Labour right goes into strawman-meltdown over women-only carriages

women-only outrage

You can tell it’s slow-news season.

Labour front-bencher Chris Williamson retweeted the SKWAWKBOX’s article on Corbyn’s prescience, in 2015, in saying the idea of women-only carriages on trains was worth exploring, because sexual assaults on women on trains have more than doubled since. It was only a short article and not one we expected to go viral.

That’s all it was by Chris – a retweet, with not even a comment added.

PoliticsHome clearly saw an opportunity to fill some space and contacted Chris for a comment, which they turned into an article:

polhome cw

To be accurate, Chris didn’t ‘suggest’ it. He retweeted an article and it looks like he was asked for further comment. But – it being slow-news season – the Huffington Post ran with it, too. Then so did the BBC, with probably the most balanced headline:

bbc cw

Of course, Chris being a staunch and vocal supporter of Corbyn and a front-bencher the media is interested in hearing from, a few ‘usual suspects’ on the Labour right couldn’t resist the chance of a bit of outrage and a little rare media attention. The problem is, suggesting an idea is worth looking at doesn’t generate much outrage – so a ‘straw man‘ was needed.

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy was quick to construct one:

creasy cw1

The straw man, of course, is ‘restricting where we can go’ – nobody has suggested restricting where women can go. A women-only carriage is a carriage women can choose to get on and men can’t – if women want to sit somewhere else, they’re entirely free to do so. But Ms Creasy had chosen her theme and she hammered it home in a number of tweets.

The straw man was too good an opportunity to waste for those interested in a bit of front-bencher/proxy Corbyn-bashing. Jess Phillips was next, with her own added twist:

williamson phillips

Jess’ ‘hot take’ was more like a ‘crap take’, since nobody suggested giving up on prosecuting assaults and there is no logical connection between women-only carriages and giving a free pass to men who assault women.

One or two other fellow Labour back-benchers joined in with brave comments like ‘Well said’, but the response wasn’t limited to ‘centrist’ Labour MPs. Catherine Mayer of the Women’s Equality Party jumped in to score a cheap political point:

williamson mayer

Of course, Corbyn never ‘suggested’ it, but said it was worth examining when he was asked about it specifically.

Others joined in with the ‘restriction’ straw-man – and worse:

williamson hardmanwilks

Others even compared the women-only carriage idea to apartheid, segregation and a curfew – missing, or more likely ignoring, the fact that none of those things was about giving people a choice in what they do.

A quick online search for “women-only gym” will reveal an abundance of places offering women the choice to exercise in a place separate from men if they want to. There are more gyms where you’ll find men and women exercising happily alongside each other, but most people seem comfortable with the idea that it’s good, or at least ok, for women to have the option.

Then again, a pro-Corbyn MP hasn’t spoken out about women-only gyms – if one did, the ‘outrage’ might build rapidly.

It’s just possible that Chris Williamson’s ‘crime’ wasn’t really in daring to suggest that women-only carriages might be an idea worth examining. His real ‘crimes’, in the eyes of right-wing Labour MPs are more likely to be twofold:

  1. being a vocally pro-Corbyn front-bencher
  2. retweeting a SKWAWKBOX article – we know they’re not keen on MPs interacting with this blog, with the likes of Barry Gardiner receiving furious abuse from so-called ‘moderates’ for speaking to us

Add those to the slow-news season and the opportunity to self-promote and the ‘furore’ over women-only carriages isn’t too hard to understand.

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  1. (Useless mouthpiece) Phillips: “Trying to give up on prosecutions”

    Err, no…It’s taking the danger away & trying to do something proactive to prevent it happening in the first place. Honestly, she wonders why she gets ‘abuse’?

    And yet I’ll bet she’s outraged about same-sex hospital wards…

    *scratches head*

  2. It’s certainly slow news season when a story about a fairly impractical (on a lot of services) idea on female only train carriages morphs into Labour infighting.

    1. I suppose it’s a bit more practical than the infighting over the price of theresa may’s leather kecks, eh?

      1. Or those ridiculous baubles the size of cannon balls May wears round her neck ( guess it’s about power dressing eh , the bigger the necklace balls the more powerful one is )

    2. @ HIndson , Pot kettle etc Tory BREXIT you want infighting par excellence suck it up TROLL

  3. When I was a teen commuting in to London fifty or so years ago the ladies only carriages were absolutley the tops and always very busy. We didnt fear molestation so much as the as the sweaty nasty stench of overcroding and unwashed humanity. Being pushed up against a body reeking of last nights excesses is no fun. Male grooming products may have improved this a bit but the choice would be appreciated by many!

  4. It is deeply disappointing and even disturbing that the visceral and unfounded hatred right wing Labour MPs and Cooperative Party MPs have towards the leadership of the Labour Party blinds them so much that they attack people who support sensible and practical ideas to reduce the number of sexual attacks made against women on public transport.

    1. IIRC it was a female tory MP who first mooted the idea a few years back.

      Wonder if jess (millie tant) phillips will have a pop at her?

      I doubt it – after all, she’s a fellow tory female…

    1. Mcternan…Poor deluded sod still tries to kid everyone that bliar’s dead popular. :/

      The ramblings of a complete idiot.

  5. George Orwell’s explanation of Newspeak:

    “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.”

    Admirably describes the current mainstream press.
    Thank heavens for the SKWAWKBOX!

  6. Future deselectees writing their own epitaphs.

    Labour will have no trouble finding bright, enthusiastic replacements.

    1. @Kay Yep couldn’t agree more , reckon we have got about 5 yrs to work our way thro those idiots via their CLPs to re-select a brighter more appropriate candidate who really represents our class not more Tory lite neoliberal supporters .


  8. The rabid right……..fascists on steroids (or coke more likely) every single one of them. Oh my, how they just lurve to twist and distort and fabricate and misrepresent and vilify and demonise……….

    1. So as to deceive. THAT is the name of their game – ie deception and deceit.

  9. I see gobshite Jess Phillips is in the Observer this week 27.8.17 stating “This might be the only time I ever do this, but I shall cut Chris Williamson MP some slack” over his comments re this issue

    What an incredibly conceited person she is , then continues with the articles main piece on Laura Pidocks ” not being friends with any Tories ” comments and the criticism that caused , and Phillips sees no hypocrisy here with her attack on a fellow Labour MP , not to mention Phillips attacks on her own Labour party membership. At least Laura had the right target in the Conservatives , unlike the vacuous empty headed idiot Phillips is . Time for re-selecting a more mature adult candidate for her replacement as Labour MP for Yardley

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