Conservative Lady Claims Labour and Momentum Supporters Responsible for Misogynist Abuse – But Is This Real?

There was a bit in the I today, reporting a speech made in the House of Lords by a female Tory peer, in which she broke the taboo against saying the ‘C’ word. She said it as an example of the misogynist abuse, which she claimed was coming from Labour and Momentum supporters. Mike’s already covered this issue over on his blog, pointing out that it’s been condemned by Jeremy Corbyn. Mike’s fully behind the condemnation, saying that death threats and other abuse have no place in civilised politics, and we shouldn’t lower ourselves to the Tories’ level. Which is absolutely correct, though looking at the incident, I wonder how much of the abuse, and the good lady’s outrage over it, is actually genuine.

Remember, one of the accusations that the Blairites tried to use against Corbyn and Momentum was that they were all terribly misogynist, and subjecting to poor, middle class corporatist Blairite women to vile abuse. This was taken over wholesale from Killary in the US, and her attempt to demonise Bernie Sanders’ supporters. In fact, the ‘Bernie Bros’ she claimed were responsible for all this abuse didn’t exist, and on examination neither did the misogynist abuse the Blairites were claiming came from Corbyn’s supporters. But clearly the tactic has made an impression, and it’s become part of the right-wing narrative that Corbyn’s supporters are all terrible misogynists, as well as anti-Semites. None of which is true.

It also seems to me something of a diversionary tactic. This is the week that Toby Young came under fire as May’s appointment for the universities’ regulatory board, because of the highly offensive nature of comments he’d made and written. These really were sexist and misogynist. There were Tweet after Tweet in which Young commented on the size of women’s breasts, including those of Claudia Winkleman, whom he told to ‘put on weight’. As for a photograph that seemed to show him touching a female celebrity, he also Tweeted that he had his ‘d**k up her a**e’. Labour’s women and equalities minister, Dawn Butler, rightly condemned Young’s comments as vile and misogynistic, and demanded Young’s removal from the post.

Which makes the Honourable Lady’s comments about misogyny from the Labour left, and how it was turning women off politics, seem somewhat contrived. It looks as if she was trying to take attention away from how terrible Young, and those like him in the Tory party are, by making a similar claim against Corbyn and the Labour party.

Now I share Mike’s and Corbyn’s views on such abuse. It’s clearly not acceptable. But I can understand the rage behind it. If people are sending hate messages to the Tories in May’s cabinet reshuffle, including Esther McVile, some of the anger is because they feel powerless. This government has done everything it can to humiliate and degrade working people, and particularly the sick, the disabled and the unemployed. Thanks to Tory wage restraint, jobs don’t pay. There is rising poverty, and move people are being forced to use food banks. At the same time the Tories are engineering a crisis in the NHS so they can eventually privatise it and force people into a private insurance-based system, like America. Where 40,000 people die each year because they don’t have medical coverage. The unions, with one or two exceptions, have been decimated, so that working people are left defenceless before predatory and exploitative bosses. And the benefits system has been so reformed, so that claimants can be thrown off it for even the most trivial of reasons. All so that May and her cronies can give their corporate backers even bigger tax cuts, and a cowed, beaten, compliant workforce.

In this situation, I think people have every reason to be angry. Especially when it comes to Esther McVie. When she was in charge of the disabled at the DWP, she was directly responsible for policies that threw thousands of seriously ill people off benefits, on the spurious grounds that they had been judged ‘fit for work’ by Atos and then Maximus. As a result, people have died, thanks to her policies. Personal abuse is unacceptable, but people have every right to express otherwise how loathsome she is, and how she is manifestly unsuited to have any responsible post dealing with the vulnerable.

If people are angry, and they can’t find any other way to express their anger, then it will turn into abuse. I don’t know how much of the abuse the Tory lady claimed is real, but if it does exist, it’s because the Tories have left people feeling powerless, and feeling that they have no other means of expressing their anger and fear.

And I also find it highly hypocritical that this woman, who is rich and entitled, should accuse those below her of abuse. Quite apart from the fact that I’ve no doubt that you can find similar comments expressed by the Tories on their websites, Tweets and blogs, various Tory grandees have in the past made their contempt for working people very clear. Such as the infamous comment by one of them – was it Matthew Freud? – that the homeless were the people you step over when coming out of the opera. The Tories are very well aware how controversial the appointment of these new cabinet ministers are, especially Esther McVile, the minister in charge of culling the disabled, as she’s been described by Mike and others. It looks to me very much like part of the purpose of this accusation was to silence genuine criticism of the grotesques, bigots and corporatist horrors with which May has decided once again to fill her cabinet.

I therefore have strong doubts that there was misogynist abuse directed at Tory women, or if there was, whether there was any more than usual, or the same amount of abuse directed at female Labour MPs. If you want an example of really vile abuse, take a look at some of the comments the Tories have made about Diane Abbott, which manages to be both misogynist and racist. It all looks very much like a ploy to stop people noticing the vile abuse coming from Toby Young and the Tories, by repeating the lies spewed by the Blairites in an attempt to silence justifiable criticism of May’s murderous new cabinet appointments.

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2 Responses to “Conservative Lady Claims Labour and Momentum Supporters Responsible for Misogynist Abuse – But Is This Real?”

  1. Florence Says:

    Agreed, I think “abuse” is the result of anger. Sometimes the level of “abuse” is the only way to get a message across, to get it noticed. Sometimes (admittedly rarely) swearing is a valid use of language to express depth of feeling, and iy is the correct use of such language to shock and inform others of the extreme nature of the feelings involved. That is why swearing exists, (which has been debased in recent years).

    In the McVile case, she has a special place in the history of the level of persecution of the disabled. She was not just responsible for the rollout of PIP, but for the briefings and crescendo of abusive, propagandist and eugenist media reports to legitimise what she was doing. As one who literally “felt the effect” of that MSM orgy of abuse (actual assaults when I use a wheel chair in public), I feel it is up to her victims to tell it like it is. OK, let’s not call her “b***h” but what would that attract the same attention? What else could serve the same function in letting the Tories know her appointment is simply unacceptable, by those who she seeks to destroy? One leading disability campaigner called her “the sh*t that floats to the top”. Indeed her appointment has the hallmarks of one with a proven track record (of being able to send tens of thousands to avoidable deaths ) and simply lie her way past inconvenient facts, being sent back in to carry on the death march. She is one of the architects of the ” human catastrophe” of benefit cuts, a leading populist and normalising propagandist of the eugenic ideology of neo liberalism, and actually I think the criticism has yet to find its true footing, past the stage of abuse, and into the next phase of her destruction.

    Its a tough call. But for many it is actually very hard to be coherent, and are further marginalised by their feelings and fears being dismissed and delegitimised by being called “abuse”. I know of disability activists who barely slept in the 48 hours after her appointment, working to stop many others from committing suicide, because that Vile Woman provokes such fear and there are simplyso many can literally take no more persecution. Knowing what that one appointment has done to millions already familiar with her work, I also fear for the millions about to experience the roll out of universal credit under her hand. I hope we can all live long enough to be able to look back at this time, and see that social media “abuse” was indeed small beer in the greater scheme of things. I would hope that those who condemn “abuse” can adequately express and gain recognition of these inchoate cries for help in terms that are as headline catching.

    I guess summing up, I wonder if it is actually possible to have a “civilised debate” about McVile, and benefit cuts that are state sanctioned murder?

    • Beastrabban Says:

      I have to say that the phrase about ordure rising to the top of the septic tank also occurred to me when I read of McVile’s reappointment to the cabinet, along with ‘nothing succeeds like failure’. She failed in Wirral. The electors didn’t want her, and she was kicked out, only to get parachuted into Tatton, and thence back into the cabinet. Her appointment just shows the amount of sheer, unbridled hatred and contempt the Tories have for the long-term sick, the disabled and the unemployed.

      I’m sorry you’ve suffered abuse when you’ve been out in your wheelchair, Florence. But you’re not alone. I can remember being told by a friend of mine, whose wife is a wheelchair user, how she was also a victim of abuse. This was at the time Little Britain was on the air, and he felt it the hatred was generated by the character that pretends to be disabled, but when his brother and carer is off doing something else, is shown to be perfectly healthy. On the other hand, it could also be due to sheer amount of rubbish the Tories and their lapdogs in the press have been pushing about malingerers and benefit fraudsters.

      Very well done to the all the disability campaigners, who stayed up trying to stop other disabled people committing suicide. It’s disgusting that McVile’s appointment has had that effect on people. She really is a disgusting, loathsome human being – though I use the term ‘human’ loosely. Is it possible to have a civilised debate about her? Absolutely, but to anyone who has an ounce of sense or compassion, you have to grit your teeth and try not to type obscenities. I think what is so irritating about her is that she is so obviously privileged, and looks very smug and self-satisfied about it all, while at the same time persecuting and killing those beneath her.

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