A woman getting tied up and robbed would be, you’d think, a no-brainer when in comes to sympathy; but as I wrote for the Independent on Monday, that’s not been the case for Kim Kardashian, who has been an object of schadenfreude and even glee since the public learned that she was the victim of an armed heist. This morning, Today invited me on to debate this with journalist Celia Walden, and I couldn’t have asked for a clearer example of the attitude I wrote about, with Walden claiming that Kardashian “flaunting” herself led to an “instinctive reaction” of unconcern. Hear me explain what this says about our attitudes to violence against women, and what it has to do wit Donald Trump, on the link below.
Corbyn’s post-victory reshuffle has a distinctly assertive feel, with rewards for supporters and removals for the not-so-supportive. Most notably from the PLP’s point of view, long-serving Chief Whip Rosie Winterton has been replaced by Nick Brown – an old hand who served as Chief Whip under both Blair and Brown (making him a veteran of putting down rebellions), but also an ally of Corbyn’s on Trident. The move was apparently a shock to Winterton, who believed herself to be brokering peace talks between Corbyn and his MPs. The other big story is the appointment of Shami Chakrabarti (above) to Shadow Attorney General. A year ago, this would have been welcomed across the political spectrum; in light of her much-criticised anti-semitism report, it looks unfortunately transactional. You can hear me discuss all this, and the indignities inflicted on sandwich-starved lobby journos by an extended reshuffle, by following the link below.
After an extraordinary summer, it’s back to normal for Labour – a normal that includes a leader the MPs have no confidence in, MPs regarded as traitors by a large mass of the party, and anti-Semitism of the grossest kind voiced by an ally of the leader in one hall while that same leader declared “zero tolerance towards those who whip up hate and division” in another.
Tom Watson delivered a speech the moderates loved urging Labour to own and celebrate its Blair-Brown record, Jeremy Corbyn delivered a speech his supporters loved that included a barely-veiled attacked on Tony Blair, and Clive Lewis delivered a speech that Seamas Milne rewrote seconds before delivery to alter a key section on Labour’s approach to Trident, in a striking illustration of how loyalty to Corbyn is repaid. (If the rumours are true that Milne is about to head back to journalism with his diaries in hand, then the relief of Labour’s front bench could soon be lost in a swell of muckraking.) Owen Smith delivered no speech and is presumably just glad it’s all over.
I was on BBC Radio Wales this morning, talking through what Labour’s new normal means in the second age of Corbyn – follow the link below for the item.
Voting in the Labour leadership election closed at midday yesterday, with it looking very likely that a Corbyn victory on an increased majority will be the result announced at conference this Saturday. I was on BBC Radio Wales yesterday morning to talk about where this leaves Labour. Does it have any prospects as a party of government under Corbyn? Can the soft left and centre hope to regain control of the party? And is Labour ever going to confront the political fragmentation of the Union?
That last is a question I’ve been thinking about a lot, partly because I think Labour’s difficulty with articulating a positive idea of statehood, and consequent vulnerability to to electoral pressure from nationalists, is probably intimately connected to the left’s susceptibility to anti-Semitism (and, given Dworkin’s analysis of the conceptual intimacy between anti-Semitism and misogyny, its sexism too). I haven’t thought this through entirely yet, but since Labour looks in no danger of pulling itself together imminently, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to work on it. Anyway, follow the link below to hear me on Good Morning Wales.
The BBC One religion and ethics discussion show Sunday Morning Live hosted a discussion this week about the Nottingham Police initiative to record misogynistically motivated offences as hate crime (a subject I wrote about last week for the New Statesman). Melanie Jeffs of Nottingham Women’s Centre was there to explain the background and intent of the strategy; and Jon Gaunt was there to railroad the discussion into wolf-whistling, because violence against women is just no fun to bloviate about. I supplied some feminist side-eye, and the whole show is on iPlayer now.
BBC Radio Wales invited me on this morning to help dissect last night’s Labour leadership debate – the first in a series of nine face-offs between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith, and one that set a combative tone for the contest to follow. With Smith pitching himself as “the socialist who can win” as opposed to Corbyn as “the socialist who can’t”, policy differences crystalised in some hard fought scraps about Tribent, the EU and anti-Semitism in the party. Did either of them do enough to change Labour voters’ minds?
Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination so the glass ceiling is O-V-E-R – OR IS IT? I spent an hour yesterday evening fielding calls on Stig Abell’s LBC show about whether the wage gap exists (yes), whether women really are as good as men (yes), whether feminism should be renamed “equalism” (oh my God shut up), and whether it’s fair for women to be given the same opportunities for career advancement as men (uh, yes). Fun for me, and a treat for all fans of me telling men to stop talking because it’s my turn.