Top Writing Tips on How to Screw Women Over

Originally posted on Oosty's Offerings:

David Griffin, aka Dave Lee Travis has been convicted of sexual assault. Another man, another offence against women; same shit, different day.

Yet still, after millennia of male-on-female violence, there are those who believe it just can’t be that simple. These people are imbued with insight, experience and common sense that many of us don’t have. Luckily for us though, they are commissioned by The Mail and The Independent so we can read their words, and give ourselves a good slap round the face before our womanly hysteria overcomes us.

Here’s a ten point guide on how to knock out such a piece.

  1. Begin by stating that you disapprove in the strongest terms to the crime. It’s important that your readers don’t think you’re a pervert.
  2. Summarise the crime, but in the most reductive terms. DO NOT stray into the emotional impact for the victim, because that would eventually take…

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Dear Aggrieved of England

Look, I understand. Tomorrow’s referendum has got you all upset/agitated/twitchy/unsettled/downrightbloodyfurious (delete as applicable). Some of you are looking at Scotland, which has had the Scottish parliament for several years, and now might (but probably won’t) vote to leave the UK tomorrow, and you want an English parliament. Well, if you want one, you can have one. Here’s what to do:


  • get off your backsides and work for one
  • set up political parties whose aims include an English parliament and vote for their candidates to become MPs
  • join existing political parties and persuade them to include an English parliament in their manifestos
  • vote against the parties who are not supportive of an English parliament
  • march, campaign, lobby, vote, march, campaign, lobby, vote
  • persuade others to do the same
  • keep doing this for anywhere between 50 and 300 years

Then, when you have done that for long enough, you will have enough MPs at Westminster who will vote for the establishment of an English parliament, and someone will propose a bill, and it will be passed and then it will happen.

Just like how Scotland did it.


Phones 4U – not surprised at all

In 2009, I sent this email to Phones 4U customer service




Dear Sir or Madam


Phone number xxx

IMEI xxx

Repair xxx

Repairs Team xxx

Some other ref xxx


I purchased an LG phone from Phones 4 U telesales earlier this year – round about March or April I think. In mid-November the phone broke. I contacted Phones 4 U They said they had no record of me. After 10 minutes of searching, during which I had to give my name, DOB, address, mobile number, mother’s maiden name, inside leg measurement, make and model of fridge and promise to send them my first-born if and when I have one, they found me. They told me to contact Orange and claim it on insurance. I contacted Orange. Orange said “but it’s under warranty, here’s your fault code, go back to P4U.”

I rang P4U. They said they had no record of me. After 15 minutes of searching, during which I had to give my name, DOB, address, mobile number, mother’s maiden name, brother’s height, list my last 4 hair colours, inside leg measurement, make and model of fridge and promise to send them my first-born if and when I have one, they found me. They agreed to send out a bag so I could send the phone in, and told me it would take about 10 days. I sent the phone in to the repair centre on the 20th of November. They logged it in on 24th Nov.

I used the online repair tracking service to check what was happening. Since 4th December it said “not a p4u unit asking for cat a or valid pop.” On 9th December I got fed up of that and rang them. They said P4U can’t confirm I bought the phone from them so I have to send them proof of purchase. I rang P4U to find out why you are saying I didn’t get the phone from you. They said they had no record of me. After 20 minutes of searching, during which I had to give my name, DOB, address, mobile number, neighbour’s best friend’s cat’s name, mother’s maiden name, brother’s height, list my last 4 hair colours, describe my ideal night out, inside leg measurement, make and model of fridge and promise to send them my first-born if and when I have one, they found me. Then they said it was my fault for phoning the wrong number. I said I’d phoned the number on the website. Then they asked me which shop I’d taken the phone into. I said I’d never been in a P4U shop in my life, I’d bought the phone via telesales and arranged the repair over the phone. That appeared to blow her mind and she had to speak to a manager. Then I had to go to work so we agreed that she would ring back and leave a message telling me what was going on. When I got in, I found a message saying she’d got her manager to ring them and confirm I got the phone from them and it would all be ok. When I checked the online repair tracking and it says “spoke to Carly from HO and confirmed it is a P4U phone, spoke to Agnes who advised me that Becky Barker is the only person who can confirm it is or it is not P4U handset and advised that to Carly” – so P4U were telling me it was ok, and the repair centre were saying it wasn’t.

During subsequent phone calls throughout the remainder of that week, I was told that Becky Barker had notified the repair centre that the handset is a P4U handset, then I was told that she was going to notify them, then that she had. Then I was told the proof of purchase had been posted to me on the 10th. It still hasn’t arrived. Yesterday I was told that the repair centre are still waiting for proof of purchase although last week I was told Becky Barker had confirmed it’s a P4 U handset. The person I spoke to at the repairs centre yesterday said he would email P4U to find out what’s going on and phoned back today to say that P4U had told the repair centre again that they have no record of me getting the phone from P4U and that I’d have to pay for the repair.

So today I phoned P4U again. I was told that everything else I’ve been told up till now is nonsense, Becky Barker can’t confirm I bought the phone from P4U, I have to wait for the proof of purchase which still hasn’t been sent out because nobody in your godforsaken incompetent organisation realised the phone was bought from telesales rather than a shop – apparently your system can’t cope with that. I have made it clear time and time again that the phone was bought from telesales, not a shop. P4U are refusing to send the proof of purchase direct to the repair centre claiming “data protection” which is absolute nonsense – I have given permission for P4U to do so, I have begged them to do so, but they won’t. I have asked them to fax me the proof of purchase, they won’t. I have asked them to email me the proof of purchase, but they won’t. I have asked them to send the proof of purchase recorded delivery to my work address but they won’t. I can’t even begin to understand why I need to send a proof of purchase to the repair centre for a phone which was sent to them in an official Phones 4U repair envelope. Do the repair centre think I counterfeited an envelope and repair form to scam a free repair?

The customer “service” I have had from Phones 4 U has been absolutely appalling. Nobody seems to be able to cope with the fact the phone was bought from telesales. Nobody communicates with anyone else. Nobody communicates with me. I’ve spent hours on the phone chasing this up, nobody from your end has initiated anything. People tell me Becky Barker has confirmed proof of purchase, then they say she hasn’t but she will, then they say she has, they they say she can’t. People use data protection laws as an excuse for lazy, sloppy service. Last week I was told proof of purchase was on its way, today I’m told it hasn’t been sent yet. There isn’t a hope in hell of me getting the phone back before Christmas. Nobody will acknowledge the service has been terrible and try and sort it out – you could fax me the proof of purchase, or email it, or send it direct to the repairs centre, or spend a tiny little bit of your profits and send it to me recorded delivery so it gets to me tomorrow, but you won’t.

It’s absolutely bloody awful. I can’t believe you think this is acceptable customer service.

Here is how I want this resolved.

I want you to send my proof of purchase to the repair centre immediately, and instruct them to repair the phone under warranty. I want the phone delivered securely to my work address (given) rather than my home address by no later than Monday 21st December. I want compensation for the month I will have been without use of the phone and I want to be reimbursed for the time and money I have spent on the phone to you. If you can’t do that, you can send me a new handset equivalent to or better than the broken one, and I want an apology for the shoddy, lazy, incompetent customer service I have been the victim of. I don’t want excuses. I don’t want to hear “data protection doesn’t let us” – I want my phone back, fixed, or I want a new phone.


And that is why a) I am sorry for everyone at Phones 4U who is about to lose their job but not at all surprised, and b) I have never used Phones 4U since.

Labour Pains, Labour of Love

Originally posted on :

Labour: Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Where did it all go wrong? (Photo: Ian Jones)

by Irvine Welsh

When I think back to how the Scottish independence debate has evolved in terms of my personal journey, I can see it in three distinct phases. The first was best expressed by the bitter and ugly sentiment “it’s all the English’s fault.” This guff was fairly ubiquitously trumpeted when I was a kid, and largely sustained, I believe, by an infantile football mentality. I was always unmoved by this idiocy: nobody was going to tell me that my cousins in Wolverhampton or Aunt in West London were in any way culpable for our circumstances north of the border. In retrospect, the ban on the annual Scotland v England match was the best thing that ever happened to the debate, it helped folk think a little more clearly. When ‘politics’ is mixed up with football, the end result is…

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What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege

Originally posted on A Little More Sauce:

The phrase “white privilege” is one that rubs a lot of white people the wrong way. It can trigger something in them that shuts down conversation or at least makes them very defensive. (Especially those who grew up relatively less privileged than other folks around them). And I’ve seen more than once where this happens and the next move in the conversation is for the person who brought up white privilege to say, “The reason you’re getting defensive is because you’re feeling the discomfort of having your privilege exposed.”

I’m sure that’s true sometimes. And I’m sure there are a lot of people, white and otherwise, who can attest to a kind of a-ha moment or paradigm shift where they “got” what privilege means and they did realize they had been getting defensive because they were uncomfortable at having their privilege exposed. But I would guess that more often than…

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Fringe Reviews 2014: Pam Ayres

First show of the year for me was Pam Ayres at the Assembly Rooms. For those of you who are under 40, Pam Ayres won Opportunity Knocks (a 70s Britain’s Got Talent) with her comedy poetry. Since then she’s had a successful career as a poet, writer, songwriter and presenter. Her poems are generally about everyday life and they seem quite simple although really they’re very clever.

This show is a mixture of Pam sharing anecdotes, reading passages from her autobiography and reciting her poems. She had the audience in stitches with her description of how the teenage Pam tried so hard to look like Dusty Springfield, in yellow lipstick.

There’s not much to say about it really – it’s warm and funny and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Guest post- “The public have no right to know”: how the Morning Star threatened to sack me for reporting domestic violence allegations

Originally posted on Another angry woman:

This is a guest post by Rory McKinnon. Content warning for domestic violence. It is published with permission of the survivor.

My name’s Rory MacKinnon, and I’ve been a reporter for the Morning Star for three years now. It’s given me a lot of pride to see how readers and supporters believe so strongly in the paper, from donating what cash they can to hawking it in the streets on miserable Saturdayafternoons. I was proud to represent a “broad paper of the left”, as my editor Richard Bagley always put it: a paper that saw feminism, LGBTQ issues, racial politics and the like as integral to its coverage of class struggle.

It’s for this reason that I thought I would have my editor’s support in following up domestic violence allegations against the Rail, Maritime and Transport union’s assistant general secretary Steve Hedley. Instead the Morning Star’s management threatened me…

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