Sunday, 29 October 2017

Tories in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

We all saw the absolute hysteria that the Tories and their attack dogs in the right wing press whipped up about the Labour MP Clive Lewis using the word "bitch" at a man during an obscure comedy event and then over the unacceptable comments that the new Labour MP Jared O'Mara made long before he became an MP.

The Tory MP Sarah Wollaston was one of the most high profile grandstanders, posting an article from the disgusting right-wing Guido Fawkes blog alongside a demand that Labour sack O'Mara and call a by-election in his constituency.

Wollaston's fellow Tory MP Nus Ghani even tried to trigger an emergency parliamentary debate on Clive Lewis' "bitch" comment. A move that was dismissed by the Speaker John Bercow as "wholly absurd and inappropriate".

Everyone is familiar with the expression about people in glass houses throwing stones, and when it comes to stuff like homophobia and misogyny, the likes of Sarah Wollaston and Nus Ghani knew perfectly well that the Tory party is absolutely full of bigotry when they were kicking up such a stink about Clive Lawis and Jared O'Mara.

And so it came to pass. Within a week of the Tory hysteria over Jared O'Mara it was revealed that the former Tory minister and leadership candidate Stephen Crabb had been sending sexually explicit text messages to a teenager who had applied for a job in his office (the second time he's been caught out sexting women in the space of a year). Additionally another Tory MP Mark Garnier was exposed for calling his female assistant "sugar tits" and sending her out to buy sex toys.

Not only is Stephen Crabb a sex pest who thinks it's fine to abuse his position as an MP to send sexually explicit text messages to women less than half his age, he's also a brazen hypocrite and a homophobic bigot too.

Crabb is a glaring hypocrite because he loves to pose as if he's a devout Christian and happily married man. 

And yes there's no 11th commandment "Thou shalt not send pervy messages to teenage girls on thy work phone", but it should be glaringly obvious to anyone who is serious about their Christian faith (or capable of basic human decency) that sending sexually explicit messages to teenagers is completely incompatible with having respect for your wife.

Despite having been twice caught out proving beyond doubt that he's willing to completely ignore the basic tenets of his professed Christian faith when it conflicts with his personal desire to send sexually explicit messages to women less than half his age, Crabb has repeatedly used Christianity as an excuse for interfering in other people's lives.

In 2007 Crabb voted against legislation to ban discrimination against LGBT people, and in 2014 he voted against gay equality legislation to allow same-sex couples the same right to marriage as heterosexual couples.

Both times he used Christianity as an excuse for his homophobic bigotry, and what's worse is that he's even taken political donations from a bigoted bunch of Christian extremists called CARE that advocate gay conversion "therapy".

Sarah Wollaston and other Tory MPs have every right to criticise the unacceptable comments that Jared O'Mara made. However if they don't speak out with the same fury when it's one of their fellow Tories speaking or acting like a pervert, homophobe, misogynist or bigot, then we can see that their previous complaints were just faux outrage motivated by a tribalistic urge to score political points against their political opponents.

So has Sarah Wollaston posted a hatchet job article about Stephen Crabb, slammed his misogynistic attitudes towards young women and his wife, attacked his bigoted attitudes towards LGBT people, and called for him to be sacked from the Tory party, and a by-election to be called in his constituency (where his majority over Labour is just 314)?

Of course she hasn't.

And has Nus Ghani decided to try to call an emergency parliamentary debate over Stephen Crabb's abuse of his position as an MP to send sexually explicit messages to a teenager?

Of course she hasn't.

This abject hypocrisy makes them part of the problem. If they're only willing to speak out when there are political points to be scored for their party, but they keep their lips tightly sealed when criticism of abuse, misogyny, homophobia or bigotry would damage the Tories, it's beyond obvious that they've got no real interest in confronting bigotry, and any criticism they aim at opposition politicians over bigoted words and actions is just artificial outrage expressed purely for party political advantage.

Nobody has a problem with people calling out bigotry. The issue here is consistency.

It shouldn't really matter whether you think politicians should be harshly punished for the things they wrote on the Internet long before they became parliamentary candidates, or the fact they got caught abusing their position as an MP to send sexually explicit texts to much younger women for a second time. Or whether you think they should be given the benefit of the doubt when they express regret and state that their views have changed and they won't behave like that in future. 

What matters is consistency. If you're going to howl outrage over bigotry, then be consistent. Howl just as much outrage even when the bigot is a member of your own political party. And if you're going to give your political allies the benefit of the doubt, then you absolutely must give the benefit of the doubt to your political foes too. 

In a way the double standards of Tories like Sarah Wollaston and Nus Ghani are perhaps even worse than Stephen Crabb's bigotry. Being a creepy pervert, homophobe and hypocrite just seems to be part of his personality. It's who he is.

Wollaston and Ghani on the other hand have displayed extreme double standards. Calling out bigotry on the opposition benches, but saying nothing about the bigots in their own party trivialises the issue by piggybacking their own party political agenda onto it. 

They want to turn bigotry into a frenzied media circus when it's to their party's advantage, but just days later they won't even issue simple statements of condemnation when the bigot is one of their fellow Tories.

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