‘Brilliant stuff from Davie Hamilton’ : The Labour Party in Scotland and the wee lassie of politics

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In the week of International Women’s Day we got a stark reminder that women have not yet won the battle to be judged the equals of men in the minds of too many men, and shamefully a number of  women. Few had heard of the bullish Labour MP David Hamilton before he took to the stage at a special one day conference of the Labour Party in Scotland on Saturday. This swaggering individual is pretty well known now not to say notorious. I don’t know what else he said other than that outrageous sexist jibe at the First Minister because I wasn’t watching but I couldn’t avoid the firestorm his words caused on social media and there was Youtube to catch up on his moment. (I understand the Labour Party in Scotland pulled the video in an attempt to bury bad news but life on social media and with the wonders of modern science concealing what’s been said is no longer as  simple as that.) ian gray Now I don’t have problems with political attacks on fellow politicians, and Nicola Sturgeon must be scrutinised in her role as First Minister but that was not what Hamilton was up to. He was out to win over his audience, to ingratiate himself with his comrades who were lapping up his rhetoric as he sought to take the First Minister down a peg or two. Oh yes, they were up for that. And he did it in the way that came most naturally to him – he condemned her for being a woman doing a man’s job. His audience of Labour Party members loved it. Oh how they laughed – he’d got to the essence of Nicola Sturgeon’s weakness – she was a wummin – wait – wait – not even a wummin but – what’s even less regarded than a woman – a wee lassie. Nicola Sturgeon was a nothing but a wee lassie dressing up – hence the tin hat (worn by men, real men – usually ‘heroes’) to act out a role that should have been done by a bloke. tweet for hamilton Oh how his audience lapped it up. What’s not to like? The First Minister was being ATTACKED – put down, sneered at not for her political beliefs or record but the sheer basis of her gender. Nicola Sturgeon too photogenic, too friendly, too popular was getting her character – for thinking she could make it in a big man’s world. It is the easiest thing in the world to label men such as the bluff Hamilton as Neanderthals. It’s not really appropriate for Neanderthals were of their time – Hamilton and his type are relics, or should be, of a past age. Their ability to offer a coherent political analysis of opponents is negligible and so they try to conceal their lack of intellect with humour. Well Hamilton succeeded. We know where he stands on women in politics, and we can surmise from that, women in other ‘male’ spheres of influence. labour support If there was anything even more depressing than the sexist display on stage at the Labour conference it was the reaction of many of its top Scottish political figures who couldn’t get to twitter quick enough to share with the world the ecstasy of the moment as they ejaculated excitedly in praise of Hamilton and his misogynist outburst. That rush of adrenalin was only matched by the later stampede to their twitter pages to delete their support for Hamilton’s mysoginist outburst. That only happened when it was pointed out by their political opponents how outrageous his remarks were. Until then these guys, the same ones who approved the thick wee woman political broadcast during the referendum debate and the pink lady bus, were unaware there was anything amiss with demeaning women – och, can’t you take a joke?  Remember that? You will if you were part of the women’s movements from, well – as far back as you like but let’s stick with the 1970s. Picture the scene – Aberdeen during the miners’ strike and a group of miners went around the country looking for help when the Tory government was intent on starving them back to work. In Aberdeen there was a strong Women’s Liberation group and members, all just getting by themselves, bought groceries and donated cash to help the miners’ families. When handing it over the all-male contingent looked at each other and laughed conspiratorially – they didn’t believe in women’s lib they said. A bit non-plussed the food and money were, nevertheless, handed over and accepted, albeit with a few sniggers, but it was perplexing how anyone in a struggle during the 1970s could still think in that way – that women anywhere were a subclass of human. suffragette Hamilton, a former miner, was expressing this same bankrupt view of woman over 30 years later. It is ignorance and stupidity and prejudice all rolled into one unedifying performance. And yet even more disturbing was the reaction of women in the audience. Labour Party women laughing their silly heads off at this man’s comments. Reminds me of the Eric Bogle song about the silly women who stay on with abusive drunken husbands – who but a silly woman – he returns home, tanked upslapwhere’s my tea?kickthe boys didn’t win the day so I’ll take out my frustration on you punch. (Dovetails nicely with Jim Murphy’s demand that alcohol be allowed to be drunk again at football matches. I’ll bet quite a few women were terrified by that announcement.) Disappointingly there are women who are complicit with the demeaning behaviour of sexist dinosaurs. We saw that in the audience on Saturday. blair mcdougal The trades union movement was steeped in sexism. Attitudes and practice that prevented women getting equal pay and conditions with men for over a century. Hamilton proved they are still very much with us now and his audience of Labour Party men and women exposed themselves as a hindrance to the efforts of women to be taken seriously in work, any type of work. I suspect International Women’s Day will have given rise to quite a number of winked asides based on the idea of women getting above themselves. Now we know this is the official position of the Labour Party in Scotland. Lassies get back into the kitchen and get my tea on the table and you can forget about International Women’s Day.

hist_uk_20_suffra_car_suffragettes_fun_1875PS Brother Hamilton has just been elevated or whatever the term is – by the Queen. Another man of the people happy to join the elite of the British Establishment by accepting a knighthood – and what has he done to deserve one? You may well ask.

6 Comments to “‘Brilliant stuff from Davie Hamilton’ : The Labour Party in Scotland and the wee lassie of politics”

  1. Some things just never change – and the Labour party appears to be one of them. No self-respecting 21st century party should condone the attitude displayed so brazenly by Hamilton. Look at the guy – certainly no oil painting to be criticising the looks of anyone else. But misogyny runs deep into the bones of men and infects the belief of women in their circle to have confidence in their own abilities to achieve more than putting their man’s tea on the table.

    Sad, very sad. But Nicola has pointed the direction of travel, and we know there is much better to be found outwith the den of the neanderthals.

  2. Another dinosaur outed. Pop over to wingsoverscotland.com and read the post “A Hero of Scotland” and see the reaction! By the way most people think the snide remark about the wee tin helmet was a reference to her hairstyle. I believe it was previously used by some nonentity UKIPer.

  3. Hi  Davidson – Hamilton. ?

  4. Yes. I suppose a quick response is to describe the Adonis Hamilton as a styoomer (nae doot he won’t have the wit to find its meaning) but while he is this it’s not enough. As you say the labour movement and the Labour Party are homes for deeply ingrained reaction stretching from sexism to direct attacks on working men and women as we witness in Labour’s willingness to continue with austerity. Murphy might huff and puff about higher minimum wage, 1000 more nurses or whatever else his opportunism conjures up but the truth is we know them by their history, by what they have done not what they promise to do. Now covering themselves with “patriotism” the stench of reaction will surely drive all from this corrupt body.

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