An MP has said she’s determined to stand up to internet trolls after she received a barrage of abuse online.
Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, became a target for cyber bullies after she spoke out on theissue of children’s toys.
She hit headlines earlier this month when she led a debate in parliament on gender-specific toys.
Chi pointed out that it was “illegal to advertise a job as for men only but apparently fine to advertise a toy as for boys only. Why should girls be brought up in an all-pink environment? It does not reflect the real world.”
She also condemned toy shops that have a pink aisle for what they see as girls’ toys and a blue aisle for boys’ toys.
But, ever since Chi spoke out, she has been on the receiving end of a stream of abuse on social networking site Twitter.
Chi said: “I’ve had quite a bit of intense abuse, the whole range right up to, although thankfully not including, death threats.
“Everything from aggressive sexual swearing to bizarrely being told that I’m both a publicity seeker and that no-one is interested in the issue.
“I’ve been told I’m stupid, lazy and had the strongest swear words directed at me.”
But she vowed: “I’m determined it’s not going to stop me.”
In her speech to parliament, Chi claimed that directing girls towards pink toys featuring princesses and domestic tasks, while boys are encouraged to play with construction toys and characters who have adventures, limits their horizons and is bad for the economy.
She pointed to a page from a 1970s Argos catalogue that featured toys such as a baby buggy or shop till in variety of colours and compared it to the current catalogue, which has the same toys but only in pink.
She said: “I’m not calling for legislation.
“There is a fear that you are accused of wanting a nanny state but we are just fighting for more choice so children can play with what they want.
“It causes a lot of distress among parents to see their girls forced down the route of being pink puppets.
“I’ve had a lot of parents contact me since the debate too.”
Fellow Labour MP Stella Casey received rape and death threats after she called for more women to be featured on bank notes.
And Isabella Sorley from Newcastle and John Nimmo from South Shields were jailed after they sent messages to campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.
Another alleged troll is due to face court this month.
Source – Newcastle Journal, 24 Feb 2014
There aint half been some nasty bastards (to mis-quote Ian Dury) and god knows I’ve met some of them. But here’s a guy could really make you consider revoking your membership of the human race, just so that no-one would think you might be part of the same species.
Spotted. Benefit Fraudsters
is a Facebook page, apparently run by an ex-DWP employee who got sacked (the irony !) but continues with his crusade to rid society of… well, most of society really.
A example –
I once met Mr Iain Duncan Smith. He was a really nice person and was happy to stop and chat, shake my hand and pose for photos. Really nice person in the flesh and I can’t understand why he attracts so much hate. All he is trying to do is fix the broken welfare system that Labour left behind.
You might almost think that was a piss-take, until you see posts like –
To those who have been sanctioned because they are too lazy to seek work. I know you’re facing a bleak Christmas and in hard times like this I can only think of one thing to say to you all…. Ha Ha !
Definitely someone with big, big problems.
As you might imagine, he’s being kept busy deleting all the adverse comments his site is attracting. Should you wish to add to his workload you can find it here –
Be warned, though – you may feel the desperate need for taking a bath after viewing it.
Whoopee ! I have now completed my two-year stint on the Work Programme (WP).
Looking back, my initial reaction is: “what the hell was the point of that ?”
It is pretty difficult to see much point to it, either personally or on a wider level. A 2012 report found that only 18,270 people out of 785,000 people enrolled on the WP had held down employment for six months or more – a success rate of 2.3%.
Given that 5% of the long-term unemployed would be expected to find employment if left to their own devices the WP can be considered less successful than doing nothing at all.
“Less successful than doing nothing at all.” That says it all, really.
Of course it was always doomed to failure, simply because it was based on unrealistic expectations – that the only reason people are unemployed is because they are lazy / stupid / feckless, and all they need is a kick up the arse.
There was a fatal flaw in their plans – simply that there is something like 2.5 million unemployed and only 500,000 vacancieas. You can kick arses until your foot drops off, you still can’t fit a quart into a pint pot.
Mind you, my expectations weren’t very high anyway.
Prior to WP was New Deal (ND), and in this city we had two companies providing it. I had the chance to sample both, and found both to be pretty useless.
When I turned up for my WP induction I amused myself by spotting familiar faces – just about all of the staff in this new organization were formerly with one or other of the two crap ND companies that preceeded it.
And that’s how it works. A new company wins a contract to provide WP or ND or whatever, but doesn’t actually have any staff or premises. So they rent some cheap office space and re-employ all the crap advisers from the failing companies they replaced, and so the vicious circle starts all over again. Its the same old people, same old ideas (or lack of), same old same old…
The new WP provider with all the old faces in our town was called Ingeus. I was never quite sure how it was pronounced (in-ghee-us ? in-jhee-us ?) but it’s a suitably ugly name for an ugly organization.
All these WP providers are for-profit companies, and you, the unemployed, are commodities. You might be the most wonderful, talented, compassionate person but your value to them is purely financial. Get you into a job, any job, get paid for doing so.
Getting paid being by far the most important part from their point of view.
It has been argued that payment-by-results whereby companies only get paid for finding people work has meant that they focus on the “easiest” cases among the long-term unemployed with the most “difficult” effectively sidelined.
The term “creaming and parking” has been used to describe this process. The Department for Work and Pensions have denied that “parking” is an issue, but then they would, wouldn’t they ?
A study by the Third Sector Research Centre at Birmingham University found widespread “gaming” of the Work Programme by private sector providers. They argue that because providers are not paid until an unemployed person has been in work for two years it makes little economic sense to concentrate on the most “difficult cases”. study also found that the largest private sector providers known as “primes” were guilty of passing more difficult cases onto sub-contractors.
Furthermore “parking” means that charities are not getting referrals under the Work Programme as such customers are not considered likely to result in a payment for the provider.
One interviewee told the study:
“It’s not being PC but I’ll just say it as it is … you tend to get left with the rubbish; people who aren’t going to get a job … If the [prime] thought they could get them a job, they wouldn’t [refer them to] someone else to get a job.”
I got parked. At least I assume that was the reason why I heard nothing from Ingeus for a period of 10 consectutive months in the middle of my 2 years. It goes without saying that that was probably my most productive time on the WP.
When I returned it was with a bang…
To be continued…