ON MONDAY The Guardian gleefully reported that Shaun Bailey, the Conservative hopeful for London Mayor in 2020, had been accused of the ‘worst kind of sexism and misogyny’.
The ‘worst kind’? Does this mean there are alternative forms of male prejudice more palatable to his accuser, the Labour MP Seema Malhotra? Of course not: she had used the superlative only to hyperbolise what is a confected complaint by an opportunistic Leftie.
Seema Malhotra’s allegation, made in January 2019, is a reaction to comments made during an interview given by Bailey to The Sunday Times in, er, 2007 – when he had just been selected to contest for the Conservatives the parliamentary constituency of Hammersmith (in 2010 he failed by 3,549 to unseat Labour) and at the time was deemed newsworthy owing to his being an atypical Tory.
Described by interviewer Isabel Oakeshott as ‘an athletic [then] 35-year-old Afro-Caribbean, brought up by a single mother on a London sink estate’, it was those characteristics which presumably had prompted Shaun Bailey, during the course of winning the open primary, optimistically to declare: ‘Vote for me because if I win I am their worst nightmare. There is nothing they can say against me.’
That misplaced confidence from more than a decade ago failed to foresee that by 2019 the Left’s growth industry would be offence archaeology. It is no surprise, then, that The Guardian should enthusiastically present Seema Malhotra’s excavation of Shaun Bailey’s 12-year-old interview, her unearthing of ‘backward views straight out of the 1950s’ supposedly revealing a ‘long and hideous track record of misogyny and divisiveness’.
The Guardian sorrowfully notes that in his 2007 interview ‘Bailey gave the impression there were no women who educated him’. In fact, in addition to praising the values instilled by both his mother and grandmother, Bailey had acknowledged the positive impact of women he encountered as a youthful gymnast: ‘There’s a lot of misogyny in working-class communities, often because the boys are quite separate from the girls. At the gym, the leading lights were all women. They weren’t just girls but real people to me.’
However, Bailey had also dared to emphasise his admiration for the masculine qualities, now reviled by the Left, of the teachers at his all-boys comprehensive: ‘When I was a kid, there was none of that PC nonsense. If you were wrong, they told you so. The teachers were men, then . . . we looked up to them. It was not a democracy. In today’s drive for children’s rights, we’ve forgotten to give them responsibility.’
Shaun also now finds himself in the stocks for having historically been trenchant on teenage pregnancy – ‘We positively encourage it. What kind of message does the fact that we hand out condoms to children as young as 13 send out?’ – and potent on parental responsibility: ‘At the moment parents don’t do things because the state suggests they don’t have to. The government is trying to rear your children for you – absolutely impossible. They are confusing parents . . . your 14-year-old daughter can have an abortion without you knowing. Who is in charge?’
That someone who has expressed robust social conservatism – ‘Liberalism is to blame for all the nonsense that gets poured into kids’ heads’ – has been chosen by today’s Tories is itself a shock. In the short time since Bailey became the London mayoral candidate, The Guardian has already published several attacks, including this and this. The latter hit piece was based entirely upon Bailey’s answers to a decade-old Guardian questionnaire: responses included his assertion ‘our children are using abortion as a contraceptive’, along with the unfashionable opinion that ‘unless there were mitigating circumstances I would reduce [the upper limit for abortion] to 22 weeks’.
Those remarks ‘make for chilling reading’, according to an October 2018 Guardian op-ed titled ‘Shaun Bailey is not the mayor London’s women need’. Underage contraception and the parameters for abortion are subjects upon which Shaun seemingly should have kept schtum: according to The Guardian’s Frances Ryan, despite having been a prospective MP his was not a legitimate contribution because ‘Bailey had neither a degree in neonatal care nor a vagina’.
In early December The Guardian devoted an entire week to ‘Bias in Britain: A series of reports on the hidden impact of everyday racism’. A BAME who has surmounted genuine hardship and disadvantage, overcome early educational struggle, resisted the lure of criminality that enticed many of his peer group, and who in his late forties has become mayoral candidate for a major political party, would normally be lionised by the race-obsessed Guardian.
And no doubt Shaun Bailey would be proclaimed a paragon, if only he had spouted shibboleths approved by the Left. Instead, the exhumed Sunday Times interview Bailey gave in 2007 contained the heresy: ‘My community are Tories naturally, but Labour has won that vote by telling people we’ll look after you all. But they’ve failed because the state cannot do that.’
Twelve years later, the Left still cannot forgive this Shaun for not being a sheep.