Stewart Jackson, the Conservative MP for Peterborough, has claimed that Labour MP Simon Danczuk has been “stitched up” by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn within the Labour Party. He commented after Mr Danczuk was suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into allegations that he sent sexually explicit text messages to a 17-year-old girl.
Posting on Twitter, Jackson said: “Simon Danczuk has obviously been foolish but he’s also been stitched up like a kipper by the Corbyn cronies in UK Labour.”
Asked why he believed this to be the case, Mr Jackson replied: “Maybe the haste with which he’s been suspended for what appears to be something that is not a criminal offence if stupid.”
“Given he’s had some mental health issues, [the] more compassionate thing would be to have given him space and return to the issue next week.”
It is a serious cause for concern that this MP doesn’t know that it IS a criminal offence for an adult to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 18, if the older person holds a position of trust and power, as such sexual activity is an abuse of the position of trust. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides this specific legal protection.
Danczuk allegedly exchanged a number of sexually explicit text messages with a 17-year-old girl, it has been reported.
Mr Danczuk, who is 49, sent the messages to Sophena Houlihan after she asked him for a job.
She said: “At the time I played along with it, but now I feel like he duped me. I was keen for a career in politics and he is a very high-profile MP and I was in awe of him.”
Mr Danczuk allegedly asked Miss Houlihan to meet at the Labour Party conference and reportedly suggested that she join him on a trip to Spain. He told her that he was “horny”.
It’s absolutely disgraceful that MPs, regardless of their party politics, think it is in any way acceptable to use their position of trust and power to attempt to justify exploitative or sexually predatory behaviours.
However Ruth Smith, a lifelong Conservative supporter, felt that it is Mr Danczuk who is the victim of impropriety, and all because of his mere “foolishness.” She overlooked his serial objectification of women and sexist tendencies, then. She tweeted: “Ironic when we were supposed to be introduced to “kinder” politics! Hypocrites. JC et al dangerous.”
Sure. Some people will go to any lengths to divert attention and discredit the opposition leader, no matter how dogmatic, incoherent and ridiculous this shows them up to be. Or misogynistic, for that matter.
I can just see the headlines in the Sun now: Dangerous Jeremy Corbyn supporters made me become a stalking horse and then they turned me into a disgraceful, stalking sexual predator.
If Mr Danczuk is experiencing mental health problems, he deserves support and has my sympathies. However, the situation that has arisen doesn’t just raise issues that are simply about how “kindly” he is treated: it is also important to establish whether or not he is fit for his post and to ensure that he does not pose a risk to members of the public, as well as himself. Suspending Mr Danczuk is not “dangerous” at all, in fact it is the only reasonable and compassionate thing to do.
Last year, Danczuk said: “When it comes to Mental Health Problems, being in work can be something that really helps. I know that keeping busy and being motivated certainly works for me.”
However, sometimes, people are simply too ill to work. We have an unhealthy political culture and a government that has persistently refused to accept that sometimes, people are very ill and severely incapacitated. We have witnessed an extended, perpetuated, prejudice-driven political moralising and vicious stigmatisation of people who are ill and out of work, presumably so that the unprecedented, uncivilised cuts to essential support for disabled people have a façade of political justification, at least. But certainly not a respectable, legitimate one.
In fact this government have rather horribly and deceitfully normalised coercing people to work, regardless of their physical or mental illness, and regardless of the extent to which a person is disabled. Furthermore, it is regardless of the potentially devastating consequences for the person who is ill, AND the people that they work with or come into contact with.
Sometimes people need to take time out to recover, and should feel that they are permitted to do so without being judged and punished by the state. And sometimes, people are too ill, and no longer fit for their role. Consideration of these issues is compassionate and kind.
Nobody would expect a person who suffers blackouts to drive a bus or bin waggon if they thought through the potentially devastating consequences. But political, cultural, psychological and financial coercion is being used to force people to work – the government continues to cut welfare, which was calculated to cover only the costs of meeting basic needs. Cruel sanctions and strict, inflexible, often unreasonable behavioural conditions are being imposed on lifeline benefit receipt, adversely affecting some of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens; unemployed and disabled people are stigmatised in the media – all of this is done with an utterly callous disregard of a person’s capacity to work, or the availabilty of appropriate and suitable employment opportunities, and this can have tragic consequences.
This is a government that champions outgrouping and scapegoating already socially marginalised groups. It isn’t likely that they will listen to reason, because traditional Tory prejudices concerning minoritized groups are historically established and deeply embedded in Conservative ideological grammar.
The Conservatives value the use of lies and deceit to get their own way. How fitting that the man who brought truly democratic and liberal values into Conservative electioneering, fostering a respect for diversity and championing equal opportunities, (stop laughing) has finally been awarded a knighthood for his highly salaried dastardy. The lizard of Oz, the kidder for kidders that kidded thousands, did declare war on the Scottish, he is very well known for his dogwhistle racism, but surely divided and prejudiced nations and ever-sinking standards of living are a price well worth paying when we have another Tory government. Hurrah!
The cult of Lyntonism is a by-product of the micro-managerialism, totalitarian tendencies and the widespread use of techniques of persuasion usually reserved for the advertising industry, that has infected the New Right, “libertarian paternalist” Conservative Party. You know, I always thought there is something very pre-war Berlin about the Crosby crocodile smile.
I keep forgeting that this is 2016, and that we live in a first-world liberal democracy. Don’t we?
Happy New year all.
Pictures courtesy of Robert Livingstone
Update: Mr Stewart Jackson has blocked my Twitter account, surprisingly. It’s good to know how much Tory MPs value democratic exchange, reasoned discussion, transparency and accountability…