Thursday, 3 October 2019

Leanne Wood censured for standing up to bigotry.

It was hardly unexpected that former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has been censured by her fellow AMs after tweeting a blogger calling him an “arsehole”..
To be fair to the AMs who voted to do this , they were rather tied by rules  which understandably are set to moderate AMs behaviour but in this case  seems to  be a victory for bigotry.
The AM for Rhondda was reported to the Standards Commissioner by an unnamed person who complained Ms Wood had breached the Code of Conduct for Assembly Members.

The tweet was directed at blogger Jac' o' the North after he tweeted a screenshot of the personal Twitter profile of Delyth Jewell - then newly-announced to be Plaid's successor to  the late Steffan Lewis   - and quoted part of her biography which read "women’s rights and international development’.”
His comment added: “God help Plaid Cymru."
At 9.37pm that night, Ms Wood responded "Do you have to be an arsehole all the time? Have a day off".
The politician said she was defending Ms Jewell after seeing “another case of bullying and intimidation of a young woman entering politics”.
Ms Wood had said that she had a long history with the blogger and that his blogs “often contain disparaging comments about women and minorities as well as Plaid Cymru, which are seemingly his pet hates”.
“I defend freedom of speech but there are limits to this and Jones frequently crosses the line and regularly writes untruths.”
Standards Commissioner Sir Roderick Evans investigated and said that the views – whether she agreed with them or not - “were views which a political commentator/blogger was entitled to hold and express”.
 In her speech to colleagues in the Senedd, Ms Wood said: "I may have a reputation for being robust in my response to trolls and bullies online but I do not normally engage in language which some may consider to be unparliamentary."This is the first time I have ever called someone an arsehole on social media and whilst I cannot promise that I won’t swear on social media ever again – I can understand why on receiving a complaint, the Standards Commissioner felt unable to be seen to be condoning the use by an assembly member of what he considers to be an offensive word."
 But she said, the case raised a number of questions.

She said: "It would not be honest or right for me to issue an apology because this is much more than just a case of swearing on Twitter".
Ms Wood told colleagues: "I decided that the best way to stand up to that bully was to use language he would be sure to understand.
"It’s not language I would normally use but sometimes, when standing up to bullies, you have to deploy whatever strategies you deem necessary.
"There is something very wrong with an organisation’s complaints procedures when the people standing up to a bully – and so often we are women, people of colour or LGBT people calling them out -  that we are the people who get the complaints and who get censured."
AMs had to vote about whether to censure Ms Wood or not.
Conservative AM Andrew RT Davies told Ms Wood he had "a huge amount of sympathy for the situation that Leanne presented to the committee" as a number of AMs also receive abuse but he said "it is a fact that this institution set up a standards procedure that is clearly defined and that has a commissioner at its heart, who presents a report".

Brexit Party AM David Rowlands said: "The refusal of any Assembly Member to accept the findings of the Standards Committee is completely reprehensible because it means that the code of conduct becomes obsolete. We would, in fact, practise being a rule-less Assembly. We must remember that the whole of the Assembly voted to introduce this code of conduct."
I am sure AMs will bear Mr Rowlands word in a future behaviour isies with his colleagures.

Prehaps the best speech came from Labour's Lynne Neagle defended Ms Wood saying while they were not political allies "her reaction was human, instinctive and protective".

She said: "As recently as last year, an Assembly Member, not a blogger or a commentator, but an elected Member, produced a sexist, deeply insulting video about a woman he works with.
"A councillor in my own borough, who actually chaired the safer communities committee at the time, repeatedly referred to refugees as 'rape-fugees' on Facebook.
"The friends and colleagues of the Prime Minister say he has a woman problem.
"He refers to Muslim women as 'letterboxes', an intervention that preceded a 375 per cent rise in Islamophobic incidents. The Prime Minister used the death of Jo Cox to make a flippant point about Brexit, an outburst that moved MPs to tears, not because they are women or weak, but because they mourn their friend and feel genuine fear for their own safety. The Prime Minister's own words are being used in death threats against women MPs."Can I tell you the two things that connect the Prime Minister, the councillor and that Assembly Member? They are all men and none of them were censored.
"And are we really getting ready to censor Leanne Wood for a one-word outburst - a politician whose opinions on gender issues and immigration have earned her death threats and daily abuse that require police intervention? Really - she’s the bad guy in all this?"
Royston Jones who blogs under the name Jac' O' the North  strenuously denied the claims made by Ms Wood in a statement provided to BBC Wales.
"My remark about Delyth Jewell was a reference to her background in the third sector, an area far too dominant in Welsh life," he said.
"I am no misogynist, ask any woman who knows me, but in the world of Leanne Wood any criticism of a female politician or a woman in business, etc, is misogyny."
The blogger said he had "never attacked gay people, trans people, disabled people. If Wood claims I have, then let her provide the evidence.
"Because my blog is read by many people this makes me a target for the left in Plaid Cymru and beyond."

The  reaction of Ma Wood who it should be remembered was still grieving after the death of Steffan Lewis  tweeted a screenshot of the personal Twitter profile of Delyth Jewell - then newly-announced to be Plaid's successor to the late Steffan Lewis and wrote "women’s rights and international development’. God help @Plaid Cymru."

At the time I wrote 0n this Blog  that if he had done any real research  then they would find ironically that Delyth Jewell  won the Overall Researcher of the Year award at Westminster. in  2014 whilst working for the then Plaid MP on his stalking bill

The panel of judges, made up of MPs, peers and the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses which sponsors the event, said that her work on the stalking bill “went far beyond what would be asked of a researcher”.

In fact she's holding two trophies, because she also won the award for Crossbench or Other Parties’ Researcher of the Year.
They might realise that such an award out of hundreds of researchers some of who may well be now MP's or future ones is a huge accomplishment.
Plaid are very lucky to see someone step in the shoes of a a AM who was renown in the Siambr for the quality of his research.
At 9.37pm that night, Ms Wood responded "Do you have to be an arsehole all the time? Have a day off".

You can argue that Rules are Rules , but why should they protect misogynist  (for Royston Jones is one) .

He can carry on with his  views  and whilst I can refer to him as an arsehole it is strange that those he attacks can not.

A total of 37 AMs backed the sanction, with 12 voting against it.
Most Labour AMs joined the Conservatives and Brexit Party in supporting the censure, while Plaid, UKIP, Neil McEvoy and Labour's Lynne Neagle voted against the reprimand.
Four AMs - Labour's Jenny Rathbone and Vaughan Gething, Lib Dem Kirsty Williams and independent Michelle Brown - abstained on the Senedd vote.


Anonymous said...

Give an example of his bigotry?

Anonymous said...

Roystn Jones was wrong abut Delyth and has acknowledged as much. But I cant see how he is either misogynist or bigoted.

Anonymous said...

How is Royston Jones bigoted?

Anonymous said...

Your failure to reply speaks volumes. An abrasive individual, no doubt, but a damn good investigative journalist.

Anonymous said...

He regularly attacks trans people, bemoans gay people, rants about "feminazis and lesbians", has made fun of disabled people, disparaged Muslim women, hounded women for years online, the list goes on.
I suspect you know this too.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't. Give me a referenced example. please do. Really, please do.

Anonymous said...

Examples, with references, please.

Anonymous said...

The silence is, unsurprisingly, deafening.

Anonymous said...

None, do I presume that I'd a retraction.

Jac o' the North, said...

I admit to using the term 'feminazis' to describe a coterie of women in Corruption Bay who use their gender to silence and/or attack opponents. If you don't like it that's fine with me. I think it fits this anti-democratic gang.
As for the rest of your allegations, let's have instances, 'Anonymous'.

Mel Morgan said...

It would help if the various anonymous contributors could distinguish themselves, e.g. Anonymous1, Anonymous2, and so on.

Anonymous said...

It's the usual tactics of the Left to name-call, slur and demonise anyone who dares hold a different opinion to themselves.
They believe in free speech, but only for themselves.

Mel Morgan said...

Could the various members of the Anonymous family distinguish themselves from one another? This would be very helpful. Something like Anonymous1, Anonymous2, etc., would probably do.

Robert said...

Hello Mel, Whoever anonymous is/are. He/she/they do/does have/has a point (exhausting). Accusations of bigotry are easily levelled, but not always backed up, as appears the case here. I've read Jac o' the North and find it most interesting. I, personally, can't see any examples of bigotry. Would be interested to see examples. Dr Robert Llewellyn Tyler

Anonymous said...

I can't remember if I was the 'Anonymous' in question but see Jac's blog in which he talks about Paralympians as if they are not human, gloats at Pussy Riot's predicament, priases the dictator, Putin, slags off Chris, Bryant as a fairy and so on. Also see my thread called 'Jac o' the North' on 'Y Repwblic'.

You might also check out Phil Parry on 'The Eye' who has much to say on Jac. I can't guarantee the reliablity of everything in it, and I think it's a pity That a Lance Watkins has hi-jacked the comments on a site full of anti-Welsh bigotry. it is called 'Of Wales and the Welsh', it's very racist, and it tars us all with Jac's brush as it were.

Most importantly, Jac referred to his neighbour on his blog as 'the English arsehole who lives next door', although he had done nothing to offend him, and some of his fans have been inspired to call him 'the Anglo twat'. He has also called named individuals 'cunts' and 'twats'. In some ways, the blog is quite funny, as long as you don't take it seriously.

I don't care that Jac uses this language. It doesn't upset me. But I have wondered if he was himself the anonymous person who complained about Leanne. If so, I would suggest he either stops complaining or stops dishing it out. I've just remembered that he advocates racial segregation in AMerica on his blog. A blogger, Martyn Shrewsbury said he gloated over the death of a transgender activist and politician, Lilly Jayne Summers, and provided a link. I didn't click on it in case it was upsetting. Check it out yourself.

As I said, I can't remember if I was hte 'Anonymous' in person, but if so, there's no need to say 'the silence is deafening', as if the evidence isn't there. I can't remember every site I've contributed to. I do have a life.