One of the Conservatives’ favourite journalists has posted a dodgy photo of himself in bed with a cardboard cut-out of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott. Paul Staines runs the blog Guido Fawkes, which has been celebrated by Conservative Ministers and backbenchers alike. This includes former Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and former Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Staines stands accused of misogynoir (both sexism and racism) for the way he’s mocked Abbott on social media:
Receiving widespread criticism, Staines doubled down on his personal attack on the UK’s first female black MP:
She begged me.
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) June 5, 2017
But the majority of people condemned the post. Political commentator Maya Goodfellow pointed out that the image isn’t a one-off:
Guido Fawkes' tweet about Abbott is awful. She gets a disproportionate amount of abuse for simply being a black woman in frontline politics
— Maya Goodfellow (@MayaGoodfellow) June 6, 2017
People have often noted that Abbott attracts a disproportionate amount of abuse as a prominent black woman in politics. On social media, many single her out for alleged incompetence while ignoring the appalling CVs of senior Conservative politicians.
George Osborne got a 2:1 in Modern History, rejected by The Economist; and became Chancellor of the Exchequer. https://t.co/U6v2iDN8lQ
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) May 28, 2017
Guido Fawkes and the Conservative Party
Staines positions Guido Fawkes as being outside the Westminster bubble. But swathes of the Conservative Party attended the blog’s ten-year anniversary party, which featured contributions from top Conservatives. Former Prime Minister Cameron branded the blog:
Required reading for all those working in politics, including me.
Meanwhile, sitting Foreign Secretary Johnson crowed:
they are the indispensable dung beneath the rose bush of democracy.
As well as Staines, Johnson has faced criticism for his Radio 4 attack on Abbott on 6 June.
— Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) June 6, 2017
Abbott has been making widespread headlines for pulling out of a Woman’s Hour interview on 6 June. But people are pointing out that, when Theresa May ducked a Woman’s Hour interview last week, it did not receive anywhere near as much coverage or scorn.
Nor did May make headlines when she pulled out of all her regional BBC interviews that same week. That’s partly because the BBC covered for May. The outlet instructed its staff not to post online that the Prime Minister had cancelled. The news only broke after a BBC insider defied orders and informed Guardian columnist Owen Jones.
Staines’ disgraceful attack on Abbott must be condemned. Political debate should focus on the merits of policy, not the sexual intimidation of black female politicians. Parliament is 71% male and 93% white, while the population is 51% female and around 20% non-white. We need to encourage better representation, not harass the most prominent female black MP around, who’s done great services for minorities in this country. Staines should be ashamed.
– Get out and vote on 8 June. And encourage others to do the same.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Get involved with 50:50 parliament, a cross-party pressure group for gender equality in politics.
– See more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
– Support The Canary if you value the work we do.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?