We need to act now for abortion rights before the DUP tear them away

As you may have heard, one of the first things on the agenda of the unholy Tory-DUP alliance, may well be an attack on abortion rights. This is chilling news: even if it is a reduction of time limit, this opens the door to further chipping away abortion rights.

In Northern Ireland, abortion is still illegal. Women are convicted for self-administering medical abortions–which they have to do because they have no legal access to services. They must travel to England at a cost of thousands of pounds for an abortion–and they do. Homes are raided by police in case women have abortion pills, with raids even occurring on International Women’s Day!

This is what the DUP want for everyone with a uterus in the rest of the UK, and they are now in a position to try to make this happen.

And so, we need to get mobilising now to ensure that our abortion rights are not in any way reduced. In fact, as an additional finger to the DUP, we could use the opportunity of a vote on abortion rights to further strengthen what exists in the country as a whole.

There’s two particular legal quirks which make abortion rights in Northern Ireland almost non-existent, and also very fragile in the rest of the UK. In the whole of the UK, abortion is illegal under the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). Yes, I did mean to type “the whole of the UK”. Abortion is technically illegal on every part of this rainy fascism archipelago, under a law that is over a century and a half old. In England, Scotland and Wales, the Abortion Act (1967) sets out specific circumstances under which abortions will not be prosecuted. This means that as long as an abortion is playing by the rules from the 1967 Act, it’s still a criminal offence, but not going to mean you or your doctor will be prosecuted for it.

In Northern Ireland, the Abortion Act (1967) does not apply, most abortions are still a criminal offence which you and your doctor can still be prosecuted for, and could be imprisoned for. The Northern Ireland situation is particularly horrific. Labour’s manifesto promised to make the Abortion Act apply in the country. This is a good place to start, but the criminal situation of abortion in the whole of the UK is in itself dangerous, particularly if there are anti-abortion womb-botherers pulling the strings of government.

So, if the DUP want a vote on abortion rights, there’s no time like the present to begin organising for fairer, safer abortion rights for anyone with a uterus in the whole of the UK. It’s time to talk about two key issues, make these problems visible. It’s also a good time to our MPs to table these as amendments if this vote does indeed come to pass:

I’ve written to my MP, telling him to protect existing abortion rights, extend them to Northern Ireland, and remove any threat of criminalisation. Please write to your MP, using this as a template. You can get your MP’s contact details here. Remember to include your full name and address in your correspondence.

Subject: Protect abortion rights in the UK

Dear [their name]

As you may be aware, part of the deal between the DUP and the Conservatives could include a vote on the abortion time limit. Should such a vote occur, I strongly urge you to vote against it. I believe that a vote to reduce the time limit on abortions would open the door to further restrictions on abortion rights. Furthermore, less than 2% of abortions carried out occur after 20 weeks of gestation, and many of those that do occur because some abnormalities can only be detected at 20 weeks. It is therefore vital that access to this medical procedure is still available for anyone who needs it.

Should a vote on abortion rights occur, I further urge you to table certain amendments addressing key abortion rights issues.

  1. Applying the Abortion Act (1967) to Northern Ireland, in order to give those living in NI access to the same abortion rights as in the rest of the UK, rather than being forced to travel to England at great expense, or having to take criminal action. This discrepancy is unfair, and has been addressed in the 2017 Labour manifesto an inequality to be righted.
  2. Decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK. The Abortion Act (1967) does not legalise abortion, merely set out circumstances where abortions will not be prosecuted.

Please use your position to protect the limited abortion rights that we have, and extend them to further protect constituents like me, at risk of falling pregnant and wishing to end the pregnancy.

Free free to personalise, with why the issue matters to you, personally, as their constituent. If your MP writes back to you telling you that actually they don’t mind these inequalities, then here’s a few template letters for your reply.

We also need to support activists in Ireland and Northern Ireland alike, like the Repeal the 8th campaign, Alliance for Choice,  Belfast Feminist Network, as well as support groups such as Abortion Support Network, who provide support for travelling to England for abortions–if you’re in NI or Ireland and need an abortion, they can help you.

I wasn’t expecting to have to fight this battle again, so quickly. But I’m ready, and I stand with Northern Ireland and Ireland, and I resist any attack on our uteruses.


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How to vote the Tories out: a newbies’ guide to tactical voting

Hello. You’re here because you don’t want a Tory government in the future. Maybe you’re disabled. Maybe you’re young. Maybe you’re elderly. Maybe you’re queer, or a person of colour, or poor. Maybe you’re more than one of these things. And maybe you want a fighting chance of surviving and living a good life. We know this can’t happen under the Tories. And so it’s time to exercise our pitifully feeble democratic rights and vote the fuckers out. Unfortunately, it’s not just as simple as voting Labour and enjoying the perks, and at the very least surviving. This is because the Westminster election system is, to put it kindly, a hot mess.

What’s up with our screwy electoral system?

In the UK, in Westminster, we’re don’t directly elect a Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is chosen by MPs. There are 650 seats for MPs in Westminster, with each MP for a seat chosen based on a majority of votes in their constituency. If any party gets more than half of the seats, it’s pretty easy to choose the Prime Minister: they’ll pick the leader of the party that controls more than half the seats, and nobody can do anything about voting that down.

It gets a bit more complicated if no party gets more than half of the seats. This is called a hung parliament. The last time we had this was in 2010. When there’s a hung parliament, parties need to hastily make back room deals with each other, exchanging favours so there’ll be more than half of Parliament voting for the same person as PM. There’s plenty of potential things that could be promised in these deals. In 2010, the Tories made a deal with the Lib Dems to make the Tory leader Prime Minister, in exchange for the Lib Dems occupying some roles in government.

In short, it’s the MPs that vote for the Prime Minister, not you. So to get the Tories out, what we need to shoot for is for Labour to control more than half the seats in Parliament, or for parties who aren’t the Tories to control more than half the seats in Parliament. The latter is perhaps the easier goal, again, because of our screwy electoral system where some votes matter more than others in a postcode lottery.

Why do some votes matter more than others?

Each constituency in the UK is made up of a roughly-similar-population geographical area, created by tradition, guesswork, a little bit of cheating from whoever is in government, and a healthy dash of dabbling with the occult.

In some areas, you’ll find people who would pretty much vote for a dead pig’s head if it was wearing a blue ribbon. In other areas, you’d find people who would basically vote for a jar of quince jam were it wearing a red ribbon. In these areas, which are known as safe seats, your vote doesn’t really carry much weight. Whatever you do, chances are you’ll end up with that jam jar or dead pig’s head.

In other seats, it gets a bit more exciting. These seats are called marginals, and they are much more likely to change hands. These seats are essentially kingmakers: they decide the difference, and, at the end of the day, the MPs elected there decide who’s Prime Minister. Last election, the most marginal seat was Gower, in Wales, where the Tory candidate won by just 27 votes. If just 30 more Labour voters had turned up on that day, the seat would have been controlled by Labour, not the Tories. So if you live in one of these seats, your vote is worth a lot more.

This electoral system, you might note, is massively unfair, given that some votes matter a lot more than others, depending where you live. Politicians aren’t particularly interested in changing it, as it makes their lives easier: they can target more resources in the marginal seats rather than having to bother appealing to everyone.

However, things can change, and a safe seat can become less safe, or even eventually change hands. This happened to the Lib Dems in the 2015 election, for example. They’d controlled many seats for years, and voters ended up having had enough for them: so Tories, Labour and the SNP nicked most of their seats right out from under their noses.

So, what’s tactical voting?

Tactical voting means that sometimes you’ll need to vote for the candidate most likely to win, rather than the candidate you actually want to vote for. It usually depends where you live. So, for example, some of you might live in an area where Labour don’t stand a chance of beating the Tories, but the Lib Dems might. Others might live in an area where the Lib Dems don’t stand a chance of beating the Tories, but Labour might (though I don’t much expect many Lib Dem voters will be reading my blog). Some of you might live in an area where Labour don’t stand a chance of beating the Tories, but the SNP do.

In short, you might have to make some concessions to your principles, if you want to vote the Tories out. You might need to vote in favour of an independence referendum that probably won’t happen, or for a homophobic bottom-feeder party, or for leather-patched courgette-grower.

So, in terms of voting the Tories out, here’s how we do it.

Step 1: find out what constituency you’re voting in

Your constituency will be written on your poll card. Or, if you don’t have it to hand, you can do it online, by putting in your postcode.

Step 2: find out who stands a chance in the area

There are automated online tools for figuring out your tactical voting needs, but most of these seem to have a bias towards the Lib Dems in Labour-Lib Dem marginals, and this is a problem, given the Lib Dems would likely form another coalition with the Tories so you’ve achieved the opposite of getting the Tories out. My advice is to not vote Lib Dem unless you’re in a Tory-Lib Dem marginal, and here’s why you shouldn’t be voting Lib Dem.

Besides, it’s easy to find out what sort of seat you live in, and slightly more fun.

Google [your constituency name] constituency wikipedia. The wikipedia page for each constituency gives tables with recent election results. If you look over recent years, you’ll see how much impact your vote would have, and whether you’re in a marginal or a safe seat.

Here’s an example of a safe seat: Maidenhead

As you can see, Theresa May got 65.8% of the vote. The Labour candidate, the next biggest party, was almost 30,000 votes behind her. If you live in Maidenhead, it fucking sucks to be you.

Meanwhile, here’s a marginal seat:

Croydon Central

As you can see, most people in the area are voting either Tory or Labour, and the gap between the parties is small: there’s less than 200 votes in it! If you live in a seat that looks like this, your vote matters an awful lot, and you could make it so there’s one less Tory in parliament.

Some marginals will have a larger gap: there might be a distance of 1000, or even 5,000 votes. These still matter.

Step 3: pick who to tactically vote for!

The simple rule for tactical voting is VOTE FOR YOUR LOCAL BIGGEST PARTY WHO AREN’T THE TORIES.

As I said earlier, sometimes tactical voting means you don’t get to vote for who you’d actually like to vote for. In the country as a whole, the party which is most likely to have a majority government to oust the Tories is Labour. They’ll be the party who aren’t the Tories who will have the most seats.

Now, if you’re in a safe seat like Maidenhead, you’re mostly fuck out of luck. The best you can do is try to close the gap and scare your Tory MP. It’s unlikely to unseat the incumbent, but it might remind them that they’re not completely untouchable. If you live in a Labour safe seat, like I do, you’ve got free rein, really. You can vote for who you want to vote for. I’m currently debating with myself whether to vote Labour, which will further bolster the vote share; vote Green, because the candidate is really nice and I feel like if I want to point out to my (right-ish Labour apparatchik) MP that they’d better fucking well tack left; or whether to spoil my ballot because, after all, I am an anarchist and this pitiful excuse for a democracy is truly pitiful. I want the Tories out, and my vote doesn’t mean much in getting that outcome.

If you live in a marginal seat, then VOTE FOR YOUR LOCAL BIGGEST PARTY WHO AREN’T THE TORIES.

So, for example, in the Croydon Central example above, to get the Tories out, you have to vote Labour.

Sometimes the marginals might already be held by a party who aren’t the Tories, like in the example below:

Hampstead and Kilburn

There’s a little over 1,000 votes between Labour and the Tories. If you want to keep the Tories out, you need to turn up and vote Labour.

Some of you might live in seats where it could change hands between the Tories and Lib Dems, like in the example below:


I’ve included the 2010 results too, because as you can see, it’s changed hands in the past. In a seat like Eastbourne, you need to suck up your principles and vote for the biggest party who aren’t the Tories. In this case, it’s the Lib Dems.

Sometimes, the party that might beat the Tories could be the SNP, like in the example below:


The gap in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk is small, with the SNP having just 328 more votes than the Tories. So if you live here and want to keep the Tories out of your seat, you’d need to vote SNP.

And finally, let’s use a special example of South Thanet, where the general rule of VOTE FOR YOUR LOCAL BIGGEST PARTY WHO AREN’T THE TORIES kind of collapses. South Thanet has been a Tory seat since 2010, and because there’s barely any immigration in the area, voters are more susceptible to fibs about migration. So, in the 2015 election, the Tories won, but UKIP came second. Fucking well don’t vote UKIP under any circumstances, but also don’t vote Tory either. The UKIP vote is likely to collapse, and they’re fascists. So the biggest party that isn’t the Tories is Labour, who came second in 2010, and held the seat before that.

Step 4, the most important step: ACTUALLY SHOW UP ON THE DAY AND VOTE

This is all a fun little intellectual exercise if you don’t turn up and vote on June 8th–this Thursday.

The polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm, so there’s time for you to fit voting in around your day. Polling stations are wheelchair accessible, and it’s OK to bring your kids. If you bring a dog, expect to have it photographed to bring joy to the world. Get in touch with your friends and families who aren’t authoritarian racists to remind them to vote, too.

You’ll be given directions to your polling station on your poll card. If you’ve lost your poll card, it doesn’t matter: you can find your polling station online. The map online is better, too.

You don’t need your poll card to vote, it just makes it a bit easier for the clerks at the polling station. When you get to the polling station, tell them your name and address, and they’ll give you your ballot.

And then it’s showtime.

Vote for your local biggest party who aren’t the Tories. 

It’s a long shot, but it’s entirely possible to kick the Tories out of office with a decent turnout and some smart voting.



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“I don’t know, let me find out”: learn this phrase. Use it.

I’ve hit the end of my tether with this fucking election. It’s driving me right up the wall, daily doses of bullshit. Today, it’s one politician making what the Jolyons treat as the worst boo-boo ever. Tomorrow, it’ll be another.

The boo-boo in question is not knowing some numbers off the top of your head, as though politics were no more than an end-of-the-pier mentalism show. The politician–who will always be The Absolute Worst, unless they are a shiny member of the pigfucking class and therefore more palatable to news outlet owners–will generally respond in one of two ways. They will give a wrong figure, presented with confidence, which is Bad. Or they will admit that they do not know off the top of their head. This is Worse.

The latter is Worse because it does not fit in with macho politics, which, of course, reflects some of the worst trappings of masculinity. The phenomenon is related to mansplaining, blurting out any old guff without any expertise, yet with all the confidence in the world. To say “I don’t know, let me find out,” is to back down, admit weakness.

For myself, it was a difficult journey getting myself in the position where I could admit that I was not a computer, able to immediately spit out the right data on request. As a woman in STEM, it’s one of the worst things you can say (despite the entirety of science being built on identifying what we don’t know, and finding out!). As a girl surrounded by boys, you’re considered a thick bimbo. In schools, your teachers will tut when you’re put on the spot and can’t perform. It’s an age-old valued skill, and I suspect it dates back to antiquity, the orators droning things out from their head.

But it’s a bullshit skill, demonstrating only your ability to be spoonfed and regurgitate. It smacks of public school, the political and media class being steeped in its values.

“I don’t know, let me check” is a beautiful phrase. It is honest, and you emerge smarter from the act of checking. You have learned something that you didn’t know. You have proved yourself aware of the limits of your knowledge, and willing to grow, in a very slight way.

I have more respect, any day, for someone who can do this.

The transition from awkward to liberated, for me, was a little slow, but I forced myself to keep saying “I don’t know, let me find out”, when I didn’t know and needed to find out. People would look at me like I was stupid, but you know what? I emerge knowing a little bit more, every time I check. And I realised just how little that others are growing.

I want to see more value placed on self-awareness and willingness to learn, replacing the value placed on false confidence and spurting bollocks. I want to see a sign of weakness turned into a sign of strength: someone who will grow rather than stagnate.

And yet I feel, in the macho shitshow that is the world, this is likely doomed to fail. But I don’t know that for sure–and I’d like to find out by trying.



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Your especial dislike of Diane Abbott is irrational (and probably racist)

Diane Abbott has once again been The Worst™, having done something a lot of other politicians do and… actually I’m not 100% sure what it was this time, but I think it was a bad TV interview. And, from all sides of the political spectrum, there’s scaremongering about the fact that there’s a possibility she could become Home Secretary.

Some people are openly misogynoiristic about Abbott, and that’s grim. But at least it’s honest. The rest, who like to think of themselves as Nice People™ leap through hoops to try to justify their dislike of this politician, and their irrational opposition to a black woman occupying one of the great offices of state.

It starts with “but she’s not qualified to be Home Secretary!”. That’s an interesting assertion to make. Taking less than thirty seconds on google reveals that her CV presents her as more qualified than most previous Home Secretaries or shadows. Abbott’s career before politics included two very notable roles. She was a civil servant in the Home Office–which is significantly more direct experience of working in the Home Office than most of the others who have held the office. Later, she worked for the National Council for Civil Liberties, which is again a crucial home affairs role. As an MP, Abbott has served on committees pertinent to home affairs. And her track record is reasonably good: even the goddamn Spectator recognised her speech opposing the New Labour government on civil liberties issues with an award for speech of the year! Her voting record on home affairs is all right, and if you’re a Lib Dem who wants to root for a party with a chance of getting into government, she’d probably be your best bet for Home Secretary, because she’s not bad at all on the civil liberties front.

Like I said, this took me all of thirty seconds on google to find. So ask yourself, why didn’t you take those thirty seconds to check? Why did you just assume Abbott was unqualified for the role?

Rather than interrogating themselves at this juncture, usually the goalposts get shifted to “but Diane Abbott isn’t great at TV interviews.” This one is particularly nonsensical coming from Tory voters, in the midst of a campaign riddled with Tory car crash TV interviews, and Lib Dems, whose leader has done a pisspoor job of portraying himself as Not A Homophobe. It’s also not like Labour are particularly excellent at TV interviews either. In short, this is because the TV interview format is generally not designed to make the politician look good. Nobody’s above the car crash interview, and when it’s a politician you like, you’ll generally either ignore it, or claim that it’s media bias. Funnily, such defences never seem to come for Abbott, and it’s assumed she’s given a harder time because she deserves it, because apparently the media and journalists are always flying above racism and misogyny.

This, incidentally, is the same sort of thing that happens with the equally-irrational “but she sent her kids to private school!” Yes, she did. So have other politicians. She’s not even the only one on the Labour front bench who has. Is it good? No. Is she alone in that? Of course not.

So, once we’ve hit the unfair singling out, shit starts to get abstract, and what we usually end up with is a mumbled, vague “her manner isn’t good.” If we interrogate this, it’s almost always one of a few things. Which are almost always rooted in racist stereotypes.

“She’s angry!” Such a common misogynoiristic stereotype, it’s got its own wikipedia page.

“She plays the race card too much!” Again, a pretty common racist stereotype, and not evidenced, considering she’d been an MP for 30 years before she finally spoke out about personal abuse she’d received.

“She doesn’t look like a politician!” Ask yourself. What does a politician look like to you? The answer is, invariably, a possibly-shinyfaced pigfucking public school boy. A white man in a suit. You might extend your vision of a politician to a white man out of a suit. Or a white woman in a suit. Or a black man in a suit. But for some reason, the black woman doesn’t look like a politician to you, with her wig and her black skin, her tendency to sound like she’s black and from London, as opposed to Rodean. Abbott isn’t the only black woman MP to “not look like a politician”. Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, and a black woman, was once mistaken for a cleaner by a fellow MP. And remember how you just assumed Abbott wasn’t qualified for the job?

“I… I just don’t like her.” Fair enough. Maybe you grew up in a vacuum, and your brain just irrationally fixated on this particular MP with your especial dislike.

We’re bombarded with messaging, daily, about what a politician should look like and be like. We’re also bombarded with negative messaging about black women. It sinks in. And it sinks in, even, to people who don’t think of themselves as racist, don’t think of themselves as carrying misogynoir within themselves. But that’s impossibly unlikely, and you’ll only unlearn and unpick it if you start from the statistically-likely assumption that it’s there, in yourself and in other people.

The truth is, Diane Abbott isn’t any less competent than any other politician–in fact, she’s more competent than many. She’s no more awful than any other politician–all of whom are a bad bunch, and she’s one of the ones I have least of an axe to grind with. She’s not bringing the negative media attention on herself, it’s that the media themselves have an issue with a black woman in a position of power; don’t forget they’re very much owned by racist white men. Ask yourself: why are your expectations of Diane Abbott higher than they are for any of your white male politicians? It’s not Diane Abbott rubbing you up the wrong way, it’s that you’re rubbing yourself.


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Things I read this month that I found interesting

Bloody hell, has it really been so long since I did a round-up?

Our collective unconscious of violence: on networks and discipline (Flavia Dzodan)- This is fucking great. Just… read it.

Don’t Go to the Doctor (Karma Nalbusi)- Perhaps even more vital to read after the Manchester attacks. The unmitigated disaster of the Prevent strategy.

The engine of irrationality inside the rationalists (Ketan Joshi)- How self-identified rationalists lose all of their sceptical principles when they get a chance to attack women.

My Father Spent 30 Years In Prison. Now He’s Out. (Ashley C. Ford)- A daughter reconnects with her father.

An illustrated taxonomy of queerness and mental illness in film (Ruby Tandoh and Kelly Wroten)- This is one for keeping in your bookmarks and referring to every time the same old representations come out.

The hierarchy polyamorous people don’t talk enough about (Lola Phoenix)- On friendship and relationships.

Malvolia in Yellow: Reflecting on National Theatre’s Twelfth Night (Catherine Baker)- I saw this production a few weeks ago, and my feelings are mostly the same. Malvolia as the queer art of failure.

Heineken’s New Ad Is A Terrifying Sham — And I’ve Lived It Many Times Over (Ruchika Tulshyan)- Cracking open a cold one with fash… doesn’t usually work.

JK Rowling Can Dream of Wizards But Not of a Better Future (Megan Nolan)- The bestselling novellist shows a devastating lack of imagination.

Sex Work Is Inherently Traumatic… (Kit Snicket)- Where the real trauma in sex work lies.

And finally, have some amusing spacing errors.

Sourdough pancakes/blinis… which can be made vegan! (fannycakes?)

If you just want the recipe without the incredibly annoying formatting and story section here, it’s available for patrons!

Content note: this post talks about food 

On a conceptual level, I fucking love pancakes. However, there are numerous things which, when it comes down to it, make me unhappy. They’re a pain in the arse to make, with all the elbow-hurting whisking. You can’t just whip them up when you feel like you want pancakes, because you’re supposed to leave the batter to set for arcane breakfast-mancer reasons. They taste a little bit eggy, and I fucking hate eggs.

Before you leave a comment saying “actually, my pancakes don’t taste eggy”… they probably do, you just don’t hate that kind of eggy flavour like I do.

Luckily, following a little bit of experimentation, I have found a way of turning sourdough starter into delicious, light fluffy pancakes without any of the annoying bullshit outlined above, and I’m going to share the good news with you. The recipe does appear in this post, but if you want to just read the recipe without any of my crap, you’ll find it over on my patreon, where you can also access other cool, exclusive content, with more to come.

Now, sourdough starter is pretty cool, because you can do lots of things with it that aren’t bread–although the bread is tasty as hell. As you probably know, I got into sourdough starter when I made one with a dash of vaginal yeast. It started out as a joke, but I kept the starter going and I’m still using it loads. Not just for bread, but also for more exciting things. Like pancakes.

One of the particularly awesome things about sourdough starter is it’s slightly acidic. This means that it has quite a culinarily-useful chemical reaction when mixed with something alkaline like bicarbonate of soda. I’ve used it, instead of trying to find buttermilk in small metro supermarkets, to make soda bread. I’ve also used the reaction in making crumpets. And, it turns out, really good pancakes without having to resort to eggs. You can have pancakes within five minutes of having decided you fancy them.

I suppose we’d better address the elephant in the room at this juncture. Yes, my sourdough starter is that one. Well, all right, it’s actually a second batch, which also may or may not contain vaginal yeast (I still can’t tell if my yeast did anything, though it certainly performs ever so slightly better than a control, cunt-free starter). I hope the starter will outlive me if it’s well looked-after.

Sourdough starter needs using up regularly between feeds, so this recipe is ideal for when you need to use up 3/4 of a cup of starter. It’s also a great recipe if you’re vegan. While I used goat milk, you can also use any of your favourite milk substitute–I imagine almond milk would be delicious if you wanted your pancakes with a sweet topping–I suppose you could also use regular cow milk, if you’re that way inclined and/or a Nazi.

First things first, you have to water down the sourdough starter somewhat. I keep my starter at 50% hydration, so it’s quite thick, because it doesn’t need feeding as often, and I find it easier to work with. I know a lot of people prefer it runnier at the 100% hydration. If your starter is thick, like mine, you’ll likely need about half a cup of your chosen milky liquid, but if it’s runnier, a third of a cup should work. I chose goat milk, because I like it and it sits better on me than cow milk. It’s also got a nice goaty flavour to it, which makes the pancakes slightly savoury: I ate them with beetroot and quark. Whisk it together until nice and smooth. Luckily, you shouldn’t need to whisk it all that much.

Then it’s time to thicken it up again, by whisking in about a heaped tablespoon of wholemeal flour. Again, this doesn’t take long at all, and is significantly less faff than beating eggs and whatnot. By this point, you’ll have a smooth batter, no matter how hungover you are. I wasn’t hungover when I invented this recipe, but I think it’ll probably turn out to be perfect for hangover breakfasts when only 30 pancakes really quickly will suffice.

At this point, I left the batter for a bit, because I wanted to go for a shower. This step is completely optional, and if you don’t fancy a shower, you can go right ahead and start heating the frying pan.

By the way, I just want to apologise for this profoundly annoying format of this recipe. I have slouched through far too many baking blogs that do this, and I’ve picked up the style. You probably just want the fucking recipe. Well, so far you’ve had most of it: proportions for three of the four ingredients, and the first two steps from a five step method. If it’s pissing you off a lot, I’ll remind you that patrons get just the recipe with a list of ingredients and how to make some fucking pancakes, without this guff. Honestly, I could do with a few more patrons, because I’m quite broke at the moment, and I am planning some cool patron-only stuff that will include bullshit-free recipes, but also very likely, short stories.

Now your batter is mostly made, get the pan on the heat. The reason for this is that the chemical reaction, when you add just half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to the batter, is very quick. You’ll want your pan oiled or buttered up and ready to receive pancakes when you whisk in the bicarb. Incidentally, I used goat’s butter for frying. I’d bought it out of curiosity, and it’s delicious. Warning: it does make your sweat smell faintly of goats afterwards, though.

As soon as you whisk the bicarb in, you’ll see your batter turn bubbly. It doesn’t fizz up like a salted slug, but you’ll see those bubbles coming in almost immediately. This means it’s ready. Put small flat blobs of your batter into the pan. In a largish frying pan, I found it possible to do four pancakes at once. They take about thirty seconds each side.

And that’s it. Once you’ve fried up your pancakes, stack them up (or fold them like blinis) and eat with whatever topping you like. They taste almost exactly Scotch pancakes, although they’re a bit lighter, so you can have more than you’d usually have. The texture is also lighter and fluffier. I was genuinely surprised to discover how much they tasted like Scotch pancakes, although without any egginess. As I said earlier, I had mine with beetroot and quark, and tried to eat them like blinis, which was reasonably successful, although it looked somewhat like I’d committed a grisly murder afterwards. I didn’t eat all 30 of them myself, I shared.

Try it for yourself. I promise, it’s really fucking easy and quick.


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Things I read

It’s link round-up time!

The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black (Ijeoma Oluo)- This longread is all you need to read about Dolezal, and we never need to hear about her again. It’s also a masterclass in critical interviewing.

The Hostile Environment: turning the UK into a nation of border cops (Corporate Watch)- A comprehensive report on the fucking state of things.

Breastfeeding Is A Beautiful, Terrible Scam (Khadijah Costley White)- A political and personal exploration of the side of breastfeeding often not discussed.

British feminists we need to talk…. (Eleanor White)- Irish abortion restrictions also exist in Northern Ireland. This is a problem we must work together to solve.

Surviving Rape Apologists in the Classroom (Anon)- The impact of rape culture on educators.

Who’s listening? (purplepersuasion)- A story, showing the absurd state of mental health services, and critiquing simple “Time To Talk” rhetoric.

How academia uses poverty, oppression, and pain for intellectual masturbation (Clelia O. Rodríguez)- The problem, and where to go next.

Freida Pinto’s casting as the only lead female character in Guerilla erases women from the history of Black Power (Wail Qasim)- As always with Wail, this is the piece you need to read on the issue.

In Full Sight: ‘The pimp lobby’ at the Amnesty AGM (Frankie Mullin)- Report on a debate at Amnesty AGM, and the abuse hurled at sex workers for their support of safer policy.

And finally, this piece on 2000’s Thong Song is quite something. Straight out of Pseud’s Corner, it also solves the riddle of what “dumps like a truck” truly are.