Down the Rabbit Hole of British Politics

I asked fellow blogger, Mary Smith, to write about her experience of the chaos in the UK. The United States is not alone in its struggle to come to terms with an election outcome that may be the result of Russian Interference.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/mar/15/uk-ministers-will-no-longer-claim-no-successful-examples-of-russian-interference

Sometimes, when I look at the UK’s current political picture, I feel as though I’ve fallen down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole and ended up in a land where everything is topsy turvy and incomprehensible. Bizarrely, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he’s proud of how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled – this in relation to the 40,000 deaths so far, the highest death rate in Europe. In fact, at the moment of writing this, the UK has the third-highest death rate in the world. When he boasts about being a world leader in defeating Covid-19, is this really what he means? This, from the Prime Minister who went about boasting he’d shaken hands with Covid-19 patients. Until he got it himself and ended up in the hospital. Then you get the people who break the very rules they brought into force in the first place. If members of the public break those same rules they face paying a hefty fine.

Down the rabbit hole, we’ve also come to realize the most powerful person in the UK is not actually the Prime Minister. In fact, we see and hear from him so infrequently there is even a hashtag for him: #wheresboris. No, the man with the power, the man who pulls the Prime Minister’s strings is political strategist, Dominic Cummings. Boris appointed him as his chief adviser in July 2019, an appointment which horrified many in Westminster on all sides of the political divide. Former Prime Minister David Cameron described him as a ‘career psychopath.’

In the lead up to the 2016 referendum on whether or not the UK should leave the EU, Cummings was the campaign director for Vote Leave. The Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave overspent £675,000 by channeling the funds through a group called BeLeave. Cummings refused to answer a Commons select committee’s questions about it and was held in contempt of Parliament. Cummings boasts about winning the EU referendum by blitzing Facebook users with 1.5 billion adverts, working with Cambridge Analytica’s sister company, Canadian AIQ using psychological profiling and targeting techniques. The most well-known of the ads was the one stating the £350 million the UK gives to the EU each week would be given to the NHS, others pandered to those concerned about immigration by stating, wrongly, that Turkey would soon join the EU and thousands of Turkish migrants would head to Britain. And his ‘Take Back Control’ slogan went down a storm in some quarters. And one ad maintained the EU would stop people in Britain trying to save Polar Bears.

Then, he campaigned to ensure Boris Johnson won the election in December 2019, with a large majority. Covid-19 was on the horizon but we didn’t yet know it.

By early March, when the WHO was imploring countries to ‘test, test, test’, the UK abandoned its testing and tracing programme, deciding to trust to herd immunity. Large sports events went ahead – something experts say could have caused many avoidable deaths. Health staff were screaming for protective equipment – there were not enough masks or gloves – and every day they – and we – were assured it would be arriving soon. It never was. Testing was resumed, but too slowly. The UK Statistics Authority has criticised the Government for continuing to mislead the public on the number of tests being carried out.

When lockdown measures were announced in the UK to prevent the spread of Covid-19, millions of us gave up our civil liberties. We agreed to stay in our homes, only coming out to do essential shopping and for our allowed daily exercise. We agreed not to meet friends and families, not to gather in the streets to protest about climate change, not to drive to beauty spots and picnic places, to give up all cultural and leisure pursuits from concerts and theatre to coffee and cake in cafes or even prayers in church. Cafes, restaurants, hotels, pubs all closed. We did this willingly because we believed it was the most effective way to halt Covid-19. Indeed many of us wondered why Prime Minister Boris Johnson hadn’t brought in lockdown restrictions much sooner – instead of doing nothing while we all saw the numbers of deaths rise each day.

We did it even when Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer was caught visiting her second home – twice. She apologised and resigned. We did it when Neil Ferguson, who had advised the Prime Minister on putting the country into lockdown, was caught when his married lover visited him. He apologised and resigned.

Then, it was discovered Dominic Cummings had driven 260 miles from his London home to his parents’ estate with his wife and child. Not only that, towards the end of their stay, the family went on an outing, a sixty-mile round trip, which Cummings said he made to test whether his eyesight was okay for the drive back to London. He was allowed to hold a media briefing in the rose garden – something unprecedented for an adviser to do – during which he attempted to justify his actions.

People who had stuck to the lockdown rules, who had not seen family for weeks, who were struggling financially and emotionally, who had not been able to sit at the bedside as loved ones lay dying, were understandably furious. As were many politicians in the Conservative Party. One government minister resigned, a doctor resigned, Dominic Cummings did not resign. He said he had no intention of doing so.

Boris Johnson supported Cummings, and despite seeing his popularity slump sharply, he has refused to ask him to resign. What hold does Dominic Cummings have over the Prime Minister?  This article may provide some of the answers, including Steve Bannon, an illicitly obtained data base, and a suppressed Russian report:

Instead, he told us to continue to stay alert, rushed to lift many of the lockdown restrictions – letting people go out to play to take their minds off the scandalous behavior of his adviser – and told those of us who can, we must go back to work. Soon, he’ll be opening pubs and restaurants. Soon, the second wave of Covid-19 will be with us.

But guess what, it won’t be the Government’s fault because now thousands have taken to the street to protest the murder of George Floyd and support BlackLivesMatter. When the number of Covid-19 cases starts to increase – it is we who will be blamed for it. One final thought: If Dominic Cummings is pulling Boris Johnson’s strings – who is pulling his?

A couple of interesting links: Journalist for the Guardian, Carole Cadwalladr did a huge amount of research into Cambridge Analytica and AIQ.

The Byline Times
Journalist and Poet, Mary Smith

Mary Smith is a Scottish blogger, poet, and journalist who works as a reporter/feature writer for Dumfries and Galloway Life.

(c) Mary Smith, 2020

#BraveWrite: A Lifetime

I’ve spent a decade in therapy to recover from an emotionally needy, gaslighting  narcissist, who raised her Jewish Son among abusive, anti-Semitic, fag-bashing racists, some of them pedophiles, who considered themselves good Christians.

Ironic, isn’t it?

I’m the one with the diagnoses.

What have I learned?

I am a human being,

I have a right to be alive.

When the trauma is drawn out over a number of years, dissociation becomes a way of life. Once learned, it is a fixed part of the personality that asserts itself long beyond the original dangers that prompted it.

This is an illustration of the principle that C-PTSD is essentially a learning process gone awry as a consequence of the child developing in a dangerous environment.  Dissociation and C-PTSD


The effects of long-term child abuse last a lifetime.

This post inspired by the #BraveWrite hashtag on Twitter.

Rob Goldstein 2019

“Los Portales’ (c) Rob Goldstein 2016

Twittering Tales: The Old Mechanic

The Old Mechanic

The old mechanic yearned for the days of the Volkswagen–
when plenty was enough–before the greed and cruelty,
before the insatiable need for more.

197 Characters

This is an entry for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales #Twittering Tales #143 – 2 July 2019

Twittering Tales Kat Myrman

 

Mental Health: When the Narcissist is Normalized

In this post I use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ because my subjective experience is that of multiple separate people.

The children of pathological narcissists must blind themselves to behaviors that healthy people consider unspeakable.

Food deprivation, the killing of pets, theft, forced sex, gaslighting and other forms of psychological abuse and the threat of psychological annihilation.

The child of a narcissist must have no dreams of his own, and no vision of life without the clinging demands of a parent or parent surrogate who is essentially a two-year old without mercy.

My Mother despised my intelligence and did everything in her power to kill it.

I normalized her contempt and used Dissociative Identity Disorder to save my mind.

My talents became a boy named Peter who only emerged when Mother was gone, or when he was with his Grandmother with whom he felt safe.

A male who must contend with a female pathological narcissist is at a disadvantage in this culture because the assumption is that the male always has power.

This assumption doubles the power of a female narcissist.

My Mother used her advantage as a ‘helpless woman’ to destroy my Father, who ultimately lay down and died.

My Mother’s threat to me was if I wasn’t ‘careful’ I would end up like
my Father.

VR photograph of two male avatars, one who stands in front of a mirror and the other who is emerging from it
People Like Us

We’re still blind to most narcissists but we are now alert to certain clues.

A narcissist is usually charismatic, charming, flattering and warm.

My Mother was a waitress at a greasy spoon.

When she worked she was on stage.

Everyone loved her.

A narcissist looks vulnerable and reserves for herself the right to pass judgment on others. This is not the same as learning another person’s strengths and weaknesses.

The people who loved my Mother were dismissed as undeserving trash.

The suggestion that she might be one of them was the same as asking
for a beating.

A narcissist traffics in envy and in her mind everyone wants what she has.

If the meaning of a word doesn’t suit her she changes the definition.

Vicious beatings are acts of love.

Letting guys rape me is getting me ‘straightened out’.

A narcissist never gets the attention she thinks she deserves.

My Mother often provoked my Father to violence.

One night he loaded us into the car and drove to Reynolds Ave, North Charleston, SC.

Reynold’s Avenue was where the sailors in Charleston went to play.

My Father got out of the car.

I saw my Mother through the open door of a bar.

She was sitting on some guys lap.

My Father dragged her out of the bar by the hair and beat her in the street.

My memory goes blank after this.

The point is that his reaction to her behavior was an excuse for her to call her Mother and beg to come home to New York.

Her family pulled together the money to set us up in an apartment in Queens.

My Mother took us back to Charleston after three months.

A narcissist takes without giving back.

Whatever you give is simply her due.

The narcissist is a rhinestone among rhinestones; a glittering fake.

Today I am a diamond among diamonds, some big and some small.

I still don’t know my worth, but I know I’m real —

— and I’m very glad to be here.

Rob Goldstein 2015-2019