Women in public life are now being openly bullied. How has this become normal? | Suzanne Moore

Those of us in the UK are thankful that we don’t live in the land of the pussy grabber-in-chief, but in the land of his handmaiden. Theresa May, she who once sported a “This is what a feminist looks like” T-shirt, presides over a rabble of men who clearly feel they can behave appallingly towards female colleagues. Men behaving badly is just the rough and tumble of politics and really we should all relax and accept it.

Part of the wider shift to the right is a reassertion of power-grabbing masculinity, usually performed for other men. Thus the bantering of the banterful is just the way of the world, and the ways of the world are sexist. For this is mostly where the bants go.

Last week, there was an incident between Brexit secretary David Davis and Labour MP Diane Abbott in the Strangers’ Bar in parliament after the vote on article 50. Apparently, he was merely congratulating her for voting on the same side as the government. This man is one of our chief Brexit negotiators and it was reported that he tried to kiss or embrace her, to which she apparently told him to fuck off. Legendary banter or real edge? Witnesses seem confused. Davis claims it was light–hearted. It’s unlikely that Abbott was feeling particularly light-hearted after the vote.

Davis’s subsequent text messages have now been made public, where he says he wouldn’t hug Abbott because…

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