Women speaking bravely
Dame Tara wrote an opinion piece for damesnet some time ago about the importance of speaking up, citing Churchill: ‘You have enemies? That’s good, that means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life’.
Since then we’ve had some extraordinary developments on the world front, many of which I find deeply disturbing. And now more than ever I feel the need to stand up for things I believe in, which are under threat in a way that I have never seen in my lifetime. They include matters such as democracy, equality, truth, respect for the rule of law, anti-fascism, women’s rights and civil rights in general.
The good news is that there are some great people out there who are prepared to speak out on these issues, and are setting an excellent example to the rest of us, and because this is damesnet, I want to highlight some of the women who are doing just that.
One who immediately comes to mind is Anna Soubry, one of the minority of politicians who are prepared to challenge her fellow MPS about the disaster facing the UK if it allows the Brexit process to be hijacked by the likes of hard Brexiteers such as Rees-Mogg and his chums from the European Research Group. Unlike the Prime Minister, Soubry is putting country before her personal and party interests.
Then there is the roll out of Universal Credit. Recently we had the unedifying spectacle of Esther McVey, Work and Pensions Secretary, insisting that the scheme was a ‘great British innovation’, just days after the National Audit Office had declared in a scathing report that the new benefit was failing to deliver value for money and was pushing some claimants into financial hardship. Ms McVey was forced to apologise for misleading Parliament, but in a new development, two whistle blowers who were helping implement Universal Credit at a service centre in Grimsby have voiced their concerns after having to deal with distressed claimants on a daily basis.
Joanne Higgins, one of the whistle blowers and until recently a case manager at the Grimsby centre, said that high staff caseloads and a high volume of calls to the service made it difficult to keep track of and prioritise claimants’ problems. ‘The system is set up in such a way that people don’t get support,’ she says.
Another woman not afraid of speaking her mind is Dame Margaret Hodge, who we have already celebrated on this site – you can find her on the ‘Actual Dames’ page. She is currently in the news for having challenged, quite vociferously it seems, Jeremy Corbyn about the level of antisemitism in the Labour Party. As someone who successfully held her Labour Parliamentary seat against a challenge from Nick Griffin and the loathsome BNP, she deserves nothing but the highest praise.
Finally, I want to pay tribute to Ash Sarkar, who I’ve only just come across. She is senior editor at a radical website called Novara Media, and was on Good Morning Britain last week discussing the Stop Trump March planned for the US President’s UK visit. Presenter Piers Morgan and his team seem to favour the alt-right views that I find extremely unpleasant, and seeing media pictures of Morgan with Donald Trump on Air Force One is not a pretty sight. Sarkar stood up to Morgan’s haranguing, and the interview went viral. Just look for it on Youtube.
So these are just a few of the women who are not going to be silent in the face of injustice. Please feel free to point out some more examples – I’m sure there are loads out there.