Party conferences give the press an excellent opportunity to actually do some real reporting. Sadly, very little of this takes place: instead, the hacks and pundits tend to project what they think will attract or repel their readers (depending on the political stance of the paper concerned) onto the participants. Additionally, the Labour conference allows antediluvian right-wingers to show they’re past their sell-by date.
What's f***ing wrong with leering at a few girlies, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
This is typified by a combination of patronising, leering objectification and sexist behaviour directed towards all women who have the audacity to voice views that may be interpreted as being to the left of those that the press have decided they should hold. It is then backed up by those of the premature dinosaur tendency, such as the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not).
So today’s speech by Gloria de Piero, who speaks on equality for Labour, was not only fraudulently misrepresented (monitoring staff backgrounds translated as “She aims to cut the number of privately educated people in public sector”, for instance), but used as an excuse to publish several photos of her, discuss her clothes, and insist on calling someone who is 41 years old “Miss”.
What message is being sent to readers? Is there a reasoned and thoughtful analysis of Ms de Piero’s speech? As if you need to ask: the most important thing as far as the Mail is concerned is to tell “Showstopper: In a sleeveless two-tone shift dress and strappy wedge heels former GMTV presenter Gloria De Piero gesticulated passionately during her speech to the Labour party conference in Manchester”.
So she was On Telly once. So was Esther McVey, and in a rare case of equal treatment, that’s one particular Tory MP who will probably get the same kind of crap next week in Birmingham. Elsewhere, the appalling Letts has decided to patronise Justine Thornton, because she is married to Mil The Younger: “Justine gazed at her beau, fragrant...but baffled”. Yes, she’s just the little woman, eh Quent?
And there was more: “Glam Angela Eagle, shadow leader of the Commons, rose to her hams and said that the Coalition Government was ‘hell bent on dismantling all of the NHS bit by bit’. I don’t suppose even Sister Eagle believes that for a minute. It was crazed, desperate exaggeration, the sort of thing you expect from student Trots, not from a senior MP who hopes to be in the Cabinet in eight months”
Quent believes that only feminists refer to women as women (rather than “ladies”, his preferred 1970s style), and to finish, he too had a kick at Ms de Piero: “Frontbencher Gloria De Piero was aghast that more MPs had not been manual workers. Her own former occupation: Breakfast TV cutie”. Tomorrow: Littlejohn will describe them all as “dopey birds” and claim he’s only saying what his readers are thinking.
Objectification, sexism, misogyny – yes, it’s all happening in the Daily Mail.