What I have been saying here about where hegemony lies in the Labour Party has been shown off once more with bells on following Austin Mitchell’s provocative article about Labour women in the Mail on Sunday. The amount and tenor of concerted personal attacks on him have been quite remarkable, encouraged by the leader’s office (not surprising given what he says about it).
Mitchell is not generally complimentary about Labour’s women MPs, true, and if applied universally, his views would clearly be wrong. But there seem to be two major questions here. Firstly, if what he said is true; and secondly, if it was unacceptable. For me, if the first applies, then the only ‘unacceptable’ is a political, tribal matter, not a moral one as pitched in the various reactions. The truth can certainly offend, but it cannot be misogynistic.
Hopeless handling of discussion between the 2 MP's tonight. Austin Mitchell was hardly allowed to finish a sentence. #Newsnight
— Kate Hoey MP (@hoeykateMP) August 19, 2014
But the dominant liberal media once more piled in against Mitchell. The New Statesman for example wrote up the encounter as: ‘Stella Creasy trounces Austin Mitchell in a debate on the “feminisation of politics”’.
For more on similar subjects, see the Labour Party and other party politics page and Identity politics and the left page.