Two stories of note here today, that I want to explore in more detail. Firstly, not for the first time, an MP here in the UK has managed to massively embarass himself and, by extension, his party, by displaying his misogyny for all to see.
Christopher Chope, MP for the location of Christchurch (near the south coast) has repeatedly voiced objections to bills intended to offer greater protection for women. Somehow, this man is a Sir, though I won’t be using that honorific here, since it has not been earned, in this author’s view. Chope’s latest act was to object to a bill that would have protected young girls from FGM (female genital mutaliation). Quite why anyone would even want to object to this is beyond the comprehension of any reasonable human being, but Chope did exactly that. The only reason I can come up with is that he’s simply not a reasonable human being, but instead a misogynistic dinosaur.
His own party are closing ranks against him, with calls for him to be deselected as an MP. He has been warned before about such objections yet continues to make them, so removing him from his position may prove the only means to stop him. Ultimately, he actions don’t even accomplish anything, for after a stern warning there is a second reading of the bill, whereupon it passes. Chope’s actions are simply bewildering and should have no place in British politics.
The second subject of note is that of actor Liam Neeson’s recent confession that he wanted to kill a random black person after a friend of his was raped. Neeson’s unprompted confession has led to condemnation of him for his attitude, though Neeson has also confessed to feeling ashamed for how he allowed hate to motivate him. Some famous parties – including TV chat show host Trevor Noah – have come out in defence of Neeson, as has former England football star John Barnes. Neeson’s confession also links to his shame over how he felt and his realisation that he was wrong. What does this mean for him and his future? I can perhaps only point you to the video of Barnes’ interview.
I’m torn on this. I don’t like racism or racists. On the other hand, Neeson has made it clear he deeply regrets his thoughts and what judgement do we face if we don’t give people the opportunity to acknowledge their errors? What is the line between condemnation with no chance of redemption and the understanding that someone is facing their demons and trying to change?
On the other hand, would we as a society be so forgiving if the roles were reversed here? Would a black actor be offered any leinency if they confessed to similar thoughts? Consider Kaepernick, who committed no crime, nor confessed to any intent to commit one, who has been cut off from his career for simply taking a knee? Society is full of double standards. What do we do about that? What message do we want to convey here? I’m confused by this, I don’t mind admitting that.