Excl: Unite women’s letter takes Observer to task over ‘sexist’ Cohen’s Formby attack

unite logo
Unite logo

Last weekend, the Observer’s dreary Nick Cohen varied his usual anti-Corbyn bile by launching a misogynist attack against the Unite union’s Jennie Formby, who is one of two women on the final shortlist for the position of Labour Party General Secretary. The NEC will make its final decision when it meets on Tuesday between Ms Formby and the NUT’s Christine Blower.

formby coh
Cohen and Formby, shown to scale

Several senior Unite were so outraged by Cohen’s article that they have written an excoriating letter to the Observer’s editor to challenge the Observer’s continuing platform for Cohen’s ‘backward’ views ‘limiting sexism’.

Will the Observer have the courage and decency to print their letter – let alone to eliminate such ‘backward prejudice’ from its pages?

Dear Editor

Nick Cohen never misses an opportunity to take aim at the one civil society sector – the trade unions – that has stood firm to defend the working class from the decades of attacks rained upon them by the business and political classes (The Observer, 11 March, 2018)

Another edition, another run out for his prejudiced hobby-horse.

But last Sunday, he crossed the line – and he took the reputation of the Observer with him, climbing head first into the gutter by launching a sexist assault on Jennie Formby, our colleague.

A highly-respected trade union member of forty years, thirty of which have been spent representing workers, Jennie has devoted her life to the labour movement, to defending working people and to the return of a Labour government. For many women in our movement, she is an inspiration.

To dismiss her deserved and hard-fought achievements up to this date and in the future as resulting not from her own talent and endeavours but as a consequence of a relationship that ended over a quarter of a century ago is misogyny, plain and simple.

Women are able to achieve by means other than those envisaged by the limiting sexism of Mr Cohen.

Despite the hopes of International Women’s Day, Nick Cohen is a reminder that #everydaysexism is alive and well.

The bigger question remains, however: why have these backward views been given a prominent home on the pages of what was once a leading paper in this country?

Yours sincerely

Gail Cartmail, Assistant general secretary, Unite
Sharon Graham, Executive officer, Unite
Annmarie Kilkline, Regional secretary, East Midlands, Unite
Karen Reay, Regional secretary, North East & Yorkshire, Unite
on behalf of the women Executive members and officers of Unite the union

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  1. Excellent letter and as an Obsérver reader I must admit I just turn the pages without even reading the turgid commentators pieces but no-more. From Sunday I will not be contributing to the morons wages and am going elsewhere.

    1. well done Bazza vote with yah feet and leave them , same goes for me re the BBC shite ,,, no more licence fee from me and not paid for G or The Obs for many yrs now since the support for Blairs illegal war

    2. Observer’s anti-Corbyn bias is simply too tough to be swallowed. Guardian is bad. Observer is a f*cking bad. And Nick Cohen is simply the concentrated form of the Observer. I have abandoned the paper for over a year. If I have an alternative, I would abandon Guardian right way too.

  2. Oh dear brothers and sisters, tried the Sunday Times and although it started out ok then came the Right Wing Moronic Anti-Corbyn Comment and Commentators and it was worse than the Obsérver!
    Was such a good feeling to dumping this rubbish in the recycle bin and wondered if I could ask for my money back? This market force has spoken and the ST will never cross my door again!
    But was one interesting snippet, a ‘Moderate’ Labour MP was quoted as saying if Labour won the next election his like should sit as an independent group. Of couse Labour ‘Moderates’ (Neo-Liberals and crumbs for working people) are entitled to their opinions but perhaps they would like to share this gem with members in the Parliamentary Selection meetings where Labour members select a potential Labour MP to serve the party and working people (and not themselves) and members graft to get them elected as Labour MPs!
    Perhaps they could consider being honest before rather than after the event?

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