In possibly, one of the daftest policies I have ever heard from a leadership candidate, Owen Smith states that in his first week (if elected) he will set up a high level task force to root out misogyny. Seriously? This he deems to be his top priority? He doesn't say exactly where the rooting out of misogyny will begin or indeed where it will end - will it be solely dedicated to the Labour Party, or will there be a department or even a police agency so it can go national? Will the next man to call his wife a silly cow go straight to jail without passing Go? Will the same law apply to her if she replies 'up yours dickhead'.
The urgent need for this high level task force, begins of course with the 44 female Labour MPs who have written to him regarding alleged threats and abuse they have received. Nasty as that is, is it really a new labour leader's top priority? Never mind the freefall of Brexit, the thousands of job losses, the growing unrest, Owen Smith's first move will be to deal with the hurt feelings of the female members of the PLP.
How do you define misogyny? Will charges be on a scale of 1 to 10? Perhaps with the cute guy in the postroom getting a '1' for a sneaky wink, and the old letch in the boardroom getting a 10 for giving the promotion to his golf buddy? Some men don't like women, as I am sure some women don't like men. That's life. Some people go out of their way to be offended, especially if they are on the losing side of an argument. They have nothing of substance to defeat their opponent, so they make it personal. 'You are only saying that because I am female/ gay/ black/ white, fat, thin, Jewish etc', any social or ethnic minority will do. It is the lowest form of debate most commonly used in the playground, and by rubbish politicians.
Personally I would question the career choice of those shrinking violets. The HOC is historically a lively place where the object of the game is to disagree, forcefully. If these women are representative of feminism in the Labour Party, it becomes obvious why there has never been a female leader. These scarily sensitive women appear to have missed several cultural revolutions and VEEP. You can't put the words gentle and politics together. The issues you are dealing with are very serious indeed. Voting to build a bomb that can wipe out hundreds of thousands of lives is not a gentle subject.
Yes, there are old dinosaurs out there who will always be politically incorrect, but they are a dying breed, on the verge of becoming extinct. Social pressure is forcing their demise, special units to track them down is a couple of decades too late, there can't be many left. Promising to cleanse the Labour Party of misogynists as his first act in office seems a bizarre and somewhat dictatorial policy. Most wannabe tyrants wait until a few months in, before they start on the purges.
As a feminist, I cringe on behalf of those female MPs demanding special treatment. Where is the honour in winning any contest by claiming you were being picked on because you are woman? Angela Eagle went for the sympathy vote and look how that turned out. Real leaders do not complain about the criticism, or even the abuse they receive, it doesn't bother them because they put it in perspective. Jeremy has probably received more abuse and threats than all of them put together, but it hasn't stopped him getting on with the job he has been elected to do. He hasn't wept about it on the telly and he hasn't cancelled any meetings. Perhaps if these women had carried on with their jobs, they would have less time to fret over the people who don't like them.
As for Mr. Knight in Shining Armour, powerful women don't need a high level task force to seek out those who hurl gender based insults at them. The idea is laughable. Imagine Mo Molam telling the hard men of the Sinn Fein and the Ulster Loyalists to keep it all politically correct because she was a woman? With millions falling below the poverty line and jobs being lost every day, the public aren't crying out for kinder, gentler, politics, they want female representatives who won't crumble if someone makes a sexist remark.
As for Owen Smith's naïve promise to cleanse the party of misogynists, does he have any idea of the runaway train he is about to let loose? What about the racists and ageists? Basically anything ending in 'ist', and especially those that end in 'ista'.
I fear the word misogynist will become as misused as the word the racist. A quick, illogical way in which to win an argument when all else fails. And, it must be said, a word that can be used by unscrupulous females to further their own aims. Courageous female politicians don't fear misogyny or strong language, either at the despatch box or the hustings - they face their opponents as equals, and on the subject of misogyny they usually have the better argument.