Update: Labour supporter Ben points out a problem with this plan: a sitting Labour leader doesn’t need the nominations. in that case, there’s one extra step. Mainstream Labour would need the NEC to meet at once and change the leadership rules so that a sitting Labour leader would also need 35 nominations. At the same time they should ditch the ‘£3 to hijack our party’ rules. Then Beckett could stand.
OK, after all the journalism on Corbyn and his racist, homophobic and ‘every dead British soldier is a victory’ frends / parliamentary guests, I thought it might be fun to just speculate a little on the politics of a Corbyn victory.
Politically, Corbyn is making big mistakes. He hasn’t seemed to realise that after this ballot he reverts to being at the power of the PLP. First Corbyn said he’d allow election to Shadow Cabinet; then he reneged; then he threatened Labour MPs and councillors with deselection mechanisms.
What do you expect from a fan of Putin and Iran?
Only 15 Labour MPs support Corbyn. He has 100 Shadow Ministerial posts to fill. He won’t get close. Let’s say it’s Transport questions. At best there will be one person at the dispatch box to question all the ministers. It just won’t work. At PMQs Labour MPs will be silent or even agree with Tories when they have a pop at Corbyn.
Meanwhile the voting public will recoil at the sight of the jubilant hard left, new-minted ‘Labour affiliates’, on the streets shouting for nuclear disarmament, deals with Russia and terrorists in Parliament and hurling ugly hatred at Jews (sorry ‘zionists’). Labour itself will be tainted. It would be as if Militant Tendency beat Neil Kinnock. Cameron will have 15 point poll leads and a totally free hand.
Labour MPs can stop this of course, but only if they break the habit of a lifetime and get together to do something quickly. The best way is to do it immediately. It is simple. 47 Labour MPs can trigger a fresh contest but they must nominate one person. The following Labour MPs should do this. 1. All those who made the mistake of nominating Corbyn when they didn’t want him to win. 2. Labour MPs who plan to retire anyway in 2020 – the party’s elder statesmen. 3 anybody brave/sensible – in five years nobody will care who was on that renominating list.
But wouldn’t the nominated MP then face anger from the party? Sure. That is why an MP should lead this effort saying that they will put themselves up for election but not really campaign. In other words they’d accept this nomination but not try to win the process it would trigger. A stalking horse.
And the ‘Save Labour’ paper candidate I like best could be Margaret Beckett.
She went on TV and agreed with John McTernan that it was a mistake by those who, like herself, had nominated Corbyn to give the party a ‘debate’ whilst hoping he’d lose. She is a respected former Acting Leader of the Labour Party and Foreign Secretary. She likely might retire next time anyway. Beckett would receive a hero’s welcome from Labour MPs and the sensible party for doing this. She would in point of fact write herself into the history books with a selfless act of political bravery.
In a fresh contest Corbyn wouldn’t come close the MP nominating threshold and wouldn’t be a candidate.
The option Labour MPs normally take is to wring their hands and do ‘wait and see’. Learn from Brown and Miliband, two successive candidates who you guys followed into disaster. The general public think MPs must be an organized bunch because ministers seem well-briefed. That’s because of the clerks, Spads and staff. One of the great secrets of political life is that MPs are just sitting there going ‘ooh God what do we do.’
This is what they should do. They should act right away. Current party rules state that if not before this year’s conference then Corbyn can be in place for a year. That would be a political disaster for Labour but it would also be immoral. The party of Bevan and Attlee should not allow a man who openly consorts with known anti-Semites to stand at the despatch box as its leader. Rarely in politics do you have a moral over a political choice. As a Tory, Jeremy Corbyn would be a dream leader, hence my twibbon. It was the discovery he’d donated to a Holocaust denier that shocked me out of it. Yes, Corbyn Labour = Tory landslide but I don’t want victory at any price.
Corbyn is politically harmless. If Labour MPs do nothing (again) he won’t be able to impose all his bonkers ideas on the party. However he could pack the NEC and strip Labour MPs of their seats, kick moderate councillors out. Ideologically however he will say nasty things about the Labour movement to the wider public AND he will tell the electorate that Labour MPs who think Corbyn is a disaster and immoral don’t have the courage to act.
47 MPs need to get together now, privately, get a stalking horse candidate (Margaret Beckett if she will serve) and announce a challenge the second Jeremy Corbyn is elected by this tainted electorate of entryists. Beckett should brief now that she is willing to do it.
Labour MPs who really want the leadership job would be afraid to strike Corbyn, as the old political maxim is ‘He who wields the knife never wears the crown’ (ask Heseltine). Therefore an outsider must do it. History calls another Margaret, this time to save the reds. She – or somebody else – should precipitate a second contest, if called for.
‘No-one should share a platform with an avowed racist’ – Jeremy Corbyn MP
Earlier this year, Jeremy Corbyn MP gave an interview, inside Parliament, to a group of antisemitic conspiracy theorists. He said it was hard for Syrians to have to choose sides between the “rather shadowy leadership of ISIS” and the “more open and obvious leadership of the USA and the West who are propping up the government [of Iraq].” (18:40) Corbyn said this was ‘not a happy position to be’ in. Syrians were:
stuck between a war between the rather shadowy leadership of ISIS and the more open and obvious leadership of the USA and the West in propping up the government [of Iraq]…… it’s not a happy position to be if you’re a poor person stuck anywhere in Syria or Iraq
CORBYN AND THE ANTISEMITES: DO DENIALS OF KNOWLEDGE HOLD UP?
That’s why we came to the UK, it was such an extraordinary debate on the floor of the House of Commons.
To me this implies a CEC member sat in the Gallery as Corbyn’s guest and listened.
What is the excuse for this? How can Corbyn have brought La Rouche supporters into our Parliament? What due diligence was done? How long as he been involved with them? La Rouche is a barking mad holocaust denier.
And here’s Corbyn’s insane, full quote to these cult fantasists:
but also some sort of process where [Iraqis and Syrians] can feel a sense of security in their lives rather than being stuck between a war between the rather shadowy leadership of ISIS and the more open and obvious leadership of the USA and the West in propping up the government that’s selling off their oil resources very cheaply – it’s not a happy position to be if you’re a poor person stuck anywhere in Syria or Iraq.
It is utterly sickening that Corbyn could compare ISIS to America and the West in any way at all – much less draw an equivalence between them or say Syrians and Iraqis aren’t in a happy position when they have to choose.
2. Paul Eisen and Gilad Atzmon of Deir Yassin Remembered
When confronted with Corbyn’s platform sharing with anti-Semites the campaign has issued a non-denial denial on antisemitic views:
There is no question [they] have expressed them in Jeremy Corbyn’s hearing.
That is very carefully put. The real question is ‘Did Jeremy Corbyn know of the antisemitism of those he shared a platform with?’ Not ‘did they say the words next to Corbyn?’ His campaign must stop calling this question a smear, or trying to get away with saying, as they are now, that Corbyn must meet ‘those whose views he finds reprehensible.’
Before this leadership campaign, I challenge readers to give me one instance where Corbyn has ever called these people’s views “reprehensible” or called any of them out. Corbyn is acting like an ordinary politician with the non-denial-denials and the hypocrisy. For Corbyn himself said of Nick Griffin of the BNP
No-one should share a platform with an avowed racist and a fascist
Jeremy Corbyn told Cathy Newman of Channel Four that when he supported Deir Yassin Remembered it was not anti-semitic. Is that true? Here’s some evidence not so far covered in the press:
Here is a link to the PDF invitation to this event which speaks of “Jewish” disdain for Christians: speaks of the Deir Yassin massacre as a “Jewish” slaughter, and says “Jews” (not Israelis, Jews) currently “persecute Christians and Muslims”. It also draws an equivalence between Deir Yassin and the Holocaust where six million Jews were slaughtered.
Jews persecute Muslims and Christians in Palestine
What of Jewish disdain for Christians
Deir Yassin, the site of the great atrocity against Palestinians and close to the site [Yad Vashem commemorating the great atrocity against Jews [the Holocaust] – from the invitation to the Paul Eisen DYR event Jeremy Corbyn attended in 2005
Palestinians ..are not just facing the might of the Israeli state but also the power of organized world Jewry and its primary arm, the Holocaust – Paul Eisen, Dec 2004
And from the post immediately prior to the DYR one with Gilad Atzmon and Jeremy Corbyn, Paul Eisen writes:
After all, people once believed the earth was flatand sat on the back of four elephants riding on a turtle….People today …believe in astrology and fortune telling, iSo what is so hard to believe about the…slaughter of six million Jews?
Eisen denies the gas chambers too and says Zyklon B was used for delousing. Awesome. On the board of DYR at this time, when Corbyn attended, was the anti-semite Israel Shamir.
Nor were these facts obscure. They made the national press. David Aaronvitch wrote this in the Times:
a Swedish fascist, Shamir sits on the 16-person board of advisers of .. Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR)… Shamir argued the Jews..were guilty of kidnapping Christian children and drinking their blood.
Now let us recall that Jeremy Corbyn has said ‘Nobody should share a platform with an avowed racist.’Paul Eisen is one, DYR was anti-semitic at the time, and it was well known.
we should …regard any act against Jews as a political reaction rather than an irrational racist attack…we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously. ..American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world
But Jeremy Corbyn went along, to an event by the antisemitic DYR, with an antisemitic invitation, and shared a platform with two very well known racists, in 2005. How can he say he did not know? It was his duty to know. And is it true? What correspondence exists? Can he say it was never flagged up to him?
I’d hardly begun my pitch before his cheque book was out and he was a paid-up member. From that day on, Jeremy, without fuss or bother, attended every single Deir Yassin commemoration.
A little later the Jewish peace group Just Peace UK wanted to hold a vigil at the Edith Cavell statue near St Martin’s in the Fields but the authorities were being unhelpful. I wanted to impress them, so impetuously I said that I knew Jeremy Corbyn and I’d get him to sort it out. “Oh great” they said leaving me wondering what on earth I was going to do now. Well I did contact Jeremy and he did sort it out and the vigil did take place
So ‘There is no suggestion he has said [antisemitic] thing in Jeremy’s hearing’ won’t do.
The question is did Corbyn know of Eisen’s antisemitism in advance? Of Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism in advance? He must either have known or have been criminally negligent.
2. Dyab Abou Jahjah’s antisemitism
My last blog demonstrated that Jeremy Corbyn was fully aware that Jahjah had published an anti-Semitic cartoon and celebrated 9/11 when he organised Jahjah’s appearance at a Stop the War Coalition meeting. The blog ‘Harry’s Pace’ had published both two days earlier and bombarded the Quaker House with ’emails and calls all day’ over ‘accusations of antisemitism’ said John Rees in Corbyn’s hearing.
So Jeremy Corbyn absolutely knew that Dyab Aboujahjah had published this cartoon
and celebrated 9/11 as “sweet revenge” when he hosted him at Stop the War and in Parliament. Corbyn also knew, as he sat on the stage as it was discussed, of MASSIVE protests from the Jewish community including over the specific charge Abou Jahjah’s antisemitism.
Corbyn knew. Whether Jahjah said these words “in his hearing” surely does not matter.
MP Jeremy Corbyn, a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, claimed the use of the link had been “a technical oversight”.
He added: “The internet is a complicated piece of technology and with the best will in the world, imperfect links are made.”
Mr Corbyn wrote that Rev Sizer “seems to have come under attack by certain individuals intent on discrediting the excellent work that Stephen does in highlighting the injustices of the Palestinian Israeli situation”.
He claimed the criticism was “part of a wider pattern of demonising those who dare to stand up and speak out against Zionism”.
OK. But actually Sizer was told about the link long in advance and didn’t remove it for four months. Was it known about then? Yes, it was hugely covered in the media. The Board of Deputies brought a complaint using an ancient act of Parliament. They pointed out that far from Corbyn’s “accidental” antisemitic link Sizer had made no fewer than FIVE of them:
The matters complained of disclose a clear and consistent pattern of activity on the part of Rev Sizer. The evidence indicates that he spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material to add to his website. Rev Sizer re-publishes such items… introducing his readers to the racist and antisemitic websites..As the evidence demonstrates, there are five instances of this over the 11 month period from July 2011 to June 2012.
We have paid particular attention to a link posted by Mr Sizer on his Facebook page to ‘The Ugly Truth’, an antisemitic website. We consider this to be wholly unacceptable. We cannot accept it was an accident, because Mr Sizer was alerted to the antisemitic nature of the website in November and again in December, but only removed the link in January when contacted by the Jewish Chronicle
So that was the situation in 2012 when Jeremy Corbyn wrote that letter. It is quite obvious he knew then of Rev. Sizer’s views.
The section dealing with the writing of Mark Braverman has been heavily edited so as to remove his most penetrating comments on the Holocaust and Jewish ‘specialness’.
until he was banned by the C of E from using any kind of social media.
Therefore it is time for the Corbyn campaign to be absolutely open about what Jeremy Corbyn knew of the anti-semitism of:
CEC and La Rouche
Dyab Abou Jahjah
Paul Eisen, Gilad Atzmon, and DYR
and Paul Sizer
at the times he shared a platform with Eisen and Atzmon, defended Sizer, and provided platforms by his own invitation to Dyab Abou Jahjah and CEC/La Rouche. He should also be asked by mainstream journalists what Jewish groups said to him at the time. Pleading no knowledge of the antisemitism just won’t cut it.
Credit to Anna Gizowska
I want to credit the freelance journalist Anna Gizowska, @AnnaGiz, on Twitter. Anna alerted me to Dyab Abou Jahjah’s antisemitic cartoons published and his quote that ‘Every dead American, British and Dutch soldier I consider as a victory.’ I then spent a fair bit of time tracking down the originals and finding Abou Jahjah’s racist and homophobic blog before writing my piece. Anna originally did not want to be credited for her discovery as she was still researching Corbyn, but I asked her permission to credit her for finding the tweet where Abou Jahjah said Corbyn was his “friend”, which sent us both down the research rabbit hole, with good journalistic results.
Tomorrow evening it will be my pleasure and my honourto host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hizbollah [Aboujahjah,] will be speaking ….so far as I’m concerned that is absolutely the right function to use parliamentary facilities… to invite [Aboujahjah] to meet members of Parliament
My story was picked up all over the British press and finally forced even the BBC to ask Corbyn about it. Jeremy Corbyn first denied even knowing Dyab About Jahjah.
Corbyn then did a U-turn when a photo was posted by the extremist of the two of them sitting in the Grand Committee Room of the Commons.
But his staff were still making excuses for him to the Jewish Chronicle:
If the views expressed are indeed Aboujahjah’s there is no question he said them in Jeremy’s hearing.
The implication given is that when Jeremy Corbyn invited Aboujahjah, he did not know of his anti-Semitic views. But I’m afraid he did. They were discussed at the Stop the War public meeting, where the two spoke together, in Corbyn’s presence.
UPDATE: I am indebted to @Carlgardner on Twitter for pointing me to the real smoking gun here, which shortens my blog considerably. Corbyn and Aboujahah are introduced by Stop the War’s John Rees. He refers to protests over Dyab’s antisemitism: ’emails and calls all day’ (0:27 and 4:30). He specifically refers to the blog ‘Harry’s Place’ published two days earlier “Stop Abou Jahjah“.
Harry’s Place had cried foul on the antisemitism of Corbyn’s guest, by reproducing this cartoon.
Harry’s Place also showed Aboujahjah celebrating 9/11 and advocating violence in demonstrations. Mr. Rees says it’s not antisemitic; it’s to do with “zionism”. Right. Sure. Because there was a modern state of Israel when Anne Frank was sent to die in Auschwitz.
So did Corbyn know of his guest’s views? Evidently, he did. The campaign should come clean.
So how does Jeremy Corbyn react, sitting there, after hearing of the Jewish protests “all day” against Aboujahjah?
“Tomorrow evening it will be my pleasure and my honourto host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hizbollah [Aboujahjah, on the platform next to him] will be speaking ….so far as I’m concerned that is absolutely the right function to use parliamentary facilities….” [applause]
Corbyn then takes very specific responsibility for organizing both events, this first one as far as Stop the War Chair and the second as an MP. He refers to the ‘International Union’ Abou Jahjah is heading as ‘we’, i.e. he is a member of it;
it is historic. And I’m very pleased that the Stop the War Coalition and the Palestinian Parliamentarians have come together to do tonight’s meeting and indeed what we are doing tomorrow night [hosting Aboujahjah in Parliament]
And he’s charming about the financial crisis raging in the UK: (11:28)
I don’t want the G20 to succeed in lifting the world economy above the hill. I want them to fall on the cliff.
Did Jeremy Corbyn object to Aboujahjah saying ‘People here have to realise they are defeated?’ No he didn’t.
Aboujahjah (12:33) talks of Corbyn’s key role in supporting his organization in Parliament ..it was thought to be impossible to get into the UK Parliament:
The IPUFP is holding tomorrow the meeting in Parliament at the House of Commons, which is for a us a very important moment because …many people thought it will not be possible… we are also very proud to be your guests here today at the Stop The War Coalition because for us it’s about linking the militants, the activists and the politicians who are willing to talk.
Incidentally this was planned deeply by Corbyn and by Aboujahjah as a way to get the Hizbollah and Hamas terrorist groups into parliament, as a way of legitimizing these terror groups. Corbyn ‘It is absolutely the right function of parliamentary facilities’ – he even refers to the role of parliament for the furtherance of his guest’s cause:
I consider every dead American, British and Dutch soldier to be a victory – Dyab Abou Jahjah
Aboujahjah was trying to use Parliament to gain legitimacy for Hizbollah, with Jeremy Corbyn’s help. And it was part of a pattern for him. In Dec 08 year he had boasted of tricking the Belgian Parliament to allow a Hizbollah man in, again, to lend legitimacy:
A seminar on Palestinian prisoners in Israel was a ruse to smuggle Hizbollah leaders into Parliament and let them speak.
[House authorities] felt tricked by Ecolo MP Fouad Lahssaini. Abou Jahjah wrote jubilantly on his website AEL ‘Hezbollah was at a conference in the Belgian parliament.” About Jahjah, involved as the director of the organizing association, speaks of a “milestone for the parliament,” a “special day in his life, for the AEL and the Belgian people.”
John Rees has just banged on interminably about the rights of ‘the resistance’ i.e. Hamas and Hizbollah. And of course the videos put up by ‘Stop the War’ are entitled ‘Meet the Resistance.’
So yes, Jeremy Corbyn didn’t “accidentally host” About Jahjah nor was he unaware of his anti-Semitic views. He knew there were Jewish protests. He knew why. He knew about the Anne Frank cartoon, and the rejoicing in 9/11. He sat there, next to Abou Jahjah, as the latter said ‘People here must realise they are defeated’ and said sod all.
Jeremy Corbyn was clear: it would be ‘my honour and my pleasure’ to host this man who gloried in the deaths of British soldiers. Corbyn intended Aboujahjah’s parliamentary visit to legitimize him.
Days later, Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary barred Jahjah from the UK.
Corbyn is not exactly refusing to answer; the BBC is obligingly just not asking him. I wonder how it would fly if Boris Johnson were found to have given money to Nick Griffin, attended his rallies, called the English Defence League his “friends,” and then added airily ‘but I hate racism and I’m just opening a dialogue?’
It wouldn’t work and rightly not. But because the racism in this case is directed at Jews, the BBC is washing its hands.
Abou JahJah, who a few days ago was calling himself Corbyn’s “friend”, was excluded by the Home Secretary a few days later. But Corbyn most definitely invited him to Parliament personally, and organised with him to speak for Stop the War – two separate events. So this is more than ‘sharing a platform.’ This is ‘giving a platform’ and ‘organizing multiple events for’ a man who is a sickening racist, a vicious homophobe, and who glories in the deaths of British soldiers.
In 2006 Abou Jahjah’s antisemitism boiled into the open, as did his homophobia. He published an astonishing article entitled ‘Walking the Thin Line.’
Can’t a bigot freely express disgust at homosexuality without being called homophobic?**
Muslims and other religious people can not express their disgust from homosexuality and clearly state that they believe it’s a sicknessand a deviation without being persecuted for being homophobic
Holocaust denial and revisionism:
People in Europe are not allowed to do a free historical examination of the Second World War and the holocaust and freely express an opinion on it that is different than the dominating dogmatic line. Any attempt to have deviant historical examination of the holocaust will earn you the title of revisionist, anti-Semite
‘Holocaust cult and Jew-worshipping’
Europe had made of political correctness and the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion [sic]
And Dyab Abou Jahjah wants to mock everything Europe holds holy, such as ‘Aids-spreading fagots [sic]’ and ‘hoax gas chambers’
To illustrate every wall with graffiti making fun of everything Europe holds as holy: dancing rabbis on the carcasses of Palestinian children, hoax gas-chambers built in Hollywood in 1946 with Steven Spielberg’s approval stamp, and Aids spreading fagots.
Below: Dyad Abou Jahjah speaking with Jeremy Corbyn, as Corbyn’s guest. Now, I don’t suppose that the vicious left, having been shown how deep and long Corbyn’s promotion of anti-semites has gone, will care about this particularly. It’s absolutely clear to me that they are prepared to any racism or backing for racists and forgo asking questions like ‘Did you donate money to Paul Eisen’ as long as the candidate is ultra-left. But that doesn’t change the need to report on it and to speak truth to power. The vicious racist statements Abou Jahjah wrote were long public knowledge when Corbyn invited him into our Parliament, as was his statement that ‘I consider every dead British soldier to be a victory.’
In 2010, the Jerusalem Post asked Corbyn if he had severed links with his ‘friend’ Abou Jahjah. He did not say he had. Rather, he responded that he did not maintain links with anybody he thought was a racist. That means Corbyn thinks saying ‘the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping’ is not racist. July 23 and July 30 Dahdah posts Facebook and Twitter support for Corbyn, calling him his friend. I’d like to think the BBC, the Guardian and the left-wing media will ask Corbyn why he would invite somebody who wrote such a blog in 2006 into our Parliament as his guest, or would speak with him at a Stop the War event, or who would give his backing to an ‘International Parliamentarians’ group that had this vile racist and homophobe as its international director.
But I doubt it. Which goes to show that for the wider Labour movement, who are happy to elect as leader somebody who has backed racists like this, racism is bad, unless it is aimed at Jews, in which case: who cares! Corbynmania!
It’s always a problem. In a primary system, only the most engaged of any party’s supporters – the ‘base’ – picks a candidate. As a result, extremists are often, but not always, elected to lead. They then spend the rest of their time as leader frantically rowing back from whatever they said to win over the base, in order to win the general election.
While I had huge respect for Conservative party members and activists as a candidate – I was one before and am still one now – I bore in mind it wasn’t 500 local members who would elect me or not, but roughly 70-80 000 voters in our large constituency. As Conservatives we had to appeal to the middle, the disengaged, the swing voter.
This problem is writ large in 2015, in opposite directions on two sides of the pond. Jeremy Corbyn, a far-left MP, is leading in Labour’s race in the UK while Donald Trump is leading in the GOP primary field, for now. Trump made cracks about Mexican immigrants raping and Fox News anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly’s period. Now I am not politically correct, but if racism and sexism is the answer, my support goes to Hillary.
On both ends of the political spectrum, it’s simply not good enough, and it’s a problem for the Republicans and for Labour that their supporters like these people. The GOP should stop giving Trump airtime. Erick Erickson of Red State led the way on that yesterday.
But there is one big difference between the Republican primary and the Labour leadership. The Republican voters can make Trump the nominee, and voters can make him the President; he is directly elected to executive office.
Nobody wants to tell Labour party members the unhappy truth which is that they cannot make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister. A Prime Minister is simply a man or woman who can command a majority in the House of Commons. Right now, Labour MPs are saying as loudly as they dare that they will not sign up to Corbyn’s Cabinet; but it also means they won’t follow his whip or his leadership. Corbyn himself rebelled so often he cannot expect his colleagues to follow his lunatic policies now.
Whatever the votes cast, it’s really simple; if Jeremy Corbyn cannot get Labour MPs to support his policies, he can’t lead the party, and certainly can never become Prime Minister. He could never sit in front of the Queen and tell her he can command a majority in the House of Commons if Labour MPs won’t support him.
One end game is second preferences making Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham leader. Another is that Corbyn wins, Labour MPs immediately rebel (two months perhaps – but they would be better declaring the leadership election infiltrated and ripping off the plaster right away than waiting) and a second election is scheduled. Tom Watson will be elected Deputy Leader in the forthcoming election, and would therefore be Acting Leader at the time. I can see Tom running, and he would win any second contest easily. I know and like Tom and he is a pragmatist. Compared to Corbyn he will look like Margaret Thatcher. Compared to Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper he will look like Jeremy Corbyn, however. Tom’s support in the Union movement is total. He would be an effective leader of the Opposition if (and my advice here is as his friend) he worked hard on understanding the shift he’d just made, and above all other things, controlled his temper and moderated his speech.
At any rate, Corbyn refusing to speak on membership of and financial donation to Deir Yassin Remembered is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in terms of the group and it’s also unacceptable in terms of cowardice.
If he wins, Labour MPs should take the damage on the chin and make their move immediately to oust him. The problem will not get better the longer they procrastinate.
A search of the bot internet WayBack Machine reveals that in 2004 Ms. St Louis described herself only as the presenter, not as a producer, of the ‘Life As…’ series for which Ms. Wright had won the prize two years earlier.
I returned to the Science Unit in 1999 to begin my presentation career with a new series. LIFE BEFORE BIRTH a joint R4 /world service commission which charts the scientific and medical developements from birth to death. This is presently in its third series.
In both 2013 and 2014 her own site’s About Me page called her a broadcaster without adding ‘award-winning’.
Connie St Louis is a freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist. She is director of City University London’s Science Journalism MA.
Connie St Louis is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, academic, writer and scientist. She presents and produces a range of health programmes for radio including BBC Radio’s 4 landmark seven ages of man series, “Life as…”
For the first timethe producer in the science unit Erika Wrightbroke with the traditional and ethically way that programmes from the science unit we’re entered for the Glaxo smith Kline / ABSW prize and submitted the programmes that were jointly made just in her name. She realised that this was wrongand she recognised my contribution as presenter and writer of the scripts for the programme and we shared and divided the prize. However,she neglected to ask the organisers to add my name to the prize.
Email from Connie St. Louis, re her City University CV‘s claim of winning the prize for ‘Life As A Teenager’ actually won by producer Erika Wright; the above claims are factually false, Ms. Wright committed no ethical breaches, submitted the entry in the normal way, won the prize, and had no duty to amend it or add Ms. St. Louis’ name to it in any way.
With Tim Hunt, sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Connie St. Louis, whose reports of ‘no laughing’ and ‘deathly silence’ have now been shown to be a lie, has still not apologized in the matter. She was exposed, early on in the affair, by a forensic piece of investigative journalism by the reporter Guy Adams, as having invented much of her CV. This was hugely important at the time, as I had not yet found witnesses, photos or audio that could prove that Sir Tim Hunt was telling the truth about his brief toast in Seoul (2-3 minutes duration, not 5-7 as Ms. St. Louis falsely reported). Back then, credibility was very important. City University removed her CV from their website but said they would stand by her, as did the Association of British Science Writers.
Does it matter that the first “reporter” of the Sir Tim Hunt lie is still teaching journalism? I think it does. In a way, this story, at first about proving the Hunt reporting false, has moved on to being one about ethics – and discrimination. Sir Tim and Ms. St. Louis were treated very differently by their academic institutions. UCL got it wrong with Sir Tim, and City University got it partly right with Ms. St. Louis. Whereas UCL jumped on the basis of a lying tweet and a campaign by Professor David Colquhoun, with Dean of Life Sciences Prof Geraint Rees tweeting about a colleague before even speaking to him, City did not blindly believe reporting.
In a sensational email, on the record, Ms. St. Louis falsely claims that she actually won this prize, and that Ms. Wright committed multiple ethical breaches; that Ms. Wright broke with tradition to claim a joint prize singly, that did not belong to her, and that Ms. Wright further failed to correct the record by not noting who really did win that prize. “add my name to the prize”
Such a claim of an ethics breach would be highly damaging if it were at all true, which it absolutely is not. Ms. Wright as a past winner served on the panel the following year judging the next year’s winners. Ms. St. Louis’s false charge is all the more graceless and remarkable because it would appear that Ms. Wright had been very kind about Ms. St. Louis’ false claims, and Ms. St. Louis was told that in advance. A BBC spokesman had said
“The awarding of the prize was in the producer’s name, but Connie was involved and as such it would not seem unreasonable for her to put it on her CV.”
The BBC of course did not award this prize; they therefore have no standing to say who should or should not claim it; so my inference is that this generous quote reflected the thoughts of Ms. Wright. (it was an Association of British Science Writers’ prize).
Ms. St. Louis was given that gracious quote in advance. However, her reply to this generosity was to falsely accuse the actual winner of ethics breaches both in her entry of the show and her subsequent behaviour. Connie St. Louis wrote:
For the first timethe producer in the science unit Erika Wrightbroke with the traditional and ethically way that programmes from the science unit we’re entered for the Glaxo smith Kline / ABSW prize and submitted the programmes that were jointly made just in her name. She realised that this was wrongand she recognised my contribution as presenter and writer of the scripts for the programme and we shared and divided the prize. However,she neglected to ask the organisers to add my name to the prize. [Sic]
It cannot be stressed strongly enough that this is an absolute falsehood. Ms. Wright committed no ethics breaches; she and she alone won the award. When asked about this claim of ethics breaches the BBC refuted it very strongly.
A BBC spokesman said
We are unaware of these allegations. Any suggestion that the proper process wasn’t followed around the 2002 award is untrue.
Ms. St. Louis is here flinging vile accusations, without a shred of evidence to support them, at a former colleague who has been kinder to her than she deserves. Is that who City University Journalism students deserve to have designing their MA? A ‘journalist’ who not only reports lies and steals credit, but accuses other journalists of ethics breaches for prizes they actually won?
At some point universities have a duty to examine what they offer to students, not just a loyalty to staff.
Ms. St. Louis also accused City University for being responsible for the false information on her CV, such as that she wrote for papers she never wrote for:
My cv has not been changed. The information that was put on the website by the university was part of online profile trial it was inaccurate and scraped from places that were old and inaccurate. I had no Idea that this incorrect information was publicly available until I was asked about it last month. This information was removed as soon as possible.This profile is in the form of that the university stipulates. It is the first time I have written a profile for the university website.
This is, of course, absolute and total rubbish. Ms. St. Louis stood for election to the World Federation of Science Journalists on the same false CV. She submitted that CV to them. WCSJ2015, which sold conference tickets falsely calling her an ‘award-winning scientist’, is the conference of WFSJ – they are one and the same.
Ms. St. Louis was elected on a fraudulent CV and the WFSJ removed the same from their website to protect her. I do not include a link as the CV has personal details on it, but it has been archived.
City University needs to ask some ethical questions. Ms. St Louis is now on the Board of a World Federation of Science Journalists, elected by her peers on a CV that has been proven to be full of lies. It is not out-of-date – it is invented. Why did she falsely claim to write for papers she has not written for? Why does she put “Member of the Royal Institute” on her CV? These are not ‘out of date’ errors they are Jayson Blair style fiction.
Finally, Ms. St. Louis is a former President of the Association of British Science Writers. They were the award-giving body to ‘Life As a Teenager’. They supported her after her false CV was revealed. There is a huge conflict of interest in these ‘Science Journalism’ bodies acting improperly to cover up false reporting by one of their own.
Ms. St. Louis is, further, being covered up for by the Guardian newspaper. As her emails show, she is not at all a good writer; she writes with appalling grammar, yet positions herself as a senior journalist. Of course she is not likely to have lots of print journalism experience as she falsely claimed as she cannot write. There is an issue with the Guardian so heavily editing her wretchedly poorly written article slamming Sir Tim Hunt (and further lying about what he said). Here is the original.
First, a handmaidenesqueinterview in the Observer at Hunt’s lovely house in rural Hertfordshire. The interview is full of lovely anecdotes of Hunt doing the grocery shopping and cooking (a modern reconstructed man?). It ends with what can only be describes as a ‘whining’ platform.
“A whining platform”?
But because I thought it might happen and there might be a possibility that too much attention was turned on Hunt. [sic]
It goes on.
I asked the Royal Society, who is in charge of these matters in the UK funded by the taxpayer;
The Nobel eight’s idiotic attempt to orchestrate and equate the upset caused by Hunt’s ill advised and sexist comments with some kind of ‘academic chilling’.
Ohhh-kay. I’m sure they are all absolute idiots, as you say. ‘to orchestrate and equate the upset caused’ – well, if i can detangle some English sense out of that, Ms. St. Louis, I rather think that this was your role, was it not?
Connie St. Louis needs to apologise to both Erika Wright and Sir Tim Hunt. She accused them both falsely. She also ought not to be designing an MA course in journalism, or sitting on the WFSJ or ABSW boards, either. I will assume since City University didn’t care about her false CV, they won’t mind their students being taught by a woman who falsely accuses her colleague of stealing a joint prize through unethical behaviour (although I hope I am wrong). I assume that WFSJ, with Curtis Brainard, Deborah Blum, and Ivan Oransky all involved in its governance, is OK both with its members being deceived in an election and a new Board member lying about another journalist’s prize and that journalist’s ethics; same with ABSW who know perfectly well that Erika Wright correctly submitted her entry and won the award.
But all of that does not speak well to the ethics and standing of Connie St. Louis. Rather, it speaks very poorly to the ethics of the top brass at the World Federation of Science Journalists and at the Association of British Science Writers (if the latter now stand by her). Whether City University do anything to prevent their students being taught journalism by a lecturer who makes wholly false allegations against another science journalist, and wrongly claims that person’s prize, we shall see. They have a duty to their students. At this point Ms. St. Louis’ wrongful behaviour is already on the record. It is the behaviour of the institutions around her that is looking more and more unethical.
If you’ve been wondering “What can I do about Tim Hunt’s treatment?’ wonder no more. You can make a complaint to the BBC. There is a time-limit on these complaints, which is why I publish this final blog today. If, after reading this evidence, you agree that the BBC has been biased and/or misreported, please use the link here to write your own complaint. The misreporting is still live on the BBC websites and social media. The ability to complain is not limited to UK residents, but to any who read or see this media.
I asked Professor Mary Collins, wife of Sir Tim Hunt, for comment about some of the evidence cited in this article. Professor Collins expressed disappointment that the BBC had attributed as quotes words Sir Tim did not in fact say, and had wrongly used the word “sexist” without quotes. She also objected to mischaracterisation of a particular ironic reference to Sir Tim’s own life as remarks about women scientists in general; and to the BBC’s presentation of accusations made by some journalists as facts.
I hope you will join me in doing so as well by adding your objection to a complaint.
THE BBC’s BIAS ON SIR TIM HUNT
The coda to my reporting on Sir Tim Hunt is to examine the final piece of the puzzle, which is how the BBC falsely reported him. This matters because Sir Tim’s detractors and persecutors are still relying on the BBC’s distortion as a last line of defence.
In the UK, the BBC also matter because they are the nation’s public service broadcaster. They are required to be impartial and fair. The charges against the BBC are as follows:
1. They prepared their Today show report in a biased manner; they chose two critics of Hunt as guests instead of balancing the show with an opposing viewpoint. This breaches the BBC’s duty of impartiality.
2. The BBC misquoted Sir Tim Hunt repeatedly, attributing words to him as quotes which he did not say; either in Seoul or in their audio. This is a further and a very serious breach of impartiality, made worse by a refusal to correct the record when the error was pointed out to them.
3. The BBC mischaracterized Sir Tim Hunt’s remarks repeatedly, falsely stating he had made observations about women scientists in general in his joke instead of talking about his his own life and marriage to Professor Mary Collins, whom he had met in the lab.
4. The BBC stated as fact things that Connie St. Louis alleged; and, as we know now, these things did not happen.
5. The BBC repeatedly breached its charter obligations by stating without quotation marks that Sir Tim made sexist remarks when in fact, his joke was against sexism; and by falsely imputing to him, as fact, views about women in science that he does not hold. To do this they used the misquotes I will cite under section 2
6. The BBC breached impartiality guidelines by allowing its producers on social media to express bias in the case, not once, but repeatedly; and allowing them to still do so today.
7. The BBC must know that factual data and witness accounts now completely contradict the account given by Connie St. Louis and Deborah Blum but they have not sought comment from, or broadcast, any correction on the facts. This breaches BBC rules on bias. It is compounded by the original offence of letting the false reporting stand as fact on the BBC website.
THE TODAY SHOW SMEARS SIR TIM HUNT
1. BBC was Biased in Preparation of the Broadcast and Guest Selection
The ‘Today’ show on BBC Radio 4 is the single most popular radio programme in the UK and has an audience of millions. Its prime slot is the 8:20 am slot, reserved for the biggest news of the day. On June 9th, the Today show producer Tom Feilden read some character assassinations of Sir Tim Hunt posted on a blog by Sylvia McClain, from Professor David Colquhoun, of UCL and the Royal Society, and Professor Dorothy Bishop of Oxford University.
the criteria for FRS are excellence in science; there is no requirement that you be a decent human being… I would like to see them state publicly that they will bar him from serving on their committees…. someone with these views should not be involved in…Royal Society policy or…awards.
I’m on the Royal Society Diversity committee, and Tim Hunt has caused consternation. I hope a fuller renunciation will appear tomorrow. Also, I hope, from UCL where Hunt has an honorary appointment
I have to say that I have never heard any man say anything of that sort, even when drunk. Neither do I recall any single sex labs (beyond what might be expected from stochastic variability). So I really hope that there are no longer many people with views like that.
After reading these extraordinary character assassinations and false characterizations of what Sir Tim Hunt said, the Today Show’s Tom Feilden sought comment from these persecutors of Sir Tim.
Colquhoun and Bishop were, of course, basing this solely on Connie St. Louis’ now debunked tweet and two articles on Buzzfeed and the Daily Beast, both factually false and both since sheepishly corrected.
Feilden apparently did not seek comment from any defender of Sir Tim Hunt. If so, the preparation was biased. Certainly the BBC invited on to its show only two critics of Hunt; Connie St. Louis, who would repeat falsehoods throughout the broadcast, and Jennifer Rohn. This was biased.
The false smears of Sir Tim’s character received from David Colquhoun, who on June 9th called Hunt ‘the misogynistic Nobel prize winner’, would have coloured the Today show staff’s report. Professor Colquhoun, of both UCL and the Royal Society, was evidently obsessed with Sir Tim. He started the hashtag #Huntgate. He was campaigning for disassociation by both UCL and the Royal Society based on a mere tweet. He appears to have informed the BBC of Sir Tim’s honorary Professorship at UCL.
The BBC featuring this fact on their broadcast led directly to Professor Geraint Rees’s call to Sir Tim’s scientist wife threatening her that if Sir Tim did not resign he would be sacked. Thus, in collusion with Professor David Colquhoun, the biased preparationand false reporting on the Today show were major factors in UCL’s disastrous and sexist actions towards their employee Professor Collins, and through her to Sir Tim.
These are the “sources” Feilden sought out. And that is bias. We know he prepared his broadcast having spoken to the anti-Hunt obsessive, David Colquhoun, who that day had called Hunt a “misogynist” for participating in the ice bucket challenge with his wife, because he says to Colquhoun ‘Sorry about the late call,’ and Colquhoun replies: ‘No problem! unpaid bloggers work all hours!’
2. BBC Misquotes Sir Tim Hunt – Repeatedly, Across Media
During and subsequent to the Today Show, and across BBC stations and media, the BBC would repeatedly, and willfully, misquote Sir Tim Hunt. The effect of this misquoting was always the same; it was to make his specific joke and later remarks, about his own wife and marriage, into general remarks about women in science. This is the transcript of the Today Show’s 7:15 preview and 8:20 am main broadcast. Sir Tim Hunt’s remarks are quoted in two sections. Here they are. 7:15 preview:
Sir Tim Hunt: I did mean the part about having – having trouble with girls. I mean, it is true that people – I have fallen in love withpeople in the lab, and that people in the lab have fallen in love with me, and it’s very disruptive to the science. Um, because it’s terribly important that in the lab, people are, sort of, on a level playing field. And I found that, um, you know, these emotional entanglements made life very difficult. I mean, I’m really, really sorry that I caused any offence – that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean – I just meant to be honest, actually.
OK? Now here are Sir Tim’s words as broadcast on the 8:20 section:
Sir Tim Hunt: This was a lunch for women journalists and particularly women scientists and engineers, actually. And I was asked, at short notice, to say a few words afterwards. And I thought it was ironic that I came after three women, who very nicely thanked the organisers for the lunch. And I said it was odd that they – they’d asked a man to make any comments. And I’m really sorry that I said what I said – it was a very stupid thing to do, in the presence of all those journalists. And what was intended as a sort of light-hearted, ironic commentapparently was interpreted deadly seriously by my audience. But what I said was quite accurately reported.
It’s terribly important that you, um, can criticise people’s ideas without criticising them. And if they burst into tears, it means that you tend to hold back from, you know, getting at the absolute truth – I mean, what – science is about nothing except getting at the truth. And anything that gets in the way of that diminishes, in my experience, the science. I mean, I’m really, really sorry that I caused any offence – that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean – I just meant to be honest, actually.
So we see that the Today Show edited the words ‘I’m really really sorry I caused any offence…. just meant to be honest’ and uses them in two places. We can further see Dr. Hunt asserts two things: 1. He was joking and 2. He was joking ironically. The importance of the latter cannot be overstated. He was sending up himself and not women; he was being ironic. Here, in the audio clip of the end of his speech, we can hear Sir Tim use irony again after congratulating women scientists present:
Congratulations, everybody – and I hope, I hope, I hope, I really hope there is nothing holding you back – especially monsters like me
As you can hear, in his phrase ‘monsters like me,’ Sir Tim is being ironic. He is not saying he is a ‘monster’. He is not calling himself a ‘monster’ or ‘like a monster.’ His tone is quite clear; he is mocking the idea that he is a monster; he is negating it, not asserting it.
To ‘Today’ then, Sir Tim asserts that not only was he joking, he was mocking sexism not being sexist. That’s what ‘ironic’ means. His quotes also are very very careful not to refer to the female sex at all and to specify again and again that he is ‘being honest’ about his own life. He met his wife, the distinguished immunologist, Professor Mary Collins, when she was his lab student. Still married; still scientists.
BBC misquotes on the Today Show:
7:15 There are three problems with having women in the laboratory – according to the Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt
Sir Tim NEVER SAYS THIS. That would be a comment about women in science in general. He made NO remarks about women in science in general, even in jest, either in Seoul, or to the BBC. He spoke about HIS OWN TROUBLE when he fell in love with a junior colleague. Properly reported on, Sir Tim made a feminist point to the BBC. He said to them that he worried that his love affair in the lab might create a power imbalance. ‘Important that in the lab…there’s a level playing field.‘ With a less poisonous preparation by David Colquhoun, the BBC might have noticed that.
BBC misquotes again on the main show, 8:20
8:21 There are three problems with having women in the laboratory – according to the Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt
Sir Tim Hunt never said, and not even Connie St. Louis alleged he said, that there were problems with “having women in the laboratory.” This is a misquotation. This is biased, and a breach of the BBC’s impartiality rules.
he was, as I understand it, making the argument for single-sex laboratories
Sir Tim never told the BBC he argued for single-sex laboratories at any point. Nor did he say so in Seoul even in jest.
He said men would be the worse off for it (if the labs were segregated) – Tan Shiow Chin, Malaysian Science Editor
Scientist Tim Hunt responds to criticism of ‘girls in labs’ comments
A Nobel laureate has apologised for any offence after he made comments about the “trouble with girls” in science – but said he had “meant to be honest”.
Sir Tim made no remarks, joking or otherwise, about ‘girls in labs’ (a generalization). Nor did he make ‘comments about THE trouble with girls’, a general remark. He referred to himself alone. This is a misquotation and breaches BBC impartiality and accuracy rules.
In a truly extraordinary, truly libelous, misquotation, which appears to have been lifted from the Buzzfeed piece that had to retract its substance, the Radio 4 today programme lists its running order online as follows:
The Nobel Laureate Sir Tim Hunt has been criticised after telling an audience at a conference in South Korea that he was ‘a misogynist pig’.
Can you comment on the comments made by British Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt – you’re laughing, so I guess you’ve already heard his words – said about women scientists – ‘you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you….’
Of course Sir Tim had made no remarks about ‘women scientists’ in general whatsoever.
he made comments about the “trouble with girls” in science.
Sir Tim Hunt told a conference that women in labs “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts. He told the BBC he “did mean” the remarks but was “really sorry”.
This is a misquotation and inaccurate and fails both BBC impartiality and accuracy rules. Sir Tim never said any of that. Not even Connie St. Louis said any of that! In the above quote, the BBC here develops the theme of the Today show. They apply Sir Tim’s remarks about his own life to all women in science everywhere, all men in science everywhere.
the Nobel Science laureate who has resigned from his university post after making contentious comments about “girls in labs”.
And the BBC Science Hour on BBC World Service also wants to misquote Sir Tim! The BBC is going for a world record of bias and inaccuracy, and putting words in someone’s mouth!
A Nobel laureate has resigned from his position as honorary professor at a UK university after he made comments about the “trouble with girls” in science. University College London said Sir Tim Hunt – a Royal Society fellow – had resigned from his position within its faculty of life sciences. He told a conference that women in labs “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts.
Sir Tim Hunt, 72, told a conference in South Korea that “three things happen when [women] are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”
At 5:51 on this clip Derbyshire, the presenter, says “He admits – he’s a chauvinist pig – his words.” WOW. Sir Tim never admitted to using the word ‘pig’ – even in jest. Not to the BBC; not in Seoul; not in Connie St. Louis’ quoted 37 words.
And let’s allow BBC Politics to get in on the misquote action! This is glorious! Sir Tim’s nonexistent words are getting the widest possible airing round our entire state-funded “impartial” broadcaster! I expect to see him pop up on C-Beebies (Children’s BBC) any minute!
London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for a Nobel laureate who had to resign after remarks he made about women in science to be reinstated.
Sir Tim Hunt, a Royal Society fellow, saidthe “trouble with girls” in labs is that they “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts.
Sir Tim Hunt, a Royal Society fellow, said the “trouble with girls” in labs is that they “cry” when criticised and “fall in love” with male counterparts.
By now you have probably forgotten what Sir Tim actually did say. You might want to scroll up. The only time the poor bastard said “girls” was “having trouble with girls”. He went on to talk about his own marriage. In reference to his life he never said ‘women in the lab’. He said ‘people in the lab.’ In reference to emotions he again used the gender free ‘people’.
There is a load more of such misquotation and distortion – across BBC Radio and Television and Online – but in the interests of my readers retaining the will to live, I will move on.
3. BBC BIAS, LIBEL AND INACCURACY IN CALLING SIR TIM HUNT SEXIST
The BBC breaches its Charter requirements of accuracy, impartiality and fairness again and again by, without ‘alleged’ or ‘reportedly’ or scare quotes, both calling Sir Tim Hunt a sexist and calling his anti-sexism joke against himself sexist:
Sexist scientist ‘a housewife’
The case of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Tim Hunt – forced to resign from University College London after saying the problem with women in the lab was that the “fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry” – remains in the news.
on Sir Tim Hunt’s sexist comments at a conference in South Korea. The British Nobel laureate said ‘ three things happen when women are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry’.
For extra bonus Charter Breach, this show calls Sir Tim’s anti-sexism joke “sexist” as an assertion and misquotes him in quotation marks! (Clip title: “Is Science Sexist”?)
“Is The BBC A Biased And Inaccurate Pile Of Manure?’ would be a better title at this stage.
3. BBC BIAS IN REPORTING AS FACT THE ACCUSATIONS OF CONNIE ST. LOUIS
The BBC breached its charter repeatedly over and over by, in a biased way, asserting the accusations of Connie St. Louis – accusations we now know are total lies – as facts, without an ‘allegedly’ or a ‘reportedly.’
Sarah Montague: Connie St. Louis, when he said this – I mean, you heard him, you were there – what was the reaction in the room?
Connie St. Louis: Well, there was a deathly silence…nobody was laughing. …And so this – after he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence.
Here’s the end of Sir Tim’s speech again; after the audio snippet finishes multiple witnesses report sustained applause following the laughter.
The BBC cannot help it if one of their guests lies and makes a false report as Ms. St. Louis did. What they MUST NOT do is take her account on trust, or report it as fact.
Sarah Montague: (7:15) ….That’s what he told a conference of senior women scientists and journalists in South Korea. And it didn’t go down terribly well.
Sarah Montague: (8:20) When it didn’t go down terribly well, he admitted that he was a “chauvinist pig”.
Taken as fact. Misquote. False reporting. Even CSL’s original tweet does not say that Sir Tim began with a joke and after a bad reaction said he was a chauvinist pig. There was NO evidence the joke about himself – not women ‘didn’t go down terribly well.’
A Nobel prize-winning scientist has sparked outrage by making chauvinist remarks at a conference of senior women scientists and journalists in South Korea.
Sir Tim Hunt told the conference that there are three problems with having women in the laboratory: “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”
Connie St Louis, a Lecturer in Science Journalism at City University who was at the conference, describes the reaction in the room.
Here BBC TV 1. shows bias by stating Sir Tim made chauvinist remarks without scare quotes, as a fact; misquotes him completely; and states that Connie St Louis “describes the reaction in the room.” Ms. St Louis is openly lying on this TV clip. She really emphasizes the lack of laughter and smiling.
very clearly, nobody was laughing – everybody was stony faced.
But the BBC calls it “the reaction in the room.”
Here, Connie St. Louis gives us her account of the reaction in the room. How about that? Basic research, like a search of social media, would have given the BBC a live opposing view – but they did none.
4. BBC BIAS EXPRESSED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The BBC has a duty to fairness and impartiality. However, online its producers who identify themselves as with the bbc are acting with extraordinary bias; misquoting Sir Tim Hunt, RTing the ‘Distractingly Sexy’ hashtag, accusing journalists who research the bias of character flaws, etc etc etc.
The Today show producer, Tom Feilden, who appears to have researched the Sir Tim broadcast item in such a biased way on June 9th, gives us some insight into why the BBC won’t stop misquoting the Nobel Laureate even when its errors are pointed out in good faith. Feilden defames me in some of his tweets so I will not link to those ones. However, he does say
Except for the awkward fact he does use the exact phrase “women in the lab”
The phrase Sir Tim used on Today is “people in the lab.” He never, ever says “women in the lab”. Nor did he use that phrase in Seoul.
Feilden also insists Sir Tim used the word “the” before “trouble with girls” – i.e. – “the trouble with girls” which would make his joke about himself a general one about women in science. Sir Tim doesn’t do that at any point to the Today show, nor did he, at any point, say “the trouble with girls” in Seoul – he said “MY trouble with girls” (a joke about his wife whom he met in the lab).
It’s really important as this is the entire thrust of the BBC’s biased misreporting across all its platforms – that Sir Tim Hunt made generalized remarks about women scientists rather than about his own marriage to his lab student.
Feilden: He clearly says the exact words “women in the lab” on the very extract you already re-tweeted!
Pulling Mr. Feilden up on the Today Show’s misquoting, I pointed him to an article flagged up earlier in this piece, where the BBC records that Sir Tim said THE trouble with girls (i.e. in general) rather than what he actually said about himself (married Professor Collins his lab student): “HAVING…” and goes on to describe his own romance, only.
Mr Feilden then absolutely insists, again, putting it in quotation marks, that Sir Tim said “the trouble with girls”. He did not; neither to the BBC on the Today show nor to the conference in Seoul.
That section begins “I did mean the part about having trouble with girls” – emphasis mine – and immediately goes on to describe his love affair and his fears about power imbalances.
Feilden also says “He says he said it” in response to my challenge that Sir Tim had never said “the trouble with girls in science.”
This refers to Sir Tim’s comment ‘But my words were quite accurately reported.’ This has been taken by detractors of Sir Tim Hunt to mean that Sir Tim validated everything in the tweet by Connie St. Louis, and this is not the case at all. Sources say Feilden emailed Sir Tim the front page of the Times to comment on. He looked over only the 37 words, specifically:
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”
That and only that was what Sir Tim Hunt meant when he said ‘my words were accurately reported.’ He glanced at the newspaper and referred to this comment only. So when Feilden says Hunt “says he said it” – “it” being “THE trouble with girls…” that is factually false. Hunt validated, only, MY trouble with girls. (Having joked about his marriage). And of course he goes on to congratulate and praise women scientists and is clearly being ironic.
As Sir Tim said on the very same day, June 10th, to the Guardian –
I certainly did not mean to demean women, but rather to be honest about my own shortcomings.
He could not be clearer that he was not, even in jest, talking about “women in science” or “girls in the lab” but making an ironic joke – one that sends up the sentiment – about his own marriage. The BBC had access to that information on June 10th. They ignored it completely and never reported it. That too is bias, and a breach of their charter.
Then there is @ScienceNelson on Twitter, Sue Nelson. She describes herself in her Twitter bio as a ‘Radio 4 producer and presenter.’ She displays extraordinary and explicit bias against Sir Tim. She backs Connie St. Louis proven false account, calling Sir Tim’s remarks sexist without evidence. When a tape is produced demonstrating that St. Louis lied on the BBC (on her channel, Radio 4) “after he’d finished, there was this deathly, deathly silence. Nobody was laughing”
“Science Nelson” “Radio 4 Producer and Presenter” says it means nothing. When confronted with the specific claim of silence she simply doesn’t reply.
4. BBC SHOWS BIAS BY NOT CORRECTING FALSE REPORTS – AND NOT UPDATING STORY
The BBC covered the Tim Hunt allegations wrongfully and in a biased manner to exhaustion. They did not report, hardly at all, on the updated story. As witnesses emerged to debunk the accounts of St. Louis, the BBC did not report on them. As a tape emerged proving Connie St. Louis lied on the Today Show and BBC TV, the BBC did not report. The BBC covered things like Brian Cox and Richard Dawkins defending Hunt but omitted serious coverage of the women in science who testified to Hunt’s egalitarianism. David Kroll in Forbes ran a huge, graceful and massive retraction:
A personal note to the reader, July 23: In this story, I referred to an account by Connie St. Louis of comments by Sir Tim Hunt on June 8 at a World Conference of Science Journalism luncheon sponsored by the Korean Federation of Women in Science and Technology.
Subsequent and more fully reported accounts have led me to re-evaluate my personal stance on Sir Tim Hunt as expressed in this article. While I personally might have chosen to offer different comments than he if asked to briefly address this group at a luncheon, I’m now reasonably certain that his words on women in science were self-deprecating, as based on the circumstances of his courtship and marriage to immunologist and University College London’s Gender Equity Champion, Professor Mary Collins; and that his overall message was to congratulate the Korean women scientists in attendance for their ability to perform at a level that becomes all the more impressive in the face of outdated attitudes about women in science as exemplified by his self-parody.
Certainly under the magnifying glass the last six weeks, no accounts of misogyny or sexist behavior have been uncovered against the Nobel laureate; to the contrary, he has been widely heralded by collaborators, former trainees, and students worldwide as most supportive in the career development of women scientists. His own 2001 Nobel lecture acknowledges the work of his women collaborators and students as emphatically as that of the men, going as far as identifying their specific experiments as turning points in understanding the dynamics of proteins that control the cell division cycle. The main section of this lecture closes as follows:
“One final comment. The decade starting in about 1986 was a fantastic experience for anyone working on the cell cycle. Discoveries emerged from all sides and unexpected quarters at a headily bewildering rate. The culture was generous and open, and the field attracted extremely talented scientists who were very much fun to work with and talk to. I would like to thank them. This Nobel prize honours them all.”
I count dear friends and colleagues among those who have expressed opinions on and accounts of this episode. Speaking for me and me alone, I wish to offer my sincere apologies to Sir Tim Hunt and Professor Mary Collins for unfairly characterizing him in this article as sexist and denouncing what now appears to be a selectively-edited account of his luncheon comments. The groundbreaking work of you and your colleagues has led to a recently-approved drug which my own mother will receive to treat her metastatic breast cancer. For this, I am grateful. In addition, I apologize to Dr. Debra Laefer for cluttering my representation of her award-winning research with my own counter-productive overshadowing of her own work and will publish an excerpt of this article to fully feature her project. I have also edited the title of this piece to reflect Sir Tim’s role at the conference in leading the session promoting the ERC-funded Advanced Project Grants to Dr. Laefer and Dr. Jennifer Gabrys.
That is the kind of thing we need from the BBC. They issued one disingenuous statement saying that ‘we did not misquote Sir Tim Hunt’s original comments’ when in terms they did misquote them. It said ‘we did not edit his words to change their meaning’. But they used ‘honest’ again and again to frame his words as referring to women in science – “women in the lab” . They misattributed, they misquoted, they made biased judgements, and they did not correct the record.
Note: originally I put “The BBC did not correct the record with anything like the prominence they gave the original story”. But having searched I find the BBC has not corrected the record AT ALL. The BBC has not even COVERED the appearance of the audio tape proving Connie St. Louis lied about laughter. NOT EVEN ONCE.
Connie St Louis, a lecturer in science journalism at City University, was in the 100-strong audience in South Korea.
“Nobody was laughing, everybody was stony-faced,” she told the BBC News Channel.
“The Korean female scientists who hosted us looked aghast and he just ploughed on for about five to seven minutes.
Professor Mary Collins, the wife of Sir Tim Hunt expressed disappointment that the BBC had attributed as quotes words Sir Tim did not in fact say, and had wrongly used the word “sexist” without quotes. She also objected to mischaracterisation of a particular ironic reference to Sir Tim’s own life as remarks about women scientists in general; and to the BBC’s presentation of accusations made by some journalists as facts.
You can join Professor Collins in those objections, in a concrete way, by using the complaint form at the top of this blog.