Shipley Labour Party member responses to Philip Davies
I’m always surprised to find myself shocked at the words and actions of Philip Davies. I really shouldn’t be given his track record of belittling constituents, goading them with unparliamentary language via email. Voting against the best interest of his constituents by voting against smoking bans in public, against human rights laws, against terminally ill patients, against raising benefits for the sick and disabled, not to mention a whole list of other votes he has cast to the detriment of a more equal if not equitable society. However his recent speech, in which he legitimises misogyny and hate and is completely wrong in suggesting that the justice system is favourable to women when in fact females are twice as likely to face custodial sentences than men.
As a father of four including two young girls who, who like me are passionate about creating a more equal society for all, I find myself shocked and appalled by the man who is supposed to represent me in parliament. If there is any real justice Philip Davies will be suspended by The Conservative Party, although this self-publicist MP would no doubt see that as a a badge of honour
As one of those so-called politically correct males who pander to militant feminists I believe that fighting for women’s rights is still, unfortunately, necessary. Women are being discriminated against and are having to face barriers and burdens that we men do not. Sexual harassment is an everyday problem for many women. Most women take the majority of the responsibility for children and families, a situation that could be remedied easily by better provision of childcare. Women suffer unfair pay differentials, being paid less than men for doing the same job. In many instances, women’s career prospects are more restricted than those of their male colleagues. And whilst strides have been made in breaking the power of a male-dominated society, there is still more to be done and men have a responsibility to be part of that struggle. This is not about political correctness, this is about fairness and justice. And perhaps there would be less need for stridency if men listened a bit more.
I was not at all surprised to read the comments that Philip Davies made at a Justice for Men meeting. He seems to enjoy being notorious, and pandering to prejudices rather than seriously addressing problems that face many of his constituents, to whom he shows little compassion; such as the fact that the policy of austerity (which he has steadfastly supported) has impacted mainly on women, has meant that many women, and their families, have lost their jobs, have been forced to use foodbanks and lost council services on which they relied.
Through his penchant for filibustering, he also ensured proposals to protect the NHS from further privatisation were lost, as well as free parking at hospitals for carers at hospitals. He has regularly supported cuts in welfare benefit and has also argued that employers should be able to pay people with disabilities less than the Minimum Wage.
In the past he has voted against equalities legislation, argued against equality targets in the workplace and once tabled a private member’s bill that would have repealed the Sex Discrimination Act 2002. As Maria Miller, the former Conservative culture secretary and now chair of the women’s and equalities committee, said, “striving for equality isn’t a competition between men and women. “ It is part of the struggle to build a fair and just society, ensuring that all, men and women, have the right to a decent life, with equal pay for work of equal value, and equal opportunities in work, education, training and the law. As Maria Miller said, “Women face discrimination on a daily basis, that is not a myth”.
Referring to Davies’ claim that women were treated more leniently in courts, Jenny Earle, director of Prison Reform Trust’s programme for reducing women’s imprisonment, said: “The evidence is not that women are treated more leniently. In fact they are twice as likely as men to receive a custodial sentence for a first offence, and the main offence for which women are imprisoned is theft and shoplifting.”
Despite being a member of the House of Commons Justice Committee (which oversees the work of the criminal justice system), he was quoted in the Sunday Express as having spoken against prisoners being able to spend time with their families, which shows he has no understanding whatsoever about the need for, and a strategy for, rehabilitation (whether it’s men or women).
Not a good record, is it, for the MP for Shipley