A sad day for progressive politics

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CN: Transphobia, Domestic Violence

So Trump has done what we all knew he would do and has revoked the guidelines laid out by the Obama administration which advised that transgender students should be able to use the bathroom of their choosing. This is a sad day for transgender rights, not only because it seriously jeopardises the personal safety of so many, often vulnerable young trans people, but also because of the message that it sends; your gender identity is not valid; you are a threat to other people. I am angry and disappointed but not surprised.  I fear that this is the start of an era of regressive politics and think that we need to start really trying to understand how we got here, and what we can do about it. How have we lost control over the public narrative and why do we as lefties and ‘academic elites’ seem so unable to speak to the concerns of people who have been scared and galvanised into voting for the politics of hate?

On this side of the pond, Philip Davies MP spent 90 minutes attempting to filibuster and block a bill to ratify the Istanbul domestic violence treaty. A treaty which essentially treats violence against women as a form of discrimination which violates human rights. How can anyone seriously stand against this? I am so angry and appalled that this odious little man’s hatred of women is so strong that he feels that he has some kind of duty to behave as he has. It is sadder too that he is a localish (Shiply) MP and I wonder about the kind of people who have voted him in to office. I do take comfort in the fact that feminists in Shipley are organising and speaking out against Davies but, like Brexit it is the kind of thing that makes you look at your neighbours differently, and wonder if this is the kind of politics they want. I also take comfort in the fact that the bill passed with only 1 vote against, but the time and publicity which should have been spent on having a serious national conversation about domestic violence has been abandoned to make way for coverage of this vile, privileged windbag and his politics of entitlement. In a way I am adding further to the coverage by discussing it so I want to try and counter this with some stats from Refuge.org

  • 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner (Office of National Statistics, 2015) – 1 woman killed every 3 days
  • 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes and 8% will suffer domestic violence in any given year(Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013/14)
  • Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner (State of the World’s Fathers Report, MenCare, 2015)
  • Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime (Home Office, July 2002)
  • Every minute police in the UK receive a domestic assistance call – yet only 35% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police (Stanko, 2000 & Home Office, 2002)
  • The 2001/02 British Crime Survey (BCS) found that there were an estimated 635,000 incidents of domestic violence in England and Wales. 81% of the victims were women and 19% were men. Domestic violence incidents also made up nearly 22% of all violent incidents reported by participants in the BCS (Home Office, July 2002)
  • On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police (Jaffe, 1982)

In other news, today Labour lost a seat they have held for 80 odd years in the Copeland by election to the Tories. There isn’t much good to say about this, and it doesn’t bode well for Labour politics in this country but from what I understand, the running MP refused the support of Momentum in her campaign . To me, this shows not a defeat for Corbyn and the left, but for entitled, new-labour bots who simply cannot reach our core voters any more. In Stoke, where Momentum was allowed to put boots on the ground,  Labour secured a strong victory and kicked UKIP to the curb where they belong. Of course, the media are not reporting it like this. Sigh.

So I’m going to bed after a busy day of teaching feeling a little demoralised by the day’s political offerings. There is hope to be found, resistance is growing and getting organised. Even in my little dining room at home, we had a productive YFC meeting last night and are beginning to get a sense of who we are and the action that we want (need) to take. Gonna try and focus on that for now but my rage is close at hand like a weapon, ready to strike.

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