Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sheridan Update

It was curious to see Julie Bindel's take on the Sheridan affair. It probably goes without saying that I am not a fan of the aforesaid journalist. But what was revealing was the way that she saw it as a gender war. Having been on a discussion list with Catriona Grant, the woman she quotes in her article, her brand of feminism does not appeal to me. The women in her faction (which Sheridan called a 'gender based discussion group) wish to criminalise the purchasers of sex, seeing all the sellers as being victims. From what I could gather their feminism has hardly moved on since the 1970s, or rather it is a rehash of it. All women are oppressed and men are by definition the oppressors.

But interesting what Grant had to say, namely that this was not about class but about gender. Really? Would any serious socialist (or feminist for that matter) testify for News of the World, that right wing and misogynist rag? Is Rupert Murdoch suddenly a champion of women's rights?

While Bindel may speak some truths about the macho behaviour of men on the hard left, and the sexist treatment in court merited to Fiona McGuire, I neither support the brand of feminism espoused by Bindel and Grant (the latter being an admirer of the former and her style) nor do I think it a principled stance for alleged socialists not to stand by their comrades, whatever their faults.

Bindel's article seems to further confirm my suspicion that it was a faction who took advantage of the situation. Nothing was mentioned about the truth or non truth of the allegation, even whether the sex life of Sheridan was relevent to his conduct as a politician. Bindel's ire was focused on Sheridan's wife and mother for standing by him, for not being the kind of women she would deem as politically correct. Which speaks volumes about her -and those with her policies.

A good rebuttal is in today's paper


AN said...


I'm not sure that these issues are really at the centre of the dispute.

the comrades who testified "for" the NOTW were called reluctantly, and had foughttooth and nail not to go to court. They had privately urged Sherdian to drop the case, as comrades and friends. they had passed party policy against Sheridan taking the case to court, and Alan McCombes had gone to gaol to keep evidence out of the court.

BUt once called as reluctant witnesses they decided it better to tell the truth, then put the whole party in jeopardy by colluding in a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
lielwise the NOTW's most convincing wiotness Katrina Trolle, who had refused to talk to NOTW, but once called under oath felt she had no choice but to tell the truth about her affair with TS. Testimony backed by her flat mates and phone records.

Liz said...

Andy - I thought Trolle had been paid by NOTW for her story. Are we thinking of the same person?

As for the whole dispute - I've been reading all the coverage and it seems there is little to choose from between either of the factions, at least politically there is no difference. And personally neither of them come out smelling of roses. But Bindel's (and Grant's) view that this was somehow a war between men and women was simply ludicrous. This is what has come of the party's embrace of establishment (MacKinnonite) feminism.

I can say that Weekly Worker were spot on when they said the whole thing has a lot to do with their position on prostitution (it being violence against women). As Sheridan bought this line the NOTW allegation that he bought the services of a prostitute could not be dismissed as a personal matter. If they had taken the simple pragmatic stance of calling for decriminalisation and rights for sex workers it perhaps need not have ever come to this.

I'm very disillusioned as the more comes to light the less inclined I am to believe that they were ever a serious political party. Let's just hope something can be learnt from this.

Jim Jay said...

"they decided it better to tell the truth, then put the whole party in jeopardy by colluding in a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."

I think that then was meant to be a than which makes quite a lot of difference!