TW: This post discusses the subject of rape, sexual assault and misogyny very frankly.
If women are the ‘key demographic’ in the independence referendum, then why are both sides of the debate giving platforms and time to some of the most rampant and disgusting misogynists in the country? The first article in a week-long independence special.
NB: The case for ‘radical independence’ in this article is of no connection to the Radical Independence Campaign.
Despite the fact that neither Tommy Sheridan or George Galloway wield a great deal of political power in Scotland, they have both featured prominently in the yes and no campaigns respectively. If women are the key demographic in this referendum, then surely it would make more sense to ensure we had more women-friendly speakers at events?
Tommy Sheridan is a stranger to nobody. A former messiah of the left, he was somewhat ostracised when he took on the News of The World in a shambolic libel case that saw Sheridan himself being convicted of perjury. Who knows what the truth is in the case of Tommy Sheridan? There is much conflicting evidence, especially after Andy Coulson was also found guilty of perjury. What cannot be denied though, is that Tommy Sheridan used women in the most disgusting way possible. In an interview with Julie Bindel in 2011 for The Guardian, Rosie Kane said:
“Tommy only has two ways to deal with women. If he can’t fuck us, he will fuck us over.”
And how true that is. Sheridan had little consideration for anybody’s feelings or wellbeing other than his own. He slept around and when he was caught, he tried to cobble together a shambolic libel case against the News of The World. He deliberately misled SSP members and tried to convince women in the party to lie for him.
When the women refused to lie for Sheridan, he flipped his lid, and set about destroying these women’s lives, writing defamatory blogs about them and accusing them of instigating a matriarchal coup. At his perjury trial, Sheridan conducted his own defence and subjected the women who gave evidence against him to humiliating processes and branded them liars.
Tommy Sheridan is a rampant, vile, misogynist who doesn’t see women as equal, intelligent people. He perceives them as somewhere he can stick his dick. The fact that Tommy Sheridan has been stuck up on a pedestal once again as a pariah and a spokesperson of the radical left is disgusting and disappointing. How can we show solidarity if we still allow people with such vile attitudes towards women speak for us and speak on behalf of our campaign? How can we make the case for radical independence a credible one if we still give arseholes like Tommy Sheridan a platform? . He is an egotistical maniac who stopped at nothing to protect his ‘family man’ image and ultimately, he was rumbled. Tommy Sheridan does not speak for me. He does not speak for you.Tommy Sheridan speaks for no one but Tommy Sheridan.
On the other side of the coin is George Galloway. Even though he doesn’t live in Scotland anymore, he is actively campaigning and debating for the No campaign. Despite being a “left wing” MP, he regularly holds ‘public meetings’ and charges £12 for the privilege of hearing him speak. This is a man who clearly loves the sound of his own voice. Let’s be honest here, Galloway has always been a creepy, sleazy bastard. Who can forget the incident on Celebrity Big Brother where Galloway appeared, pretending to be a cat and licking ‘milk’ from Rula Lenska’s cupped hands?
And who can forget Mr Galloway’s remarks about the Julian Assange rape case? Whether or not Julian Assange is guilty, Galloway’s comments were disgusting. He said:
“Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape, at least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. Not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.””Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape, at least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it…not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.” the allegations, even if true, “don’t constitute rape” because initiating sex with someone who is asleep after a sexual encounter the previous night is not rape… Assange’s alleged actions amounted to no more than “bad sexual etiquette”,
According to Barrister, Felicity Garrity, this is incorrect under English law. If someone cannot give their consent then it is rape. Galloway is another egotistical maniac who places so much importance on his own opinions that he was willing to sacrifice his relationships with colleagues and he also lost his job at Holyrood magazine.
In another interesting twist, Galloway today (11 September) tweeted that Nicola Sturgeon would not debate him and proceeded to call her a ‘coward’. This turned out to be untrue and both Sturgeon and Galloway appeared at the Big Big Debate for 16-18 year old school pupils in Scotland. But even if it had been true, all women deserve a safe space to debate in. Nicola Sturgeon does not have to share a platform with a vile rape denier. Just because Nicola Sturgeon is a prominent female politician, it does not mean that she has to tolerate misogyny.
George Galloway is also a Respect MP. Respect was formed as a coalition between the SWP and other left wing parties. The SWP are renowned for their attitudes towards women in their party with their disgusting cover up of rape allegations within the party ranks.
In order to move the debate out of the dark ages, we need to stop giving people like Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway platforms. They are disgusting cretins who show little regard for women. How can you have an inclusive debate if it involves complete bawbags like this pair? Every time you retweet a Tommy Sheridan tweet, remember how he humiliated and shamed women who used to call him comrade. Every time you like something from George Galloway, remember that he thinks if someone started having sex with you while you were asleep and unable to give your consent, it wouldn’t be rape.
This is endemic of the misogyny seen by myself and many other women activists and campaigners in the referendum campaign. Stacey , a friend of mine, opened her door to a no campaigner a couple of weeks ago and he tried to patronise her because she was a woman. Kelly, another sister in the women’s movement, was patronised by some Better Together campaigners today where she was told that “I don’t care about people like you.” i.e a working class single mum.
We can’t forget either, the cringeworthy “#PatronisingBTLady” election broadcast by Better Together. We’ve already written about our opinion on this video and it isn’t complimentary.
Of course Yes Scotland aren’t innocent of acts of misogyny and sexism, but the events surrounding the Better Together campaign are much more high profile.
It is little wonder that there are so many undecided women voters out there when women are shown little regard by some members of either campaign.