This week the Conservative MP for Shipley spoke for an hour and eighteen minutes in a failed attempt to prevent the House of Commons from passing a bill designed to protect ‘women against violence’. In a voice that sounded remarkably like a lachrymose drain (or, if you will, a gargling Darlek), Davies indulged the House in some of that radical-male tomfoolery that passes for principled positions these days; the sort of piss-up-a-wall logic that most of us abandoned with pubescence and our Beano collections.
“Because of the title the bill has, about ‘combating violence against women’, then it presumes as long as you support that premise you must support this particular bill, and therefore if you oppose this bill it means you must be in favour, as it follows, of violence against women and children.”
I hope you followed that because it loses me somewhere about its tortured middle. Does the same asinine reasoning mean that supporters of the bill promote violence towards cats, dogs, kangaroos, fitted kitchens and holiday homes? In fact, there might be no end to the number of things these bloody savages are supporting by limiting their condemnation to violence towards women.
If you think about it really quickly (and squint at the same time) Davies does seem to have a point…
“If this was the other way round, there would be an absolute outcry from people in this house – and rightly so. I don’t take the view that violence against women and girls is somehow worse than violence against men and boys.”
Well squeaked that man! Or well squeaked if it weren’t so utterly wrong.
Violence towards women is evidentially worse, whether that evidence comes in the form of the numbers of rape cases reported each year, the incidents of domestic abuse, or the multiple forms of violence committed in the name of religion, including the widespread practice of female genital mutilation. Only the most ardent feminist would argue that the context of a person’s gender is insignificant to the kinds of threats posed to them. In no way does it lessen or downplay the seriousness of male rape to point out that male-on-female rape is more prevalent and, in some societies and contexts, grossly under-reported because of the societal status given to women. Similarly, to be a women in some parts of the world means a very different life, as well as dangers, than it means to be born a man. It’s hard to understand why such an ardent anti-feminist can’t recognise this.
Davies probably doesn’t recognise it because to do so would mean abandoning one of his most principled positions: that of being a cold-hearted bastard who refuses to accept any of those fussily sentimental liberal positions. Davies has such a reputation for filibusters that it’s only surprising that he’s not objected to the utter femininity of the word. In his honor it should really be recast to sound much more masculine. Previous examples of his ‘coltcockery’ include that of 2014 when he famously used it to prevent legislation that would have protected tenants from unfair eviction, or that a year later, when he stopped children being given first-aid training. If Theresa May still wonders why the Tories have a reputation for being the ‘nasty party’, she should start by looking in Shipley, West Yorkshire.
In other news, there is not, apparently, a bill that protects cyclists from taxi doors, yet the evidence of this week is that cyclists have good reasons to rush one though parliament. Perhaps, while they’re about it, MPs could vote on a bill to protect cyclists from the Minister for Transport. Just yesterday he was filmed ‘dooring’ a cyclist in Westminster.
As Philip Davies would no doubt be quick to point out: there is no legislation on the subject of ‘violence committed towards cyclists by taxi doors’, which obviously suggests that MPs are quite happy to see it continue. In the Minister’s defence, the cyclist had been engaged in the rather unwise business of undertaking the taxi when the Minister climbed out. This was moments before the Minister was seen engaged in the equally unwise business of scarpering without leaving his details. Apparently, the Minister’s career has suffered no significant dents, which can’t be said for the cyclist’s bike.