So it’s the last few days, of the last month, of the last year, of this decade without a name, a time when people will reflect upon their favourite films or favourite TV series or favourite videogames of the past decade, Snowpiercer was my favourite film of the decade, my favourite videogame was Cities Skylines, as for my favourite TV series well I hate to be unoriginal as it’s likely the same as anybody else’s which of course is Game Of Thrones, but hey I’m not known for being a pop culture commentator or critic, I’m known as an uber sweary political commentator, so enough with bollocking on about how frigging awesome Snowpiercer & Game Of Thrones were & lets reflect in around about meandering style how dismal this decade has been for anybody who’s politically to the left.
Though my conclusion is it’s been a dismal decade for those of us on the left of politics, for me personally it’s actually been better than an okay decade, the two major highlights for me personally were successfully coming out as trans in 2010 & then meeting the love of my life Alys (aka Kim Justice) in 2017. There have definitely been more positive than negative highlights for me personally this past decade, from giving up smoking in 2011, to finally managing to move into a decent home in 2016, to surviving a heart attack in 2018 (yes surviving a heart attack is a positive), there was also going to the Houses of Parliament for the first time in 2013 to lobby MPs on the issue of trans rights & subsequently doing so several times, then there was finally getting to talk to my trans hero Caroline Cossey though it’s a shame she turned out to be an utter truscum bigoted cunt well they do say don’t they that you should never meet your heroes they’ll only ever disappoint you.
This has certainly been the decade when trans people became far more prevalent in the public eye, yeah this isn’t just the decade where I came out as trans but just about the entirety of the trans community has seemed to have come out from hiding rejoicing in trans being far more about liberation then it being a stigma. Sure as a consequence of trans people having been far more prevalent in the public eye & thus there being far more interest from the mainstream media in trans people, it’s given rise to the cult of the professional tranny celebrity which I don’t think is helpful in the long term for trans people, however I do acknowledge that trans people appearing in the mainstream media has helped push justice & equality for trans people further up the political agenda which is no bad thing. Yes with trans rights becoming far more of a hot topic politically it’s created a transphobic backlash this however was always going to be inevitable as it’s happened previously when the issue of justice & equality have come to the forefront of the political zeitgeist in regards to other sections of society, but when looking back overall at the past decade regards to the plight of trans people I do think its been mostly positive & one of the few things non transphobic progressive lefties can smile about.
For me personally & for me as a trans woman yes this decade has been generally positive, however it’s not as if I didn’t lose people close to me along the way, in particularly I think of my friend Richard Garner who died of a drugs overdose in 2011, after all these years I still find myself in floods of tears thinking about Rick, yes our politics were different he a libertarian-anarchist & me a socialist but we often found common ground politically whether it was opposition to the war in Iraq or legalizing pot, he was also a massive supporter of the LGBTQ community & supported me when I came out as trans when many others round me didn’t, but what I miss most of all about Richard was he was just as Punk Rock as me liking all the same movies & music & definitely having the same fuck you attitude. The death of trans activist Lily Summers in 2016 is another bereavement I find myself getting moist eyes about, me & Lily were on different sides of the Labour Party but a great deal of what she warned about in regards Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party has come true. I was recently reminded of a photo of me taken in a pub on New Year’s Eve 1999 along with 5 other drinking buddies, 20 years later I’m now the only one still alive, let us just say the deaths of those 5 chums weren’t due to natural causes, I don’t know sometimes I think I suffer from survivors guilt because I do often think how comes I’m still alive despite all the hard liquor I’ve drunk & all the illicit substances I’ve ingested.
This of course was the decade we lost Lemmy, he truly was the last of the troubadours who didn’t give a fuck, he just lived sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll to the fucking max. Lemmy was the very embodiment of sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll, definitely one of my ultimate rock & roll heroes & this world is a far duller place without him. Politically this was the decade we lost Charles Kennedy who I ironically once met in a bar sometime around 1998, he was a thoroughly decent man & in my opinion the last great leader of the Liberal Democrats, I remember back in 2003 he took a principled stance as Lib Dem leader in opposing Tony Blair’s ordering the involvement of the British military in the illegal invasion of Iraq, no other leader of a major parliamentary party did so & there were other prominent members of the Lib Dems such as former party leader Paddy Ashdown (who died last year) who supported the invasion of Iraq, so it was a brave stance he took & the right stance he took, he spoke for me & millions of people in opposition to Blair disgracing this country with the military misadventure in Iraq, Charles Kennedy might no longer be with us but I still applaud him for the stance he took.
I remember Lemmy died right at the end of 2015 & considering what a rock icon he was his death seems to have been a precursor to 2016 the year of the celebrity death what with the passing of David Bowie, Prince & George Michael etc. When historians look back upon this decade, 2016 will be seen as the pivotal year of this decade & not because it was the year Alan Rickman & Carrie Fisher died, but because it was the year of Brexit & Trump.
Back in 2009 I wrote an article for a news site which no longer exists, in which I essentially predicted the rise of the far-right during this decade, well both Brexit & Trump were a consequence of the rise of the far-right with all the hate & intolerance which comes with the far-right. You telling me that Brexit & Trump weren’t motivated by racism, Jesus fucking Christ don’t you recall the rhetoric which plumbed the depths of racist intolerance during both the EU referendum & the Trump presidential campaign?!?! Actually the truth as to what caused both Brexit & the election of Trump is the lack of investment by successive governments (including left of centre governments) in communities which had already spiralled ever downwards into being shitholes, people being constantly fucked in being denied any decent opportunity of bettering themselves & in waltzes the narcissistic egomaniac likes of Donald Trump & Nigel Farage telling the ill-educated poor & desperate living in those communities that its immigrants or people merely being different to them who are to blame for them being constantly fucked!
Brexit & Trump were a product of far-right opportunism, but that opportunism was given to them by the failure of the left, oh it’s definitely not been a good decade for political left that’s both the radical & mainstream left. Wonder whatever happened to the Occupy Movement, oh yeah they went the same way which Extinction Rebellion will be going, as in into historical obscurity having accomplished fuck all, I’m not saying street protests never accomplish anything because the Poll Taxes riots (& yes I was there) of nearly 30yrs ago were the beginning of the end for Margret Thatcher, but ultimately it will always be electoral politics which effects real change & how the mainstream left has failed spectacularly on that score this decade. Labour have lost 4 General Elections in a row this decade, sure the 2010 defeat was deserved as whole Blairite project had run its course & people wanted a change, the 2015 defeat well all Ed Miliband as Labour leader was offering was regurgitated Blairite shite which amounted to Tory lite & people just thought fuck it why not just have full fat Tory, some might want to somehow spin the 2017 defeat as some kind of victory yeah sure Labour did better then any pundit was expecting but it didn’t prevent the Tories in continuing to kill thousands more disabled people did it, as for the 2019 oh fuck we are all still reeling from that one being its one of the worse General Election defeats for Labour despite the Tories having been government for practically a decade.
It seems a lifetime ago when upon that second Saturday in September of 2015, Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader by a landslide & all us redder then red socialists got drunk as fuck thinking here starts the revolution, but here we less than 5yrs later & well the revolution is down the fucking shitter & on the brink of entering the 2020s I’ve never been as scared as I’m right now about my future as a consequence of being a disabled people. It’s disabled people who Labour have ultimately failed, I’m not saying disabled people should from now on never vote Labour again because of course they should continue voting Labour, what I’m saying is that Labour have failed disabled by not winning elections & thus not being in government & so not putting an end to the Tory genocide against disabled people.
The most dismal thing of this dismal decade has been the scale of the Tory genocide against disabled people, yes I knew when the Tories were elected to government in 2010 they were going to make disabled people pay for the reckless behaviour of their banker chums which the decade previous had caused a global financial crisis. But I never thought it would result in the murder of a 100,000 plus disabled people nor the architect of the government program which has resulted in genocidal levels of disabled people being killed would be receiving a fucking knighthood in the 2020 New Year Honours!
I actually hate writing this kind of ‘year in review’ or ‘decade in review’ type article, not because often end up to be lengthy pieces, but there’s always stuff you forget to mention no matter how many notes you make. Dale Farm, the war in Libya, the riots across Britain in the summer of 2011, Chelsea Manning & Julian Assange, all important stuff which hasn’t gotten mentioned in depth with this review, I guess to sum up this review of the past decade would be to describe it as the stuff which had the biggest impact on me or just that I can’t write about everyfuckingthing which has happened this decade.