A week can still be a long time in politics, even if the politics of one particular party is becoming pathetically predictable…
Prospective Labour leader Owen Smith ended the week as his ‘right hand woman‘ Angela Eagle began it… drip feeding accusations of intolerance against the colleague they have been plotting against ever since his landslide victory upset their cosy centre ground applecart.
Smith’s first, and presumably best, ‘big idea’ was to become the latest in a very long line of ‘Rebel MC’s’ to accuse his Leader (the first to appoint a female majority cabinet) of misogyny, anti-antisemitism, bullying and anything else that might eventually stick if they keep saying it loudly enough.
“I think Jeremy should take a little more responsibility for what is going on in the Labour Party. After all, we didn’t have this kind of abuse, intolerance, misogyny and anti-Semitism in the party before Jeremy Corbyn became leader.” Owen Smith
His concerns were immediately followed by a delegation of fragile lady MP’s demanding special protection for their positive action of personally participating in the deep, down, dirty game of politics and well paid public office.
And just when you thought this cringe worthy kerfuffle couldn’t get any more childish, it turns out that a male member from solid South Armagh stock had accused his Chief of Staff of threatening to phone is DA after he was caught engaging in anti-social behaviour.
And yet how differently things might have been for Smith, given that he began the week busily defending himself from well timed accusations of misogyny and homophobia himself….. while his immediate rival Angela Eagle hogged the headlines blaming Corbyn and his supporters for all sorts of nastiness, including ownership of a brick that may or may not have been chucked through her window.
“When it comes to bricks and windows, the Labour Party I know uses bricks to build homes and opens windows on a more tolerant society.” Angela Eeagle
Still at least Yvette Cooper’s #reclaimtheinternet consolation side show finally reached it’s inevitable conclusion when it conveniently re-emerged just in time to provide a succession of backbench feminists and Westminister wannabes with a safe space to exploit victims of online abuse for their own political and petty purposes.
Which in Cooper’s case meant using her self-appointed platform to tar Corbyn with the broad brush of implied misogyny one last time before the closing date for leadership nominations.
“Labour has a responsibility to party members, staff, elected representatives and supporters to ensure they are not subject to a baying mob online or offline. Some of the awful abuse has been from those who hate the Labour party. But there has also been unacceptable abuse from within the party too. We cannot allow this to poison our party. Yvette Cooper
Stella Creasy MP lamented the fact that young women were being scared away from public debate and participation in politics by the constant narrative about cyber abuse awaiting any innocent daring to dip their wick in the social media fountain.
Meanwhile Jess Phillips MP was getting uncharacteristically defensive and threatening to block anyone daring to question the accuracy of the various extraordinary abuse claims she’s been broadcasting ever since they helped to dig her out of a political hole of her own making last November.
EYEhas followed the campaign closely since it’s launch last December and have previously pondered on some of the more obvious problems with the extremely narrow and blinkered perspectives that Cooper’s coalition of concerned have concocted.
Online abuse can of course have very real world consequences for those on the receiving end but make no mistake, despite what this campaign would have you believe, nasty souls and internet trolls come in all sorts of shapes and passive aggressive sizes.
Girls bully by using emotional violence. Being beaten up emotionally on a daily basis does damage to the victims. It is time that the problem was addressed for what it is, a gender difference in bullying but bullying none-the-less.
They do things that make others feel alienated and alone. Some of the tactics used by girls who bully include: anonymous calls or harassing emails from dummy accounts; name calling, rumor spreading and other malicious verbal interactions or encouraging other kids to ignore or pick on a specific child. Keesha Howard – Teen Advice Expert
This week’s most trending social media star happens to champion the controversial mantra that ‘feminism is cancer‘. EYEdon’t entirely embrace his philosophy but accept that like any other political ideology, feminism has the potential to mutate into something extremely cancerous (especially in it’s fourth wave manifestation) and it certainly has had it’s part to play in Labour’s current clusterfuck.
Obviously there are a whole heap of other philosophies at play as well, (most particularly the politics of self interest and personal gain) but as the (so called) Parliamentary Labour Party stumble over themselves to try and #reclaim ‘their party’ from the people (by any means necessary) it is noticeable that the dominant tactic is one sourced straight from the pages of the Schrodinger’s Feminist play book.
Accusations of intolerance and misogyny has become the new McCarthyism and victimhood is pushed as a vibrant political currency by people who want to represent us on the world stage.
To an unemployed working-class voter in the North of England, the historic heartland of Britain’s Labour party, I expect few things are more enraging than out-of-touch metropolitan politicians whinging about “abuse” on social media.
They’re worrying about how to pay the rent and feed their families, while the politicians are worrying about people being unkind to them on Twitter. The contrast is staggering. Allum Bokhari
Thanks partly to their propensity to block any voice that doesn’t agree with them, the #ClaimTheInternetForPeopleLikeUs wing of the party are so out of touch that they all inevitably backed the wrong candidate on the wrong side of the debate, chosen primarily on a narrow and exclusive gynecological criterion.
Sophie Walker (Leader of the party offering a safe space for women not quite ready for the cut and thrust of democratically elected office) immediately popped up to suggest that labour clearly have a women problem.
She’s right about the diagnosis but, as the Educational Editor of Spiked helpfully and eloquently pointed out, she’s wrong about the cause. Put simply: ‘A party that treats women as weak is unlikely to get a female leader’.
The party that thought a pink bus was the best way to entice women voters has clearly not yet grown out of the glossy pink and squiggly font phase most girls leave behind aged eight. During her short period in the spotlight, Eagle struggled to articulate one significant political difference between herself and Corbyn. Instead of ideas, Eagle presented voters with herself, a northern, gay woman. In other words, what best qualified Eagle for leadership of the Labour Party was, in her eyes, simply that she was not Corbyn. Joanna Williams – Spiked
No one knows what, if anything, Jeremy Corbyn will deliver. Like every man or woman who has ever dared to lead, he will inevitably disappoint many, if not most, of his faithful flock. The fact is that his greatest success so far has been to simply survive the constant waves of tantrums, plots and nasty accusations drip fed to an obliging media from people that don’t understand or even like the massive electoral base that has surged behind his party.
Perhaps Owen Smith will inspire a similar momentum but it seems unlikely. One week in and we have already learned that he has a dubious track record in both calling out bullying cultures and wasting police time.
Rod Liddle, the Sunday Times columnist who employed Smith on Radio 4’s Today programme, gleefully revealed last week that the MP had once dialled 999 to ask the police for a comment on a story. Smith claimed there was a culture of bullying on the programme, but Liddle replied: “There was not a culture of bullying so much as a culture of ‘Let’s shout at Owen when he has f***** up’.”
We also learned this week that crime rates have doubled due to online fraud and computer misuse offences but you probably didn’t hear your local MP talking about it. Especially not if they work for Her Majesty’s Opposition because when they haven’t been complaining about mean words on the internet they have been busy objecting to the fact that members of the public are still allowed to protest outside their constituency offices.
It seems extremely unlikely that the plotters will get it their way in September but even if they do (by whatever means necessary), what the people know already and what they just can’t comprehend, is that they have already lost.
They have already lost and they should be ashamed of themselves.