Links worth your time

I’ve been meaning to revive the link roundup for a while. Now seems as good a time as any, since I’m taking a bit of a break from writing at the moment (and missing it terribly). Business as usual will restart at the end of May, when I’m no longer drowning in dissertation work.

This week is a bit welfare-heavy as it’s something I really wish I had the time to write about! There’s some cracking stuff written by other people though, so I hope you enjoy the links below.

‘I always felt sorry for her children’. Russell Brand on Thatcher for Comment is free:

I suppose that if you opposed Thatcher’s ideas it was likely because of their lack of compassion, which is really just a word for love. If love is something you cherish, it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one’s enemies.

Margaret Thatcher was no feminist. Hadley Freeman for Comment is free.

How To Get People To Care When It’s Not Personal: On Rob PortmanMiri, Brute Reason:

Our job as activists [...] is to figure out how to get people to care even when the issue at hand isn’t necessarily something they have a personal connection to, because that won’t always be enough and because defining victims of injustice by their relationships to those who you’re trying to target has its own problems…

Her name was Lucy Meadows. A little old now, but still relevant. Dr Brooke Magnanti, The Sex Myth.

Radfems, racism, and the problem with “pimps”. Also Dr Brooke Magnanti, The Sex Myth.

Skinny-Shaming and the Mung Bean Myth. CS for The Vagenda.

East African women on FGM: “Sometimes they just call you lazy.” Musa Okwonga:

On the last day of my Easter holidays, Dr. Phoebe Abe (or, as I know her, my mother) sat down in her living room with me and several women from Somalia, Egypt and Sudan.  [...]  Each of these women had undergone FGM early in their lives, and now, encouraged by her, they were talking frankly about how they felt.  One of them spoke of the agony that the procedure still caused her three decades later.  Frequently, when bent over with pain, she would receive little understanding from those in her community who did not know what she had experienced.  “Sometimes they just call you lazy”, she explained. “Most Somali women are very big,” she said, swiftly outlining the curves of her hips with her outstretched arms.  “‘You need to exercise, you need to lose weight’, they tell you.”

Welfare reform, benefit cuts, IDS and Mick Philpott

Background: Following welfare cuts including a benefit cap, the bedroom tax and the abolition of the Disability Living Allowance, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith (who earns £1,581 a week after tax) claimed he could live on £53 a week - if he had to.

Meanwhile, a man with a history of violence and abusive relationships was convicted, along with his wife, of killing six of his 17 children. Because the family received benefits, The Daily Mail called the tragedy a “vile product of welfare UK”.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, said “The courts are responsible for sentencing, but I think there is a question for government and for society about the welfare state… subsidising lifestyles like that. I think that debate needs to be had.” “Absolutely right,” said Cameron.

A class act. Fleet Street Fox on class warfare.

Benefits in Britain: separating the facts from the fiction. (“Print out and keep, pin on the fridge: all the facts you need to rebut myriad lies/distortions on welfare” – Polly Toynbee). Guardian. Also Ten lies we’re told about welfare. Ricky Tomlinson for Comment is free.

Welfare reform: £53 a week… You do the maths. Joe Shute for the Telegraph.

Your starter for £53. Is IDS a fool, a liar or a thief? Lucy Mangan for the Guardian.

Polyamory, Mick Philpott and abuse apologism. Stavvers, Another Angry Woman.

Don’t get mad about the Mail’s use of the Philpotts to tarnish the poor – get even. Zoe Williams for Comment is free:

The Daily Mail reminds me a little bit of climate change: you think you’ve got the measure of just how bad it is, but every time you look it’s taken another appalling leap forward. Yesterday, following the conviction of the Philpotts for the manslaughter of their six children, it called Mick Philpott the “vile product of welfare UK“. The cynicism, the lack of respect for the dead, the dehumanising terminology (he “bred” the children, it says); the front page alone told us all we need to know. [read more]

Mrs Justice Thirlwall: the one woman Philpott couldn’t defeat. Grace Dent for Indy Voices.

You Can’t Make A Profit Out of Having Babies for Benefits. Johnny Void.

Unemployed benefit claimants - welfare statistics 2011-12

Institute for Fiscal Studies survey of the UK benefit system, published in November 2012, showing that benefits paid to unemployed people amount to only 2.57% of total government spending on social security benefits. Source: IFS

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