Just a few lines…

June 14, 2011

In defence of Amina Arraf MacMaster

Filed under: Concerns,Media — Saz @ 1:33 pm

I have watched with interest the unfolding story of the revelation that Amina Arraf was not a ‘real’ person. I’ve read the newspaper reports, the comments, the apology, and I am genuinely surprised by the naivety shown, not only by the public on facebook and other media outlets, but also by the media itself, who seem to delight in being shocked and appalled that they could have been deceived in such a fashion.

I am thirty eight years old. I am unusual for my age in that I am an early(ish) adopter, fairly media savvy and likely to be up to speed with the latest developments in technology. I don’t programme (I gave up after basic!) but I do know my way around the wonderweb. I am also, like Mr MacMaster, a writer.

I, too, have several blogs, not all of which use my own name, on which I experiment with different personas and styles. I write under women’s names, men’s names, anonymously… you ‘name’ it, I’ve probably had a go. In my real life I work with children, and it suits me to have the freedom to write as I choose without the risk of my words being read by one of my pupils. At no time do I place disclaimers on my sites, warning that these are works of fiction, nor do I advertise links to myself as an author… these characters are just ‘out there’, living their own lives, interacting with the world. Most of them have their own email addresses, some of them have facebook pages, all of them are me. Sometimes their words are my words, thoughts, feelings…. ‘true’, if you like, and sometimes they are not.

Several years ago, I joined an online roleplaying site called Second Life. Within this, you interact with a virtual world using an avatar of your own design and creation. Initially I spent time and effort trying to make my avatar as close to my own physical likeness as I could, rather than 8’2’’ with Barbie dimensions, which seemed to be the body shape of choice as I looked around. However, within a very short time I realised that most of the ‘Barbie’ avatars weren’t actually women in real life. They were men. Old men, young men, exploring-their-sexuality men often seemed to choose that shape as their avatar. The women were much more likely to be the machines, the furries, the guys… very quickly you realise that in Second Life, nothing is as it seems.

And that realisation sets you free.

Yes, some terrible things happen within Second Life, just as they do within real life. And I’m not going to get into the argument about ‘it’s only pixels’ and ‘you have an off switch’; no-one who has ever become involved with Second Life would ever make those statements, they know all too well how real it can become. But the terrible things that happen are a tiny minority compared to the amazing, flowing, generous creativity that runs like a river through every sim, every prim…
I have several different avatars on Second Life. They have different lives and friends, and they are very different people. I’m not actually sure I like all of them. But they do allow me to speak with different voices, to try on different personas and ideals, and I have certainly grown in confidence in the real world thanks to my experimentation in the virtual world. I am a writer. I like to create.

Does this also make me a con artist?

Tom MacMaster has changed the title of his blog from ‘A Gay Girl In Damascus’ to ‘A Hoax’. A hoax is defined as “an act intended to trick people into believing something is real when it is not” so I guess in this case, strictly speaking, hoax is the correct term for Amina, as it is for my avatars on Second Life. And yet I would argue the implication of the term ‘hoax’ suggests more-something malicious, created in order to con people into action. I don’t believe Amina started out like this, although some of her actions towards the end may well have wandered down that road. Should Mr MacMaster have placed a clear disclaimer on his blog, stating that this was a work of fiction? Absolutely not. He is a free man, this is a free country, and he is entitled to write in whichever way he chooses on his own blog.

You see, the fault doesn’t lie with Mr MacMaster, however distasteful his admissions of ‘vanity’ may seem. The fault, dear reader, lies solely and entirely with you.

In a world full of advertising, spin, legal sidestepping and deceit, we have become adept at decoding what we see before us. We understand that the estate agents ‘potential’ in reality means ‘wrecked’. We don’t bat an eyelid when 50% off turns out to be half of the chocolate bar, not half of the price. We accept that ‘96% of Loreal users’ refers to the six women in the accounting department that they could persuade to try out their latest cream, not an in- depth scientific survey. In the Daily Rags we effortlessly decode “one witness commented” to mean “our reporter invented.” So why on earth would anyone choose to believe, totally and entirely, without question, in a blog?

Look again at the definition of ‘hoax’ and ask yourself this; is a Hollywood movie little more than a hoax because it is not real? Ah, you may say, but the movie does not claim to be real, so even if it is trying to trick people into pretending it is real, it cannot be described as a hoax. Really? Then what about Eastenders? Or The War of the Worlds, or viral advertising campaigns? Are these hoaxes? Or are they creative fiction? Was Tracy Emin’s unmade bed a hoax? Was it her real bed? Did she try to convince you that it was? Did you believe her? At what point do we draw the line?

Prior to Mr MacMaster, Belle du Jour was the most celebrated ‘outing’ of a blog writer. She turned out to be every inch the intelligent, witty woman she’d portrayed, I’m sure to the great disappointment of many who had secretly hoped she was an ordinary bloke from Birmingham, or a blue rinsed grandmother tapping away in Chipping Norton. But I wondered at the time; why do we care so much? We don’t accord the same rabid curiosity to journalists, or novelists, demanding that we know every detail of their personal and private lives. Why do bloggers, writers on the internet, inspire such passion?

We expect truth from the news, and yet are not at all surprised when they are caught making up stories. We expect honesty from politicians, and yet are unmoved when their spin turns them into liars. Why on earth should we have such unrealistic expectations of a piece of writing on a website; high enough to move campaigners to action; high enough to induce bitter feelings of betrayal in readers of this fiction?

Because we believe them. In spite of all our hard- earned worldly- wise weariness, there is something about blog writing we keep blindly accepting as truth. It has all the illicit thrill of reading someone’s diary. And just as Tom Riddle knew in The Chamber of Secrets, when we find a diary that tells us exactly what we want to hear, we take it at face value. We believe every word, because the writer is writing our thoughts, our feelings; how could it possibly be anything other than true? How could a man understand what it is like to be a teenage lesbian? A petty thief see into the mind of Hitler, a monster? It in some ways cheapens our own thoughts and feelings to imagine that they could be replicated in such an easy and deceitful way. We don’t like to feel we’re that shallow or easy to read. And so, in spite of no such claims one way or another by the author, Amina was taken at face value. And like every jilted Second Life lover, every death row correspondent, people felt betrayed that she wasn’t what they’d imagined her to be.

Tom MacMaster may indeed be guilty of straying too far into his created world. It’s a mistake almost everyone involved in virtual characterisations makes at one time or other. I don’t entirely believe his protestations that his relationship with ‘Paula Brooks’, to whom he apologises on his blog (and who also ironically turned out to be a middle aged man- this happens all the time on Second Life!) was as platonic as he claims, speaking from personal experience, and I am certain that involvement with other people on any level carries with it huge risk on both sides. When the virtual world seeps into relationships within the real world, the results can be devastating. But aside from this, his crime is to be a good writer, to have created a character so convincing, so capturing the zeitgeist, that when he had her kidnapped in order to be able to go on holiday thousands of people started to look for her.

Were you one of the people? Do you feel betrayed?

He didn’t set out to con you. It may surprise you to know, you’re just not that important to him.
But let me ask you this; when you thought Amina was real, what was it that brought you back to her, kept you reading? Her courage? Candour? Humour? The insight into a volatile and dangerous Middle Eastern culture? Those things are still real, they are still as inspiring. She may herself not exist in a physical sense, but her spirit and words are as real as it was before she was unmasked. She is as real as the news, as the politics, as the world presented to you every day via your TV, internet, and newspapers. And as unreal. As unreal as the identity you in turn present to the world on your facebook page. As unreal as the ‘you’ your colleagues know. As unreal as any of us when we’re interacting with a complicated world.

People have accused Mr MacMaster of damaging their causes. To them I would say this. If it took Amina to motivate you to action, if you needed a pretty and articulate poster girl to rally you to arms, then shame on you. Every day people who are in Amina’s situation for real struggle to be heard, and you, we, everyone should be working for that freedom, for the rights of real human beings to live in peace. Your computer desk involvement does not absolve you of your responsibilities towards your fellow man. So, stop whinging about your gullibility being laid bare, and wise up. Go outside into the real world, and find some real people to campaign for. Because I can assure you, if you can be bothered to look, they are there.

And for the millionth time, stop believing everything you read.

January 22, 2010

What do you mean, it’s almost February?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Saz @ 12:48 pm

That can’t possibly be.
After the disaster of Nano, the sickness of December, the choir mayhem of Christmas and the all round anticlimax that is the New Year, I was convinced it was just a matter of time before I got writing again…

That kind of hasn’t happened… but would you like to see some of the things I have been working on whilst I’ve NOT been writing?!

consultannote.wordpress.com
I am now a business!! That’s right, registered, taxed, insured, the lot! Primarily I teach piano and singing, but I am also open for offers of work in the writing arena!!

resoundchoir.wordpress.com
Well, someone’s got to keep a hand on the reins… want us to come and sing for your charity event?

reflectmusic.wordpress.com
Practising regularly, available for bookings- weddings, funerals, supermarket openings- Very classy four part harmony.

winroww.wordpress.com
Ok this isn’t actually me, I’m not quite that cool, but I have been helping out with the web design… if you want one, I’m available for hire… see consultannote!! Oh and if you want a fantastic dj playing, in his words, ‘dirty filthy twisted disgusting electro house’ (which apparently is a style of music, not something requiring the attention of Kim and Aggie) then you can follow him @winroww.

Right, enough of the shameless self promotion! All in all, I have been a busy girl, but my writing has ceased and that is BAD. So, for now, you don’t mind if I just drop in a list of things that I need to get written? Just to remind myself?

Sarkozy, France and the burka debate… Scribblepool Poetry… Mello Mello & Poetry… the Inland Revenue… the joys of self employment… Googlewave…. Glee (I know, sorry)…
Oh and I’d best finish off One and Other once and for all!

Maybe I’ll actually get round to them now.
Watch this space. But I would bring supplies. We may be some time.

October 5, 2009

One and Other (ii)

Filed under: One and Other — Saz @ 11:25 am

Ok, the whole thing is beginning to sink in, now that Jensen’s hour has been and gone. We’ve got train tickets to go back down on the 13th for the closing of the event (aka last man standing… !) which is 8-9am Wednesday 14th. We’re planning to be in Trafalgar Square, or ts as the twitterverse have now christened it, all night, so plenty of warm clothes will be in order.

I’m still at a loss to try to describe the experience in any meaningful way, but I’m at the point where I think it would probably be a good idea to get some things archived before they’re perhaps gone. So, I’m going to start with the comments I wrote on my participants page.

After frantically returning the phonecall I’d had from one and other, and Simon confirming my place, I was conscious that this was Rob’s night on the plinth, so was trying very hard not to talk about it too much. Unsuccessfully, I fear, but I did try my best. Anyway, it became apparant that I’d not recieved the email confirming my place, and so hadn’t had the code that would unlock my plinther user area and let me create my profile. Once I’d got passports and other id documents mailed to me, and then got across London for Rob’s slot, I used the time Rob was in his interview to chat with Karen about my email, and after some complicated cancelling of offers and re-issuing of emails, I finally was able to log on and type ‘coming soon!’ into my profile!

The next morning (I am conscious I have yet to write about Rob’s amazing hour… this is not an oversight, I am doing things in the order I can handle them!) I sat at my computer and wrote my profile. Really with no absolute idea of what I was going to do, still, although the idea of just reading a story kept coming back to me- something I was good at, something that would make me feel calm. And anyway, I’d always held Winnie the Pooh in high esteem, so it seemed appropriate. I just dropped a hint on my profile, which is reproduced below. More to follow.

Even for a writer, words are impossible to describe the feelings I have about taking part in this project. Those who know me will perhaps understand more… I’ve been registered since the opening day, telling everyone I know about it, and I’ve watched two of my friends be selected for the plinth- @thespyglass, who did an amazing job as I watched online in the first week, and @robbelaw yesterday (Friday 25th) evening, standing at the foot of the plinth watching his supremely confident presence entertain the world. One of my other friends, @jensenwilder has also been selected for the 3rd October, and I’m immensely looking forward to his particular take on the event.

Four ‘not been selected’ emails later, I was resigned to being an admiring supporter, but chance put me onto the reserve list, and now here I am… Sarah… @smont… preparing to take her place.

Not having weeks to plan what I’m going to do is remarkably liberating for someone who usually likes to organise things to the nth degree. I was already in London when I heard, so I only have the clothes, the shoes, the props and the words I’ve already brought with me.

I will declare right away though, that I am in the ‘it is art from the point you interact with it’ group; my being there is part of the vision, other people turning down places is part of the vision, people promoting charities, causes, businesses, themselves are part of the vision, and people who stand and say nothing are equal participants. In short, I feel no pressure or obligation to perform, or to entertain. Which is a good thing as I am just not that entertaining!

And to be honest with you, anyone who has stood alongside the statues on Crosby beach, the Antony Gormley installation ‘Another Place’, watching the ships sail out of the mouth of the Mersey, seeing the sunlight on the Wirral shoreline, will know that in reality, it’s all neither here nor there anyway…

Perhaps I’ll just read my nephew, Oliver, a story. He’ll be awake, I’m sure!

September 26, 2009

One and Other

Filed under: One and Other — Saz @ 10:25 am

I’m going to be on the plinth. The fourth plinth in trafalgar square. As part of Anthony Gormley’s installation ‘One and Other’. I’m absolutely delighted, beyond words, but have less than twenty four hours to plan what I’m going to do, whilst also enjoying the short break in London with friends. Which is why, in the words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that…

I’ll write more in retrospect! x

August 25, 2009

That Joke isn’t Funny Any More

Filed under: Liverpool,Scribblepool,Writing — Saz @ 10:00 am

I realised that I was essentially on my own right about the time that I noticed that you weren’t listening to a word I said.
Oh, I don’t mean you were ignoring me, like the way the people do in a waiting room; or even just blanking me as if I were a customer in your shop that required the minimum amount of interaction- a text book Tesco tick card of hellos and helps and goodbyes. No, I mean really and truly not listening.
It was the conversation about the greenhouse, I remember it well. You are forever throwing at me in the heat of an argument that I’m pedantic, or I’m asking too much that people should be that precise in their conversation or in their responses, but in reality I do actually recall every word that is said. It’s more of a curse than a blessing, and one I often try to obliterate through sedative amounts of drinking, although inevitably I find losing the ability more frustrating than having it but not being believed. Oh, I know that there are careless words and times when people say things in the heat of the moment, but people tend to remember what they meant, you know? Rather than what they actually said? They forget the role of the listener in the conversation, and how the filters of their experience and emotions can completely skew the most innocent of remarks; there’s no such things as a flawless conversation.
Which leads me to the joke. It started as a joke, the joke… I was playing a joke by telling a joke, though not feeling either jocular or jocund- in fact, I suspect my intent was positively predatory; a feline, prowling attempt to set a trap and lay in wait.  I told it to see what would happen. I told it because you’d not listened earlier, when I talked about what we were having for tea, then you’d nodded absently through the conversation about my mum and the weekend, then, finally, completely blanked me when I mentioned the greenhouse and the cracked pane. I just, slowly… snapped.
I told it quickly, and quietly, certain you were not listening. You were sitting on the sofa. You were watching tv- Friends, I think, the one with the cheesecake. Usually I would start a conversation by trying to attract you; calling  your name, or saying, ‘Hey, you know what?’ or something equally mundane until you gradually turned your eyes back to me, sometimes even your attention, before I spoke. The number of times I’ve been in the middle of reading a book, or even online meetings with friends, and you’ve launched into something, not appreciating the depth of my ability to concentrate, then looking aggrieved when I’ve asked you to repeat what you’ve said. So, for once, I returned the favour.
“What,” I said, without preamble, “do you call a man with a spade in his head?”
Your body twitched slightly and I quickly said, “Doug”, leaned as if to stand up and followed with, “Would you like a cup of tea?”
You did appear slightly confused, but, predictably, your only response was to say yes to the tea.
Gradually over the next few weeks it became a game. I would tell you the same joke…  as we were rushing out of the door to my parents house… have you locked the back door…spade in his head…  Doug … have you got your keys… all shouted in the same voice, every time roundly ignored. I would shout it from the kitchen, down the garden as you swept the leaves, round the shops with the trolley… do we need more… what do you call… coffee… a man with a… yeah, that one’s fair trade… spade in his head?
I started counting how many times I’d told you.
It was becoming an obsession.
I whispered it to you when you fell asleep on the sofa. I talked through the bathroom door at you, knowing you couldn’t have heard me if you’d had a stethoscope pressed to the door, but telling it nonetheless. I wrote it on the notice board in the kitchen, then meticulously partially covered it with magnets supporting jaggedly cut coupons and impossible recipes from the veg box.
I mailed it to you. Coded, of course, split into tiny segments forwarded in an email containing a thousand ‘this is really funny’s and ‘pass it on or else’s, an email of some poor cow’s uncovered secret romance, or a fake divorce letter from a bloke called John. Hilarious. I was thorough, pieced every word in, every time.
One time I even told your mum. You were out when she rang. I told it her straight, no messing around with it. She seemed a little bemused, but thought it was funny enough. Ironically, I don’t tell jokes all that often, or that well for that matter, so her confusion was understandable.
Then on Thursday the twenty seventh, you laughed. Six fifteen at night.
I’d told you it twice that day already; once in the phone call I’d made while you were on your way home, the noise of the car covering most of the lines, and earlier, at lunchtime, in reply to the ‘ten cutest pictures of puppies’ email you’d sent me. I wasn’t sure you’d actually read the mail, but I allowed myself to include it in the total.
I guess I got careless. I didn’t realise Friends was on the repeated repeats on channel recurring plus one, so you’d watched it an hour ago. I didn’t realise you’d just stubbed your toe on the table as you sat down. The three hundred and twenty first time I told you the joke, I didn’t realise you were actually listening.
Your laugh was like an electric shock. I jumped. The hairs on my arm prickled. I burned, with an unreasonable, childish anger. Weeks and weeks of pent up anticipation, frustration, indignation, crystallised into a single, poisonous emotion that cursed through me just as though I’d drunk it straight from a Shakespearean apothecary’s vial. I stood. Slowly. And walked from the room.
That should have been an end to it. I should have lost my temper, told you how many times I’d said it, made my high and mighty point about how little you listened. But I found I just couldn’t let it go. I would post it on your facebook wall, tell  it to your friends, your workmates. I would write it in joint birthday cards to nephews and brothers; you would raise your eyebrows, but I would shoot back, “Well, you found it funny… eventually….” You started cringing when I said ‘what’ in that particular tone, and then you gradually started noticing it in emails, in texts, in cryptic notes I left you on the fridge. I think the worst was when I pretended to be the bank, writing about our overdraft. The bank manager’s name wasn’t Doug. I knew you knew.
You tried to distract me, mend things, offered holidays and parties, clothes trips and presents. You begged me to get help, talk to someone. You offered to go to therapy with me. But it was too late. I didn’t want you to listen any more. All I could thing about was the next time I would be able to tell you; the next time I could prove to myself you weren’t listening. The next time I could prove to myself I was right.
It was Sunday the third when you left. Quickly and quietly. The silence was excruciating.
Three weeks later, on the Wednesday, I got a postcard. From Spain.
Signed  ‘Doug-less.’
I just might die with a smile on my face, after all.

 

 This post is a story written in response to the most recent writing challenge set by the Scribblepool Writing Group. All we were given was the title to respond to in any way we wished. I set myself half an hour, although I did spend a little time editing (just typing errors and so on, not mass editing) later on.

August 10, 2009

On Hearing

Filed under: Poetry — Saz @ 11:02 pm

In semiotics, a sign is “something that stands for something else, to someone in some capacity”. It may be understood as a discrete unit of meaning, and includes words, images, gestures, scents, tastes, textures, sounds – essentially all of the ways in which information can be communicated as a message by any sentient, reasoning mind to another. Wikipedia, 11th August, 2009.
In memory of Jane Taylor, 19 October 1958- 9th August 2009.

Don’t take this as a sign
that I grow maudlin

My misery is attributable
to specific time
fixed space

the fluidity and lightness of my interaction
with the world
nailed
abruptly,
to a moment encapsulated.

She
died.

the neutral neural mind
absorbs the signifier
and

retrieves

the termination
of relational involvement

tearful heat of
those close

excruciating torment
as free- falling grief
commences

And tries hard to reject
the words
to rewrite
the signified

to revisit
the youthful, juvenille self
who could have made more
if she’d only
known.

August 9, 2009

Not Perfect

Filed under: Comedy,Music,Writing — Saz @ 12:10 am

Just because I adore him. And, because he’s so very very clever, and his other songs make me laugh so very much, and maybe it’s just me, and where I’m at with everything at the moment, but this has never, NEVER failed to make me cry…

Not Perfect
Tim Minchin

This is my Earth, and I live in it
It’s one third dirt, and two thirds water
And it rotates and revolves through space at rather an impressive pace
And never even messes up my hair- and here’s the really weird thing
The force created by its spin is the force that stops the chaos flooding in

This is my Earth
And it’s fine
It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time
It’s not perfect
But it’s mine
It’s not perfect

This is my house, and I live in it
It’s made of cracks and photographs
We rent it off a guy who bought it from a guy
Who bought it from a guy whose grandad left it to him
And the weirdest thing is that this house has locks to keep the baddies out
But they’re mostly used to lock ourselves in

This is my house
And it’s fine
It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time
It’s not perfect
But it’s mine
It’s not perfect
But it’s mine

This is my body, and I live in it
It’s 31 and 6 months old- it’s changed a lot since it was new
It’s done stuff it wasn’t built to do, I often try to fill it up with wine…
And the weirdest thing about it is I spend so much time hating it
But it never says a bad word about me

This is my body
And it’s fine
It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time
It’s not perfect
But it’s mine
It’s not perfect

This is my brain, and I live in it
It’s made of love and bad song lyrics
It’s tucked away behind my eyes
Where all my fucked up thoughts can hide,
Cos God forbid I hurt somebody
And the weirdest thing about a mind
Is that every answer that you find is the basis of a brand new cliché

This is my brain
And it’s fine
It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time
It’s not perfect
But it’s mine
It’s not perfect
I’m not quite sure I’ve worked out how to work it
It’s not perfect
But it’s mine

(go watch him sing it… it’s so lovely… and it’s here… )

June 11, 2009

Advertiser Scan

Filed under: Concerns,Voting,Writing — Saz @ 10:17 pm

Advertiser Scan
Originally uploaded by smont

The Ormskirk Advertiser printed the letter I sent them based on my blog below about the BNP and voting. I’m really made up 🙂 x

June 8, 2009

Our Turn…

Filed under: Concerns,Voting — Saz @ 12:09 am
In 2004 the USA re-elected George Bush, in dubious circumstances and with questionable majorities. Lots of people in America were very concerned and upset about this state of affairs, and the impact it would have on the view that the rest of the world had on their country. So, some of them created a website- sorryeveryone.com- on which they posted pictures and messages of themselves apologising for the turn of events.
Last night, this country heard it had elected right wing facists to represent us in Europe. I’m saying no more on that as my words would be deeply unpleasant. But, suffice to say… I think it’s our turn. I’m ashamed of my country doing this. America, for the first time, has a black president; we manage, probably through sheer apathy, to elect both the leader of the national front and the (convicted criminal) chairman of the BNP as MEPs.

I mailed them this last night.


The link is here if you want to follow suit.

May 31, 2009

Babies, Bathwater and the BNP…

Filed under: Concerns,Media,Voting — Saz @ 12:55 pm
It’s not very often I feel moved to write about politics, but I find myself growing increasingly concerned by the extent to which the upcoming European Elections are being overshadowed by the issues over MP’s expenses.
Don’t get me wrong- I am totally in favour of a thorough police investigation, of reform of the system that allowed this greed, of MP’s no longer being able to create their own rules in matters such as this- knowing that power corrupts, we really need to save them from themselves. And when I think of the £400,000 (give or take) in salary, pension benefits and expenses that the European Parliament members are entitled to, with never a receipt in sight, I know reform is badly needed there too.

But, could we postpone our anger for a few days, please?
Just until after Thursday?

I only ask, because at the moment there is a real danger of the BNP winning seats. And if they do, they are going to be there, in power, representing us, for the next five years.
It’s not easy to understand how the proportional voting system works in European Parliament, but essentially, your vote counts more in some ways than in our national elections. It is within your power to prevent the BNP from winning seats.
The UK is divided into 12 regions for the purposes of this election, and my region is the North West, which includes Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster. If the BNP win in this area, we will be represented by, amongst others, Nick Griffin, chairman of the BNP, convicted of distributing material likely to incite racial hatred (a magazine denying that the Holocaust took place), Martin Wingfield, arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned under the Race Relations Act following distribution of racist literature and Eddy O’Sullivan, who after posting comments so vile on his facebook page that even his hate ridden party threatened to suspend him, defended himself by saying, “It was supposed to be a private conversation. I also may have had a drink at the time. I don’t believe those comments are racist.”
I do not want these people to represent me. But I can’t stop them on my own. So, people, I’m begging you- whatever you think about politicians, however angry you are, please, please choose to use your vote. There are plenty of options- if you’re protesting that you don’t want to be in Europe, vote UKIP; if you want to protest against the three main parties, vote Green- use this guide if you need some help choosing. Just don’t protest by not voting, not this time.

Here is some really helpful information about voting.
It’s apolitical,but anti-extremist. It’s only one page long. Have a quick look.

And here is what our ballot paper will look like in the North West.
You just have to mark an ‘x’. It will take seconds.

Thursday June 4th.
Thanks.

If you want to see what the ballot paper in your area will look like, or to download (free) copies of the ‘euro-vote’ flyer, go to makemyvotecount.org.uk

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