Good question. Within a week when we found out that a Met officer was known to be “Bastard Dave“His colleagues kept him out of the investigation on 9 separate occasions when allegations were made, why did those colleagues and his bosses do nothing and say nothing? How is it possible that people turn a blind eye to what is being said and done in front of them, with whom they associate, hear and often enable? By their silence – as much as anything else. If the quote (attributed to Burke) – “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – is not the focus of any training on the subject, as it should be.
It should not only be asked of the police. This is what Labor needs to ask after the behavior of Lloyd Russell-Mole in Parliament and after the behavior of him and others at demos outside. And of the SNP. (And, frankly, everything Boris-related is about the Tories. But I make no apologies for focusing on women today.)
Let’s take the police. Recent revelations have triggered a wealth of material about the horrific misconduct of female police officers, partners and children of police officers. What is particularly shocking is not just the misbehavior but how those women were treated: ignored, mistrusted, criticized, blamed, blamed, shunned, threatened, called names, retaliated against, etc. You can have the world’s most meticulously drafted whistleblowing policies and procedures. “No one would use it if it was a reality.”The message was ignored; Messengers are shot” They won’t even use it if the leaders give every impression of not caring about the issue—at best, with indignation and for PR reasons. For current Met Commissioner Mark Rowley, appointed in July 2022, it took him 5 months to realize there was a misconduct problem in his force. He laments that he cannot fire poor police officers, which has been known for years. Claiming the ability to do so should have been his first claim on Day 1. He may even try to ensure that all applicants are actually interviewed, better not to hire crooks than to fire them after the damage is done. He has been there for 5 years. A little more urgency would be welcome.
It is not only women police officers and partners of the police who suffer from this mistreatment. Victims of sex crimes – according to this latest survey – are seen as responsible for the violence “We greatly predict victim credibility. We investigate the victim more than the crime. Almost 40 years after the seminal Roger Graeff documentary – “Allegation of rape” – Male policemen treating a female rapist with harsh exclusion, how much have police attitudes really changed?
So to Labor and the SNP. During the debate on the S.35 order to prevent the GRR Bill from gaining royal assent, male Labor and SNP MPs separated themselves by barracking female MPs, both Labor and Tory, who voiced their concerns about the potential impact of the Bill. Russell-Moyle began a spit-flaking, finger-jabbing rant at Miriam Cates (who described being scared when a male stranger entered a female space while she was), then crossed the floor to sit close to her and stare. A colleague, Paul Bristow, was so moved by this, he moved to sit next to her. Russell-Moyle, Olivia Blake, Nadia Whittom and Zarah Sultana later attended a rally in their support.Trans siblings“the”Trans siblings” Standing next to them was Sarah-Jane Baker, a man-to-be-woman who spent decades in prison for torture, kidnapping and attempted murder. When this was pointed out, MPs said – in what should now be called a Zahawi-style lie – they hadn’t heard him, closely followed by a video showing them doing just that. Mothers (who are on Momsnet anyway) were also told their opinions were unsolicited.
Meanwhile in Scotland a rally attended by 3 SNP MPs, 1 SNP MSP, 2 Green MSPs and 1 LD MSP carried a placard with a guillotine in full view and the phrase “Run TERFS” No one noticed or objected then. Police Scotland are now investigating. The placard was reportedly shown earlier at a bar where people were making banners for this pro-trans rally. No one seems to have thought of such a banner… What is the word? oh yes……inappropriate These are not isolated incidents. Threats of violence, both general and sexual—on banners, shouted or sprayed on the ground—are all too common when women gather to talk about the issue.
It’s possible that women’s fears about these changes are — and will prove to be — unfounded. This would be a happy outcome. But, as silly as it may sound, one way to demonstrate (not just claim it) is to behave the way women tell you they’re worried. It’s not standing in solidarity with a violent trans person, then lying about it. SNP MSPs should not applaud a group of GRR supporters in the public gallery at Holyrood who had earlier sent messages on social media glorifying the violence they would use on women who opposed them. The use of violence and violent language against women by a subset of (usually) male supporters, with little or no criticism from legislators supporting the change, must be more problematic than its advocates realize. It is worrying that it seems to appeal to some of its supporters because of the scope for violence against women, rather than in spite of it. There is an important difference between emotional support and violent language and actions. Legislators should – more than anyone – understand this, not feign it or flaunt it.
What will happen to the labor leader? He is silent. Rosie Duffield writes about her experience here. He now feels that he cannot say that Labor is not a sexist party.
Starmer is silent why?
- Cowardice? This – more than anything else – is what allows bad actors to get away with it.
- Unwilling to confront his activists? Few people want conflict. Even fewer are good at doing it effectively. It is an essential quality of leadership. Its absence, and on what, speaks volumes about what is important – or not – to that leader.
- Does he perhaps, deep down, not believe that this behavior is wrong? Doesn’t she understand why women might be concerned and suspicious of the gap between words and intimidating actions and language?
- Dislike Rosie Duffield and other female Labor MPs with concern?
- Does he think it’s only the unpopular Tories bringing it up so he doesn’t need to take it seriously?
- Or does he not need a vote and the issue won’t decide an election, barring a commoner?
- Or does he, perhaps, not seem to approve of this behavior?
Whatever the reason there is a Corbynite whiff about what didn’t happen during the attack on Jewish women MPs. This is not the first time Starmer has remained silent when women MPs have been attacked on the issue.
Also in Parliament this week, Yvette Cooper slammed the Home Secretary over Met and promised change. But if Starmer can’t – or won’t – tackle misogyny within his own team, why believe he can or will tackle misogyny elsewhere?