Saturday 13 August 2016

The utter Tory hypocrisy over bigotry

The contrast between Theresa May's response to the misogynistic behaviour of the Tory MP Philip Davies, and Jeremy Corbyn's responses to accusations of bigotry within the Labour Party couldn't be clearer.

Take the case of the Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah who was immediately suspended and put under investigation after the right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes dug up some old tweets about Israel from before she was even an MP. It turns out that the origin for the supposedly anti-Semitic tweet was the Palestinian rights campaigner Norman Finkelstein, who described the people witch hunting Naz Shah as an anti-Semite for sharing the picture off his website as "dragging the Nazi holocaust through the mud". Corbyn stuck with party procedure and made sure that the allegations of bigotry were investigated.

The case with Philip Davies is a lot more serious and immediate than a couple of old Tweets but it's getting a tiny fraction of the media attention. Davies was filmed making a speech to a misogynistic rival political party called J4MB. These people style themselves as men's rights campaigners, but they're clearly a bunch of anti-feminist bigots who severely damage legitimate men's rights issues by association. Just as the legitimate feminist movement is damaged by association with female-supremacist misandrists using feminism as cover for their bigotry, legitimate men's issues are utterly toxified by association with this bunch of raving bigots.

Davies made all kinds of bizarre claims in his speech. One of the standout bits of nonsense was the call for gender segregation of school children because of a supposed conspiracy by female teachers to award lower grades to boys!

Instead of immediately moving to launch an investigation into Philip Davies, his bizarre comments and his association with a bunch of misogynistic bigots, Theresa May decided to adopt an "ignore it until the fuss dies down" strategy.

The fact that Theresa May is so willing to ignore the misogynistic behaviour of one of her own MPs proves the stupidity of the identity politics lie that Theresa May being Prime Minister is somehow good for women because she doesn't happen to have a penis. It really doesn't matter what she has between her legs if she's willing to overlook the bigotry of her own MP because actions speak louder than words (or genitals).

Not only was Philip Davies endorsing a bigoted political party by appearing at their event to spit his anti-feminist bile, he's also clearly guilty of promoting a rival political party which brags about how they're going to stand candidates against the Tories in their 20 most marginal constituencies on their website.

Imagine if the boot was on the other foot and it was a Labour MP making a 45 minute speech to a bigoted political party that had openly expressed the intention of damaging Labour's election chances by standing candidates in their 20 most marginal constituencies. Just imagine the media shit-storm that such an appearance would have created. Just imagine the Blairite MPs frothing with outrage that Jeremy Corbyn had let such a thing happen. Just imagine the bile that would have been spat all over Corbyn if he'd adopted Theresa May's "ignore it until the fuss dies down" strategy.

Philip Davies isn't new to controversy over his bigoted remarks. Back in 2011 he suggested that employers should be allowed to pay less than the minimum wage to disabled employees, and that by calling for labour rights discrimination against disabled people he was actually doing them a favour!

In 2015 he blocked a Private Member's Bill to provide free hospital parking to carers by waffling on for 93 minutes so that the bill ran out of time. He's also used the same fillibustering technique to try to trash a bill to prevent revenge evictions by landlords who's tenants ask for repairs to the property and in 2010 he used the strategy of tabling loads of amendments to try to wreck a bill to stop vulture funds from buying up third world debt.

It's extraordinarily brazen for the Tories (and their Blairite ideological blood-brothers) to try to paint the Labour Party and the left in general as being riddled with bigots, when Philip Davies is unarguably one of the most bigoted Westminster MPs of the modern era and he is continually allowed to get away with misogyny, Islamophobic ranting, homophobia, disabilism, parliamentary wrecking tactics and even promoting bigoted rival political parties.

Just remember how Tories like David Cameron and the lying, death-threat inventing MP Lucy Allan went into synthetic outrage mode over the 38 Degrees fake misogyny row, and contrast it to the deafening silence about Philip Davies' misogynistic behaviour from the new Prime Minister and female Tory MPs like Lucy Allan.

Accusations of misogyny are clearly only useful to the Tories if they can be weaponised and used to smear their political opponents (even if the accusations were brazenly fabricated), but when it's one of their own MPs slagging off feminism at a misogyny conference, spreading weird conspiracy theories and calling for the reintroduction of gender segregation in schools, the Tories button their lips about it and follow Theresa May's "ignore it until the fuss dies down" tactics.

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