Yvette Cooper Calls Out Misogyny From Social Media Trolls
And From Within Labour Too
Yvette Cooper spoke at a Fabian Society annual summer conference event over the weekend (9th July), and in doing so gave credit to Jeremy Corbyn for the campaign that won Labour victory over the worst of Tory plans that would have been implemented if she had won the huge majority she demanded from the British people.
In a speech that attacked not only the Tories, praised the Labour Party activists and MPs who had delivered a great result for the party at the general election, but also threw down the gauntlet at the feet of President Trump and his fellow misogynists in the UK who have been using social media to threaten, intimidate, and demine women MPs, Luciana Burger, Diane Abbott, Stella Creasy and mainstream female TV reporters e.g. Laura Kuenssberg.
But, true to form and in less than 24 hours of posting a Tweet announcing her speech to the Fabian Society on social media, the misogynistic abuse started again.
Below is the part of her speech that deals specifically with the misogyny that is fast becoming 'the new normal' and that has no place in a civilised society.
After applauding the use of social media for the way it's use benefitted Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party, she said:
"But there’s also a darkness at the edge of the new restless politics and the social media debates.
When passion turns into poison exploited by people like Donald Trump. When anger turns into inchoate rage. And when the challenge to old institutions and failed traditions is turned instead into the undermining of our democratic rights.
The leader of the free world built his campaign for the Presidency on vitriol and abuse. The aggressive misogyny, the violent language towards Hillary Clinton, the Islamophobia, the xenophobia, the hatred. And he hasn’t stopped since he got into the Oval Office.
Launching personal attacks on Sadiq Khan during the London terror attacks.
On women journalists – for breathing and bleeding.
Abuse and vitriol that should be pushed to the margins of political debate. But instead is being pushed right to its heart.
And it is not just the abuse. Mr President is using 140 characters each day to undermine the safeguards in democracy. Threatening CNN and the rest of the independent media that might hold him to account. Attacking the independent judiciary that force him to abide by the law.
These aren’t just harmless rants from a sad man in his bedroom.
This is the bully pulpit of the most powerful man on the planet, broadcast direct to millions of people, echoed and amplified by the Breitbarts, the cheerleaders, the echo chambers.
We are treating this as the new normal. We are forgetting to be disturbed any more.
It’s so overblown.
The British prime minister delays condemning the attacks on the London Mayor.
The British foreign secretary applauds Trump Tweets – says they engage people.
So that’s alright then?
We are normalising a level of vitriol and violence in our lives. Normalising hatred. Undermining the values of democracy. Here too, we’ve seen the poison targeted at some on social media. Worse for women. Worse if you are gay. Much worse if you are black, Muslim or Jewish.
Silencing people because of who they are. Escalating hatred and contempt for others. Driving people out of political debate.
In politics, some of the worst and vilest abuse has been targeted at Diane Abbott – who has bravely spoken out against the racism, misogyny and violent threats. For years she has challenged prejudice, smashed through glass ceilings, only in the age of social media to see an escalation of appalling abuse.
Luciana Berger bombarded by anti-Semitic abuse online and fascist threats – powerfully testifying in court while pregnant against the person who harassed and racially abused her before he was sent down for 2 years.
Stella Creasy told “hopefully you will join that woman Cox” I’ve seen racist vitriol targeting black and Asian Tory MPs too.
And it’s not just those in politics
Even more troubling is when people in all walks of life are targeted with abuse, threats, racism or misogyny just for who they are.
Its why we set up Reclaim the Internet – inspired by Reclaim the Night in the early 80s – to challenge the abuse so every voice can be heard. And frankly I am sick to death of the vitriol poured out from all sides towards Laura Kuenssberg
It is her job to ask difficult questions. It is her job to be sceptical about everything we say. Nothing justifies the personal vitriol, or the misogyny. It’s straight out of the Trump playbook."
Turning to the Labour Party itself and how members and supporters conducted themselves, she said:
But here’s the difficult thing we have to face -
The attacks, the abuse and the attempts at intimidation don’t just come from the right.
Sometimes our party members and supporters target each other.
Frankly Labour Party members should be united in supporting Luciana not targeting her or trying to intimidate her. Unacceptable always in the Labour party. Utterly shameful against someone who has stood up to fascists, someone who is on maternity leave.
Nor is there any excuse for vitriolic abuse against our opponents. During this General Election campaign some Tory women MPs and candidates were targeted with unacceptable personal abuse from the left.
And we’ve seen Labour supporters at rallies holding placards with the severed head of Theresa May.
Maybe it was meant as a joke. It isn’t funny.
I’ve spent 20 years opposing Theresa May. 20 years challenging almost everything she’s done. I feel huge anger at what she is doing to this country. But I never ever want to see Labour people mocking up pictures of her head on a stake. I never ever want our party to dehumanise our opponents. That’s what the far right do.
It’s what the Trump cheerleaders did to Hilary Clinton. It’s the normalising of vitriol and hatred that if we let it go on corrupts our democracy, undermines human kindness and respect. And in the Labour Party we should know. Because we’ve already lost someone to hatred.
Above where we sit in parliament is a coat of arms with suffragette colours, a Labour red rose, and a Yorkshire white rose, a coat of arms for Jo Cox.
Jo who reminded us that we have more in common. And here’s the thing.
Aggression and hatred towards others isn’t what won us votes in this election. And it isn’t what has won us growing support we’ve seen in the polls since. Quite the opposite. What struck people about Jeremy Corbyn when he went to Grenfell Tower was his empathy and compassion.
I believe there is a real appetite now for the politics of kindness and humanity. Jeremy understood that two years ago when he talked about the kinder, gentler politics.
It should be at the heart of what we stand for – as the party that fights against cruel Government policies and injustice. We can fight for our values without vitriol, stand up against bullies wherever we find them. For us anger is the well-spring of change, not of mindless abuse. We can disagree and debate both within our party and without and still show some kindness and respect.
These are the values of democracy. And frankly they are the values we need if we are to pull the country together, build a consensus for the plans and policies we care about, and find a pathway to power for a fairer Britain.
Because it really matters."
You can read her full speech on the Fabian Society website, here
Source: Huffpost / Fabian Society / C Ingram