A year in tweets

The best spoof accounts on Twitter share their thoughts on the events of 2010.

Some of the tweets quoted below contain strong language.

January

7 January @DrSamuelJohnson Flop-hair'd Foulmouth Mister Jonathan ROSS has fled the BBC, afear'd of a publick Hanging from the Tory MOB.

20 January @reelmolesworth amey WINEHOUSE giulty of asault at pantomime O NO SHE ISENT cri defence counsel – pehaps not the best legal strateggy hem hem

February

7 February @MTuckerNo10 For fuck's sake. Dinner with Miliband tonight. Can't remember which one. Does it matter?

March

27 March @thefuckingpope Chocolate eucharist has arrived! It's delicious!

April

28 April @TheDearLeader So Hugo Chavez is on Twitter. Big deal. Tell him to call me when he commands a million-man army. (Seriously, Hugo: Call me. I've got plans.)

May

8 May Queen_UK #ge2010 awful dream. Woke up convinced that one was heading for a con-lib government and visions of Cam-Clegg audiences. What? Real? Fuck!

15 May @theashcloud My head is saying earn their trust back . . . but my heart is saying disrupt the flights . . . what's a cloud to do?

June

1 June @BPGlobalPR The oil leak was caused by a natural gas explosion, or sea fart, which is now having silent but deadly consequences. #bpseafart

11 June @FacebookPR Facebook Fun Fact: Every 9 seconds, we end a marriage. #didyouknow

18 June @DrSamuelJohnson The colonial Congress endeavours to block the Oil-Well by heaving Brick-Bats at hapless Fuel-Drudge Mister Tony HAYWARD

July

11 July @the_vuvuzela Goal kick. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Slide tackle. BZZZZ BZZZZZZZZZ. Routine pass. BZZZZZ BZZZZZZZ BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

15 July @BPGlobalPR Well, that wasn't so hard.

August

5 August @FEMINISTHULK HULK NEED EVEN BIGGER CAPS TO EXPRESS HULK JOY AT PROP 8 DECISION!

September

14 September @DrSamuelJohnson Bedlamite Harlequin Lady GAGA goes about clad in raw Meat, doubtless to delight her derang'd carnivorous Molly Disciples.

28 September @Queen_UK Text from David Miliband: "Your Majesty, should I stay or should I go now? If I go there will be trouble. If I stay it will be double"

October

1 October @FacebookPR Don't believe everything you see in "The Social Network", it's only like 99% true

6 October @chilean_miner I don't care if it is one of my five a day. I'm not having another one of Ernesto's moss smoothies

November

29 November @lord_voldemort7 Wikileaks has made me glad that my preferred method of secret communication is a mark burnt into my co-communicator's flesh.

30 November @Julian_Ass On the bus, old man in front of me was playing "got yer nose" with his grandson. "IT'S HIS THUMB!" I screamed. The truth must be told.

December

11 December @CherylKerl Dorty woak backstage. Matt's telt One Direction Santa's nut real. Thor distraught man. Snot an teeaz evereewhor pet

14 December @BigSocietyNews Source bone marrow yourself for your upcoming transplant and get £1.00 off the price of a hospital phone card.

20 December @FakeAPStylebook "Now I Have a Machine Gun: Ho Ho Ho" is not an acceptable headline for the drunken mall Santa rampage story

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"We repealed, then forgot": the long shadow of Section 28 homophobia

Why are deeply conservative views about the "promotion" of homosexuality still being reiterated to Scottish school pupils? 

Grim stories of LGBTI children being bullied in school are all too common. But one which emerged over the weekend garnered particular attention - because of the echoes of the infamous Section 28, nearly two decades after it was scrapped.

A 16-year-old pupil of a West Lothian school, who does not wish to be named, told Pink News that staff asked him to remove his small rainbow pride badge because, though they had "no problem" with his sexuality, it was not appropriate to "promote it" in school. It's a blast from the past - the rules against "promoting" homosexuality were repealed in 2000 in Scotland, but the long legacy of Section 28 seems hard to shake off. 

The local authority responsible said in a statement that non-school related badges are not permitted on uniforms, and says it is "committed to equal rights for LGBT people". 

The small badge depicted a rainbow-striped heart, which the pupil said he had brought back from the Edinburgh Pride march the previous weekend. He reportedly "no longer feels comfortable going to school", and said homophobia from staff members felt "much more scar[y] than when I encountered the same from other pupils". 

At a time when four Scottish party leaders are gay, and the new Westminster parliament included a record number of LGBTQ MPs, the political world is making progress in promoting equality. But education, it seems, has not kept up. According to research from LGBT rights campaigners Stonewall, 40 per cent of LGBT pupils across the UK reported being taught nothing about LGBT issues at school. Among trans students, 44 per cent said school staff didn’t know what "trans" even means.

The need for teacher training and curriculum reform is at the top of campaigners' agendas. "We're disappointed but not surprised by this example," says Jordan Daly, the co-founder of Time for Inclusive Education [TIE]. His grassroots campaign focuses on making politicians and wider society aware of the reality LGBTI school students in Scotland face. "We're in schools on a monthly basis, so we know this is by no means an isolated incident." 

Studies have repeatedly shown a startling level of self-harm and mental illness reported by LGBTI school students. Trans students are particularly at risk. In 2015, Daly and colleagues began a tour of schools. Shocking stories included one in which a teacher singled out a trans pupils for ridicule in front of the class. More commonly, though, staff told them the same story: we just don't know what we're allowed to say about gay relationships. 

This is the point, according to Daly - retraining, or rather the lack of it. For some of those teachers trained during the 1980s and 1990s, when Section 28 prevented local authorities from "promoting homosexuality", confusion still reigns about what they can and cannot teach - or even mention in front of their pupils. 

The infamous clause was specific in its homophobia: the "acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" could not be mentioned in schools. But it's been 17 years since the clause was repealed in Scotland - indeed, it was one of the very first acts of the new Scottish Parliament (the rest of the UK followed suit three years later). Why are we still hearing this archaic language? 

"We repealed, we clapped and cheered, and then we just forgot," Daly says. After the bitter campaign in Scotland, in which an alliance of churches led by millionaire businessman Brian Souter poured money into "Keeping the Clause", the government was pleased with its victory, which seemed to establish Holyrood as a progressive political space early on in the life of the parliament. But without updating the curriculum or retraining teaching staff, Daly argues, it left a "massive vacuum" of uncertainty. 

The Stonewall research suggests a similar confusion is likely across the UK. Daly doesn't believe the situation in Scotland is notably worse than in England, and disputes the oft-cited allegation that the issue is somehow worse in Scotland's denominational schools. Homophobia may be "wrapped up in the language of religious belief" in certain schools, he says, but it's "just as much of a problem elsewhere. The TIE campaign doesn't have different strategies for different schools." 

After initial disappointments - their thousands-strong petition to change the curriculum was thrown out by parliament in 2016 - the campaign has won the support of leaders such as Nicola Sturgeon and Kezia Dugdale, and recently, the backing of a majority of MSPs. The Scottish government has set up a working group, and promised a national strategy. 

But for Daly, who himself struggled at a young age with his sexuality and society's failure to accept it, the matter remains an urgent one.  At just 21, he can reel off countless painful stories of young LGBTI students - some of which end in tragedy. One of the saddest elements of the story from St Kentigern's is that the pupil claimed his school was the safest place he had to express his identity, because he was not out at home. Perhaps for a gay pupil in ten years time, that will be a guarantee. 

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