Health Secretary Matt Hancock didn’t do very well when he was asked to defend “homophobic misogynist” Tony Abbott in a TV interview.
The former Australiam prime minister is reportedly being lined up to be a joint president of the UK’s relaunched Board of Trade.
Hancock was challenged on this by Kay Burley on Sky News. The video clip shows the health secretary squirming as he realises he has dug yet another hole for the government:
“Tony Abbott is a homophobe and a misogynist”
Health Sec @MattHancock: “He’s also an expert on trade”#KayBurley
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) September 3, 2020
Here’s how Sky reported it on the channel’s website:
Asked about Mr Abbott’s possible appointment, Mr Hancock told the Kay Burley programme: “As far as I understand it, the proposal is that Mr Abbott supports the UK on trade policy, which is an area in which he has got a huge area of expertise.
“I bow to nobody in my support for everybody to love who they love, whoever that is.
“But we need to have the best experts in the world working in their field and as the former prime minister of Australia, he has a huge amount of experience.”
Asked whether he feels that way even if Mr Abbott is, in Burley’s words, a “homophobic misogynist”, the health secretary said: “I don’t think that’s true.”
Pressed again about the former leader’s views, Mr Hancock replied: “Well, he’s also an expert in trade.”
“Well, he’s also an expert in trade.”
That’s the line that did all the damage.
It has created a wave of mocking “Well, he’s also…” tweets on the social media, suggesting other people who were “also” experts in their field that Mr Hancock might welcome to government roles:
Matt Hancock's dream team of experts:
Tony Abbott – trade
Harold Shipman – health
Peter Sutcliffe – lorry driving
Jimmy Saville – charity
Rolf Harris – painting
Fred West – patios
— dave ❄️ 🥕 🧻 (@davemacladd) September 3, 2020
"Rolf Harris is a convicted paedophile".
Matt Hancock "Yes but he was a talented artist".
"Fred West was a serial killer, child abuser and rapist".
Matt Hancock "But he was a great builder".
"Harold Shipman is worst serial killer ever from the UK"
"But he was a great doctor"
— Virgosam (@virgosam70) September 3, 2020
"So health secretary, how did your interview go?"
"Well, it's got Rolf Harris, Harold Shipman, Gary Glitter, Jimmy Saville and Adolf Hitler all trending, so I guess it didn't go quite to plan"
— Paul Simon Duffy 🇪🇨 🇬🇧 🌹 (@paulsimonduffy) September 3, 2020
As I write this, BBC News has just challenged Tory Tom Tudendhat on the same issue. This won’t go away now.
In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ll see Keir Starmer raise it in Prime Minister’s Questions next week and I look forward to hearing the wild – and false – accusation with which Boris Johnson will attempt to defend himself.
Source: Tony Abbott: Matt Hancock defends ‘homophobic misogynist’ ex-Australia PM over possible trade role | Politics News | Sky News
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Nicola Sturgeon issued a stinging condemnation of that vile women hater Tony Abbott! This is what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Trade is not separate from the values and reputation that a country wants to project internationally.
“Trade, in many respects, should reflect our values. There should be ethics attached to any country’s trading profile. You cannot say he’s simply good at trade so it doesn’t matter he’s a sexist, misogynist and climate change denier.
“Having somebody with those views representing the UK probably doesn’t help us boost trade, it might actually hinder that.”
First Minister Sturgeon also ‘blasted’ Abbott for his cruel and callous claims concerning elderly women and men in care homes! They can all die Abbott in effect said because they are worthless! This is what fascists always say!
‘Speaking on Sky News this morning, Ms Sturgeon said Mr Abbott was “not the kind of person who should be a trade envoy for the UK,” and branded comments he made about elderly people with coronavirus “disgraceful”.“
The death toll in care homes is too high,” Ms Sturgeon told Sky News’ Kay Burley, “and that anyone would take that view is deeply offensive and wrong.
She called Mr Abbott “a misogynist, a sexist and climate change denier” and said “he shouldn’t be any kind of envoy.’
Well said First Minister Sturgeon because you aren’t afraid to tell the truth and no we don’t want a vile women hater who holds elderly women and men contempt as a fake ‘trade envoy for fascist little england!
We might ask if it is really the case that this country just doesn’t have anybody talented enough to occupy this role. The answer can only be “No”, because Abbott is being appointed because of his political views, NOT because he has any ability over trade deals.
This is another example of where the Johnson/Cummings clique are planning to put their supporters into positions of power within the state machine so that there will be no opposition or even contrary advice available. With no alternative views coming from within the establishment, the mainstream media are hamstrung as they will then be unable to describe another approach to trade.
They just report different establishment views and call it “debate”. Take away all opposition within the state machine and the Media will just report the only establishment view available.
Once again, will the current Labour Party take up the challenge of providing alternative strategies for trade when there is no establishment voice to back them up?
I suspect Starmer won;t but I retain a regard for Emily Thornberry whose job entails putting forward Labour policies on trade.We shall see.
There are plenty of think tanks, charities and other organisations to take the strain – although we should expect to see them being trashtalked by the Establishment figures you mention. Still, if the media types are serious in their claims to offer balance, it should still be possible to see dissenting views.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who know more about international trade, me included as I worked in it for 40 years!