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Labour Leadership Mansplaining At Its Worst

26/08/2015 17:39 | Updated 26 August 2016

Before everyone tweets to tell me that Mr Corbyn didn't actually say we should have women's only carriages on trains... I know he didn't. I've read his actual statement. He said he would speak to women's groups to see if it would help. So I'll put aside any criticism of the idea until a consultation begins and then I'll say: "It won't work, it's impractical and let's spend our time and energy on a slightly less victim blamey policy."

There is enough criticism of this position by Mr Corbyn's fellow leadership candidates without the need for me to add fuel to that particular fire. But something did light my fuse. In response to the probably unnecessary furore about a statement Jeremy didn't actually say, his official campaign Twitter said this: "Jeremy has opened a debate on street harassment that is otherwise ignored."

Well thank you so much Mr Corbyn. I must have imagined the stellar work by the @everydaysexism team for the past however many years. Or the local Hollaback campaigns in both London and Birmingham. I must have dreamed the Labour Women's Safety Commission meetings organised by Yvette Cooper. A lovely dream where I went to lots of local and national consultations with all of the founders of those campaigns and many other women's groups. The work I did to get funds for Operation Empower (a project run by Birmingham Safer Travel team and National Express about harassment on bus and rail network in West Midlands) must have been a mirage. I only wish I had imagined some of the hundreds of meetings in the past five years where we in the women's movement have tried to work to build violence against women and girl strategies to protect victims and actually prosecute perpetrators. I could be wrong because it seems that my memory is playing tricks, but I don't remember Mr Corbyn being in these meetings. It's not that men weren't, lots were.

This is mansplaining of the highest order. That's ok, we are all guilty of it, especially in politics. We try to talk for people whose lives we have no idea about. When we get it wrong we should admit it. Now Mr Corbyn, like me, likes a bit of plain speaking. BRAVO to him for that. My advice if he will take it, is to delete that particular tweet and say "oops my bad." Even more gracious perhaps would be to doff his cap (literally in his case) to the work of Yvette Cooper in constantly raising the issue of violence against women for the last twenty years. To admit that in the last five years even in opposition her support of DV campaigns has lead to more (not enough) central Government refuge funding. Or perhaps he could credit her for helping to have women and children in refuge removed from the benefits cap. I doubt this will happen but the lack of class of claiming any victory in this area while stood next to a WOMAN who has achieved so much is unbearable. And from a man I think is a pretty good bloke.

Credit where it's due, Corbyn speaks his mind with passion and sincerity. I just don't want him trying to speak mine without asking me first.