Stupid woman? Yup. Than just about covers it.
Posted on December 21, 2018
As the House of Commons drifted toward its Christmas holiday – no point in forgoing the break during this quiet time in national life, eh? – some Tory MPs, as well as some on the Labour benches who hate him just as much, accused Jeremy Corbyn of calling the Prime Minister a ‘stupid woman’. He denied it but, as he pointed out, when a homeless person dies on the steps of parliament while those inside continue to demonstrate ineptitude measureless to man, this still became the ‘big story’.
Corbyn is, according to his opponents, by various turns a racist, an anti—Semite, an ex-spy, a communist collaborator and now, on the back of this episode, a misogynist. That’s quite a roll-call of misdemeanours for someone with an unimpeachable track record of siding with, and acting for, the oppressed. But nothing – certainly not hard facts – will deter the peddlers of the narrative that he is a threat to our very way of life.
The trouble is, that very ‘way of life’ is shown up as a house of cards on a daily basis. Let’s go on a little trip to illustrate what I mean.
I am fortunate to live in a prosperous place in the south-east. In the town centre there are now dozens of people living in tents in the doorways of disused shops. There are foodbanks. There are drop-in centres for those whose lives are blighted by alcohol and drugs. The dispossessed have made their presence felt to the gentrified – some of whom, apparently, entertain themselves by performing bodily functions on their tents and sleeping bags.
Less than an hour away is the site of Grenfell Tower. If ever you want to convey the full horror of what went on there – and who was to blame – just consider this simple account. In one of the richest boroughs in one the wealthiest country on the planet, people were burnt to death because corners were cut in terms of construction and refurbishment. Those responsible attempted to blame anyone but themselves, including, at one point, the firefighters who went toward danger to save lives. And then, before all of the survivors of the tragedy had been rehoused, the elected officials of that borough gave the go-ahead for a series of luxury retirement homes to be built within a stone’s throw of the tower.
A short hop from Grenfell takes you to the former residence of the ex-Foreign Secretary, the buffoon Boris Johnson. In his absurdly lucrative newspaper column earlier this year, Johnson, bluff hail fellow that he is, referred to women who chose to wear the niqab as resembling letter-boxes or bank robbers. In the days that followed, there were reports of an increased numbers of attacks, verbal and physical, on women who had done nothing other than choose to dress in a way with which they felt comfortable.
Round a few corners to parliament. That’d be parliament which had failed to intervene in any meaningful way to bring to account those responsible for any of the events or circumstances above. That’d be parliament that has presided over the fiasco of Universal Credit, Windrush and the ‘hostile environment’. Parliament that has been so paralysed in an attempt to manage a democratic decision delivered by the EU referendum, that any energy or vitality it may have ever had has been systematically sucked out of it to the detriment of practically every other aspect of public life.
Against the background of a way of life that is teetering on the edge, the best some MPs can do is to manufacture fake outrage at someone being called ‘stupid’. The culprit is obviously a misogynist they cry, clearly forgetting that a few days earlier, two MPs currently suspended on charges relating to sexual misconduct against women were miraculously permitted to take part in a crucial vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister – the Prime Minster who demonstrates on an hourly basis that she is so far out of her depth, it would be unsurprising to see her turning up at the Commons carrying a bag of buoyancy aids.
May’s reputation for lack of competence and strategic thinking is enhanced by her every action and utterance. Those who surround her, even if it is only to get close enough to twist the knife, fiddle while the UK burns, apologising for nothing and bulldozing imperviously through disaster. And the best they can do is squeal like fractious infants if someone calls someone a name. Sir, tell him off!
Stupid, stupid people.