28 Jun 2016


The old are being blamed for leaving the EU, based mainly on pre-election data.

Now, as you might well know, statistics are really easy to present in a misleading fashion. For example:

5% of people do not own a television
The statistic is the same. The context makes the difference.

So...this chart:
Firstly, the poll asked less than 1700 people. The electorate was 46.5 million people. The actual number of voters was around 33 million. 1700 people is literally nothing. 0.003% to be precise. I don't know enough about statistics to know what size of survey you would need to take for it to be statistically relevant, but I am guessing it is significantly more than 0.003%.

Second, you have to be a member of yougov to take part in their polls. Are you a member of yougov? Anyone you know? I was, but they pay fuck all for participation, so I left.

Thirdly, we are not told how many people in each age group were polled. The cohorts are unfairly sized: (6 year cohort, a 24 year cohort, a 14 year cohort and then a 25+ year cohort). They've basically taken nearly 20% of the population, asked 0.003% of them what they think of something and decided THEY ALL THINK THE SAME.

As for how many years they have had to live with decision! CHRIST! Why not just have a mass cull right now, since they'll all be dead soon anyway!

And most importantly, it was a secret ballot. We don't know WHO voted what. For all you know, I actually voted leave and am getting strange pleasure from writing pro-remain blogs (I'm not). What we do know is that over half of those who showed up to vote voted to leave, and not all of those were racist old women.

Ah, the many tales of racist old women on twitter, exhorting the line for the polls to vote to leave to 'send the buggers back'. My husband actually ended up talking to just such a racist old lady at the polls, so they definitely exist. But remember something important before casting off the entirety of the old as useless...

If anyone should have a right to vote, it's people who (just) lived through World War 2 and rationing. Nobody has earned their civic rights quite like them. The same people who voted for the only socialist government we've ever had following World War 2 also voted for us to remain in what would become the EU in 1975, by an overwhelming 67% to 33%.

I cannot abide this idea of baby boomers stealing all the wealth and leaving the young crumbs and arseholes. How many old people die alone in a freezing house every year because they can't afford to put the heating on? The reason the young are fucked is primarily because of the 2009 recession, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. But that's too difficult to comprehend. Far easier to blame the old, because they're easy targets. They're vulnerable. They're not contributing. They're death waiting to happen.

Youths, get a grip on yourselves. One day, you too will be old and your children will pay not one bit of attention to anything you say and call you a dinosaur. One day, you will talk about this referendum and they will yawn and say how everything's different now, LIKE YOU DON'T KNOW BECAUSE YOU ACTUALLY WATCHED IT HAPPEN. One day, you will exercise your right to vote, and people will blame you for the result because you're a shapeless grey mass of demographic with no perceived individuality. And you will be pissed off about it.

27 Jun 2016


Why am I so upset about the result?
Why aren't I applauding the Leave voters? Congratulating them on a hard won game against the odds?
Why aren't I quietly accepting defeat and moving on?

Well, for a start, some brief figures. 17 million people voted for Brexit. There are 60 million people in the UK. That's a little over a quarter. That's not a ringing national victory. That's way less half of the total electorate (46.5m). In short, there are far more people in the UK that did NOT vote to leave the EU than did.
That is irrelevant, in the grand scheme of things, because democracy requires people to exercise their right to vote or miss out. It also requires the electorate to take part in civic and political life, but as people on facebook keep pointing out, they only really care about politics for one day every few years and then it gets boring.
I don't think a re-referendum would achieve anything, mainly because a referendum is not legally binding and the government can ignore it. The government would be fucking silly to disregard it and stay in the EU regardless (although the more Boris Johnson speaks, the more it seems that is precisely what he wants to do), but they still have to begin the legal process and that is something the Great British Public will have nothing to do with. It is going to be a long, painfully drawn out process to the leave the EU. We have not left yet. We have not even begun to leave.

So, why am I personally upset? I have spent years now, particularly the last two, studying structural inequality. Before you run off, structural inequality is the reason why people living in shitty areas tend to live shorter, poorer lives than people living in better areas. It is the reason there is a nine year gap between expected lifespan in the poorest and richest boroughs of the country. It's the reason poor areas have crappy job prospects and lack amenities. I discussed all this with reference specifically to my area in this post, if you want to see how that directly affects someone.
Now, the Tories (according to their ideology) prefer to think that people make their own luck. That your circumstances of birth have nothing to do with your future potential, that you can break the glass ceiling. And I'm sure for a few people, that's true, but for the vast majority, you remain stuck in the same social and wealth sphere you are born into. Hence why politicians tend to be rich, from the south and privately educated. And this belief has led to them cutting all forms of social infrastructure over the last few years.
To give an example, covering Labour, coalition and Tory governments: in the town I grew up in, a giant housing estate was planned, with a view to doubling the town's population. They began to build it in 2002. They didn't think to provide it with a primary school for twelve years. It didn't get a supermarket until 2010. It still doesn't have a doctor's surgery, or anything you might think is essential to increasing the population of a small town by 50%, and is so far away from most amenities or adequate public transport that a car is absolutely necessary to live there. Infrastructure is no longer considered important. The selling off of schools to become academies is another sign of this: an attempt to privately fund important public amenities without any real accountability.

So, what is accountability in this context? Well, it's being socially responsible. It's admitting when you get something wrong, and trying to fix it. It's having a higher power that you have to report to when things go right and when things go wrong. In the NHS, accountability is very important because if you cock something up, people die. But in government, accountability is also extremely important because if you cock stuff up, thousands die. Perhaps not the same day. Perhaps not even the next day. But over time, life expectancies drop, national wealth drops, opportunities fall away.
I see a lack of accountability in the government farce that has followed the referendum. Cameron has resigned basically because he doesn't want to sort leaving out, despite being the one who held the referendum in the first place. Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are both swearing up is down when it comes to promises made in the run up to the referendum. Corbyn's entire cabinet has fallen away, not wanting to face leaving the EU and blaming him for the whole thing, rather than Cameron.

The EU may be a bureaucratic nightmare, but it also provides a protective framework of legislation that aids the common man. To give an example often cited to me as a reason to leave the EU: the European Working Time Directive. Do you really want to be hired on a 70hr week contract? Do you not want to be paid for overtime, or have your overtime recognised as such? Do you think this government have any interest in protecting working rights? Our government has taken a decided slide to the right in policy of late, more right wing than even Thatcher managed. In response, Labour has also taken a rightward slide and bizarrely, UKIP and their nationalistic bordering on fascist policies, are attempting to become the party of the working classes. Politics in this country is all over the place. I don't trust them. I don't trust them. I don't trust them.
I am filled with fear about what happens when we lose the layer of accountability offered by the EU, when our democratically elected government, democratically elect to fuck the poor some more because they haven't been punished enough yet.

I see no triumph here. The EU have funded so many projects to try and reduce the inequality in our society and now it will be our government's responsibility to try and replicate that. It will be our government's responsibility to try and equal and distribute EU funding into the arts, into science, even into cancer research. And I don't trust them to do it. Our government have not had to deal with this type of organisation since the 70s, when many of them were children. It's one thing to say "We were fine before we joined the EU" but that was two generations ago and people forget.

Yes, this is a cynical and negative view, but I find it difficult to be positive in the wake of such a total government breakdown. Perhaps it will be OK. I hope so.

Next time: on ageism and voting and why judgemental youths need to check themselves before they wreck themselves

26 Jun 2016

Hate To Say I Told You So

Apparently, this blog was a load of old drivel, so let us revisit it.

1. Spend our money on priorities like the NHS.

Nigel Farage Backtracks On Leave's £350 Million For The NHS Pledge Hours After The Result

It seems highly likely that the majority of the excess money will be spent on priorities like
Rebalancing the economy
- Paying for all the stuff the EU paid for.

Maybe there'll be a fiver left for the NHS at the end of all that.

2. Take back control over our laws

Well, at least Nigel Farage will no longer have a job, since he's not an MP and has as much political relevance now as I do. Woo!
Meanwhile, Cameron "I will start Brexit immediately" has resigned, leaving the cleanup to his successors who look so pleased about it:
and the EU is trying to shove us out immediately because they are PISSED OFF.
So we may eventually take back control over our laws. Or not. A referendum isn't a mandate, nobody in power is in any rush to actually leave the EU and I will discuss the repercussions of doing so in another post.

3. Regain control over our borders

Tory Brexiter Daniel Hannan: Leave campaign never promised "radical decline" in immigration

EU referendum: No promise of immigration drop - Nigel Evans MP

EU Brexit referendum: France's Calais seeks border deal changes

Brexit result: Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness calls for border poll on united Ireland

Calais mayor wants French migrant camps moved to UK after Brexit vote


4. Take back control over security

This remains to be seen, but this is an interesting article:
Exclusive: Nato chief says UK staying in the EU is key to fighting terrorism

The UK terror threat level remains severe. There have been multiple civil disturbances over the weekend, largely from UK far right groups who wish to now immediately send every single immigrant, regardless of nationality, 'home'.

5. It's safer to vote Leave (see 4) and take back control (see 3) rather than keep sending our money (see 1) to an EU which is costing us more and overruling our law (see 2).


17 Jun 2016

What Is Happening To This Country?

Jo Cox is dead and I am so sad, and so angry.

I am sad because she was a campaigner, she was passionate, she was one of the few women in Parliament, she was principled, she was genuine. I am sad because she was a mum of two little boys who aren't old enough to know what murder is, nevermind where their mum has gone.

And I am fucking furious, incandescently angry at the media spin on this tragic culmination of weeks of right wing propaganda and hatred.

Yesterday, just hours before she was murdered, Nigel Farage unveiled his latest campaign poster. Behold:

Does it remind you of anything? Does it, perhaps, remind you of this?

via @zcbeaton on twitter
This is a clip of a Nazi propaganda film, giving much the same message in an identical fashion.

Just a week ago, fifty men were murdered at a gay bar in Florida, by a man called Omar Mateen. Because Omar happened to be brown, the massacre was immediately hailed as a terrorist attack

and within twenty four hours, used as Leave propaganda:

Sack your subeditor, Leave. 
Alas for those who would like to blame everything on ISIS that Omar Mateen had no links to them, and wasn't religious. This was an act of terrorism, but it wasn't an act of international, Islam-extremist terrorism. 

Several years ago, Anders Breivik murdered 77 people in Sweden because he hated Islam that much. But, before any information about the terrorist was revealed, The Sun ran this as their front page:
Once it was revealed that Breivik was both white and not a Muslim, the tide quickly turned:

Now, he's just a maniac with extremist links. 

And so it seems in the case of Jo Cox, the same will happen. The murderer is widely reported to have shouted Britain First as he attacked her, while she was running her local constituency surgery. This is a lady who actively campaigned for Syrian refugees and against Islamophobia. She was everything Britain First claim, VOCIFEROUSLY, to despise. And yet...

A crazed loner! Salacious details from The Sun, as you might expect. But no reference to claims that he might have been a British right wing extremist. If she'd been murdered by someone with even the faintest of tans, the headlines would be very different. The media keep spinning us this line that immigrants are terrorists who want to kill us, and then this happens. A left wing member of parliament gets killed at work by someone likely fired up by weeks of increasingly right wing propaganda and lies.

When every time you go to the shop, you're faced with front pages like this:
Plus every single non-weather related frontpage of The Daily Express.
how can the media act shocked that this sort of thing can happen? How can they blame mental illness and look no further? You have to be at least a little bit unstable to murder someone, but normally, when someone is murdered, the papers are quick to splash details about how their upbringing, their religion, their race, their experience with school, their obsession with porn or video games was to blame. Why can they not apply that same logic to being bombarded with hysterical lies about immigrants and Muslims? Britain First, with an irony that would be hilarious in less tragic circumstances, have been quick to distance themselves from Jo Cox's murder, but how can they not see how they might be complicit in driving someone to kill? The Remain and Leave campaigns both stopped yesterday, although for how long, I don't know. But do they, particularly Leave, not see how their constant bewildering panicked lies and half-truths might drive someone to extremism?

As a nation, we cannot take this assassination as a one-off, lone-wolf, freak event. We have to look at the context, because it is a symptom of a much wider disease.

Nobody should be cut down in the street because of their political conviction.
We lost a good woman yesterday, and we should all be sad, regardless of political leaning.

13 Jun 2016

The Widower

I met him going to the post office. A comment about the weather and I was about to carry on, but he blurted out"my wife just died" and I couldn't walk away.

He said he'd been to his allotment, some miles away. I knew the village he mentioned. He had photos in his boot of the village in years past, and we looked at them, there on the pavement with the baby kicking at the buggy, watching us. He hadn't wanted to live in the city. He liked it at the village, but there were no shops and his wife liked shopping so they moved here. And she died.

He asked me once, twice, many times if the people where I lived, barely a street away, talked. And they do, but I know what he meant. People don't often move into this area because they are tied by blood or friendship. They move because it's cheap and central. They keep themselves to themselves. They don't say hello to the old guy next door.

It had been his birthday three days before. He was 74, but said he felt older. He asked me to look in his living room, so I did. A shrine to the wife he loves so much. I asked when she died, expecting him to say last month, last week, but no, last year and still he lives in this gulf of emptiness.
He seemed to plead for forgiveness. He apologised for his shrine, he apologised for keeping me talking, he apologised for his house. I don't know when he'd last had a conversation. When he wakes up, he calls to her, wondering where she is. He told me about his old home, he showed me a picture of him with his wife twenty odd years ago, him unrecognisably bearded and her, beaming. She came from Hebden Bridge. I didn't ask how they met. I didn't have time.

A few days after his wife died, he had fallen on the back step and cried for help for six hours, but nobody came. He finally crawled into the house and called an ambulance to his broken leg. Nobody talks to him. Nobody's a neighbour. They were neighbourly in the village. He knew everyone there. He grew up there. He worked there. His house there caught fire once, when his brother was in bed. He went to church there every week, to the yard where his mum and his dad, his brother were buried. I asked him if he went to the church behind his house. No. Too strange. A betrayal of who he was.
He didn't sleep and when he asked the doctor if it was normal, the doctor said yes. He didn't eat. He had once, and the photo he showed me bore this out, but he had lost five stone since he lost her.
He told me he was going out again. He didn't stay in long. He had come home to get his washing in and now he was going out again. I had to go. He gave me two apples and said goodbye.

A thirty minute window. And I saw his life, his terrible grief for his wife. The love he had for her twisted into sorrow. His fear of hurting himself again and being unable to help himself; of dying on the back step, unnoticed by the whole city. His children, far away, not visiting. Going out to avoid the absence of her. His car was a little living room by the driver's seat, while his living room was a mausoleum. Afraid to be shunned by strangers but desperate to tell someone about her. Lonely, living in a hated, anonymous street because she wanted to go shopping, with a chunk taken from him. Wanting to move, but unable to leave the memory of her.

And what else could I do but listen?

There must be thousands of men like him - women too - aching for a chat, terrified of scaring people away. What else can you do but listen?

10 Jun 2016

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

The EU referendum is, perhaps, the most important political event of my lifetime. You see, I'm 31. Not quite a Millennial, but not old enough to remember Thatcher. Voting in this is far more important than a general election vote, since the consequences will reverberate for many many years. I think it's vital for us to all understand why we are voting to leave or remain. After all, people are going to be disenfranchised if they feel misled into voting one way or the other.

Yesterday, I received a Vote Leave posted with "Five Positive Reasons to Leave" written on it. They are as follows:
1. Spend our money on priorities like the NHS.
OK. This would be fabulous. Except it won't happen. I'm sorry. I've spent five years studying the sociology of health in this country and there is no way, NO WAY, any right wing political party is going to invest all that money into the NHS. Consider the state of the NHS since 2010. Consider the changes made. If you work in the NHS, you've seen this first hand. Remember Big Society? We're all In It Together, as the Conservatives bellowed loudly at both the last general elections? Well, what they mean isn't that we're in it together at all. What they mean is that they want social services (the NHS, libraries, social services, children's centres, school nurses, mental health support, victim support, the police, the fire service, housing, care homes) to be run on an increasingly self funded, privatised, or voluntary basis. WE may be in it together, but THEY, the rich and elite, are most certainly not. Look at your town. Remember it ten years ago. When you could get a doctors appointment without sacrificing your first born. When you could go to the library to use the internet if yours was on the blink. When you didn't have to pay £2000+ a month for your mum to be in a nursing home. When you rang the police and they actually turned up. When the health visitors actually came to see you. When housing was affordable.
We may leave the EU, but we will still have the same government in charge, and they show no willingness at all to invest the money we do have into the NHS, let alone extra.
You'll also note that it is worded 'priorities like the NHS'. I'm sure priorities like Trident would suddenly seem important without the protection of the EU. That's not a promise. That's a similie. Ask your ten year old.

2. Take back control over our laws
I'm sorry, did I miss the abolition of Parliament and the House of Lords? Fairly sure we make our own laws. EU laws are of equal status in member countries as national law, so I had a look to see what sort of laws they have made. They are terrible! Awful things like preventing gender discrimination at work and making sure our food is safe. The absolute bastards.
This point goes on to say that we don't get to vote on who makes the laws. This is a lie. We have 73 MEPs. You elected them. Or at least you did if you bothered to go and vote. Bizarrely, a third of our MEPs are UKIP. Do they not WANT a job or something?
There's a strong idea that we can't veto any EU laws. We can. Well, *we* can't, our elected MEPs can, but not if they're in the minority - that's not democratic. For all that the Leave campaign bleat on about democracy, they seem to have a rather odd idea how it works.
And our beloved UKIP MEPs have tried to block laws on things like women's rights in work (either abstaining or voting against them) which really makes me wonder why any women want to support UKIP. Obviously, it's your choice, but why on Earth do you support a party who thinks you're best off in the kitchen?
PS: We can definitely block Turkey from joining the EU and they can't  apply to join until they've fulfilled a great litany of requests, which they are taking their sweet time over, so stop worrying that the people you're quite happy to buy holidays from are going to come over here and steal your job.

3. Regain control over our borders
This is such a load of old toss, I don't even know where to start. The truth is, we have no idea what sort of immigration deal we will have if we leave the EU. Nobody has ever left the EU, only refused to join. The most common argument is that we can have immigration laws like Australia. Australia, if you're unaware, have a complicated and expensive immigration policy, based around your ability to contribute to the economy. You can read about it here. This misses a very important point. Australia is not in Europe. Australia is a fucking great island in the middle of nowhere. Australia is two and a half THOUSAND miles from its nearest neighbour. We sit 50 miles from ours. We are tiny. We have no industry (cheers Tories!), we have insufficient agriculture to feed everyone. We need to trade to survive. We are more like Norway than Australia. Norway is not an EU member. Norway has open borders.
The other problem with leaving the EU, which is less known, is that our border isn't in the UK at all. No, our main border is in France. You know when you go to France, and you sit for a fucking year at Calais waiting for Border Control yet sail through Dover? That's why. There's a reason all those refugees are sat at Calais, and it's not for the astonishing brutalist architecture or beautiful beaches. They have been shunted along through Europe, a few thousand allowed to settle here and there, and now they have hit a sea border and can't be shunted along anymore. I have no doubt that, if our border is pushed back to  Dover, all those refugees will come and sit in Dover instead. It's not their fault. They are running from a terrible, awful, unfightable war. They would not be living in some shitty, muddy tent by the Channel if they didn't have to. But they strike terror into the hearts of the middle classes, terrified that young Adnan will come over here and I dunno, steal their daughter or something.
If we leave the EU, what happens to the EU migrant workers that live here? Do they all get shipped out wholesale? Do they have to apply for work permits? What about the ones that have married and have families? The current draconian immigration rules states that, to live here as a non-EU migrant, you have to be earning over £35k. Consider that the average salary in the UK is around £26.5k, and that a lot of EU migrant workers are working for shit all in factories and on farms, and there's going to be an enormous mass deportation. Which is, apparently, what the Leave campaign wants. But who will fill those jobs? What about EU migrants who have married English people? Do they have to go? Are a lot of kids going to suddenly be in a one parent family? This is not hyperbole. It is people's actual lives.
And what of the British in Spain? This bit of paper informs me that 250000 EU migrant workers came here last year. There are 760000 Brits in Spain. They will FLOOD US. We will be OVERRUN by hypertanned Spanglish people who insist on sleeping half the afternoon! How will we cope???

4. Take back control over security
Apparently, "the European Court controls how we fight terrorism and this is dangerous". I would actually argue the total opposite. I would much rather have the intelligence and security of the entire EU working together against terrorism than just us. Consider this. When the IRA were attacking the British every five fucking minutes, we had well over a hundred terrorist incidents in twenty five years. Since 2001, when the Islamic fundamentalist threat made itself known, we have had one definite organised incident and four lesser incidents. I feel relatively safe from terrorism here.

5. It's safer to vote Leave (see 4) and take back control (see 3) rather than keep sending our money (see 1) to an EU which is costing us more and overruling our law (see 2).
So you couldn't even think of five positive reasons to leave the EU? What child wrote this leaflet?

The thing is, I really hate David Cameron. I hate how he is invisible. George Osborne, IDS when he was in charge, Gove, they all get the blame while Cameron deflects and hides and seems to avoid the criticism he should be receiving. But the EU referendum is a happening under his premiership, and he supports staying in. I don't want to support him, but it's not about him. Leaving isn't about supporting that absolute cuntosaurus liar Johnson or melty-faced sexist racist shitbox Farage. It goes far beyond interparty politics. But it has degenerated into the two sides of the Conservative party essentially blowing raspberries at each other, and I don't trust a word any of them say. Neither should you.
When deciding how to vote, think about what's important to you.

The main reason I'm voting to remain (are you shocked?) is because the EU have done more for working rights than our government would ever do. The government keep trying to gently dismantle working rights - they've already done a fair bit, by making it financially difficult to take employers to a tribunal for example, and encourage zero hour contracts - and left unchecked, they will end up somewhere near the re-institution of serfdom. I understand why a lot of traditional Labour folks end up supporting UKIP, but they don't want to protect you. They don't actually care that you don't have any money and feel like you're surrounded by Europeans at work and that you're struggling to feel like you have a future. They want power, but they don't have social responsibility. They stand as the working man's party, but as they have demonstrated repeatedly at the very parliament they claim to despise, they don't want you to have rights. They don't even care that your rights are being debated.Why would they be any different if they were in power here?

One more thing, that I discovered yesterday. In 1996, Manchester's city centre was bombed by the IRA. The damage cost was estimated at £700 million at the time. The government gave £300000 as hardship relief and £150000 to begin the rebuild: that is less than half a million quid. When asked in parliament why the amount given was so small compared to the total damage, the Minister for the Environment said that the TWENTY ONE AND A HALF MILLION POUNDS given by the EU for rebuilding could be considered "British money" and that having to raise an equivalent sum to meet it by private or public means would be easy. So why didn't they? They are quite happy to take and acknowledge the EU's cash when it suits them. You can read the whole exchange here. Manchester is the current European city of Science.

We don't know what happens next. We don't know whether leaving the EU would be the best thing that ever happened to our country (although, considering the previous global empire, unlikely). We don't know whether it would be the worst. And whatever the Leave or Remain campaign tell you, they don't know either. This has never been done before. You have to trust your gut. And my gut tells me that Farage, Johnson et al do not have my best interests at heart.

1 Jun 2016

Blame the Mother

Last August, I was just about to have a bath when I heard a bang and a scream and my husband yell for help. My middle son, in his effort to somehow FLY into bed, had overshot, bashed his head on his chest of drawers and cut his forehead open. A combination of extremely blonde hair and gushing head wound meant it looked far worse than it was, but after a trip to A+E and some glue, he was fine. No harm done. Accidents happen.
A few years before this, I was making a cup of tea, turned to put something in the sink and my eldest (who would have been around 20 months) pulled a cup of just poured boiling water directly onto his head. I stripped him, put him in the sink under cold water (poor child was baffled, but this is the best thing to do with a scald if ice isn't immediately available) and then went to A+E. He suffered very very minor burns, but otherwise, no harm done. Accidents happen.
Many years ago, when I was five, I fell through a window under the watchful eye of my father and was millimetres from death. The awful injury sustained still gives me a lot of problems. But accidents happen. I'm alive and well, that's the important thing.

In none of these cases was any fault attributed to a parent. They were accepted as accidents, because everyone knows accidents happen with little kids. Little kids are unpredictable. They are not rational. They don't fathom danger, or apply it to themselves. Sometimes, the accident is fucking awful and someone dies. Recently, that someone was a gorilla.

First off, much loved family dogs have been known to murder children so I don't know why people are surprised a gorilla might be hostile to an invader. Gorillas have some genetic similarities to us, and a lot of people have said he was protecting the toddler. How would you react if a large, unknown mammal suddenly fell into your house? How about it a great crowd of similar mammals bellowed at you about it? I'm guessing you might feel intimidated, and afraid, and probably defend yourself in the way you do when a spider runs across your bare feet in the night. Stop anthropomorphising a gorilla. Gorillas are dangerous. There's a reason they aren't given free rein in a zoo.

Second, it is a mystery to me why the enclosure wasn't properly blocked off. I dislike zoos at the best of times, and I would much rather have a huge electrified fence protecting me from the big animals than have them in a moated hole. In fact, I would much rather have the big animals living in their natural environment, not locked up in some faux-forest-clearing in Cincinnati, but that's just me. The safety of the enclosure seems to be in doubt.

So, a four year old got into the enclosure. Four year olds are not wise beings who can gauge danger. Four year olds are very much of the age when they see a gorilla, want a gorilla, and go to see the gorilla. Only a few months ago, I had to rescue my idiot then-four year old from a huge pile of masonry in Ludlow Castle where he had taken up residence. Four year olds do not think about the consequences of their actions. The four year old's life was endangered by the gorilla. The zoo did the only thing they could reasonably do in the circumstances and killed the gorilla. Poor Harambe. The little boy survived.

And now his mother is being absolutely ripped to fucking shreds by social media. People have called for child protection to investigate her for neglect. People want her head, mainly because of the death of the gorilla I think, rather than any real concern for the child.
Just the mother, you'll note. As is so common in these sort of cases, the father of the child is just a blameless simpleton who couldn't possibly be expected to share in the management and safety of his children. This is an extraordinarily common narrative in any story castigating a feckless mother, and it is both misogynistic and generally damaging to the state of fatherhood. Surely we have progressed from the 1950s, where Father has a flat cap, a pint of ale, and the stub of a rollie and doesn't know his children's names, let alone where they are at any given moment?! I wonder what the narrative would be had the child been in the sole company of his father, perhaps on a weekend-daddy-day? I'm sure the mother would still be blamed somehow, probably with a headline like "HARAMBE BOY'S MOTHER DRUNK WHEN HE GOT INTO THE ENCLOSURE".

So, the mother is at fault, because honestly, who expects a zoo to be safe in this day and age? Surely they just let the animals roam about freely and you have to dodge out of the way of marauding lions and whatnot!? My main concerns when taking my boys to the zoo are losing them, traffic if it unexpectedly turns out to be covered in roads (Whipsnade, I am looking at you), and Jim having a meltdown. The idea that they might be able to actually get into an enclosure wouldn't occur to me. Does this make me stupid, that I assume a zoo has taken sufficient safety measures to stop my kids being mauled? This isn't like the case where the man deliberately climbed in with some lions in an elaborate suicide.. That child should not have been able to get into the enclosure. I think it is reasonable to expect a zoo to be safe, even if the safety measures are invisible. Compare this with the Smiler accident at Alton Towers last year. Nobody was screaming that the people on the ride should have known better than to go on such a clearly dangerous ride, or tried to blame their parents for allowing them to go to a theme park unaccompanied. There are expectations of safety from public attractions.

But still, definitely the mother's fault. She should have been watching him! Well, yes, and I know this is a foreign concept to the childless, but you do OCCASIONALLY have to look at OTHER THINGS when you have children. Like, where you are going, checking other people in the vicinity to make sure nobody's being abducted, other people if they start a conversation, your phone if you get a call, your camera to 'make memories' (urgggh that phrase), or even your other children. I can think of literally thousands of reasons to stop looking at your child for ten seconds, and as any parent knows, a child can cause absolute chaos in ten seconds.
Now, imagine watching your child being mauled by a gorilla. Most parents really do love their children, even if they never post a meme to tell you how much. Social media animal behaviour experts seem much more willing to attribute a gorilla with mammalian emotions of love and protection than the child's own mother. I can't even imagine what the hell went through her mind (or the boy's dad's mind, or his siblings for that matter) seeing her son so in danger. That is punishment enough.

Yes. it's a tragedy that Harambe had to die so a boy could live. Yes, there are lessons to be learnt. But it's not the mother's fault, unless she pitched the kid into the enclosure herself. Sometimes, there is nobody to blame, and that's what really gets on everyone's tits.