Now for a thread about identity which, for once, has nothing to do with trans or women's issues. Other than that plenty of women and trans people will have the conditions I'm about to discuss.

I'm writing about this because I think the well-intentioned left often gets this wrong
I'm asthmatic and dyspraxic. I had a huge, terrifying asthma attack when I was 4 and was rushed to hospital. At 6, I remember going to the school nurse every morning break to get my treatment. But with inhalers, it faded.

I still have it, but medication makes all the difference.
I'm also dyspraxic. I was diagnosed when I was 12.

My parents, in their infinite wisdom, disagreed with the diagnosis and told neither me nor my school - despite having sent me for comprehensive tests to begin with!
I only discovered the diagnosis by accident, when rummaging through old family papers aged 22. Of course, I'd always known something was really wrong with my hand-eye coordination and so on - but this was an important discovery and led to certain, um, *discussions* with my folks.
If I and my school had known, I'd have received double time in all my exams.

If I and my school had known, I wouldn't have been bullied, shouted at, publicly humiliated and frankly, abused by the worst CDT teacher ever. An appalling man named Mr Benbow.
If I and my school had known, a whole bunch of science teachers wouldn't have assumed I wasn't trying and therefore blamed me when I found that subject incredibly difficult.

GCSE Grade F in Physics remains one of my proudest non-achievements.
Basically, if I and my school had known, I'd likely have been a happier child and not felt so often like I was an idiot.

How does my dyspraxia affect me now? In the following ways:
- I am the worst cook in the entire world. You would not believe the mess I make; I'm basically a walking fire hazard if I ever try cooking for myself.

- I can't wire a plug

- I can't put appliances together

- I type like a wildebeest with a drink problem
- I'm physically awkward and very clumsy. I can be relied on to spill things in my apartment all the bloody time

- I struggle with changing lightbulbs, but not all of them

- My handwriting is absurdly small and impossible to read

- I can't use touchscreens. Really, I can't!
- I can't open supermarket plastic bags even if my life depends on it. If you've ever been stuck in a queue waiting in exasperation for someone to open said bag... well, I'm THAT GUY.

- I can't even whisk an egg. I am not making that up!
It's because my wrist won't bend (no laughing at the back now...)

- I can't use an iphone or Android because of the touchscreen issue

- I find keeping my place clean EXTREMELY challenging and thank the good lord every day for my amazing cleaner. Who is inclusive in my rent.
And yet, despite all of the above, and other things besides, I've learnt to manage it. And despite all of the above, I would never describe myself as 'disabled'.

That's despite asthma and dyspraxia being recognised as disabilities.
Do I understand why they are? Sure. It's just that I think it's all about the extent of something, the severity of it.

But here's the thing. Some people on the left actually find my not defining myself as 'disabled'... offensive.
I know this because someone I had a huge amount of time for (and still do) and has a big following on here actually BLOCKED me. For this reason!

His view being, of course, that my public comments meant I was downplaying these conditions more generally. Not my intention.
My view of my asthma and my dyspraxia (and my clinical depression too: I've been taking anti-depressants since 2015, they do a great job) is simple. I manage them. I don't let them define me as a person and I never will.

And where I think the left keeps getting it wrong is...
... This endless desire to define other people against their wishes and in the face of who they are.

To categorise and pigeonhole and label seemingly everyone under the sun: often through things they aren't responsible for too (eg. 'privilege' of one sort or another).
Because you see, my asthma, dyspraxia and depression have been for me to deal with. My body, my health, my conditions, my life.

But we all have shit to deal with. All of us. And my shit isn't more or less important than anyone else's. Doesn't make me 'special' either.
Apparently, according to some, I'm somehow in the wrong for not viewing myself as 'special' because I have these conditions; and not defining myself around them!

Here's what I think about that. I think any term which treats my situation as somehow equivalent in any way to:
- Quadriplegia
- Someone with Down's syndrome
- Someone with ALS/MND
- Someone with Parkinson's
- Someone with Alzheimer's
- Someone who's deaf
- Someone who's blind
- Someone in a wheelchair
- And many many other forms of disability

Is monumentally offensive... to them.
I'm lucky. Thanks to medication and the way the world now is (working from home by myself thanks to the internet, for example), I've been able to manage my conditions. Which therefore DON'T disable me.

Huge numbers of disabled people don't enjoy such fortune.
And their treatment by the UK government since 2010 has been one of the most disgusting, monstrous atrocities ever known in Britain. And shamefully ignored by most.

So sure, I see what the left is trying to do. It's trying to spread awareness and be 'inclusive'.
Of course spreading awareness of all these conditions and many more besides (certainly including asthma, dyspraxia and depression) is absolutely a good thing. A vital thing.

But seeking to label and define others goes too far. And it's everywhere in identity politics right now.
Even huge numbers of people with those disabilities I named above do not define themselves solely by them at all.

Because however much the disabilities are part of them and their lives, they as people are much more than that. We're ALL more than labels.
Incidentally, that's not to downplay the severity of and suffering caused by those conditions, and many others, in any way at all.

It is to say that we're all individuals. And that instead of becoming more 'inclusive', all that's happening is we're being divided more and more.

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More from @shaunjlawson

12 Oct
For me, the saddest part of Owen Jones' bullying and myopia is this.

He knows what trauma is. That should give him more empathy for others who've suffered trauma. But it doesn't. It means he focuses only on what he knows, and refuses to listen to others who have plenty to say.
His blind, unhinged refusal to listen then means he takes what he knows and *assumes* he somehow knows about others - and what motivates them.

He doesn't. Not in any way. He's basically blocked everyone who could teach him about it too. It's Dunning-Kruger syndrome.
He's not alone in that at all. There's plenty of people who, after experiencing pain and trauma, somehow act like only THEIR trauma counts.

I've always found that bizarre; it's like some people just become more selfish, more judgemental, more arrogant as a result?
Read 6 tweets
11 Oct
What I've written in about trans and women's rights will, I'm sure, have caused trans people who follow(ed) me pain.

I don't oppose trans rights in any way. My problem is with self-ID, language being redefined against most people's consent, and male violence against women.
I will not support anything that endangers women. Period.

But I absolutely respect the rights of all individuals. And I am very uncomfortable with the blanket approach so many adopt to all this on here.

Misogynistic hatred and hatred and ridicule of trans people too.
In 2007, I met up with a fellow Norwich fan, then known as Gareth Buckell. Some of you will know of her now: Juliet Jacques.

Her writing on trans issues and about her own story has been immensely brave and quite magnificent.

I really recommend it.…
Read 6 tweets
10 Oct
France are such an enigma. Talent-wise, they're so far ahead of everyone else, it's scary. And they have phases in games where they're totally untouchable.

But it shouldn't take them going behind to wake them up. It's like every game they play is entirely in their own hands.
Nice to see Spain continuing to improve... but they're back where they were before the golden era. Close, but no cigar.

I'd be VERY surprised if Italy have the same hunger at the World Cup as they did at the Euros... and Belgium? Sadly, they've had it.
Of course, *someone* has to end the World Cup Champions' curse - but let's wait and see what France's group stage draw is. There's a reason nobody's successfully defended the world title since 1962.

The teams to watch for next year? Germany and England in my view.
Read 4 tweets
9 Oct
OK - plenty of people have pulled me up on that comment. So I'm going to explain what I meant.

Of course I'm fully aware of Bury, Macclesfield, Oldham, Swindon, AFC Wimbledon, Coventry (where Mark Robins is doing an astonishing job) and many many others.
But go find me another club anywhere in the world which gets 50K through its gates and has won NOTHING, not a sausage, in getting on towards 70 years.

You can't. Because it doesn't exist. Even snakebitten Schalke, now in Germany's second division, won the UEFA Cup in 1997.
For a huge club to have failed for almost 70 years has required the most epic levels of constant mismanagement. Appalling neglect in the 70s and 80s. Ludicrous overspending in the mid to late 90s (John Hall's investment wasn't grants; it was loans); the appalling Freddy Shepherd.
Read 40 tweets
8 Oct
THREAD: Newcastle United.

Let me start with this. No fanbase in England has been through more misery nor been more extraordinarily loyal to their club than Newcastle's. A huge amount of my respect for them comes from that.

Across Europe, probably only Schalke even compare.
Newcastle haven't won a single thing domestically since 1955, nor internationally since 1969. Yet even when they got relegated, they were still one of the 20 richest clubs in the world - they are a HUGE club.

And it's because of their potential that the Saudis have bought them.
Just as it was because of Man City's potential that their owners bought them. So many laughed at City fans and have kept laughing at Newcastle fans - but both were and are sleeping giants.

Now it's the Toon who'll stir... and I've no doubt, will mean business.
Read 23 tweets
7 Oct
And now a short note for British business - much of which is beside itself with fury at Johnson's remarks.

It's pretty simple, folks. How did you vote in 2015? How did you vote in 2017? How did you vote in 2019?

More than that: how did you vote throughout the 80s, 90s and 00s?
Thatcherism, neoliberalism, massive inequality and disgraceful levels of poverty didn't just fall out of the sky. They were voted for.

Not by a majority, sure - but by the huge bulk of the business world? Oh yes.
Said business world responded to the economically illiterate disaster of austerity BY VOTING FOR MORE OF IT in 2015. Even when austerity took enormous amounts of money out of people's pockets and gutted the economy.

As long as fat cats got even richer, it couldn't give a damn.
Read 10 tweets

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