Here’s Theresa May’s final act of sickening ‘hypocrisy’

Theresa May
Fréa Lockley

Theresa May bowed out with one final act of sickening hypocrisy. She awarded a knighthood to Geoffrey Boycott. The former England cricket captain was convicted of domestic abuse in 1998. Despite an outcry from domestic violence charities, Boycott went on to reveal just how vile he truly is.

“I don’t give a toss”

May’s resignation honours list led to calls of “cronyism”. Alongside Boycott, she also knighted “ex-Downing Street spin doctor Robbie Gibb and David Lidington, who was Mrs May’s de facto deputy”.

But domestic violence charities condemned May for honouring Boycott. As the Guardian reported, co-acting chief executive of Women’s Aid Adina Claire said:

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Celebrating a man who was convicted for assaulting his partner sends a dangerous message – that domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime.

When challenged about Claire’s statement on BBC Radio 4‘s Today show, Boycott said to presenter Martha Kearney:

I don’t care a toss about her, love. It was 25 years ago. You can take your political nature and do whatever you want with it. You want to talk to me about my knighthood, it’s very nice of you to have me, but I couldn’t give a toss

This prompted further outrage:

And there’s another twist to this award that highlights May’s hypocrisy even further.

“They must not be betrayed”

In 2019, the Domestic Violence Bill finally made its way into parliament. At the time May said:

Domestic abuse can take many forms, from horrific physical violence to coercive behaviour that robs people of their self-esteem, their freedom and their right to feel safe in their own homes, but the immense bravery I’ve seen demonstrated by survivors is consistent throughout. We have a duty not only to bring the perpetrators of these vile crimes to justice, but to support victims as they rebuild their lives

Since 2017, when May called a snap general election, legislation to support survivors of domestic violence has faced numerous delays.

The bill was due to go to the next stage of debate in the next parliamentary session. So, on 5 September, 50 signatories from leading charities and women’s rights organisations wrote to Boris Johnson. The letter called for “an assurance” to “deliver the domestic abuse bill”. It said:

protecting the rights and safety of survivors is a priority.

Over two years, thousands of survivors have bravely shared their experiences of domestic abuse with the government and fought to improve support for women and children. They must not be betrayed.

So with parliament now suspended, May’s award to Boycott is a double betrayal:

“Crucially” as the letter to Johnson noted, new legislation on domestic violence aimed to:

ratify the Istanbul Convention, the landmark international treaty for preventing and combating violence against women.

Yet Johnson’s Tory government just kicked domestic abuse survivors’ chance for legal rights and justice into another ditch. MeanwhileMay’s honoured a convicted abuser.

For every survivor, and to prevent any other person ever facing domestic abuse, we need to get this vile government out. Now.

Featured image via Flickr – Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916

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  • Show Comments
    1. Taking a broader perspective, this is nothing to get het-up about.

      A retired member of the entertainment industry gets an ‘honour’. So what? For what he is being ‘honoured’/’celebrated’? Could it be any or all of the following?

      1. Long service as a professional ‘sportsman’ engaged in a mind-numbing ‘game’.

      2. Popularity among those prone to having their intellect stultified by watching him play.

      3.’ Earning’ a lot of money.

      4. Encouraging non-too-bright youngsters into entering ‘sport’ as means to achieve the ‘British Dream’ of money for old rope. It’s nothing different from what outwardly more couth individuals seek in banking.

      5. Unspecified ‘services’ to enrichment of people controlling the sports industry.

      6. Occasional ‘image-enhancing’ charity work.

      7. Donation to the Conservative Party, perhaps he’s not in the league.

      An honour never has been a badge of probity, good behaviour, and kindness to women. In fact breach of the former two enhances chance of being a recipient.

      Nobody objecting to an awarded honour carrying a title is obliged by law to address the recipient by using the title. More disobedience in this regard will hasten mass ridicule of the entire system. A polite Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, etc. is sufficient.

      Gradation of honours is a wonder to behold. Consider, people sit around a table arguing fine points of distinction.

      All honours up to and including knighthood, are worthless despite offering a bauble to wear. The few people for whom ‘recognition’ could be justified don’t need it. They already have admirers through having earned distinction in their field of activity. Because of the way the system works, ‘distinction’ is often accompanied by wealth which is reward of itself.

      Conferring membership of the Lords is indeed payment for services rendered. Not only may an appointee profitably meddle in politics but also other financial opportunities (e.g. directorships) open up. That is where reform is required. Lower rungs of the honours hierarchy may be left alone as harmless diversion, to be ignored if one wishes, in a society modelled upon Ruritania.

      The more interesting list is of those declining honours. It contains truly distinguished people mixed in with others miffed because they were not offered an honour befitting their sense of entitlement.

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