Right-wing Labour MP Jess Phillips wrote a bizarre article for The New Statesman, provocatively titled “Conference was brilliant – until the antisemitism and victim-blaming started”.
Ms Phillips angers many Labour members by articles in which she attempts a ‘pally’ style while making statements such as,
“[Left-wing men] are the worst, the actual worst…They are literally the worst.”
Presumably Ms Phillips forgot about the well-known groups of men most of us would immediately think of if we were trying to come up with groups of men who are ‘literally the worst’ for women.
But this latest Statesman article has what looks like an unintended effect – an admission that Labour is great when you see the real thing and only looks any different when you look at it through the filters that the ‘MSM’ (mainstream media) wants to apply.
Take this, for example, in which Ms Phillips describes her experience when she was at the Brighton conference in person – emphases added by the SKWAWKBOX:
The difference was jarring. John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and Keir Starmer all spoke while I was there, but as I was not in front of a TV or in earshot of a radio until 1am each night, I can’t say anything other than brief headlines reached me.
What I did experience was lots of enthusiasm and lots of people talking really passionately about changing things that are broken. I met brilliant people I will meet again in the future. I heard some superbly simple policy ideas from ordinary members, organisations and businesses. I ate dinner with economists who live and breath every tiny detail of possible models for Brexit, and marvelled at their insights.
I laughed a lot and featured in hundreds of selfies. I sat down with people from the leaders office and talked over plans for the future and how we can avoid pitfalls. I drank pints with people I’m meant to hate and listened to their plans, I hoped for their success. I heard rallying cries and desperate pleas. I felt no hostility, not even the tiniest bit. I pulled selfie faces with as many people with Momentum badges as I did those without.
Labour in person was vibrant, welcoming, forgiving, positive.
But when she leaves – for some reason after only two days, perhaps ‘selfied out’ – and starts to watch and listen to events at the conference through the MSM prism:
Then I departed. As I became an observer of events, I picked up on the story of Laura Kuenssberg needing a bodyguard because of concerns for her safety. This in itself started to chip away at my feeling of hope…But the fact that she needs this to attend the Labour party conference…hurt me especially deeply.
…I have spent years of my life, and thousands of words and speeches fighting against the idea of victim blaming. I have begged people to believe women who have or are being abused. I thought we were getting somewhere. In the Labour party, if I am honest, I thought we had got there and were in the arrivals hall waiting for others to join us. Turns out I was wrong.
Only it doesn’t turn out you were wrong, Jess – you’re now just believing what the MSM says about Labour instead of being there to see for yourself.
The claim that Laura Kuenssberg needed a bodyguard appears to be based on a single report in that bastion of truth and objectivity The
Sun, which was then propagated as fact by other MSM all too eager to portray the left as dangerous bullies. In fact, while reports of Ms K with anyone who might have been a bodyguard are sparse in the extreme, reports of her seen without one are commonplace. Here are a few:
Ms Phillips talks – she seems to love a bit of hyperbole – of ‘victim-blaming’. But being criticised for bad journalism or bias is not automatically victimisation. Certainly any abusive messages Laura Kuenssberg has received – they seem usually to be claimed by the media rather than evidenced – pale in comparison with the tirade directed daily at, say, Diane Abbott – more of her later.
A petition against Ms Kuenssberg with tens of thousands of signatures was pulled by 38 Degrees for supposed abuse when apparently there was just one abusive comment. So there appears to be a track record of exaggeration.
Ms Phillips begs us to ‘believe women who are being abused‘. Of course – but as far as can be ascertained, Ms Kuenssberg herself has never claimed to need a bodyguard. Just the
Sun – and that rag does not get to be believed just because it’s claimed something. In fact, shame on those who believe it in the absence of any actual evidence from trustworthy quarters.
Never mind such inconvenient details, though – to Jess Phillips, the bodyguard is ‘the fact’ while her opinion of the motivations of people who tweeted about Ms Kuenssberg’s apparent nonchalance around Conference is also treated as reality.
The reactions are as bad as the fact that Kuenssberg has a bodyguard. They are the same reactions that almost every victim of gendered violence and abuse suffer.
The most distasteful thing in all this is the (actual) fact that Ms Phillips is right about victims of gendered violence and abuse suffering – but has shown no evidence that Laura Kuenssberg has suffered such abuse, beyond an uncritical acceptance of a claim by a vile right-wing rag.
The criticism directed at Laura Kuenssberg is, overwhelmingly, just that: criticism – for her perceived appalling bias. Her gender has nothing to do with it, for all but a tiny number of maladjusted people worthy only of condemnation. Most of those who criticise her just consider her a journalist demonstrating a bias in favour of a party they consider contemptible.
However, there is a clear tendency among those on the right to consider criticism directed at them and their allies as automatically ‘abuse’ – yet to minimise or dismiss real abuse directed at those they disagree with.
Which brings us back to Diane Abbott.
Jess Phillips told the Statesman:
It seemed that for many who got in touch with me, speaking out against violence and abuse waged at women means only when it is our kind of women, and only so long as they are not being abused by our kind of people.
Ms Abbott receives half of all the abuse directed at UK politicians – and it is the vilest, most disgusting half. Yet the MSM got itself in far more of a lather over her mentioning on TV that she is daily called ‘n****r’ than it does over the fact that she is called it.
Not only that, but the abuse she receives – as her harrowing testimony during a commons debate made absolutely clear – is clearly and unquestionably ‘gendered‘ and absolutely hideous.
Ms Phillips went to the trouble of writing a whole article on the criticism directed at Laura Kuenssberg. Where are the articles damning the abusers of Diane Abbott?
Ms Phillips famously told Diane Abbott to ‘f*** off’ and was filmed laughing heartily at an arguably racist imitation of the Shadow Home Secretary.
Where are the articles damning the abusers of Shami Chakrabarti when she was subjected to vile abuse over her report on antisemitism – including from right-wing Labour MPs?
Where are the articles defending Emma Dent-Coad, who has been abusively mobbed this week over a throwaway joke about the royals? Where was the article – beyond a veiled criticism – defending Laura Pidcock when she was ganged up on by the MSM for saying Tory MPs are the enemy?.
But it’s only left-wing Labour members who only intervene on behalf of the ‘right’ kind of women. Apparently.
Ms Phillips’ intervention is interestingly timed, coming just after a triumphant Labour conference for both Jeremy Corbyn and the left in the Labour Party, when spurious accusations were once again thrown at the party.
You’d almost think some people wanted to take the shine off the triumph.
But if read with an open mind, the net effect of Ms Phillips’ article is simple, whether intended or not:
See Labour for yourself and it’s incredible. Believe what you read in the papers, see on TV or hear on the radio and you might be persuaded to think otherwise.
Jess Phillips said so herself – and she tried both this week.
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