McDonnell’s comment on McVey: Abuse? He didn’t go far enough

Esther McVey: Her return to the media spotlight means I can use this evil-eyed image of her again.

Esther McVey: Her return to the media spotlight means I can use this evil-eyed image of her again.

I realise this may be inflaming certain passions but it needs to be said: If John McDonnell called Esther McVey a “stain on humanity” then he was being remarkably restrained.

Maybe some of you don’t remember Esther McVey’s record. As a political blogger, I can provide the evidence of it.

Do you remember when, as employment minister, McVey sold off the government-owned Remploy factories that employed disabled people – right after announcing that unemployed disabled people would be forced to go on the work programme, providing free work for unscrupulous employers? Her plan, it seemed, was to make the disabled work for benefits, rather than for a decent amount of pay.

How about the time when, as minister responsible for disabled people, she failed to attend a debate on the work capability assessment (WCA), and vital questions went unanswered? Questions such as why the WCA gives more weight to arbitrary ‘descriptors’ than to medical evidence when judging a person’s illness or disability, and why the government did not record the number of people who die through illness or suicide at any time after their application for a benefit was rejected.

She misled Parliament and the public about Disability Living Allowance.

She authorised procedures that were known to drive the disabled to suicide, meaning she could be said to have procured suicide from the disabled and otherwise disadvantaged population of the UK – which is a criminal offence under the Suicide Act of 1961.

She rejoiced at falling numbers of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance – but who were not finding jobs. What happened to those people? This Writer feared they were being driven to despair and suicide – bullied off-benefit by Job Centre Plus staff who can cut off payments if claimants fail to comply with their increasingly pointless demands.

It is no coincidence that, in 2014, someone edited her Wikipedia entry to say the following: “Esther Louise McVey (born 24 October 1967) is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wirral West since 2010, and the Assistant Grim Reaper for Disabled People since 2012, second only to Iain Duncan Smith. She was previously a television presenter and businesswoman before deciding to branch out into professional lying and helping disabled people into the grave.” [Italics mine]

Her catalogue of lies eventually prompted me to write in article in which I appealed to David Cameron to “kick her in the backbenches”. That’s mild, compared to what I could have written, and John McDonnell’s comment is mild compared to it.

But after reading the relevant articles (links above), I think you might just feel the same way.

Yvette Cooper, speaking on the same TV programme in which Mr McDonnell refused to apologise for the language he used with regard to Ms McVey (Peston on Sunday) said it was wrong to refer to a female MP in such a manner and that it contributed to a “climate of abuse”.

We can discuss what an MP’s gender has to do with anything if you like, but what about the abuse of unemployed, sick and disabled people that was the defining characteristic of Ms McVey’s ministerial career?

Yvette Cooper – together with every other MP who has been whinging about abuse – needs to understand that Parliament isn’t just a swish social club for ex-public school boys and girls.

It is the seat of the UK’s national government, where decisions are made that affect the directions of the lives of millions of people. I am certain that Ms McVey’s decisions led to the end of many lives, although the Tories’ policy on monitoring benefit claimants makes that very difficult to demonstrate – people who might have been alive to watch Mr Peston’s TV show if not for her policy of chequebook euthanasia.

No. Mr McDonnell did not go far enough in denouncing her.

Personally, I would not have suggested that she should be “strung up” – but then, Mr McDonnell was quoting somebody else when he said that.

And the only reason I disapprove of it is that I would rather see her spend the rest of her life in prison to atone for the harm she has caused.

She should be watching the Peston show from jail, not appearing on it.

RP: You’ll have seen Esther [McVey] is here. You said some pretty harsh things about her, you called her a “stain on humanity” and you repeated this call to have her lynched. Do you want to take some of that back and apologise, because it’s not the kind of language you approve of, is it?JM: I simply reported what was shouted out at a public meeting…

RP: Now, that “stain on humanity” thing wasn’t reported, that was you in the House of Commons, wasn’t it?

JM: That was, that was and I was angry… I was angry…

RP: But is that the kind of language…

JM: But let me finish, sometimes you need, sometimes you need to express honest anger and that was about what this last government was doing to people with disabilities and it was appalling to be frank. And sometimes it is better to be honest with people about how you feel. Now at times in Parliament in particular it means using strong language but actually if it reflects your honest views I think it’s better to be honest than it is to be in any way deceptive.

RP: So just to be absolutely clear, you reserve the right, not necessarily about her, to use that kind of language in future.

JM: I think it’s about making sure you express your views honestly and fairly as well, that’s the most important thing. People have had enough of spin and triangulation, what they want is politicians who speak the truth. And to express themselves. But there has to be an element of expressing yourself in language which doesn’t go too far, I accept that, and occasionally I’ve gone too far and I’ve admitted that. But at the same time now, we’ve got to be straight with one another, we can’t have this you know “people can’t trust a politician whatever a politician says because they’re always saying one thing and doing another”. I think what people want, and that’s exactly why people have voted for Jeremy, is what you get is what you see, straightforward honest politics.

In insulting McVey in the way he did, was McDonnell showing refreshing honesty – which is what he claims and hopes?

Or was he underwriting and legitimizing the kind of violent and abusive language used by some Labour activists which Corbyn says he wants taken out of politics.

Source: (30) Robert Peston


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42 thoughts on “McDonnell’s comment on McVey: Abuse? He didn’t go far enough

  1. joanna

    Her record is so Evil I don’t think anyone could forget this nasty parasite!!! She should be in prison for life, however long that would be! It would have been better if she had slithered away and disappeared for ever!!!

  2. joanna

    After reading it again, what on earth has gender got to do with it? There are plenty of examples of evil women:
    Bloody Mary and Irme Grese, I have no problem adding Esther McVey to those evil stains on humanity!!!

    What is the world coming to, when only positive words and comments are allowed to be made? JM has only proved that he is a human being, unlike Fester McVile.

    Also if Anyone wants to serve as politician then there should definitely be an extensive psychological test, to detect a conscience. Without one then that would indicate sociopathic tendencies like EV who should never have power over a goldfish!!!

  3. jeffrey davies

    while they can abuse they can do it without any comebacks the corbyn circle gets pillared for it hmmm strange nah they afraid the gravy trains coming to a end e cooper another tory but stills hangs around the labour party strange nah they very scarred its coming to a end

  4. John

    I’d of loved to see the expression on her face when JM was speaking (unless she managed to keep a poker face throughout). I notice that the cameraman had no problem with turning on Tristram Hunt now and again.

  5. Roy Beiley

    I believe John McDonnell’s comments were made with the passion he brings to politics and were justified on the evidence of McVey’s behavior in respect of disabled peoples rights. Had he said it in respect of Ian Duncan Smith would it have had the sane reaction? ie a MAN can take such a comment but a WOMAN must not be treated in the same manner. What such honest comment does unfortunately is to provide ‘evidence’ of ‘bullying behaviour’ for those constantly on the lookout for it in order to maximize the ongoing publicity which it attracts in the media.

  6. Neil Vaughan

    On Linked In she still calls herself a politician and has reactivated her account after I told her some home truths a while ago, however the 1st thing she’s done is get me suspended on Linked In

  7. TomMagenta

    Couldn’t agree more with McDonnell. He condemned McVey on principle and action, not her gender. He was right not to apologise in this instance. Let’s hope he sticks to it in future.

  8. Fibro confused

    This abuse thing is being used by certain MP’s to attack any one they see fit, ‘stain on humanity’ in reference to that woman, no I can’t bring myself to write her name, describes her and her role in making so many peoples lives a nightmare whilst seemingly enjoying every minute. They wonder why we are so behind Jeremy & John they and a few others, very few, are the only people in the bubble of HOP who tried in vane to speak up for disabled people whilst the rest were abstaining as they couldn’t appear to be seen as being soft on welfare when they knew people were dying, Liz Carr has likened the Tories treatment of disabled people to that of the Nazis the only difference being the Nazis were open about killing disabled people whilst the Tories and large swathes of the opposition ignore and hide from the outcome of this Govt policies. That woman still makes my blood boil

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I am partway through researching another new book – provisionally titled Beasts in our Time, examining whether the connection between modern Conservatives and 1930s-40s Nazis is accurate.

      1. Fibro confused

        Sadly my memory now lets me down, I remember IDS being a member of a group/think tank whose beliefs included eugenics, the name of the group I can’t recall.
        You’ll know what I’m on about I’m sure.

  9. Nick

    john was right to refuse to apologize to Esther McVey

    A mainstream blog i belong to 4UP have had to pick up the pieces of the many hundreds of sick and disabled that have died in going through welfare reform over the past 6 years

    no one has ever said sorry to the relatives from the conservative side and with Esther McVey being part of a DWP policy that drove these deaths you can quite well understand john’s anger

    as for myself ‘i haven’t had a break yet from recording these deaths at the facebook page (remember the dead) and if it wasn’t for some in the labour party keeping my morale in check’ i myself would have packed up years ago

  10. Neilth

    While McDonnell was right that McVey is hypocritical and while in office did all she could do to damage and disempower people with disabilities the language he used was intemperate and unhelpful. It is perfectly acceptable to criticise people in the strongest terms without resorting to personal abuse which detracts and deflects from the perfectly valid argument that their policies are wicked and wrong. Sadly the debate has become about the language he used rather than the actions she took and given the chattering classes another rod to beat Labour with.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I think the question is: Was it personal abuse or did he describe her accurately?
      Consensus on This Blog seems to be the latter.

      1. joanna

        I think that it could be classed as personal abuse, but why would that personal abuse be unacceptable and hers accepted? He was angry and it is a relief to hear! Her abuse was vindictive causing death on a massive scale! I hope John Never apologises, and I hope Jeremy never pulls him up for it. How else could he have expressed his anger, with sugar coated words? No, It needed to be said, and by someone with a bit more influence than the victims.

      2. Henrietta Sandwich

        Yes, and as Joanna pointed out, where does gender come into it? How is “stain on humanity” in any way gendered?

    2. Joan Edington

      I agree Neith. Although I have the same feelings towards McVey, I feel he should have chosen his words a bit more carefully, making the abuse against her policies not her person, especially since the entire media is out to get Corbyn and his allies. There is a line to be drawn in parliament, somewhere between the rediculous “the homourable gentleman/lady” and outright abuse, that is difficult to pin down. What McDonnell says outwith the house is another matter, mind.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        He made his remarks two years ago, before Mr Corbyn even knew a leadership contest was likely or that he would take part in it.

    3. TomMagenta

      Explain how his comments were personal or even abusive. Words and opinions can’t be abusive, but actions can.

  11. wildswimmerpete

    I’ll be beginning with an admission that I’m invoking Godwin’s Law, but McVey has obviously been influenced by her boss Duncan Smith who was inspired with the motto above the gates of Auschwitz to impose a similar regime here. The shutting of Remploy was obviously an act of pure malice aimed at the disabled she regards to be “useless eaters” – to be forced into menial labour in return for a pittance that barely meets subsistence needs, exactly as happened in the Nazi death camps. We don’t have the ovens (yet) but the Tories use starvation to achieve the same end. I was born not long after the end of WWII, there were bomb craters around and rationing was still in force, but I never dreamed that I would live to witness the obvious rise of fascism in Cameron’s and May’s Conservative Party. Of course when Wirral West kicked her out of office her cronies rewarded her with a position well remunerated by the hard-working taxpayer. It is to my regret that that stain now disgraces the area where I grew up.

  12. Tony Dean

    I could not repeat on here what I have heard people say they would like to do to Esther McVey. John McDonnell was being very restrained.

    1. Nick

      The bottom line here is this. most mp’s have never had the right credentials to even become a mp in the first place

      john should have not got in the gutter with her ‘but at the end of the day he has to deal personally with the relatives of the deceased and gets very wearing i’m sure to keep having constituents deaths to deal with through welfare reform

  13. Brian

    I have tried to see things from Esther McVey’s point of view, for the positive result of her & Co actions (IDS, DC etc), I can not.

    From every angle there does not seem to be a single beneficial outcome other than it was commensurate with ideological ‘policy’. This seems a very good fit with some off the worlds most abhorrent dictators and despots from my knowledge of history. Looking back at actions like these, there were always tangent justifications put in place to legitimize them and muddy the waters, with excuses for individual participation. Ultimately, they would be condemned as hate crimes against humanity. Esther McVey’s hand in this can not go un-noticed, she has been a driving force behind some of the most despicable travesties against societies most vulnerable. Justice, as history proves, will arrive to hold her and her colleagues to account, the sooner, the better.

  14. joanna

    Omg!! What he said wasn’t in anyway Violent or sexist! If he had called her a B***h which she is then that would have been sexist!

    It is her who is bring violence into politics, after all what do you consider starving people to death is? or driving people to their deaths.

    The festering pustule on society should stay gone!

  15. mohandeer

    So Yvette Cooper does not want equality but preferential treatment for females? She might be a willowy wallflower, but I’m not and I don’t need some wishy washy female politician who wants her cake and be able to eat it, engendering a distinction between male and female politicians. If you can’t stand the heat then get out of the bloody kitchen!

  16. Maid in Britain

    Definitely higher standards apply to anyone who is socialist Labour whilst the right w(h)ingers get to say what they like. I fail to see how anyone who ever had a heart would NOT be saying something about McVey. She is vile.

    1. Nick

      as i said above ‘only the mp’s know of the true turmoil there constituents have been under and who have died in going through welfare reform

      The mp’s then have to deal with both the relatives and the DWP to find out what went wrong

      McVey never got to grips with these deaths and like Priti Patel who followed her before moving on has a lot to answer for

  17. A Grumpy_Old_Man (@Hairyloon)

    I have been arguing with somebody about this today, do you know what McDonnell actually said about “stringing her up” and in what context?
    I know he was repeating what had been shouted at him, but it could be repeated as a condemnation or an encouragement or somewhere in between…

      1. Hairyloon

        It appears to be posted in answer to a clear question of: “do you know what McDonnell actually said”.
        I imagine that is more due to the quirks of WordPress than intent.

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