Years And Years: It’s Your Fault

In this amazing drama, everything has gone wrong for the UK. There is a right wing government in power, and homeless people, those with illness and asylum seekers are being sent to concentration camps; everyone is poor.

“It’s your fault!” The grandma declares at New Year’s dinner. It is everyone’s fault for the way they vote, but also for how they live their every day lives.

“It’s that £1 T shirt we can’t resist. The shop keeper gets 5p. Some peasant in a field gets 0.001p. When they replaced all the women on the till in the supermarket. Did you walk out and shop somewhere else? Did you write a letter of complaint? No, you huffed and you puffed and you put up with them.”

Greed and convenience are something we all struggle to overcome. However, for people on a low income, that £1 might be all they can afford. It might be what they wear for three days each week, and the other four days they will wear another £1 T shirt.

When I was a care worker two years ago, looking after the most vulnerable in society, I could not even afford to buy new socks, just a pack of socks for £5 from a cheap shop.

“We don’t look that woman in the eye, the woman paid less than us. We bought into it: the system.”

There is still some racism in the UK, there is a lot of homophobia and these two bigotries affects around 9% the UK who are BAME (POC) or LGBT. However, what affects the vast majority of people is class prejudice. The UK is full of class prejudice.

Churches are mostly nice middle class clubs where nice middle class people listen to a middle class person tell them how to be good middle class people. They have coffee and then go back to their middle class enclaves. Very few churches actually DO anything for the vast majority of people. They claim they do all sorts, but the reality is they don’t.

The BAME and LGBT “representatives” who talk on TV panels and news programmes are all from wealthy backgrounds, therefore there is no diversity of thought and opinion. There is little diversity of experience.

Journalists are all middle class and have never had any job outside of journalism, which is why journalists have no idea about what is going on in the real world or why. For example, COVID-19 has killed more BAME workers than white. Why? Because more consultants on hospital wards are BAME and so are many nursing and care staff, and they also have poor diets and underlying health conditions. I know this because I have worked in hospitals and care homes. No Guardian writer has, which is why The Guardian can produce statistics but no conclusion on why so many BAME hospital staff die from COVID-19.

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Having been a care worker and health care assistant in a hospital, I know first hand how people look down their noses at care staff. I know how horribly care staff are treated by some nurses and criminally by hospital management.

Three years ago, I was a 1:1 worker in care homes. I looked after one man for over a year. That came to an end when his wife made false allegations about me. She claimed I had been away from my shift for several hours, that I had left the client for hours in his own urine and that I was not able to do moving and handling. All these claims were false, the nurse on shift backed me up so there was no investigation, but I was not allowed to work with this client again. That was 33 hours of work per week, around the corner from my house gone. Why did the client’s wife make false allegations? I don’t know. I think she wanted people she could control more as her husband’s carers since there was a question over his care funding continuing.

This is what happens. Care staff are not respected by clients, by clients’ family members nor by management. Physical and sexual assaults are a daily occurrence in every care home. No one cares because it is care staff who are on the receiving end. There is no police involvement, no investigation in the care home, no risk assessments and no back up for the workers. The care workers simply have to   carry on. I have been on training with four care companies who included the danger of being raped on shift in their training.

During the corona virus outbreak, people are cheering care staff, but for how long?

The truth is, like all of the UK’s dirty secrets, the problems of working class people are out of sight and out of mind. They are never going to be public nor have any action taken on them because hardly any working class people work in TV or newspaper.

Unless we do something to break the cycle. Write to companies to say what you want them to do better. And get your friends to do the same. Start an online petition. Show respect to people of all classes, tip your taxi driver, tip care workers, tip shop workers. When you receive good service, put it in writing to their employer. This could lead to that worker getting financial rewards or promotion. Break the cycle. Do something. Don’t let it be your fault. Change the world.

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Years And Years: This Green And Pleasant Land

Why do I love everything Russell T Davies writes? From Children’s Ward when I was 10 years old, to Queer As Folk, to children’s dramas on Children’s BBC in the 90s, to Doctor Who (2005-2008) and Torchwood to Years And Years. Why do I love everything RTD writes?

I would not say RTD is the best gay writer on British television. I would say he is the best writer on British television full stop. While RTD centres lgbt characters, and he does bring to light a lot of issues that go unreported from lgbt life such as depression, drug misuse, fear and mass murder, he also addresses issues that face society on the whole. Years And Years touches on broken families and poor parenting skills, shifting political landscapes, the NHS creaking under the weight of demand on its services and criminal plastic surgery. RTD has his finger on the pulse.

And RTD is funny. He is very funny. One of the ingredients that made the original version of Queer As Folk so addictive was the laugh out loud humour. Who can forget Anthony Cotton’s character escaping a freaky guy’s flat via the bathroom window and hanging from the guttering outside… and the guttering came away from the wall. In Years And Years, even at the funeral of the main characters’ father, the main characters were quietly cracking jokes before they became emotional.

RTD also knows history. He filled his tenure on Doctor Who with history, from Madame de Pompadour to the Queen’s Coronation. We learn so much from watching anything RTD writes. RTD knows history, and he knows history repeats itself.

In episode 5 of Years And Years, Stephen goes from working eleven jobs in the gig economy to a job working for a horrible ex school mate who now runs a dodgy private property company. They go to an evening run by government officials. Viv Rook is there. She interrupts a presentation on the Erstwhile Camps to talk about language. People are sensitive to words, especially words like “camps”, so let’s call them “facilities” instead.

Then we get the history lesson. Viv sits down and asks if anyone has heard of the concentration camps in the Boer War. No one in the room had. She informs everyone that the British were the inventors of concentration camps. It was Kitchener who devised how the camps would work; neglect. Neglect to take care of the people held in the camps, and neglect the care of the camps themselves, and diseases will flourish and kill those held in the camps. This is what the British did in South Africa. 26000 women and children died in Kitchener’s camps, and thousands more men. Measles, dysentery and typhoid swept through the camps. The British stood back and let it happen, deliberately.

In Years And Years, Viv Rook’s plan is to put all immigrants into concentration camps and let diseases kill them. Then clear out the dead and put more immigrants into the camps. Then clear out the dead and put more immigrants into the camps. Because the immigrants will keep coming.

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RTD hit the nail on the head. Immigrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa, want to come to the UK. Any interviewer in refugee camps across Africa finds people fleeing conflicts, but finds many more who have left their homes for economic reasons, and the vast majority want to come to the UK. In my last post, I stated that the UK is not the land of milk and honey that so many people around the world think it is. Most UK citizens struggle financially. Thousands rely on food handouts from charities. Tens of thousands have no choice but to work in the gig economy on zero hours contracts. The school system is failing and knife crime in major cities is out of control.

The UK cannot take care of the people who are already here. I now work for a foreign company after struggling on minimum wage in zero hour contracts jobs for three years. I have a 2:1 honours degree and a diploma in law. My best friend has two degrees – he was a teacher – and he now works for less than the minimum wage as a care worker. The UK cannot take care of the people who are already here. It cannot provide jobs and housing for the people already here. We have 138000 homeless children. What can we do to change people’s perceptions about the UK being the answer to their problems, and to stop people making the dangerous – and very expensive journeys – to get to the UK?

I think giving the rest of the world an accurate view of the UK is a start. I was with a colleague when I did care work. She took a phone call from a friend in Malawi, a country where there is no war. She was instructing him on how to come to the UK and claim asylum here. This man was an accountant and he wanted to continue being an accountant in the UK. My colleague said to him, “No, in the UK, asylum seekers must be care workers or cleaners.”

The man who was desperate to come to the UK had a far better job and income in Malawi than he would ever hope to get in the UK. He was desperate to come here because he had the wrong impression about what life is like in the UK, and he had the false impression that he could have a better life here.

I know from when I lived abroad in 2014 that people around the world have no idea about the foodbanks in the UK, the mass rape of children in the UK, the violence on our streets that mean I stay indoors after 7 o’clock at night on Teesside, and I am careful when I am out during the day time.

Gay people from around the world come to the UK because of our equality laws. The problem is these laws are great on paper, but they hardly work in reality. Discrimination in the workplace is massive as I have talked about in my post about using lockdown to improve your work prospects. Most lgbt people cannot afford to take their employer to court. The reality is physical violence against lgbt people is worse here in the UK than in many countries where same sex relationships are illegal.

In China, some people call England “Gayland”. The truth is in Chinese cities, lgb people can live much more freely than they can here in the UK. Masculine gay women are admired in China for their “killer dress sense” as one straight woman told me, and they walk around with the most beautiful women on their arm. Effeminate gay men can openly wear make up and work in jobs that are stereotypically taken up by effeminate men such as fashion designer. In the UK, gay women and men are often too scared to hold hands in the street, or to appear gay, for fear of violence. When I first heard of people claiming asylum in the UK for being gay, I asked, “Why are they coming here?”

There are so many great things about the UK such as our countryside, museums, history, but the reality for most people is that life here is a struggle. A real struggle.

Years And Years lifts the lid on many issues affecting our nation now, and asks “What happens next?”

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Years And Years: Far Right and Far Left

Everything goes wrong for Viktor and Daniel in Episode Four of Years And Years. Viktor has claimed asylum in Spain, but there has been a revolution and a far left party has taken over the country. Viktor is going to be repatriated back to Ukraine where he will be murdered. Daniel says about the new Spanish government, “But I thought they were Far Left” and Viktor rightly says, “Far Right, Far Left, eventually you meet in the middle.”

The whole of this episode was about Daniel getting his partner Viktor to safety, out of Spain, then out of France to the UK where he will have to live under the radar for the rest of his life with no job or official role, but that is better than a death sentence. It all goes wrong. Horribly wrong.

The UK has a long history of giving asylum to people who need it. Several of my good friends and work colleagues were brought to the UK by the government from refugee camps. As I said in a previous post, the vast majority of people now occupying housing for asylum seekers in the UK are not genuine asylum seekers. We have a housing crisis in the UK. We cannot bring Syrians or Yemeni people from refugee camps because we have nowhere to house them.

Many people wish to come to the UK believing it is the land of milk and honey. They have a false view of the UK. Parts of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh are wealthy. Chelsea. A few pockets of wealth. The truth is most UK people are struggling on minimum wage or less, in service based jobs such as care worker or cafe worker, and many rely on free food from foodbanks. One Iranian friend told me he wishes he had never come here. In Iran, he had a decent job, lived in a decent house and people behaved decently. Here in the UK, he is unemployed, his wife is unemployed and they live on a council estate surrounded by drug dealing and knife crime. I have seen this story replicated in a number of families I know personally.

Amadou and Mariam, on their latest album, sang “C’est Chaud” – It’s Hot, meaning it’s difficult, and they sang it’s difficult everywhere, urging people to not leave their African nations for economic reasons.

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Europe is not the Promised Land. The journey to get from Central Africa to Europe is incredibly dangerous. Women and girls are raped, men are murdered, enslaved and exploited and sometimes raped, too. There are now detention camps in Libya run by traffikers. They do awful things to the thousands men they have detained and imprisoned. It is not kind, just or good to recommend that people risk everything to come to Europe.

The more humane thing to do is sponsor children in their own countries so that they can get an education and then careers. Sponsorship money also funds the parents and local community around the sponsored child. It is far kinder to give £25 per month to a family in a poorer nation than to advise them to risk everything to come to nations that are utter messes when you scratch below the surface. Child sponsorship is all about giving a hand up to families so that they can have the tools to take charge of their own lives and to improve their own community and country themselves.

The vast majority of people risking their lives to come to Europe are doing so purely for economic reasons. Consider doing something to keep families and countries together, happy and healthy by sponsoring a child. There are many organisations who do this:

Plan

Action Aid

SOS

Compassion UK

World Vision

Save The Children

 

Thank you.

 

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Years And Years: Profiting From Misery

When I went on anti-terrorism training, on two courses we were shown a clip from This Is England, where a far right thug recruits a boy. As a Christian who has seen how right wing churches that are more like cults operate, I saw parallels; people’s misery is played on. In This Is England, it was the Falklands War and the haves and the have nots in Thatcher’s England. In cultic churches it is self esteem issues, childhood abuse and a person’s natural instinct to behave well and be a part of something bigger than themselves, mixed in with the misuse of Scripture to control people.

In Years And Years, the forgotten families of deceased soldiers and unemployment are played on by the far right character Viv Rook, as well as a fear of the foreign and playing up to pro-British sentiment.

Viv says on TV as an MP what plenty of UK people of all political leanings say; that  only intelligent people should be able to vote (think of Brexit debates when plenty of commentators and citizens said that people were “too thick” to know what they were voting for).

Slowly, we see the fall out of the nuclear bomb dropped on China’s affects on the middle class English family at the centre of the story as Stephen’s bank goes under and he becomes the financial advisor who lost £1 million. His wife Celeste loses her job as an accountant for an international firm. Rosie loses her job as a catering manager in a school.

Bethany makes a new friend at work; another transhuman young woman. They become inseparable. Bethany’s mother Celeste assumes Bethany is catching up on teen crushes she never had. The reality is the friend gets Bethany to pay for her transhuman surgery. She and Bethany go to Liverpool, and are taken by dinghy to a ship moored nearby.

Celeste gets a phone call from Bethany. She goes to meet Bethany in the hospital. Her friend’s surgery has gone wrong. Her eye implant is out of control. The surgery was a botched job.

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Celeste talks to the nurse. The nurse said that this happens in Liverpool A LOT. In the 90s it was facelifts. In the early 2000s it was sex alignment surgery. She said the successful surgeries are great, but only if you can afford them. Ships moored off Liverpool docks are not sterile clinics with legitimate surgeons.

I am squeamish. I have worked in hospitals and with people who self harm. I can deal with injuries when I need to deal with them, but I am still squeamish. I can’t stand the idea of plastic surgery. If someone is in an accident or is assaulted and needs surgery, I totally get that. But plastic surgery for purely cosmetic reasons is something I cannot get on board with, and it grosses me out.

As a Christian, I do believe we are all gorgeous looking in our own way. I am seeing my face change shape as I get older and I see the winkles on my forehead as I read stories for children. My facial expressions create lines that move, appear and disappear as I speak and act out what I am reading. In the spring sunlight, my facial scarrings are apparent. This happens every year and I have always been fine with it.

I do believe we are all created uniquely and to be unique. I know several people who are identical twins. Yet there are differences in appearance. I teach identical twins every Saturday and I can now tell them apart. No one is born looking exactly the same as anyone else. We are supposed to be different.

Plenty of left wing rhetoric is about us loving who we are, of how good it is to be different, but then people are bullied for having any divergence of opinion and outlook. People police other people. Women especially police other women. For all our talk of freedom and accepting difference and diversity, most people are happy to conform to please other people, including people they don’t even like.

As a Christian I believe we are to live in peace with others as long as it means we do not compromise God’s plans for us and the world. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10 that God knew us before we were born, and each person has individual tasks that God has decided they are the best person for the job. This verse also says we are God’s workmanship, or artwork. Why ruin a great work of art by making it look like a fake? Why let the media’s version of beauty ruin our natural beauty? Why give money to people who want to profiteer from making us feel insecure about our appearance? Why live second rate lives when we can be ourselves?

We were created to be uniquely ourselves. Go, love yourself for who you are and live an amazing life.

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Years And Years: Fake News

Episode Two of Years And Years occurs one year on from the nuclear bomb landing on a Chinese island. As Edith said, “We thought it was the end of the world, but people got up the next day for work. Life in the West went on.”

The march of technology is subtle in this episode. The family all have a linked Alexa-style communication system, and his name is Señor. It means “Mr” or “sir”. Every time the characters address the system, just calling its name is elevating the system above the family.

Daniel makes the huge mistake of trust his now ex husband Ralf with details of Viktor’s asylum claim. He even told Ralf that Viktor is working illegally to keep himself sane. Ralf, who we last saw burning down Daniel’s grandma’s garden when Daniel left him for Viktor. Ralf burns down Viktor’s life and Daniel’s life. He reports Viktor and takes a photo of him at work.

Viktor is deported back to Ukraine where he was tortured for being gay. It is important that people know that this drama is a future world and fiction. Today, in the UK, the asylum system runs slowly, very slowly, and there is the possibility of appeal, and another appeal and another. When I worked with asylum seekers, I met a man whose tenth appeal had failed. My boss said, “There comes a time when you have to stop appealing.”

The Refugee Council has stated that 24% asylum seekers in the UK are people genuinely fleeing persecution. The other 76% are people who deliberately over stayed work or student visas. They have worked illegally – not paying tax – until they were caught out by police or immigration officers. They chose to claim asylum instead of going back to their own country. They are mostly nice people, just not in need.

If you want to know why we can’t take more people from refugee camps and bring them here, it is because all the housing set aside for asylum seekers is full – mostly of people who are not in any need or any danger.

If you want to know why the system is so slow, it is because of the lack of investment in workers, but also because many people claiming asylum destroy their ID, they give false names, false countries of origin and they give false reasons for being in the UK. I have worked with a client who went to The Guardian to say how badly we were treating her (we treated her and all clients well), that we were putting her out onto the street with no money (that is a Home Office decision), and this woman had her own business, drove a BMW and used the ATM at the bank next door every other day. She had overstayed her student visa and worked for a housing office in London. She had committed various crimes and was convicted. She had a wardrobe full of designer clothes. Despite being a convicted criminal, the Home Office decided to keep this woman in the UK in the care of social services because she has a daughter who was deemed to be at severe risk due to her mother’s criminal behaviours. So this woman and her daughter were not deported. They are here, and the girl is doing well with social services checking in on her regularly.

There is a lot more compassion and leeway in the asylum system than ever makes it into the newspapers. Compassion and leeway do not sell newspapers. Therefore, compassionate people have a false view of our current asylum system, which is financially generous and affords asylum seekers more than UK citizens on welfare benefits. Out of the several hundred people I worked with, only two were deported.

This could change. This episode warns us to be vigilant. We see the rise of the Vivienne Rook, a Manchester lass, leader of a think tank who appeared on Have I Got News For You? and Question Time and stood in a by election as an independent. She lost, but then won the next and became the MP for Manchester.

Viv Rook is a Nigel Farage figure. She claims to be a normal person from a humble background, but like Farage Viv is actually from corporate wealth. She owns the housing group for which Daniel works, and she is well connected in the media.

Viv wins the Manchester by election by using emotion. She has shown she has no idea about the issues that she was discussing. She showed she had no facts. She was shown up by the Labour candidate who told her how export tariffs work. Yet Vic turned this around by saying she had been humbled. She used identity politics to cover up her lack of knowledge by saying “A woman can’t make a mistake.”

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Viv used her closing comment to dominate the night. She said she had found explicit pornography on her 6 year old god daughter’s phone, and insisted that porn was streaming into the phone of every 6 year old boy and girl in the civilised world. She then produced a blink, an illegal device that knocks out every internet based device in the vicinity. She demonstrates it and the room is in uproar until she says that if elected, she would make sure every teacher and every parent would have a blink.

I tried to teach in a UK secondary school three years ago. There was no point me being there. Most of the teenagers had no intention in learning, and mobile phones were a big part of the problem. We also know about sexualised bullying in schools and how this is facilitated by the sharing of intimate images of the victim of bullying. I lasted two days in that school. It was far too stressful, and for being paid £60 before tax and transport, it was not worth it and I went back to frontline care work and taught private students. In that year, four of the male students committed suicide.

By tapping into the broken areas of our country – and there are a lot of them – people like Nigel Farage capitalised financially, pretending to be of the people and for the people. Tommy Robinson has done well financially out of stirring up hatred against Muslims in the UK. He went from a council house in Luton to a £900 000 house and media contacts in the USA who either don’t know of or have overlooked Tommy’s convictions for violence and fraud. Tommy has gone from  being a small time thug who shouted over people on TV talk shows and showed a complete lack of self control, to being an international name with strong support in the UK and USA.

This is why we need to be vigilant. We need to pay attention to people who are genuinely are in need in the UK – or whichever country you are in. Pay attention to the people who really are marginalised: the disabled, the housebound, the survivors of abuse – the people no one talks about, who are hidden from most of society. Pay attention to the poor in society. Out of poverty comes anger. That anger can be weaponised by people with bad intentions.

Pay attention to the rising stars in politics and the socio-political sphere. What is their heart? What are their intentions? Nigel Farage has left UK politics, but the party he fronted, UKIP, has developed more racist policies and new homophobic policies. UKIP are almost completely burnt out now, but they or their disgraceful policies and message could rise again. Be careful of those who appear on TV panel shows who rise and start telling us what they believe Britishness is about, what our country is about and what we are about. Pay close attention to those who appear to be comedy characters. Our future, and the future of those we love, depend on how we vote.

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Years And Years: We Are Getting More Stupid

Years And Years is a BBC drama that is available on iPlayer. This is yet another drama the BBC have done very well, written by Russell T Davies, who is probably the best TV drama writer in the UK. I love everything he does, from Doctor Who, to Queer As Folk, to Children’s Ward to Cucumber. He has his finger on the pulse, his writing is funny and fun and it makes us stop and think and ask questions.

Russell Tovey stars as the lead character Daniel, a housing officer charged with organising the accommodation for refugees from Ukraine. He marries his boyfriend, and then meets a Ukrainian refugee Viktor.

It is clear all is not well with Daniel and husband Ralf. Ralf is gross and is engrossed in online conspiracy pages. He begins saying there are no such thing as germs and that the world may be flat, much to Daniel’s horror.

Daniel phones his brother and says that people are getting more stupid. His brother agrees. He says we went to far, that the human race over reached. We built the Hadron Collider, we sent probes into space, we had the Renaissance, and now the bubble has popped. This echoes research from 2018 and 2019 that the human brain is devolving.

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Daniel’s brother has his problems. His eldest daughter Bethany identifies as transhuman. She wants to upload her brain to a computer and live as data. She only communicates through filters and technology, even when her parents are in front of her. She self neglects and is obviously depressed. The filters she uses are freaky, such as a dog with big eyes or a baby with a dummy in its mouth, and Bethany’s voice is altered to a babyish coo and giggle. Bethany only sees herself as worthy if she is plugged into technology.

Drama such as Humans has looked at the affect on mental health and self esteem of advancing technology, where people and their jobs and tasks are increasingly carried out by robots. Where do humans fit into the world when machines can do things faster and better?

Daniel’s sister goes on a date and is shocked to discover her date has sex with his daughter’s robot. She is a good person, but neglects one son and spends quality time with the other, and this has repercussions later in the series, but we see glimpses of this now, where her eldest son Lee is constantly watching TV or on his mobile phone.

And when the nuclear bomb drops on a Chinese island, Lee is out of control. While all the other family members are freaking out about nuclear war and the safety of sister Edith who is in Vietnam, Lee is running around the living room, laughing and pretending to be a bomber airplane. He is removed from reality.

Thinking that it is the end of the world, Daniel abandons Ralf, gets in his car and goes to the refugee camp, to Viktor. This is the decision that his life pivots on.

What happens next?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coronation Street’s Most Recent Gay

I am a Coronation Street fan, especially since the writing team changed last year and the soap went from being a bad day in Baghdad back to being the heart warming, stereotypically northern semi comedy that is genuinely something to look forward to once more.

Coronation Street has a level of gay that is higher than on most streets in the UK. That is fine. Some of the LGBT storylines are questionable and unrealistic – Paula the 45+ year old solicitor going out with Sophie the 25 ish year old window cleaner – but in general, the LGBT characters in Corrie are treated with the same care as the others.

One gay, Kate, has left and has taken her skin tight leather trousers with her – Kate was a very unrealistic gay. So another gay has come along in the shape of James Bailey to keep up the levels of gay On The Cobbles. James is the son of a jolly builder and a nurse who is a terrible cook. His brother is settling down from his pie in the sky dreams of being an inventor now that his baby daughter is in his life, and James… well… James is Black and gay and a footballer. I can’t tell you anything about his personality because, like Kate’s “character”, the only thing in James’ life is being gay.

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James’ storyline revolves around him being a Black, gay footballer. James has just come out to his father who took some time – two half hour episodes – to get his head around his son being gay. Two half hour episodes is record quick timing for a parent to process the fact their child is gay. Parents have feelings, too. We need to remember that. I used to spend time talking to parents whose children had just come out. They were, in general, very positive, just processing the new information.

In Coronation Street, like many parents, James’ father wants to protect his son. He is worried for his son facing homophobia as well as racism from football fans. The father is a good man acting out of love. Yet James sees his father as homophobic simply because his father is not on board with James’ way of seeing himself and his situation.

But this goes further. James is not only self-centred in the way he looks at his situation, he is hateful towards his father, he belittles his father, he shames his father and insults him. James is living under his father’s roof yet behaves in despicable ways towards his father when they are alone with no witnesses. James’ father has apologised over and over for his initial reaction to the news that James is gay, but no apology is good enough for James.

I come from a family who really are violent thugs and who really are homophobic and biphobic. My sister loves the gays. She loves hanging around with gay men especially because in her mind, having gay friends makes her look cool and interesting. These people could be using illegal substances in her living room, but as long as they are gay men they get a free pass. In 2010, my sister and my mother tried to get me committed under the mental health act for being bisexual and disagreeing with the bizarre views that they had. Thankfully, these days in the UK, being bisexual and having independent thought is not enough to get a person locked up. I come from a family who really are bigots and are violent. It is highly insulting to watch Coronation Street and see a loving father such as James’ being portrayed as homophobic and deserving of such disrespectful treatment.

It is not only James’ father who is suffering. James’ mother and brother are constantly walking on eggshells, afraid of upsetting James or of James being upset or unhappy about anything. This is no way for a family to function. This is no way for a gay to behave.

I go back yet again to the ideology that is being pushed at LGBT people. The LGBT media and organisations push the idea that all of society is homophobic and LGBT people need to constantly fight – fight with attitude problems – for their rights. There is no basis in reality for this ideology. Yes, many people are homophobic. And many people are not. Many people simply do not care. They are too busy putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads.

The whole idea of fighting for LGBT rights by being malevolent has very little basis in the history of LGBT rights. Some of the Gay Liberation Front’s activities were confrontational, but most were good humoured, organised and compassionate. Act Up were the deliberately confrontational people. Gay rights did not come from gay men, lesbians and a smattering of bisexuals rioting at the Stonewall pub; gay rights came from LGBT people being police officers, teachers, binmen, office workers, social workers and probation officers. We proved that we were normal people with normal lives, and we were nice. That is what won people over to accepting us as normal.

However, the younger generation are not taught this. They are taught that they are under attack for being LGBT and so have every right to be annoyed at everyone. They are taught that they have a right to be aggressive towards anyone with even a slightly different view – including other gays like me who were actually alive to see society and the law welcome us more. The younger generation are taught that they are the ones who are making society better by their “activism”, when the reality is their me me me, shouty, aggressive behaviours and attitudes are actually turning people off LGBT people and creating more homophobia.

Yes, in Corrie, James has a promising football career ahead of him that could be affected by him coming out publicly. The message from Corrie is that James and his situation are special because of the promising football career. Yet for an office worker or refuse collector, care worker or teacher, their job is everything to them. It is what keeps the roof over their head and food on the table. LGBT people are forced out of jobs, and these people matter, too. Normal people matter.

I would never make friends with anyone who behaves like James, gay or not. His behaviour towards his loving family is disgusting. I want to be around people who are positive, who feel blessed to be alive every day, who accept apologies and move on, who behave with grace and mercy and who put people at ease. I want to be friends with people who are giving, who see other people’s point of view and can meet people half way.

As so many people have said recently, be kind.

 

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