"What is worrying about the culture of the Labour Party is very left-wing feminists are putting up with a lot more than they would of than any other man because Jeremy Corbyn's saying it. Had Tony Blair not given any of the top jobs to a woman, had that same make-up of his team existed, people would rightly have been up in arms, but it's a bit like some people in the Labour Party are accepting low-level, non-violent misogyny because it's Jeremy doing it."In the spirit of plain speaking, Jess is talking out of her arse.
Firstly, what exactly is Jeremy Corbyn saying? Has he declared a penchant for young women, as someone else has these past few days? Has he been victim blaming women for the wrongdoing of a man? No, in fact Jeremy has said nothing at all. No sexist remark has crossed his lips since the beginning of the Labour leadership campaign as far as I can tell, and in fact the only comment that could be so construed dates from 1989. If Jezza is coming over all wideboy and having sexist bantz with the boys, let's hear about it.
As for Tony Blair, shall we have a look at his first shadow cabinet? My, what do we find? Leader's a man. Shadow chancellor's a bloke. Home office has a chap. And the Foreign office another fella. Yes, His Blairness, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw, and Robin Cook, all holding the "great offices of state", or at least their shadow. Five out of 24 in the first and five out of 26 in his second shadcabs were women. It wasn't until 2006 when Blair appointed Margaret Beckett as foreign secretary - the first time a woman occupied a "great office" on his watch. I've been Googling away, but I cannot find any pieces by Jess Phillips being "up in arms" about Tony Blair's failure to appoint women until his final year as PM. Or, for that matter, much of a fuss being made by anyone - especially those now claiming Jeremy is a latter day Sid James or something*.
And last of all, while it is true that most of Jeremy's appointees behind the scenes are men, to claim he is guilty of "low-level, non-violent misogyny" is as ludicrous as it is contemptible. Basically, Jess is saying that Jeremy hates women. Everyone knows that is not the case, including Jess herself, and refusing to discuss her criticisms honestly makes her look like one of Prescott's 'bitterites' with absolutely nothing positive to say.
The thing is, I quite like Jess Phillips. Politics needs more women who are prepared to speak up and speak out about the matters they care about, but that doesn't mean she or anyone gets a free pass when they make stuff up about the leader. Like Jess, I remain a Jeremy sceptic. Yet, in case anyone needs reminding, Jeremy won and his position is unassailable. That leaves two options available to his opponents. They can continue to shout their mouths off, risking their own hides when the reselection comes and adding fuel to the stab-in-the-back narrative already getting traction among members. Or one can constructively debate and critique while competing to be the party's best builders. The latter is the only way the centre and the right can come back because once Jeremy's gone, most of the members he brought with him are sure to stick around - and they will remember.
Come on, let's have some honest argument.
* For completion's sake, Gordon Brown appointed Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary from 2007 until 2009, when the "top four" were all taken by men again, and under Ed Miliband Yvette Cooper served as shadow home then shadow foreign throughout.