Novara Media senior editor Ash Sarkar has brought shame on the corporate media and right-wing MPs for sidelining domestic violence to protect Boris Johnson’s reputation.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on 23 June, Sarkar called out the pundits who have been downplaying a woman shouting “get off me” late at night. That’s what Johnson’s neighbours reportedly heard when they called the police in the early hours of 21 June.
Still, hard-right figures like James Cleverly MP are painting the neighbours as politically motivated:
The big element in the Boris story isn’t that there was a heated argument, it’s that the police were called.
The police were called by the same person who recorded Boris and gave the story to the Guardian.
— James Cleverly MP (@JamesCleverly) June 22, 2019
It was a proper tear-up. Glasses being smashed, screaming and a lot of arguing. I thought someone was being murdered.
In the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2.0 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.3 million women, 695,000 men).
Johnson, meanwhile, is somebody who once conspired to have a journalist’s ribs broken.
— The Left Bible (@theleftbible) June 23, 2019
“The reason I feel so strongly about this”
I think that this coverage of the political views of the neighbours is actually weirdly Mcarthyite. This idea that because they voted Labour, because they were pro-EU, because she gave the finger to Boris Johnson in the street, the way like 50% of Londerners I think would, that they shouldn’t be trusted and that their motivations for recording the row, the screaming, the smashing were malign.
And she then spoke of the consequences:
The reason I feel so strongly about this is that I think this has negative consequences beyond the Westminster pony show… Having a row in which you shout and you say things you don’t mean, that’s a normal part of relationships. Screaming ‘get off me’ at midnight, hearing thuds, hearing smashing… physical intimation is not a normal part of relationships… To see MPs and right-wing pundits just fall over themselves to normalise it, I think is incredibly irresponsible.
On social media, one barrister hammered the point home:
I’ve lost count of the number of domestic violence cases I’ve successfully prosecuted which only came to the police attention because of the actions of concerned neighbours. These people are literal life-savers. For MPs to discourage this for political point scoring is shameful. pic.twitter.com/SnZh9gvADu
— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) June 22, 2019
Suggesting people shouldn’t phone the police when they think they’ve heard domestic violence is dangerous. And male violence against women is an ongoing problem that we need to do more to tackle, not less. What’s concerning is Sarkar was a rare voice of sanity in the corporate media, while right-wingers rushed to protect Johnson – a frequent liar and cheat who apparently has no problem with violence. Utterly shameful.
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