On the narcissism of Simon Danczuk

Hand on Danczuk and the Sunheart, I’m not Simon Danczuk’s biggest fan. Of all the Labour MPs of this Parliament and the last, his record has been downright appalling. At times when UKIP were surging, he courted will-he-won’t-he defection rumours in the gutter press. He’s taken to the airwaves to attack socialists as the equivalents of the BNP, and we shall not forget that Danczuk was paid handsomely by the two most right-wing rags in the land to dump all over Labour’s general election efforts, and then use those same pages to say oh-so provocative things about the party that has provided him a damn good living. As far as I’m concerned, he’s no better than a scab, a Westminster equivalent of a working miner who taunted pickets with wads of fives and tens. He brought himself and his office into disrepute a long time ago, and it’s a miracle it’s taken this long for him to get his comeuppance. Continue reading

Sexism is not merely “foolish” behaviour

Danczuk and the SunThe debate on whether what Danczuk has been accused of (accurately or otherwise) is worthy of suspension (and investigation) is a worrying one for a party that proclaims to be progressive. There appears to be, in some quarters, no real understanding of what the concern is.

Two examples of this can be found firstly in Danczuk’s apology where he states “there is no fool like an old fool”. And later in the John Stapleton LBC interview with Ken Livingstone, where John talks about Danczuk “being a much older man who has just fallen for a ‘nice pair of ankles’” (whatever that means?) he then went on to ask Livingstone “is it really justifiable to suspend him from the Labour party, we’ve all done daft things”. Continue reading

We may not like Simon Danczuk but he is entitled to fair treatment and natural justice

Sun DanczukI am not a fan of Simon Danczuk although in all my encounters with him he has been unfailingly polite and courteous which does count for something. He has a number of political views I don’t share, he shows far too little respect to a newly elected leader of the Labour Party, and some of his judgement seems bizarre. But that is not why he was pilloried in yesterday’s Sun, nor the reason he was suspended from membership of the Labour Party by its general secretary.

Whatever he has done, he is entitled to fair treatment and natural justice. In my view that should have meant neither basing any judgement on what is reported in the Sun, nor immediate suspension pending an investigation. Continue reading

Change will come if we stand together

We have come so fInternational womens dayar since the first International Women’s Day in 1911. At that time the Suffragettes were fighting – at times to the death – to ensure that women across the UK had the same democratic voting rights as men and in many working class communities women were taking on other industrial and class struggles.

We’ve come a long way since women started to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to call for something we shouldn’t have had to ask for – equal treatment – prompting the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. Since the 1970s when a group of factory workers in Dagenham said enough is enough and demanded to be paid the same as their male counterparts. And since so many other women got involved in the women’s liberation movement. Continue reading

On the Mega Brothel and what to do about prostitution

three sex workers restingWhat to do about prostitution? To all intents and purposes it remains banned in England and Wales, though an individual sex worker can work out of a property at any one time. More than one and they fall foul of prohibitions against brothel keeping. The situation in Scotland is slightly different as the campaign to make the purchasers of sex criminally liable has made headway but not made it into law, whereas in Northern Ireland such an offence comes into force from June this year. Despite the raft of laws and sanction against it, sex work counted for £5.3bn in 2013 (and contributed to a higher-than-expected EU membership fee, much to the government’s annoyance).

There’s the law and there’s the money. There is also the abuse and exploitation of women. Anecdotes abound of young girls and women being forced into prostitution by violent gangs of rapists/pimps. For many women involved, theirs is a bleak experience of being used and exploited. For anyone disposed toward the decriminalisation of prostitution, which is a position I lean towards, we need to look to where this has already happened. Continue reading