politics

'Thinly veiled swipes at Angela Rayner's class won't detract from her brilliance'


Labour deputy Angela Rayner has been castigated for her ‘scum’ comments – but where’s the uproar over Tories’ vile remarks, asks Sophia Waterfield

Angela Rayner
“Why can Boris Johnson make comments about single parents and hijabs or Sajid Javid make transphobic remarks, but Rayner can’t call someone ‘scum’?”

Deputy leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner has been the subject of headlines this week over her comments about senior Tories and some photographs of her taking a smoking break during the Labour Party Conference.

The Times shared a photograph of Rayner having a cigarette during a break in an article about Keir Starmer not backing up her “scum” comments. The Daily Mail dedicated an entire article to Rayner having a “crafty cigarette”.

Of course, it isn’t unusual for the public to make attempts to discredit a working-class woman in this way.

Open up Twitter and you’ll see post upon post about how Rayner isn’t “classy”, or compared with other Conservative female MPs she’s “tacky” or like “chalk and cheese”. Even the Twitter account for Leave.EU tweeted that Rayner had no “class”.

All ignoring the fact that Conservative MP James Gray admitted he made a joke about delivering a bomb to the office of Labour chair Anneliese Dodds.








Angela Rayner has refused to apologise for her ‘scum’ comments until Boris Johnson says sorry for his own historic remarks
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Image:

REUTERS)



But I digress — as we’ve all come to learn, working-class women (or those from working-class backgrounds) are judged to a much higher standard than others. When they can’t attack their brains, people will go for the superficial. Like hair extensions (only working-class ones though…), smoking, accents, semantics.

They do this all while distracting from or ignoring the serious issues plaguing the working-class communities in our country. Universal Credit cuts, soaring energy prices… who cares about that when Angela Rayner called the people responsible for those things “scum”?





You only have to look at the Daily Mail article that dedicated itself to Rayner’s smoking habit and calling senior Tories “’racist, homophobic, scum”. In the same piece, a couple of paragraphs in, it was quoted that a government official said that Rayner was “talking crap”.

Why is that exempt from criticism but Rayner’s comments aren’t? Why is Rayner’s “class” being called into question when someone else’s isn’t? Why can Boris Johnson make comments about single parents and hijabs or Sajid Javid make transphobic remarks, but Rayner can’t call someone “scum”?








Angela shows bravery in calling out Johnson and Dominic Raab
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Image:

Getty)



It’s called the patriarchy and its ever-present double standards.

But obviously, people don’t stop there. Rather than put Rayner’s comments down to her being from the working-class — she worked as a carer before becoming an MP — they put it down to “her strategy” to appeal to the working-class.

Because apparently, all the working-class care about is calling Tory officials scum and whether or Rayner takes a cigarette break or not and whether she looks tacky doing so (she looks bad-ass staring into the camera, cigarette in hand, but that’s beside the point).

Rayner’s comments, her appearance and her mass appeal have everything to do with her authenticity and her bravery to call out officials like Johnson, Dominic Raab (PMQs anyone?) and other senior leaders. It’s to do with her empathy for the working-class — her working-class.


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