facebook commenter: The elitist left are happy to give billions to a trading organisation and are happy to allow a Marxist to destroy the economics of our country. Tax cuts benefit the poorer workers…

“The elitist left”? What? It makes no sense. The grammar and syntax mimic meaningful English, but there is no argument, just bland assertion black is white. The more you earn the more you gain by tax cuts, and ABdP Johnson proposes cuts to the top rate.

Another: What a pathetic job of hosting Question Time tonight Fiona Bruce! Interrupting Brexiteer people trying to answer, letting Thornberry and McTavish drone on as they like.

I can’t listen to the BBC news any more. Tories and Tory commentators- eg a former editor of the Spectator waffling meaningless rubbish- go unchallenged. When I am screaming swear words at the radio, I switch off for my own sanity. My Leaver friend feels the bias goes the opposite way. Pathetic, drone- words to belittle, and reduce respect. He is discourteous, and that muddies the waters further.

Though so am I, elsewhere. Here I refer to ABdP Johnson, elsewhere to Spaffer or BoJo the Clown. I must stop that. It makes me feel slightly better for a moment and increases anger and distrust. I must be clear headed!

EU to lose £500bn and UK to gain £640bn in no deal Brexit, economist claims. Ooh, which economist? Patrick Minford! This is not a surprise. Minford is in the minority amongst academic economists, most of whom say Brexit will make Britain poorer. It’s a Telegraph headline, shared by a strong Leaver on facebook. I don’t like the idea of making our allies poorer.

He also shared a post saying Switzerland has no hard border with the EU, so why should we need one in Ireland? I went to check. Switzerland is in the Single Market, which few people would consider to be genuinely Leaving. Yet I did not know off hand. By the time I had fact checked, conversation would have moved on. If you don’t care about fact checkers you can “Win” a lot of arguments, at the expense of trust. You don’t play chess with a pigeon, as they say, but I expect more of friends.

A recent Bank of England study suggested that the collapse of investment since the referendum may have reduced productivity by between 2% and 5% from what it otherwise would have been. I don’t believe Minford, but I believe the Bank of England.

Lies and anger swirl on social media. I personally would not believe anything the papers write, said someone, but that is a counsel of despair. I believe it if it is against their interests.

So what about The Times’ report that the Tories were polling northern Labour seats to see if social conservative positions like being against trans rights would depress the working class vote for Labour? They are the “liberal elite” would be the argument, supporting all sorts of undeserving people and not you. Vote for us. We don’t support anyone, but at least the undeserving won’t get handouts! Who knows what personally targeted ads will go on facebook. The antidote is Hope-

The Times is a transphobic publication, and could be trying to reinforce anti-trans views as mainstream, from the bottom of the hierarchy to the top. That potential candidate, a trans woman, denies the report. I hope that Times readers would be revolted by such a tactic but can’t be sure.

How can we maintain clear heads and an understanding of events in these times? By trusting a reputable source of news, such as The Guardian, and considering other sources of news and comment to hear what others are hearing.

How can we have dialogue across the divide? This is difficult. Understanding how the online discourse works is a help. Groups such as Leavers associate together, honing their rhetoric. Points condense, so that an argument becomes an assertion becomes a slogan shorthand for that assertion. “Democracy requires Leaving”, for example, without any reasoning on how that might be done. Only No Deal is truly Leaving the Brussels Jackboot. Getting back to the level of argument from such slogans- There should be a People’s Vote! – is difficult, especially on line. So we trade buzzwords, feeling vindicated but increasingly frustrated.

Campaigning III

We did not expect to win the election. On election day, I circulated two cards, one saying the Tories are already celebrating, one saying Time is running out. These were to go to voters who had previously indicated they would vote Labour. We did not have the canvass data, and we did not have tellers at the polling stations. There was a Tory there when I went to vote, telling.

The card said “Only Beth Miller can hold the Tories to account”. Well, she would speak and vote against a Tory government, question them, and campaign in the constituency, but arguably a government MP is better for the constituency. He might bring home a few bribes. In a Labour-led coalition, the Tories would not need “held to account” as there would be a majority to defeat them. I suppose you could say a Labour government would be showing how badly the Tories had damaged the country, holding them to account in some sense; or defeating them held them to account, or punished them, for that damage; but I would rather Labour reversed some of the damage.

We need a full canvass. I put those cards through a few doors which had a Sun pushed through beforehand- with its vile propaganda. “Today you can rescue Britain from the catastrophe of a takeover by Labour’s hard-left extremists. Jeremy Corbyn would not just reverse seven years of job creation and growth under the Tories. He would chuck our country’s spectacular progress and prosperity over the last 35 years in the bin.” Headline- “Don’t chuck Britain in the Cor-bin” with a mocked up picture of Mr Corbyn in an old metal trash-can. Today it is back to its soft titillation- “Rhian frolics in the Sun”, a picture of a smiling, big-breasted woman in a bikini- with more Tory propaganda.

It works. “I’ve always voted Labour but I could not vote for that terrorist sympathiser Jeremy Corbyn” said one voter to the Labour candidate. Mr Corbyn promoted peace talks publicly as Tory ministers pursued them privately. And consider the DUP’s terrorist present, never mind their past: the Loyalist Communities Council, representing Loyalist paramilitaries, endorsed three DUP candidates, all now MPs. After a UDA murder last month, the DUP leader Arlene Foster met the UDA leader Jackie McDonald. She said all paramilitary groups should disband, yet she gives them credence and acknowledges their power by meeting with them? I give all this detail because voters have been divorced from reality, by the propaganda.

In this constituency the UKIP vote collapsed 6213 and the Labour vote increased by 4873. Unfortunately the Tory vote increased by 5511. Turnout increased by 3463. It is not clear where the UKIP vote went, especially without canvass returns. I hope the Green vote went to Labour, but perhaps people just stayed at home. The LibDem vote increased by a stonking 87 votes.

We could put the work in Corby town itself, but the constituency has a huge area of mostly Tory villages. There are radicals in all those villages- I talked to one yesterday, she was enthused about the campaign- but we have to get the vote out, which means canvassing and telling.