Opinion

How Did This Man End Up In Charge Of Helping Women?

As MP Philip Davies takes his seat on the Committee for Women and Equalities, columnist Lucy Vine asks WTF

So, I’ve decided it is high time I had a nemesis. Honestly, I can't believe I've made it this far without one. I’m going to have a nemesis and it’s going to be Tory MP Philip Davies.

Because he’s a total moron.

On Monday he was officially made a member of the Committee for Women and Equalities, despite seemingly really not liking women at all. This morning the committee tweeted, ‘Welcome to our new Committee member @PhilipDaviesMP We're looking forward to working with you.’ You can’t always tell tone on Twitter, but I reckon they wrote it super sarcastically.

You might remember Philip Davies from such meninist bluster as, ‘Feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it.’ And: ‘I don’t believe there’s an issue between men and women. The problem is being stirred up by those who can be described as militant feminists and the politically correct males who pander to this nonsense.’ And: ‘[There’s] an ‘equality but only when it suits’ agenda that applies to women. The drive for women to have so-called equality on all the things that suit the politically correct agenda.’ And one of my recent faves: ‘Political correctness has neutered men.’

LOL.

He’s spent his career voting against equalities legislation, and tried to have the 2002 Sex Discrimination Act repealed. He’s also campaigned against free hospital parking for carers, argued that requesting landlords make homes fit for human habitation would be a ‘burden’ (he’s a landlord himself, obvs), and for no apparent reason I can see – except to be a dick – he’s also argued against giving children in schools first aid training.

And now this man is a member of a Committee designed to help vulnerable people. In related nonsense news, the Cookie Monster is campaigning against sugar, and Nigel Farage is the new face of the French tourist board. EYE ROLL.

The final straw for me though, was his decision on Friday to try and derail a bill to help tackle violence against women. The MP spent a really pompous 78 minutes trying to make the house miss the deadline, talking about how sexist the Istanbul Convention is, because it only focuses on violence against women. Thankfully, his fillibusting didn’t work, they passed the bill.

He defended his action on Women’s Hour on Monday, telling presenter Jane Garvey, ‘I believe in equality,’ and insisting, ‘We should have legislation that's gender neutral.’ But violence isn't gender neutral, Philip. You and I know very well that female victims vastly outnumber male victims. Women are disproportionately affected by violence – that is why we need legislation like this. And because apparently this also needs spelling out: Phil, those of us who want to end violence against women, are not endorsing violence towards men.

Unfortunately, that is the exact zero sum logic this MP has been preaching for his entire career: that every gain made by women equals a loss for men. The problem is with him, as a human. He is one of those people you can explain a point to seven thousand times and get nowhere, because they can only see and hear their own.

He's the guy that will shout over you for a solid eighty-four minutes at a party and when you try to contribute to the conversation, will scream into your face ‘WILL YOU LET ME SPEAK FOR ONE SECOND.’

He is your aggressive elderly relative, angry about the invention of the telly and that people don't use phones for phoning people anymore.

He is a dick, basically.

Philip Davies has been banging his poor-me drum for a long time, complaining about feminism, and refusing to see the point: that helping women achieve equality, helping women not be subjected to violence will benefit us all. He talks about depression rates with young men and rates of suicide as if ‘militant feminists’ will be gleeful about the situation. As if feminism’s raison d'être is to destroy men.

I actually feel a little sorry for this man. He genuinely doesn’t understand, and I don’t think he’s capable of understanding, because he’s more interested in shouting and skewing facts to suit his cause. He is really, really sure women are the reason his life isn’t how he wants it. He has zeroed in on that girl in year 11 who dumped him because she fancied his friend, and he has decided she – and all women – are the reason men aren’t allowed to be men anymore.

I suppose there is a glimmer of a chance that being on this Committee will help educate him. Maybe some of it will sink in. Maybe there will be a Christmas miracle. But honestly, we don’t have time to bring the idiots who refuse to listen up to speed, we need to get this shit done now. So Merry Christmas Phil, you got yourself a nemesis.

Follow Lucy on Twitter: @lecv

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