[CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of sexual violence and rape]
Happy Valentine’s Day! Now hand me my bow and arrow.
Somewhere amongst the love notes, spam and hatemail filling our inbox this week, we received an email drawing our attention to this week’s nominee.
It all started with this story from The National (Content warning: rape). Local eaterie, Khublai Khan, had the idea of promoting their wares by making a “joke” about prison rape. This drew criticism from Glasgow Rape Crisis, whose offices are within yards of the restaurant. As the spokesperson in the article points out, this proximity is almost immaterial, given the prevalence of sexual violence – if you talk about this in public, survivors will see it. I’m not going to give any credence to the view this is a matter for discussion, it’s just not; there is no such thing as a rape joke because rape isn’t funny.
So imagine if a blog and Facebook page, which claimed to be left wing, radical, pro-independence, feminist, supportive of 50:50 gender representation when selecting party candidates, and generally right on suddenly posted a big rant in support of the restaurant and critical of Glasgow Rape Crisis. Step forward, The Point, who also managed to shoehorn in various unrelated criticism of the SNP administration in the process.
We’re expected to be reassured by being told “This is a line that could be uttered by any standup comic almost anywhere in the UK on any night of the week.” like that’s not part of the fucking problem, expected to celebrate the slagging off of an organisation who work with survivors of rape.
Underneath, there are even more rank comments by the editors of the page.
So just who or what is “The Point”?
A clue can be gleaned from the various comments, starting with a defence by a page called “Highlands Socialist Alliance”…
…and some guy called Steve Arnott, who is, as usual, ranting about how feminism is evil, in this case, “gender feminism.”
What gender of feminists could be to blame? Only Highlands Socialist Alliance/The Point/Steve Arnott can be sure. While it’s unclear who wrote the initial post, all of these entities are basically one and the same, operating under the tartan trousered domain of some wee man, Steve Arnott, who’s spent the last 2 decades being on the wrong side of history.
Back in the heyday of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), disaster was narrowly averted when Arnott missed out on becoming an MSP by just a handful of votes, so he instead dedicated the next few years to continuing to moan about 50:50 gender representation within the party and women in general, particularly those women who did get elected to Parliament. At one of the last conferences before the SSP split, Arnott and his wee gaggle were the only half dozen people who abstained on a motion highlighting a lack of black and minority ethnic candidates and proposing ways to address that, complaining that people should be elected on “merit”, the implication being that this was unlike the women who only got in because of 50:50.
When the shit hit the Sheridan fandan, fan boy Arnott was a perfect ally for Liar McShaggypants. When Sheridan famously wrote an open letter denouncing his party in the press, Pollok (where Tommy had lived most of his life) was spelt “Pollock” and there was a large amount of moaning about 50:50, despite Tommy having voted for the policy. It was almost as if Tommy didn’t write the letter himself… far be it for me to hazard a guess as to who might have helped – but if it wasn’t Steve Arnott, it’s nonetheless full of Steve Arnott esque patter.
An unlikely alliance was formed between Tommy and those who’d spent the last few years denouncing him as unmarxist nationalist (not that he isn’t) and generally whinging about everything he did until exactly “the point” he started lying and calling everyone in his party scabs and cunts – this now made him a working class hero and a beacon of hope against injustice/those pesky girls.
With the left in ruins thanks to Tam and his pals, Arnott formed a group called the “Democratic Green Socialists” which positioned itself half in and half out of Tommy’s Solidarity. The group’s website came to an abrupt end but not before they became notorious for campaigning on behalf of a convicted rapist, Chris Wiles. The site ran a piece attacking a teenaged rape survivor, who they suggested was a liar and even included pictures of people (massive trigger warning again) organising a birthday party for their rapist friend. Even Rape Crisis Scotland, who don’t comment on individual cases, commented on how damaging the coverage was, with the author defending her piece and continuing to blame the survivor…before writing further pieces on the subject in future issues.
One night, one of their other editors went rogue and seized control of the site, which started posting pieces pointing out that everyone had obviously known Tommy Sheridan had been lying all along and that making a political decision to support those lies had been not just a tactical error but reflective of a massive problem with misogyny on the left. Deprived of their website and doubtless enraged that it had gone off message by telling the truth, Arnott & Co registered a new domain. Out with the moaning about nationalism and the awful geocities style page, in with the saltires and a different awful geocities style page – “The Point” was born.
The model is pretty simple; sneak their own shitey generic content in amongst lots of other shitey, generic content (including ours, cheeky fuckers!) in the hope no-one notices the difference between a Herald article and their tedious pish. Their latest original offerings include a piece in which Tommy Sheridan (yes, him again!) exclusively reveals his big (and definitely not decades old) idea to replace the Council Tax with something fairer, another post about the Solidarity conference (feat. Mr T. Sheridan) and another reminding us that for some reason, there’s also still a thing called TUSC (no longer feat. Mr T. Sheridan) which is standing in the Holyrood elections, just in case there weren’t enough daft sects/acrimonious alliances of anti-austerity acronyms competing for your second votes. Although Tommy’s not playing with TUSC this time round, we patiently await more spectacular Party Political Broadcasts from either/both sides:
The claims made in the comments, that those behind “The Point” supported 50:50 gender representation is both a blatant lie and deeply insulting to those they fought against so vigorously when it mattered. Not only did they campaign against gender balanced lists, some of those who would go on to be involved with The Point spent a significant amount of time trying to undermine and ultimately deselect women elected following their implementation.
The claim that they have always opposed sexual violence “from all quarters” is another blatant lie and deeply insulting to the young survivor they slandered online. A group who openly campaigned in support of rapists in their past guise are now using their page to attack Glasgow Rape Crisis and to tell us all to get a sense of perspective/humour when companies use rape to try to sell food.
If this was a one off, if they really were JUST “Weekly Wankers”, then maybe challenging their behaviour in an attempt to win people over would be an option. But after decades of these same few arseholes always being on the wrong side, being openly misogynistic, trivialising rape and even campaigning for convicted rapists, this latest post feels like part of that pattern. For this group, spreading these dangerous attitudes has become a massive part of…The Point.
As Karl Marx himself probably once said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The Point, however, are complete wankers.”