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Monday 18 May 2015

Sun Women’s Refuge Hypocrisy

Someone among Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun must have heard the quote attributed to French politician Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin: “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader”. The Sun’s front page story today, and its associated campaign, are an excellent example in the art of seeing a bandwagon passing and leaping out in front of it.
GIVE ME SHELTER” pleads the headline, as the Sun launches its campaign for women’s refuges. Managing editor Stig Abell clearly thought this was A Very Good Thing, as he Tweeted out the cover image overnight. And the cause is indeed a deserving one. That is not the problem: that the Sun has sat on its hands for years, and only now decided to leap out in front of the bandwagon, certainly is.
What also jars is the way in which Abell and his pals have attempted to seize the moral high ground over the issue, exemplified during the day when he became most indignant with campaigner Jack Monroe at her observation “Dear @StigAbell Perhaps if your newspaper hadn't championed the party cutting domestic abuse support, your campaign might seem less hollow”. And she supported the Greens, y’know!
Stig was not happy: “Objecting to a positive, constructive campaign based on your own politics is hollow”. It wasn’t a political response, but hey ho. The man otherwise known as Joe Public tried to show Abell that the Sun did not have a record of sweetness and light when it came to exploiting women. And Jo Liptrott reminded him “It's the objectification & dehumanising of women in The Sun which gives validation to violence against women”.
What might also be causing scepticism among those observing this latest exhibition of the Sun coming over all caring and campaigning is that it has been silent on the subject for so long. As far back as January 2013, the Guardian was warning “Social care is bearing the brunt of council cuts … Statistical manipulation disguises the fact that disabled people are being hit the hardest by cuts to benefits and services”.
It wasn’t just the disabled, though, as Women’s Aid warned the following December: “As 155 women and more than 100 children turned away from refuges in one day … Women’s Aid, the national domestic violence charity, is declaring a state of crisis in domestic violence services today, as the charity’s Annual Survey reveals shocking gaps in funding and provision for women experiencing domestic violence”.
It got worse: in August last year, the Guardian warned “Women's groups say broadscale closure of safe houses putting support for some of most vulnerable people back 40 years … Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said a dearth of experience on commissioning bodies was putting the system back to when the first domestic violence refuge in the world opened, in Chiswick, west London, in 1971”.

Only last month, the Mirror put it plainly: “Women's refuges turned away THOUSANDS of victims last year - thanks to funding cuts”. And what was the Sun doing? Well, apart from giving its pundits free rein to bully and threaten teenage girls, it was cheering on the cuts that have left the provision of Women’s refuges where it is now. And Stig Abell wants us all to applaud his wonderful new campaign. Pass the sick bucket.


p.c. said...

Looks to be about 30+ identifiable snapshots on that front page.

I wonder if any of their families/relatives were asked to approve this use of their images.

Crispin Fisher said...

Hasn't Sun columnist Rod Liddle also got some previous when it comes to domestic abuse? In 2005 he accepted a caution after beating up his pregnant girlfriend.

Stephen said...

Supporting charitable organisations as a replacement for social services is consistent with what passes for right wing thought.

And for the right charity is good: they pay out less in donations than they would have paid in taxes, and they get to feel virtuous besides.

Charity always benefits the givers more than the recipients, who are expected to be grateful and probably, in this case, wear Sun tee-shirts as well