Sexism and red-baiting as the Sun warns of a ‘scarlet sisterhood’ of women leaders

Trevor Kavanagh marries the feminine with the partisan to create a threat to all we hold dear

 

Despite the failure of the Daily Mail’s recent efforts to paint him as a ‘caddish’ love cheat, some corners of the Tory press can’t help but imagine Ed Miliband as a dashing Romeo.

Today the Sun’s cartoonist ‘Brighty’ draws Miliband as a blushing James Bond, with the female leaders of the Scottish National Party, the Greens and Plaid Cymru vying for his attention in their busty red dresses and high heels.This unusually flattering image of the Labour party leader is really an attempt to portray Miliband as a hapless fool at the mercy’s of these Bond-girl femme fatales.

Milibond

The related column by Trevor Kavanagh, ‘Sisterhood politics won’t be ladylike’, lays out the argument behind the picture. Writing about Thursday’s BBC debate, he says:

Usually fierce Nicola Sturgeon looked doe-eyed as she bowed and pounced on Mr Miliband like a spider in sight of her prey.

She was flanked by gurning Green Aussie Natalie Bennett and Welsh socialist Leanne Wood, wearing a lethal smile. […]

Red Ed needs to watch his back. Nicola Sturgeon may wear high heels and a skirt, but the eerie silence from noisy ex-leader Alex Salmond proves she eats her partners alive.

If the sisterhood holds the balance of power, don’t expect politics to be ladylike.”

As you can see, what we have here is a sexualized argument, where the author talks about certain politicians in a way he wouldn’t dream of doing if they were men. I think it’s fair to say that stories about a post-election deal between the Tories and other small parties will not describe Nick Clegg as looking ‘doe-eyed’, or Nigel Farage as a preying mantis who ‘eats his partners alive’.

It’s true some that coalition stories did use terms like ‘marriage’, ‘honeymoon period’, and even ‘renewal of vows’, but this is standard political shorthand, with nothing to compare with ‘Sturgeon may wear high heels and a skirt, but…’.

In this case, the feminine is married with the partisan to create a unique threat to all we hold dear. As Kavanagh writes:

“In less than three weeks, if you believe the polls, this oddball coalition of Trots, socialists, anarchists and, until recently, obscure nationalists could be running Britain.”

I’m not sure who the anarchists or Trotskyists are in this election (he doesn’t specify), but this is little better than the mild red-baiting we’ve had over Miliband’s alleged socialism (or sometimes ‘Marxism’). When coupled with a lazy sexism, they might as well revamp an old Tory poster campaign as: ‘New gender, new danger’.

Resort to these sordid methods betrays a press which is both shaken and stirred.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

18 Responses to “Sexism and red-baiting as the Sun warns of a ‘scarlet sisterhood’ of women leaders”

  1. Jim Bennett

    Good article.

  2. littleoddsandpieces

    Women have lost out even more than men under tax, welfare and pension reform. Just ask the Fawcett Society.

    …”Poorer – with 74% of £22bn of austerity ‘savings’ coming from women’s pockets (1)

    – Earning less – with women making up the ever-growing majority of low paid workers, and the value of low pay declining (2)

    (MY NOTE – STATE PENSION PAYABLE IF CAN REMAIN IN WORK but women losing all state pension for life from low pay and pension changes.

    See why under my petition – in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:

    //you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now )

    – Less equal – with more women moving into the less-equal private sector, the gender pay gap has increased for the first time in five years (3)

    – Over-burdened – as vital support services, such as child and elder care, drain away and women are left carrying the load (4)

    – More vulnerable – as funding for services that support victims of sexual and domestic violence is reduced (5)

    – Less independent – as benefits that help shore up women’s financial security are rolled back (6).”…

    //www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/general-election-2015-fawcetts-plans/

    TUSC – 6TH BIGGEST PARTY – FACES TOTAL NATIONAL MEDIA SILENCE

    Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

    TUSC fielding 135 candidates in England, Wales and Scotland have a huge number of female MP candidates, that are also running as councillors.

    TUSC has a female candidate Mary Jackson,
    running in Doncaster North
    against Miliband.

    Miliband did not win 2010.

    Miliband got 19,637 votes

    Against 30,198 who did not vote.

    So has:

    CLASS WAR

    including

    Liza McKenzie

    Professor (Fellow) London School of Economics

    running in Chingford and Wood Green (London voting area) against

    Iain Duncan Smith who won with:

    22,743 Tory win in 2010.

    21,725 did not vote in 2010.

    7,242 votes wasted on Lib Dems in 2010.

    9,780 votes wasted on Labour in 2010

    And

    Socialist GB.

    Running against the 1 Green MP – Brighton Pavilions –

    is a man Socialist (GB – Howard Pilott

    But Ms Lucas did not win in 2010.

    16,238 Greens win in 2010

    22,175 did not vote.

    The Greens ran away from policies that would have saved the poor from starvation immediate this year, of all ages from babes in wombs to grannies, in or out of work.

    The Greens voted with the Tories to implement austerity cuts in Brighton council.

    But there are 3 voting areas in Brighton

    BRIGHTON KEMPTOWN has a female candidate – Socialist GB – Jacqueline Shodeke

    16,217 votes Tory win in 2010

    23,310 did not vote in 2010

    14,889 votes wasted on Labour in 2010

    7,691 votes wasted on Lib Dems in 2010

    HOVE (by Brighton) has a TUSC candidate Dave Hill

    18,294 votes Tory win in 2010

    But

    21,901 did not vote

    16,426 votes wasted on Labour

    11,240 votes wasted on Lib Dems

    WOMEN SOCIALIST CANDIDATES

    For TUSC specifically of 131 seats (ended up 135 MP seats now) contested women are standing in 34 of them, or 25.9%.

    TUSC membership is about one third women, which is a very high rate of them turning into candidates.

    Source – All that is Solid blog.

    //averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/on-far-lefts-general-election-campaign.html

    TRADE UNIONS MISSED A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY

    The TORIES HAVE ALREADY WON

    In a hung parliament, all pundits predict the most severe of all hung parliament, the Tories are obliged by the rules to stay in power in a caretaker government.

    Even if Labour gain more seats than the Tories, they cannot win from their low of only around 250 MP seats in 2010.

    326 MP minimum threshold to form a UK government, are the rules.

    If SNP win all 40 Labour seats in Scotland, then the predict 277 MP seats reduce further below the minimum threshold.

    If there is a Plaid Cymru surge in Wales, then Labour lose around 29 seats to them and possibly in South Wales to TUSC.

    In South Wales there was one voting area, that had as many as nearly 50,000 non voters.

    SOCIALISTS COULD WIN AROUND 250 MP seats
    TO FORM THE ONLY OPPOSITION LEFT IN
    UK GOVERNMENT

    With the severe hung parliament, get a sitting Tory government obliged by the rules to remain in the UK parliament.

    Then we either get now or from a second general election this:

    TORY / LIB DEM / LABOUR coalition.

    There would be no effective opposation left and so we face a de facto dictatorship ruling the UK government, that rules over all the Celt nations.

    If SNP win all 59 seats in Scotland, get about the same thing in Scotland’s parliament, so need to win some TUSC seats, to have 2 sides to the parliament.

    Plaid Cymru can win most of Wales, but need TUSC for the few seats they are running in South Wales, to have 2 sides to the Welsh Assembly.

    WITH TWITTER AND FACEBOOK THIS COULD BE DONE

    In the UK we have never known this kind of multi party governments of a group of parties gathering together.

    This has been the norm in Europe for many years.

    We are in virgin territory.

    Winning is vital this election by the socialists to gain the around 250 MPs plus opposition benches.

    Or do a deal with Labour, to get rid of Progress – New Labour and just have the Labour left with the socialists in a fully anti auterity cuts UK government.

    Leaving the Tories and Lib Dems inside a minority opposition across the floor of the House of Commons’ UK parliament down in Westminster London.

    GOOD LUCK

    I am voting National Health Action party and have the joy of having a local issue party formed that was the save our hospital campaign group.

    I don’t have any other socialist party competing.

    The NHA is only fielding 13 candidates. In my area this is a female MP candidate.

    The NHA is fielding a candidate each that would vote out:

    Prime Minister Cameron in Witney

    Health Minister Jeremy Hunt in South West Surrey.

    VOTING IS POWER

    THE POOR VOTER IS NOW 75 PER CENT OF ALL VOTERS

    YOU HAVE TIL MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, MONDAY APRIL 20TH TO ENSURE YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE – CAN REGISTER UP TIL MIDNIGHT IF YOU HAVE YOUR NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER – link me home page to the formal government website:

    //www.anastasia-england.me.uk

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    The reds, the reds, the red are coming to….er….be neoliberal austerity-pushers marginally to the Tories’s left!

    Even the SNP’s manifesto is so close to Labour’s they’re not going to shift Labour meaningfully left.

  4. Claire

    “Obscure” nationalists, who just happen to be the second term Scottish government. Add little-Englander ignorance to your list of charges. The sexism unleashed in the press during this election campaign is stunning, from the portrayal of Nicola Sturgeon as a scantily clad Miley Cyrus aboard her wrecking ball to the article discussed here the message is clear: Get back in your kitchen ladies, politics is not for you. The old guard are easily frightened.

  5. damon

    It maybe sexist, but at least two of the three are abysmal, and have said things in those debates that would be red rags to political Sun types.

  6. treborc1

    The SNP are now classed as the socialist party of Scotland, but labour are classed as being middle class the Tories of course upper-class but needs the middle class. labour speaks about the squeezed middle class, but now need disability sick to save them, they cannot pull away from the Tories in the pools I do not think to many sick or disabled will be chasing labour .

    The next election will be interesting to see where the socialist parties end up

  7. TN

    I don’t think Plaid will make much of an impact anyway (and there’s no real enthusiasm for Welsh independence), but notwithstanding the caricatures built up, Sturgeon is a toxic threat to UK politics. The SNP want one thing and that’s independence. In the process trying to shake more money out of England and pander to the interests of extreme left wing pro-independence people.

  8. Leon Wolfeson

    What? The socialists of Scotland are the SSP.

  9. Guest

    Don’t worry, the Tories are trying to ensure Plaid has more support.

    And right wing nationalism is now extreme left in your world. Right.

  10. Rab McLaughlin

    In what way is she “toxic”? Because she is calling for an end to ideological austerity that continues to reward the rich at the expense of the poorest, those people driven into destitution by the current Government, with Labour promising more of the same?

  11. Robert

    Na they are not going to win are they, the SNP are far better socialist

  12. Robert

    The left is pretty much dead these days, but can you have a right wing socialist party, New labour thought it was in the center not left or right, that was not the case Blair was center right, now where will Miliband take the party.

  13. AlanGiles

    Probably wherever David Axelrod and Mandelson tell him too. Mandy has offered grudging praise, and Axelrod wrote the script with “Hell, yes” in it.

    Miliband is a terrible vacuous lightweight who doesn’t know his own mind and if he wins on May 7th will be constantly dictated to by the ageing Blairite PLP

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    Rubbish. The left simply have nobody to vote for.
    There’s a sharp difference.

  15. Leon Wolfeson

    LMAO

  16. Guest

    Yes yes, those evil leftist Blairites.
    Transparent is transparent, Tory.

    Thanks for your mind control of Mr. Miliband as well, to make him act out your lightweight role.

  17. AlanGiles

    Care in the community isn’t working for you is it Mr Leon “Guest” W?

  18. Guest

    “JEWS R MAD”

    Thanks, Lord Blagger.
    Keep fighting discussion.

Leave a Reply