Posts Tagged ‘Simone Webb’

Sally Bercow’s crime is being a woman

12/11/2010, 04:00:36 PM

by Simone Webb

Read this list of criticisms levelled at a woman: she expresses opinions too stridently, especially on twitter; she slept around and drank too much when she was younger; she should be “reined in” by her husband; and her voice is apparently too high pitched.

Although this could be a list from another century (apart from the line about twitter) it is actually from the twenty-first, and all aimed at one woman. She is a Labour activist, erstwhile member of Ed Balls’ leadership campaign team, and the victim of countless attacks from the right wing press. Oh, and she’s married to John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons.

People in the public eye will always receive a certain amount of vitriol, but Sally Bercow seems to get more than her fair share. The Daily Mail is the primary offender: Sally is “bizarre”, “swivel-eyed”, “confessed to one-night stands”, “[indulged] in casual sex”.

And that’s only the press: Conservative politicians, according to the Daily Mail, have asked John Bercow to “rein in” his wife, while Nadine Dorries MP has said that he ought to “tell her to pipe down”. (more…)

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Labour has become too focussed on winning

30/10/2010, 04:34:04 PM

by Simone Webb

Reading Jessica Asato’s article on negative campaigning yesterday, I felt deeply uncomfortable. While delighted that we won the Kentish town by-election, the tactics described in the article worried me. I don’t disagree with negative campaigning if it’s confined to revealing the flaws in opponents’ arguments or criticising their actions in power. But the deception and trickery involved in dressing our leaflets up as Tory leaflets or, later in the article, using “ever so in-accurate bar charts” seems to me to be wrong on several levels.

First, it’s the idea at the heart of it: the idea that Labour needs to win, almost at any cost, even by trickery. Now, I believe people are better off under a Labour government. I wouldn’t be a party member otherwise. However, I also believe that people have a fundamental right to make an informed choice about which party they elect into power. If Labour party candidates are distributing leaflets which are even superficially deceptive, or show inaccurate data, or mislead the voters, then they are misinforming the electorate. (more…)

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Scrapping EMA really hurts me and my friends, says Simone Webb

23/10/2010, 11:17:02 AM

Of all the cuts announced in the comprehensive spending review, the one which hit me most emotionally was the abolition of educational maintenance allowance. I have seen many arguments levied against it, from supporters of all political parties, but I have felt its impact strongly: not just in my own life, but in the lives of so many friends and acquaintances who rely on the money they get every week.

One of the arguments I hear most often against EMA is that young people should just get jobs, and make their own way in the world. To begin with, this shows a lack of understanding of just how bad the economic situation is at the moment – jobs are scarce, and likely to become scarcer under this government.

Second, it is hard to imagine that holding a job down while studying hard to achieve good grades in A Levels, or whichever course is being done, cannot affect either the job or the grades. This would not be so blatantly unfair if all students had to take jobs in order to keep afloat, but the practical situation will be that children from higher income families will not have to work during college or higher education, while children from lower income families will. In effect, students from higher income families will have however many more hours a week to study, and will achieve better grades. (more…)

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