Well i Had planned (some hope!) to be taking a break for a fortnight or so…both from professional writing and the blogging sort.
However, today’s outpouring of nastiness in the Sun, aided and abetted by the vile types over at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, draws me out of my temporary retirement. The “story”, such that it is, is that the MOD, over the last year or so, paid some £7, 400 towards “minor surgical procedures relating to gender reassignment”.
This, according to one of their idiot sub-editors is the same as “MoD paying for troops’ gender surgery” – which is the sub-head with which their piece is adorned. But hey! That’s a minor quibble, given that the Sun’s MD, Richard Caseby, is himself so innumerate he can’t tell the difference between £60,000 and £10,000: there has been a complaint on his desk for well over a month pointing out the simple factual inaccuracy that the Sun keeps committing in its inflation of the costs of gender re-assignment surgery by a factor of six – but i guess he’s a busy man, and can’t find a calculator.
So, what have we got? Well, the Sun dobbed in a FOI request to the MOD on the subject of trans costs paid for by the MOD. There is a definite news agenda going on here. The last piece in which they quite disgracefully inflated the costs of grs draws the direct comparison between hard-pressed taxpayers and “trans privilege”.
Someone on the editorial team has obviously spotted that this is a rich ground for shock! horror! stories – and therefore expect a spate of stories along similar lines over the next few months, because it is likely that they have put in very similar FOI’s to a load of other government bodies as well.
Its a non-story…a reaction story. There is no balancing quote: just two nodding dog approvals from right-wing publicist Philip Davies, MP and the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
Both are highly critical of the spend, though it is said that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Philip Davies spent over £600k worth of taxpayer money on parliamentary expenses over a four year period.
That included the max on his second home. Nice, that, for someone so concerned about taxpayer spend.
Oh: but there’s more. There is also a cosy (or nasty, depending on your point of view) pecuniary relationship between the TPA and Philip Davies. His site, which quite clearly is identified as paid for by parliamentary allowances, also quite shamelessly promotes the TPA.
Here we see a press release advocating support for the TPA. What is interesting is how it is not just a message of support – but it actively suggests that people get in touch with a TPA organiser, giving out both an e-mail address and a phone number of the Rickmansworth organiser.
That’s firstname.lastname@example.org and 0845 330 9554 if you feel like letting them know what you think of them.
However, last word to Paula from Trans Panthers. She points out that today of all days is a bad day for trans folk. People go out late. They get pissed. And it doesn’t take much for some drunken yob, inflamed by the idea that “trannies are ripping us off” to shift from name-calling abuse to violence.
Today’s piece is mischievous, nasty and quite possibly likely to end in violence.
Over the last year i have given the TPA the benefit of the doubt. In 2012, i think that politeness is at an end.