It all depends what your heart beats for…

The Sister March in Shipley, West Yorkshire, 21.01.2017

On Saturday, we marched alongside 1500 others in Shipley, West Yorkshire, joining millions across the globe to make a stand for equality, justice and human rights as part of the Women’s March, organised to protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. According to the figures, our small Yorkshire town hosted more marchers than Rome. Why? Because our MP – Philip Davies – publicly nailed his colours to the Trump mast, claiming he would vote for Donald Trump “in a heartbeat if I could.”

Our two daughters, aged 7 & 10, joined us on the protest. We spoke to them about
Donald Trump and the things he said and did during the election campaign. They watched videos of him on YouTube. They were interested to hear that our MP supported him and wanted to know why – “Why would Philip Davies want to vote for someone who says it’s ok to grab someone if you think they’re beautiful?” 


So, on their behalf, I asked him. Here’s our email exchange, in case others are interested in his answer…

Dear Mr Davies,
At the end of September last year, an article written by you was published in Heat Street in which you endorsed Donald Trump, saying you would vote for him “in a heartbeat”.
At the beginning of October, comments made by Trump in which he boasted about groping women were made public, after the publication of your article.
I can find no public record of your response to this and would like to know whether you made any? If not, perhaps you could clarify whether you would still have voted for him after these comments came to light?
As a female constituent and a parent of two daughters, I would be very interested in your views on this matter.
Many thanks.  


Thank you for your email.

What Donald Trump said about groping women was completely unacceptable – something I believe he acknowledged himself.
In answer to your question, I still would have voted for Trump because he would still have been standing against Hilary Clinton – who I consider to be the worst and most corrupt candidate in recent times.
Would you have still voted for Bill Clinton after he took advantage of a young female intern in the way he did. Would you still have voted for Hilary after she got private investigators to go to all the women Bill Clinton had affairs with and threaten them if they ever mentioned it in public in order to help Bill’s election prospects?
Would you?  I am sure you would.
Amazing how the so called feminists were so quiet about the Clintons.
As I say, it is not their feminist views that motivates these people, it is their socialist views.  It is a shame they can’t be honest about that.
Best wishes
Philip

 
 
Thank you for your quick reply.
You mention Trump’s apology for his comments – during which he dismissed them as “nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today”, hardly a heartfelt apology and showing a complete failure to understand the serious impact of sexual assault – then you write about the allegations against the Clintons on the basis that that makes them unfit for office.
Trump & Clinton have both been accused of sexual assault. If you wouldn’t vote for Clinton on that basis, why would you vote for Trump?
If I’d had a vote in the US Presidential election, I would have thoroughly researched both candidates and made a judgement based on that research. It’s entirely possible I would have spoilt my ballot paper, having done so before when I felt I couldn’t support any of the options in front of me. It’s also worth saying that I’m not a socialist, nor a Labour supporter, so I fail to see the relevance of socialism to this email conversation.
I have two daughters. They are 10 and 7. As they grow up, we are instilling respect in them, for their own bodies and those of others. How do I explain to them that one of the most powerful global positions is now held by a man who shamelessly boasted about committing sexual assault? And that the MP who represents them in parliament would have voted for him?
I wonder if Donald Trump apologised to the women he claims to have groped without their consent? I wonder whether his public apology was sincere enough to gain their forgiveness? Should I tell my daughters that if someone touches them like that without their consent and apologises to them in the same way as Trump did, that they should accept the apology and that makes the actions ok?
Sexual assault is inexcusable and is also a criminal offence.
Any victims of sexual assault should go to the Police, the perpetrators should be prosecuted and in my opinion sent to prison.
If I had said I supported Hilary Clinton, would you have emailed me to ask why I supported a woman who helped to cover up her husband’s sexual assaults?  No, of course you wouldn’t have done so – I can only speculate as to why.
Best wishes
Philip
 
 
With all due respect, you have no idea whether I would have emailed you to ask that or not. What I am asking is why you are happy to endorse Trump?
This is not about the Clintons – you have deflected my questions onto them. Hillary Clinton didn’t win the presidential election.

Donald Trump, a man who made openly misogynistic comments during his campaign, who was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault and made an inadequate apology before deflecting into an attack on his opponent, who did a gross disservice to the millions of men worldwide who would never talk about women in that way by dismissing it as locker room talk, now holds one of the most powerful positions in the world. You, as the man who represents my daughters in parliament, endorse his election to that position. How do I explain that to them? How can you represent their interests fully?
I have made my views clear on all of this in my previous emails.
I know for a fact you wouldn’t have emailed me if I had said I supported Hillary. Whether you wish to admit that is a matter for you, but you know it and I know it.
Best wishes
Philip
 
I emailed you because, in looking back at the dates, I noticed you had endorsed Trump before his comments about groping women were made known. I wanted to know whether your endorsement stands in the light of those comments.
You have answered that you do still endorse Trump, despite the comments he made and his flimsy apology.
The truth is, you didn’t need to endorse anyone in this election. You did and you stand by that endorsement, I assume because Trump’s approach and political stance on areas you agree with are more important to you than the comments he made about women. You have every right, of course, to take this stance.
I was seeking clarity on where you stood because my politically aware girls ask lots of questions and I wanted to be fair to you when I answered them.
You don’t know what I would or wouldn’t have emailed you about if Hillary Clinton had won the election. You didn’t endorse her candidacy. You take a rude and accusatory tone with me about Hillary Clinton as a defensive stance based on unfounded assumptions about me, rather than answering the questions I was actually asking.
If you have nothing more to say, I shall answer my daughters based on the replies you have sent.
Thank you for your time.

I hope you will educate your daughters on the role Hillary Clinton played in covering up the sexual assaults by her husband.
Somehow I fear you may not.
Best wishes
Philip
 
 
As it has played such an important role in your justification for supporting Trump, I’ll happily speak to them about the allegations made against the Clintons, as well as those made against Trump.
 
 
Thank you.
Then everyone can conclude that support was given on the basis of what they would do for the country and the economy, and not on their considerable personal flaws which formed no basis of my support for either.
Best wishes
Philip
 
 

We think that character and integrity are hugely important factors to consider, so I’m not sure my girls will agree with your justification, but I will certainly make sure they understand the position you have chosen to take.

Indeed, and Hillary Clinton was certainly lacking in integrity at least as much as Trump.Therefore the election had to be determined by other factors.
Best wishes
Philip

 
 

As promised, I’ve just spoken to my daughters about Trump, Clinton, & Philip Davies. We talked about a lot of things – things that people allege about others, things that people say themselves, politics, power, the option to spoil ballot papers and refuse the choice put in front of you. And we talked about how, as a British MP, Philip Davies didn’t actually have to choose which candidate he would vote for – he could have publicly declared that he didn’t think either of them was fit for office. Or not commented publicly on the Presidential Election at all. They’ve just brought me a note, asking me to email him back and tell him they say no to Trump and Clinton – “tell him he didn’t have to choose.” I love my girls. 

Our 7 year old, inspired by the poets on the march, wrote her own poem…

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “It all depends what your heart beats for…

  1. Aw. Disappointed.
    I thought you might have quoted Meg directly in the first email! He means to present himself as “plain speaking” – a sound mix of sentiment, circumspection, and a concrete unpretentious grasp of the details. Though he is certainly not above sly double-play or sharp practice. I think he wears that as a bit of a badge of honour. Though basically, he thinks his heart is with a mix of glamour, power, freedom, honesty and decency. Or that's the image he projects via various kinds of information flows. If I want to give some benefit of the doubt without ignoring glaring contradictions that point to dishonesty, it's hard to tell what the exact balance of what is underneath, flaws and all.

    Not all my friends are raving socialists. Quite a few of us are. Obviously they don't all identify as such. But in my head I like to think they are.

    He's not an uncommon cultural archetype or one that I always hate, I love to watch a bit of Truculently Opinionated Outrage me, but it's the way he plays it, what he does with it. Part of me wouldn't like to pit him against my mum in a debate, but it certainly would be very interesting. My mum's been a labour party activist for as long as I can remember. But he reminds me of her: she uses a similar/dissimilar caricature of herself, politically. She used to use it very effectively to knock heads together as a school governor. But I am not calling her rude! Or a hundred per cent certain that she ever was like that in that context!

    It's a kind of “Yorkshire Dour” that twinkles, prickles and dances. And is not all bad. “Soppy stern” as Larkin put it in his hyperbolic “This Be The Verse” – and kids are the weakness of the character.

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  2. Did Clinton have assault claims? Were they well publicised at the time? I wonder if I am missing correct balancing information? Where did he get his convictions?

    How seriously does he think about exploitation, coercion and agency around consent? Why does he equate the blunt undisciplined assumptions and alleged assaults of Trump with consensual exploitative affairs? Is it partisan political motivation, or does he have particular and strong views that make all forms of sexual misdemeanor as bad as each other?

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  3. I dont just say that as questions to catch him out Because they are bad, and I am tempted to say I might judge them as bad as each other. And if I am totally honest, I might have had I had the choice, thought about it and heavily voted for them anyway. And it's hard to tell what's dogmatic fabrication with the Clinton's, when people just raise “evidence” in words. I voted labour on the basis of debt cancellation after Iraq, because I thought it was an opportunity to make a difference, whereas they and the conservatives had been pro-war. I hate war. It's all dirty and it was with a very heavy heart. Plus, the problem of uncertain news and the crazy cloud of disreputable buzz around all politics, including Davies: I admit I mentally take a certain distance from it, even while I engage.

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  4. There were accusations about Clinton (the Clintons, I should probably say, his acts, her cover-ups) but AFAIK there never was any evidence and no charges every filed. Hilary CLinton is, statistically, the most lied about Presidential candidate in history. So after a while, I started to just assume every criticism I heard was fabricated.

    So, while there were rumours, and if true, then they are disturbing, but I cannot empathise at all with anyone who decided to vote for a known sexual predator who has bragged about assaulting women and been on the brink of trial more than once for sex crimes (whose deep pockets have managed to get rid of such criminal charges at the eleventh hour). How is that better than a woman who stayed loyal to a husband may or may not have had extra-marital affairs? Even if she did help to conceal those affairs? It's the most puzzling cognitive dissonance.

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