An Erratic Orbit

A bipolar perspective on the 3rd planet


October 2016

Labour Party Social Media Policy – A Strange Rule

Trolling, or otherwise disrupting the ability of others to debate is not acceptable, nor is consistently mentioning or making contact with others when this is unwelcome.*

You’re playing a board game with a strange rule that you’re out of the game if any move you make is “unwelcome”. You play for a while then Aaron claims one of your moves upset Betty. Although Betsy says she isn’t upset, Aaron says Betsy is intimidated. All the players have a chat about whether Betsy is upset or not… The practical upshot, short of hiring lawyers, you all decide, is that a player must say “Not Welcome” to remove another player from the game. You wonder why the rules were so ambiguous. When there is something at stake, and players with conflicting goals, an exclusion rule based on something as ambiguous as a feeling doesn’t lead to a harmonious experience. 

The obvious way to win this game is to be the last player. You don’t say anything except “Not Welcome”. 

Bad enough for a board game, even worse for a debating club. When it’s politics and the referees have shown that they can’t be trusted, the less detailed a new conduct policy, the more dates in court. 

On Social Media, no-one is obligated to debate with you, but we don’t need a rule for that. They can stop. If they are really upset they can block you. 

What if you feel someone is harassing you? Is that a matter of your interpretation? NO. For a very important reason. 

Nobody has the right to not be offended. If they did, slavery would still be legal and the LGBT+ community would live in fear of stoning or chemical castration. Nobody bristles quite like a privileged person (or at least, one who has to spend a fair amount of time negotiating with a variety of people) when pulled up for abusing that privilege. There are even some foolish people who vainly think themselves beyond anything so far from perfection.

Every concession, recognition, and right earned by minorities or the working class has met with resistance. How much easier life would be to close down discussions that made the ignorant uncomfortable. How wonderful if we could say our piece, flounce, and then not be called to account! How relieved Mr Blair, and indeed much lesser lights,  might feel if they could insert a “No further mentions” clause into public discussion. How much more at ease public servants might feel blocking people on Twitter. 

Harassment is a complicated legal matter. The disciplinary arm of the Labour Party is under a cloud. Unless the intention is to waste more money in court, I find this part of The Social Media policy to be both  unnecessarily authoritarian and rather casually written. A worrying combination. 

*Typo in original amended. 


Theresa May Tells Aliens: “Buy British” 

It’s no secret the UK is looking to expand trade with markets beyond Europe. Today, the PM welcomed media reports of the discovery of 234 alien civilisations, and was keen to talk up the merits of Digestive Biscuits and Cheddar. 

“Civil servants have drawn up a list of British goods the aliens will want to import.” Mrs May announced at a hastily arranged press conference. 

ET the alien with glowing finger
Brexit… Ouch! (

In addition to our biscuits and cheese, it is believed the aliens will be lacking in anything resembling Viz and Fox’s Glacier Mints. 

The greatest barriers to trade are the long distances to the stars and the high prior probability of a natural explanation for the signals. 

Alien grey
“Rumours of my existence have been greatly exaggerated” (image: LeCire)

Theresa May dismissed the distance problem as “a technicality. We can sort that out by sending them some of our faster than light neutrinos.” 

A senior government source revealed there is nonetheless more optimism in the cabinet regarding these new opportunities than there is for negotiations with the EU. 

The myth of WCA objectivity 

Of course the ever-shrinking category of “those with the greatest need” simply reflects a government that has made a partisan political decision to cut disabled people’s essential income to fund a financial gift to the wealthiest citizens. There is no justification for this decision, nor is it “fair.”

Kitty S Jones dissects the DWP rhetoric at

Rupert Stole Your Soul

I’ll let the The Artist Taxi Driver explain. Simply, brilliantly. 

Open letter

Your primary concern seems to be our production of capital, making money for other people. You protest. Then why do you have so little interest in anything else we do, anything else we make?

You have been conditioned to put  production of capital for others above the wellbeing of those you call “beloved”. You protest. Then why is   non-conformity met with sarcasm and  dismissal? 

When I tell you that water has been found on the moon, you sneer:”What do you care, you’ll never be able to afford to go there.”

I am of the moon. How well do you read?

My amateur psychologist, you learnt enough to fight a child. How strong this one was, so rebellious, so full of thought, so creative! You did a job. The job you didn’t know you were doing for those you tug your forelock to. You can do a job. What a clever one you are. 

We are growing, untwisting, unfurling. You thought we were angry when we were bent out of shape by society’s pliers

So tell me, drawing on your extensive knowledge base of Daily Heil poison,  fictional “tarts with hearts”, fictional bent coppers, and fictional violent East End criminals, all about what’s what. Employ all your extensive research… 

You want to really know about sickness? Big Brother is a woman. Imagine a town full of men and women who love her so much they never need to think anything could be wrong with her, not the REAL her, not the Britain they think they remember. The truth is they hardly ever think at all. 

So what do you want to talk about? What could we possibly talk about? You don’t know anything. 

Tits and Socialism

What do you want from me? How much is conscious? 

Think of privilege as power. You have power, and the ethics of power are: give it away, let it flow. 

Empowerment of course. One can easily think, when others have so much more or appear to have so much more, “I am weak.” A man who lost so much, through no fault but fate, might subliminally resist full acceptance of the fact  that in some contexts fate favours him. Fate though, is not cruel, nor a person at all. 

Privilege is the power to do with greater freedom. What a dull relationship where we only look for what we have in common. Who would grow? Vive la difference.

How conscious the clothes? Unzippable. Bait, eventually, gets boring, though. I’m honest about what I want and who I am, I think. You seem to be genuine. This all seems organic. But then the man said “Tits and Socialism” and the piece was created. 

So much positive but how can I, erratic, know we are at least on the same page? 

New brooms scrub where others might not be able to penetrate. We are/are not talking about stone, and so there will be soreness, rawness exposed. I find these days I face myself, male, what misogyny remains, and the changes seem to be for the better. There are, though, no guarantees. 


The best of carers. And the worst. 

Who will stay behind and help those in a place of No Fun? Are these the golden ones or the meekly socialised? 

young woman with arms find old woman, both smiling

In reality, of course, there are combinations of traits making up different people who are carers. Among the worst of the caring is the Mother Theresa type, who is so selfish as to feed off suffering as if it were not only just but transcends earthly justice. Suffering is her heaven, her God, her sustaining vision. Her version of Life is the frozen waterfall, a still image. To her, people, and her compassion for them, are part of a wonderful tableau. Perhaps Mother Theresa herself was far more cynical and opportunistic, and there is some evidence this was the case, but the archetypical Mother Theresa is no less ghoulish. 
At the other end of the spectrum is the transformative nurse, the empowerer, the multitasker who can do what I am so poor at: dream and yet be present. 

Of course there are times when all that can be done in the present is to provide a little comfort. The transformer, though, is always looking to improve the world. To endure suffering, tedium, even despair, some of the best qualities of humans. To fetishize these things as Good is one of the worst. 

In Defence Of Jackie Walker – Gary Hollands

Gary has given a thorough response to the article backing the suspension of Jacqueline Walker written by Joe Muchall and published by Hope Not Hate:

​When an author writes serious allegations they have duty to hold themselves to a high bar, to be scrupulously fair in their arguments, to avoid distorting or putting words into the mouth of the one(s) they accuse.

Sadly, this article fails badly by that criteria.

It is mixture of straw man arguments, distortion and innuendo designed to discredit someone who has actively engaged in anti-racism all her political life.

Read the full article

Correspondence between Tony Greenstein and Jon Lansman re Jacqueline Walker 


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