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Clive Lewis has apologised for the words he used a month ago. [Image: ANTONY KELLY].

You can tell the Conservatives are in trouble – one of their most fervent supporters on the social media has just whipped out a month-old ‘dead cat’ to distract us all from the Tory disasters about Universal Credit and Brexit, among all the others.

You’ll recall that ‘dead cat’ is a term for a tactic in which a dramatic, shocking, or sensationalist topic is introduced into any kind of discourse (in this case UK politics) in order to divert attention away from a more damaging subject.

In this occasion, it is an incident in which Labour MP Clive Lewis is heard saying, “Get on your knees, bitch,” at a Momentum-hosted game show running alongside the Labour Party conference last month.

He said it to Mr Sam Swann, a 28-year-old actor who was kneeling on the stage to take the score, and who clearly did not take offence. He told The Independent, “It is clearly jovial… I think Clive Lewis is an absolute legend.”

So no hard feelings. And let’s face it, if it was such a terrible thing to do, surely an outcry would have been kicked up immediately – right?

After all, the entire event was filmed by Novara Media and has been on that organisation’s Facebook page since September 28. There are only two comments and neither is a complaint about Mr Lewis.

But a week is a long time in politics, let alone a month – and the revelations about Harvey Weinstein broke between then and now. Suddenly it became possible for a remark made in poor taste but that was “jovial” to be considered entirely beyond the pale.

And then the Tories had a bad, bad couple of weeks. Clearly someone thought it was time to distract us all with a dead cat disguised as a “bitch” – so a cropped clip appeared on the Guido Fawkes blog.

This is not where British politics is at the moment – it’s just where certain people want us to be looking, instead of at the failings of the minority Conservative government.

It didn’t take long for rent-a-quote Labour MP Jess Phillips to stick her knife in, apparently assuming Mr Lewis said the offending words to a woman:

Novara’s Aaron Bastani clarified:

Tricky point, this, as brosocialism is a word that can be weaponised against the people to whom it refers. People identified as such are said to see the political discourse as being entirely about the class struggle, with problems of racism and sexism arising from that. There is an argument for it – referring back to Weinstein, you can see that his crimes (if he’s guilty of them, which has yet to be proved in court) arose from the fact that he was in a position of power over others, which is exactly what the class struggle is about.

Mr Bastani’s point is that accusations of sexism against him can’t apply as he and Novara do not discriminate on grounds of gender. Fair point?

If all her mates are women, then doesn’t that mean Ms Phillips is sexist? And besides, what about the upper-class elephant in the room?

It seems clear that Ms Phillips is mistaken to bang the sexism drum, as the following suggests:

That seems to be the attitude from those who were there:

Meanwhile, people are calling out Guido Fawkes blogger Paul Staines for hypocrisy, as he freely uses the word “bitch” in his own writing. Examples follow:

And what about the way followers of the Guido Fawkes blog have treated Dawn Foster? Read this:

The misapplication of the sexism label has incense many commentators. Let’s go back to Aaron Bastani’s comment, pointing out that Mr Lewis was talking to a man. Here’s the response from Guido Fawkes:

Brace yourself for the following responses:

It seems some Tories and Tory supporters have been trying to get on the bandwagon, but they’re being shot down:

Finally, let’s have a dose of reality:

And:


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