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Sturgeon, like Ardern, a casualty of online abuse

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, February 21st, 2023 - 65 comments
Categories: art, books, jacinda ardern, Media, media abuse, misogny, Nicola Sturgeon, online abuse, Politics, social media, taxpayers union - Tags:

Nicola Sturgeon’s shock resignation as Scotland’s First Minister was something of a replay of Jacinda Ardern’s lightning bolt in Aotearoa last month.

Both charismatic leaders were subject to widespread abuse, mostly online, and while each was, for obvious reasons, reluctant to cite this as their reason for quitting, it undoubtedly played a role.

Sturgeon, in the job for eight years after a similar shift as deputy, said the main reason, like Ardern, was that she had run out of gas, as the Kiwi put it.

She said a first minister was never off duty “particularly in this day and age, there is virtually no privacy”.

She referred to the role of abuse.

“And the nature and form of modern political discourse means there is a much greater intensity – dare I say it, brutality – to life as a politician than in years gone by. All in all, it takes its toll on you and on those around you.”

Ardern downplayed the role the vitriol and misogyny played in her decision, on the grounds that the trolls would claim credit and thus be further encouraged, but perhaps it is better to acknowledge what has happened and address it.

Another Aotearoan tall poppy subjected to similar abuse, Mann Booker prize-winning novelist, Eleanor Catton this week talked about misogynistic abuse and called for more reform of social media platforms.

Of course, Ardern through her Christchurch call in the wake of the mosque attack in 2019 attempted to get countries and tech giants to “eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”. The Paris summit got partial buy-in, but has had limited success. Critics claim a voluntary social media code released here last year is toothless and compromised by input and funding from the big tech firms.

In an interview with RNZ’s Kim Hill during their discussion about her new dystopian novel, Birnham Wood, Catton said the subtext of the pile-on she received from former Prime, Minister John Key, media shock-jocks, the Taxpayers’ Union, some mainstream media and much social media, was “who does this young woman think she is?”

She mainly lays the blame on social media, which she labelled as psychotic.

Catton was labelled “ungrateful” and a “traitor” for daring in 2015 to say that countries like Canada, the country of her birth, and Aotearoa were led by “neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture.”

Key’s response was that Catton’s views should be given no more weight than those or All Black Richie McCaw or Peter “the Mad Butcher” Leitch and showed lack of respect for his government.

Then the Taxpayers’ Union published a document listing the $50,000 of accumulated grants she had received from Creative New Zealand over her then career and called for her to be more grateful.

Catton told Hill that the Taxpayers’ Union had blatantly attempted to intimidate her and more disappointingly, their “piece of writing” was republished by the New Zealand Herald with little pushback from the public or other media.

“I just cannot quite believe now that something that sinister would just happen with no consequences,” she told Hill.

She remains angry that more people didn’t come to the defence of artists who speak out and she rubbished the idea that arts funding should guarantee some return on investment or “loyalty” to a government.

By putting her head over the parapet, Catton received the kind of pile-on that both Ardern and Sturgeon undoubtedly received in industrial quantities and caused Catton to quit social media.

She said the fact that social media is driven by algorithms and controlled by private interests accounts for much of the abuse women like her receive.

“I think it is deeply distorting our humanity and is pushing us away from being moral creatures.”

In the past, communication had to happen in a time, in a from and in a community and depended on presence, while morality over history depended on the difference between saying and doing. Online, those distinctions had collapsed, she said.

People are fooling themselves by saying forums such as Twitter were public “squares” when in fact they are for-profit spaces algorithmically-designed to be addictive and make billionaires of their owners.

“They operate like psychopaths. An algorithm has a secret for-profit agenda that is hiding from you, very much as a psychopath does.”

The algorithms manipulate, flatter, show users things they want to see and match themselves to a version of you they think you want to see.

“That is incredibly psychotic behaviour and I think the world is becoming more psychotic as we become more used to having our social inter-actions mediated through algorithms.”

She said a lot of women were vulnerable because they had been conditioned from a young age to believe that likeability was something they should demonstrate above other qualities.

“When you have a public profile as a woman, it’s difficult to deal with. You have to kind of de-program some part of yourself that really does want desperately for people to like you.”

“But of course, that’s impossible in the truly public sphere…. – nobody’s liked by everybody”.

Catton said she felt strongly that more urgent reforms were needed to rein in the tech overlords such Elon Musk and Michael Zuckerberg, who are more powerful than some nations.

She also called on women to reclaim social media on not-for-profit platforms that were safe environments.

(Simon Louisson is a former reporter and briefly a media adviser for the Green Party)

65 comments on “Sturgeon, like Ardern, a casualty of online abuse ”

  1. Sabine 1

    yeah, i can totally see how one would claim 'intrusion into private life' when this is in the news and has been for a while.

    Chances are that Sturgeion resigned because it was easier to do so now then after her husband was arrested for dodgy money lending practises whilst being

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/23302114.sturgeon-cant-recall-knew-husband-loaned-snp-107-000/

    NICOLA Sturgeon has said she “can’t recall” when she first learned her husband had loaned the SNP a six-figure sum to help bail out its finances.

    The First Minister repeatedly failed to say what she knew and when after being pressed on the matter at a Scottish Government press conference.

    https://www.scottishdailyexpress.co.uk/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-told-explain-extraordinary-29201250

    Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to explain an "extraordinary coincidence" relating to her husband's £107,000 loan to the S NP and the fraud investigation into a 'missing' £600,000 from the party's coffers. It has emerged Peter Murrell handed over the money the day after party bosses met to discuss the ring-fenced independence fund that has prompted a Police Scotland probe.

    Mr Murrell – who is also Ms Sturgeon's husband as well as being the SNP's chief executive – loaned the cash after concerns were raised about party finances. It has now been reported that the day before he issued the interest-free loan, a meeting of the SNP's National Executive Committee was held.

    During this meeting, treasurer Colin Beattie is believed to have issued a statement aimed at offering members reassurance that the £600,000 would be spent on Scexit campaigning, according to reports in the Scottish Daily Mail on Monday. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Beattie said: "We will ensure an amount equivalent to the sums raised from these appeals will go directly to our work to secure a referendum and win independence.

    Never mind that in the end even the most ardent supporters of a Party get a somewhat ghoulish feel when Self ID is put above the safety, dignity and respect of non transpeople, the things formerly known as 'women'. That too might have helped her move on as clearly support for their leadership was waning.

    Maybe saying that one needs more information to the question of 'is this rapist a man or a woman' is also something that has nothing to do with the public but with her own self identity as a FM who wants to happily house males in female prisons even if they are convicted two time rapist, or so dangerous that they don't even get a court hearing.

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/nicola-sturgeons-handling-of-trans-rapist-controversy-has-been-chaotic-and-cynical-euan-mccolm-4013003

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/23302287.confusion-sturgeon-refers-double-rapist-she-her/

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2023/01/28/nicola-sturgeon-under-fire-another-trans-prisoner-womens-jail/

    But i get it, lets blame online abuse – that exists and that women – persons with vagina/uterus/fallopian tubes/ovaries/vulvas deal with daily. That gives an absolution to a flawed Person whose time has run out and whose usefulness ran dry and whose Husband – who is deeply involved in party politics might get arrested.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      That is a really really long bow to draw Sabine.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        Why?

        She fucked up. Life on Telly for everyone to see. Her arrogance preceded her fall as it always does. Her Husband gave a six figure 'donation' to the Party of whom he is a high ranking member and she pretends that she does not know bout that cause he is his own person. Yeah, right Tui.

        You know what comes to mind? fuck around and find out. She fucked about and now she is gone, sadly for womens rights many years to fucking late.

        Btw, can you explain what a woman is? You know the adult human females, not the human males ones.

  2. Mac1 2

    Yes, of much concern, but rather like climate change and global warming- noted, but no action.

    I think her point about algorithms is worth expanding because social media impinge on us, even more than what we used to complain about- the bloody papers.

    My FB now gives me wisdom which algorithms have chosen for me- the beauty of uilleann piping, the Blues, and the advice that the very rich are not very intelligent.

    Algorithms make a reality of what was sung about in The Boxer- "still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

    Lie de die de die de die de die de die.

  3. Sabine 3

    ah, yeah, online abuse and such. Never mind, the dear ex FM of Scotland had no fucks to give when it happened to people with female sexual organs that they care nought for.

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-urged-by-120-snp-women-to-condemn-threats-made-against-joanna-cherry-3146057

    An open letter, signed by 120 women and organised by the SNP Women’s Pledge group, calls on the SNP leader to support women in the way she backed LGBT party members who also recently threatened to quit amid a row over alleged transphobia.

    The women, including councillors, the party’s Women’s Convener and “working class women, minority women and survivors” also demand the party reaffirms a commitment to women’s rights to single-sex spaces, assures women they can campaign for their needs “on the basis of sex” without facing accusations of transphobia, and pleads with Ms Sturgeon to “reassure women who have left the party or are thinking of leaving that you value them and are taking action to support them

    snip

    SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who has been accused of transphobia, which she has emphatically denied, was dropped from her shadow cabinet role at Westminster within days of Ms Sturgeon’s video. She later then received threats of violence, leading to a 30-year-old man, believed to have been an SNP member at the time, being charged. He is due in court next month.

    SNP Women’s Pledge convener, Councillor Caroline McAllister, said that a failure of the party to support Ms Cherry had prompted the letter to Ms Sturgeon, which she believes will gather further signatories.

  4. Gosman 4

    She resigned because she failed in her goal to bring about another Scottish independence referendum and the policies she oversaw failed to make Scotland a better place to live and in fact made it comparative worse off than England than when she assumed office.

    "The consequences of this dismal record are perhaps best reflected in life-expectancy figures, which show that Scotland has the lowest life expectancy at birth of all UK countries. Inequality persists at the heart of these figures; the life-expectancy of men in the most-deprived areas of Scotland is 13 years less than men in the least-deprived areas, and ten years less for women.

    The SNP cannot simply return to its repeated complaint of underfunding to justify any of these results. Scotland now spends 30 percent more per person than England. According to the IFS, this is almost wholly due to the Barnett Formula, the mechanism that allocates the amount of public expenditure allocated to the Scottish government. Despite failing so significantly compared to the UK, Scotland’s budget deficit stands at 8.6 percent of GDP, while the UK-wide figure is 2.5 percent. Thus, the SNP repeatedly fails on numerous metrics compared to England and the UK as whole, despite spending significantly more. "

    https://brownpoliticalreview.org/2021/12/image-vs-reality-the-snps-record-in-scotland/

  5. woodart 5

    sad but true fact that most commentators on any political website are mostly pale stale males. so, they are desperatley clinging on to the memory of their own imagined importance . unless a woman can assume male characteristics(crusher,iron lady etc), they are targetted by sad old gits.(disclosure,Im a pale stale male. )

  6. Molly 6

    You have collated a myriad of incidents and titled it: "Sturgeon, like Ardern, a casualty of online abuse"

    As Sabine mentioned, there was little concern shown by Sturgeon in regards to the online abuse directed at Joanna Cherry, MSP.

    I don't deny that online abuse exists or that for women the threats and abuse are often sex based.

    However, your failure to include the debacle around the determination to pass the GRR bill without support from the general public, and without consideration for the impacts, including on legislation around the UK is noted.

    Here's a few women – some who endured both online and physical world abuse and intimidation reviewing the events leading up to Sturgeon's resignation:

    Kathleen Stock: https://unherd.com/2023/02/nicola-sturgeon-is-rewriting-history/

    "Putting an optimistic gloss on the general mediocrity of her party, she implied that for too long she had eclipsed the many talented SNP politicians with her own brilliance, promising that from now on we would be able to see them more clearly. And perhaps most startlingly — fresh from calling critics of her government’s gender law reforms “homophobic” and “racist” only a fortnight ago — she noted that, over the years, she had somehow become a lightning rod for “irrationality” in the “tone and tenor of discourse” on controversial areas, and expressed the fervent desire that things be less polarised from now on.

    [deleted overlong quote]

  7. weka 7

    I'm guessing the reasons that Sturgeon resigned are multiple and complex. I have zero doubt that she receives overwhelming abuse. In recent days I've seen people point to the SNP being middle class/liberal as an issue, as well as the independence fight. And gender critical feminists have pointed out the elephant in the living room that arrived in the few weeks preceding her resignation: her in initial support for male rapists in women's prisons and then her utter incomprehensibility when she could no longer uphold trans women are women but wasn't able to do say.

    GCFs weren't particularly surprised that she stepped down btw, because we were paying attention to the politics of gender ideology being laid bare to the general public and the general public going wtaf?

    This video shows the interview that I pick as the moment she came undone. Sturgeon is at the start, then an interview with the journalist who had asked NS the questions.

    The questions were put to Sturgeon on 30/1/23

    This poll came out on 12/2/23

    Sturgeon resigned on 15/2/23

    We also need to examine the abuse that Sturgeon experienced (and it would be helpful if people pointed to examples like we did with Ardern), alongside the abuse that gender critical feminists and other women routinely experience and that Sturgeon was incapable of addressing and in many ways supported. That's an untenable position, and my own theory is that the interview where she came undone also unravelled something in her own psyche where all the things could no longer be borne.

    Of note is that many left wing men speak out against the abuse of Adern, Catton, Sturgeon etc, but are strangely silent when it comes to the abuse of gender critical feminists.

    https://terfisaslur.com/

    Also worth reading is Kathleen Stock's excoriating piece on Sturgeon's resignation and why NS's history with feminists is shockingly bad.

    https://unherd.com/2023/02/nicola-sturgeon-is-rewriting-history/

  8. Muttonbird 8

    Here's another. Sanna Marin:

    “I don’t think that we should give that room for sexism or misogyny. I think we should all just be ourselves and people can vote.”

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/sanna-marin-you-can-vote-me-out-but-ill-keep-drinking-and-dancing/67BMDNGUS5HJNGG5P6ZKCROGBE/

    No wonder modern, progressive women find it difficult in politics.

    • Molly 8.1

      Ash Regan MSP under Sturgeon:

      https://archive.ph/HDl2G

      The decision to quit government weighed heavily on Regan’s mind. A self-confessed “goodie two shoes” until that point, the Edinburgh Eastern MSP was worried about stepping out of line with a party once famed for its discipline and the potential for outside abuse online and in person.

      “That’s why I think a lot of women don’t want to speak up because they’re very concerned about what kind of backlash they’ll get,” she says.

    • Molly 8.2

      Joanna Cherry MSP under Sturgeon:

      Gasps as Joanna Cherry QC says Nicola Sturgeon gave her 'no support whatsoever' after rape threats

      JOANNA Cherry has revealed her upset at hearing fellow SNP MPs giving their support to a colleague guilty of sexual misconduct while the abuse she suffered was ignored.

      To audible gasps, she told an Edinburgh Fringe event neither Nicola Sturgeon or SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford gave her any support after she received rape threats.

      There had been “no support whatsoever” from the party leadership, she said, suggesting it was because people were “afraid” to be seen defending her because of her gender critical views.

    • Molly 8.3

      Women's Right's Organisations deemed ether the wrong kind (of women and/or rights) dismissed as bigots by Sturgeon:

      https://thecritic.co.uk/sturgeon-turns-her-back-on-women/

      One of the most shocking and distressing moments of the third stage of the debate came when an amendment to ban sex offenders from obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), proposed by Russell Findlay, was shamefully voted down by 64 MSPs. This means that a male sex offender, including rapists and child rapists, can change their “identity” to “become a woman” in just three months and by making a simple declaration. A further amendment by SNP MSP Michelle Thompson to pause applications by those charged with rape or sexual assault, was also voted down by 61 MSPs and the Presiding Officer. Those men, and they will mostly be men, can now apply for a GRC before they are convicted, and then seek access to a female prison.

  9. Anker 9

    https://www.spiked-online.com/2023/02/16/how-sturgeon-was-undone-by-gender-ideology/

    Surgeon was undone having bleated on for years that trans women are women, then unable to answer questions about double rapist Adam Graham aka Isla Bryslen being held in a women’s prison, like a number before them. Understandably when the Scottish people found out about this, they were outraged.

    time you left wingers on this sited your eyes and engaged your critical thinking skills about where gender ideology is taking us

    • weka 9.1

      Do you consider yourself left wing Anker?

      Not sure who that last sentence was aimed at, but many of the gender critical people that comment here are left wing.

      (and if you meant the author, please don't attack authors).

  10. Anker 10
    • No. I no longer consider myself left wing. I think the left have become infected by the likes of gender ideology.

    there are many people on this site that support gender ideology, my last comment wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular (I don’t know where the author stands on it)

    • weka 10.1

      Lots of liberals support gender ideology. On the left, some people support gender ideology and some oppose. 'You left wingers' is a slap in the face for the many left wing gender critical people who comment here.

      • Sabine 10.1.1

        I have been called a rightwinger, natzo, nactoid, virtue signaller, transphobe, and so on and so forth, by many a leftiy who may or may not be 'liberals'. Why? Because i don't lockstep march to the tune that comes from the left identified Political Party Complex, because i am against the de-sexing of gender non conform children, because i am against the erasure of womanhood and all that women have a accomplished, and of course because I expect delivery from highly paid suits once they are in the jobs that they applied for, and frankly i don't care if they dress in blue, green or red. There is little to no difference here.

        Unless of course we are ok with insulting people who disagree with the 'left'. What ever that means, as the current 'left' is quite happy to throw women, children and the LGB's happily under the bus for the profits and spoils of the Gender Affirming Industry.

        In the meantime, thanks to the left, and the utter uselessness of the opposition, women no longer have any rights to single sex provisions, the category of women is now a mixed sex category of everything goes, and girls are crowdfunding to butcher themselves into something loosely resembling 'manhood' because who wants to be a women. Way to go!!!!!!!

        Lefties need to grow a back bone and hold the parties that they support and enable to account, cause this shit is getting old. Never mind the broken bodies of god knows how many kids that the left has created and is leaving behind.

        As for the record, i am an independent. I am not beholden to any Party. My vote is not beholden to any Party. And i do not worship People. I vote on issues. The left needs to remind themselves of that, People like myself and Anker we exist and we vote and we used to vote on the left.

        • Visubversa 10.1.1.1

          There are a lot of "political orphans" over the embrace of gender ideology by so called left wing parties. The Green Party are even worse than Labour. I have been a member of the Labour Party for over 40 years. I have been a Branch Chair, an Electorate Committee Secretary, a Moderating Committee member and a List candidate. I was a foundation member of Rainbow Labour.

          I have never voted Tory – and I never will. However, I just don't participate these days, and I don't give them any extra $$$$$ no matter how often they ask.

          I did try and talk to some women MP's about the BDMRR Bill but it was a waste of time. They are certain it is just about being nice to people like Carmen and Georgina, and they are not budging from that.

          There is a solid core of Labour women who are educated about gender ideology and they do some good work behind the scenes, but it is a very hard road.

          • weka 10.1.1.1.1

            I've been thinking today that Ardern is fortunate to have gotten out if the gender issue kicks off in this year's election campaign. I hope it doesn't, because our best chance re climate is to get a Labour led govt with more Green MPs and more TPM. But like Sturgeon, they will have been hoisted on their own petard if this backlashes this year. They definitely cannot say they were not warned. Same with the Greens.

            • Sabine 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Ardern would have had the same issue as Nicola Sturgeon has.

              Btw, has either of them ever self id as a woman with she/her pronouns or are we all assuming their gender?

              • weka

                I usually refer to people by their biological sex unless they specifically request people use their gender identity 😉 (and then I'll usually go neutral).

        • weka 10.1.1.2

          you didn't say what you mean by left. Lots of people vote on the left are liberals not left wing. They're centre left. That much but not all of the Labour party and Labour voters.

          It's not hard to argue that gender ideology is a liberal position but not a left wing one. Most (not all) people I see arguing for gender ideology are arguing an individual rights position while at the same time arguing against the class based rights of women. I can't see how that's left wing. It's liberal. It's neoliberalism having coopted liberal causes and enshrined them so that liberals and some lefties feel like gains are being made.

          • Sabine 10.1.1.2.1

            The Green Party and Labour Party just to name two that would be left. Be that here or the UK for that matter.

            ACLU in the US would be left. Most of our universities would be left/left leaning. All those famous academic 'femmists' that believe that intersectional feminism includes males. The US government is currently a lefty one.

            It is about time that those that self identify as lefties, or as greenies or as labourites in NZ to stop calling anyone who does not obey to the mantra that males are women, or that people can self id into a sex category that was established to protect women, LGB and children that sit in that category to actually have a chance at a full life silly names and petty insults.

            Ditto for the assumption that anyone who does not vote L or G must be an Act, National or other right wing party voter. It is lazy. It is insulting. It is infuriating. And in the case of both L or G both parties are not much without female voters. So really the left can continue to insult women – female humans of all ages at their own risk.

            Some of us are really tired of that shit. And fwiw, i said that years ago, i pity any transwoman, cause they are getting shat on by males in frocks who are not transwomen but just pornified fetishistic blokes that get away with horrendous shit just because good people don't want to be mean (at best) or because they are too cowardly or because really they don't mind that women are being put to third base. Males first, males in frock second, females last, children no where.

            Unless of course we are now pretending that the Labour Party, the Green Party and TPM here in NZ are not left leaning parties but right leaning or gasp even worse, in the middle.

            The left, and those that support the current crews masquerading as left need to start owning the crap they rain down on us. Because women – human females have literally been set back a century. And fwiw, in the old days when women and children were property everyone at least had the good graces to know what a women and a child is. And it never was a male / transwoman, and childrens genitals were generally of limits.

            • weka 10.1.1.2.1.1

              If you are going to define the left in such a simplistic, self serving, and reactionary way, I don't see how you can complain when people define your politics similarly.

              The Labour Party is centre left, they not left wing.

              The Greens are kind of left, in that they have policies that are closer to traditional left wing. But the party actually does green politics.

              To me it looks like you are (rightfully) fucked off with Labour and the Greens, and so you put them in a box that you can react against. But the left has always been much broader than parliament, and there are many left wing people, including feminists and other women, who are gender critical. Men too.

              Gender ideology is a liberal philosophy. The left covers many things, and one could say that liberals, in NZ at least, are a subset. But gender ideology is essentially neoliberal, and the distinctions are important. As you have discovered, if you throw out the left, you are left with sweet fuck all politics. I can't see the rationale in throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but it looks to me like the people that abandon the left over genderism, were probably not that deeply allied to the left to begin with. This isn't a bad thing, maybe it's just a clarifying thing and a new politics will arise. But trashing the left over this is a massive own goal.

              • Sabine

                You might speak of the 'spectrum' of 'people' and how they indentify. I don't. I speak of political parties as they decide and rule. And for the spectrum of people on the left to blindly and obediently to just follow what comes from these parties and to expect others to do so with them, is what makes the left useless. As no debate is allowed and everyone is expected to throw themselves behind these Parties message / policies/ social engineering irrespective of the lived realities of the people it becomes an authoritarian movement. And in the case of L and G i can't support these parties with good conscience as many if not most of what they do / legislate now will leave many many people left behind in particular woman – human females (males thinking hey are women are not included) and children of both sexes.

                The biggest massive self goal of the left – the leaders and their followers / believers is to consider others not worthy of their opinion and perception of reality, and that if they differ that they must be shut down. At some stage no one will sit at the table with them for a cuppa and a chitchat.

                • weka

                  You might speak of the 'spectrum' of 'people' and how they indentify.

                  I didn't speak of the spectrum of people, nor how they identify.

                  I don't. I speak of political parties as they decide and rule

                  I did too. Did you not read my comment properly, or did you just ignore that?

                  And for the spectrum of people on the left to blindly and obediently to just follow what comes from these parties and to expect others to do so with them, is what makes the left useless.

                  Like I said, you have a superficial, reactionary understanding of the left. It's socially liberal people supporting GI, and that's people in all parties and voting for all parties. You think ACT or National won't support GI?

                  If you think the left is useless, you make invisible all the left wing people fighting GI. Which is ironic given your politics on how GI make women disappear.

                  As no debate is allowed and everyone is expected to throw themselves behind these Parties message / policies/ social engineering irrespective of the lived realities of the people it becomes an authoritarian movement.

                  Sure, we know this. How does trashing the left help that situation? How does a Nact government instead of a L/G/TPM government help that? Those aren't rhetorical questions.

                  And in the case of L and G i can't support these parties with good conscience as many if not most of what they do / legislate now will leave many many people left behind in particular woman – human females (males thinking hey are women are not included) and children of both sexes.

                  I didn't say you had to support them. I said trashing the whole left because of a subset of people in power is an own goal.

                  The biggest massive self goal of the left

                  Just to reiterate, the own goal I was referring to was politically homeless gender critical people trashing the left wholesale. See my previous points about a NACT govt.

                  – the leaders and their followers / believers is to consider others not worthy of their opinion and perception of reality, and that if they differ that they must be shut down. At some stage no one will sit at the table with them for a cuppa and a chitchat.

                  And…? All you're saying is that Lab and GP are useless and you won't vote for them. Tell me what the strategy is. How do you see change being effected? How does a Nact govt help with good change?

      • Anker 10.1.2

        Sorry Weka, didn’t mean it to be a slap in the face to gender critical women on this site and certainly not you!

        I am not sure telling people that it’s time they opened their eyes and engaged their critical thinking skills is such a bad thing?

  11. Shanreagh 11

    [deleted]

    PS I cannot link properly to Hon Clark’s tweet.
    It is from 18/2/23 and comments on the article in the Guardian.

    • Molly 11.1

      The presence of online abuse cannot be assumed to hold the full weighting of Sturgeon's pressure.

      Nicola Sturgeon deliberately participated in the abuse of women in order to other them and dismiss their concerns:

      https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/obviously-the-case-some-gender-reform-critics-are-bigots-says-nicola-sturgeon-4006954

    • Incognito 11.2

      Let's see if I can get it to work, as I am not on Twitter.

      • RoseyK 11.2.1

        Check out the (many) hidden replies to that Helen Clark tweet. I was blocked by HC's Twitter account for pointing out the omission of the Isla Bryson controversy and the investigation into the dodgy loan from Sturgeon's husband. Online bullying?

        • weka 11.2.1.1

          that's not online bullying, it's moderation.

          I'm curious if she blocked people that quote tweeted her.

        • Incognito 11.2.1.2

          Online bullying?

          Nope, blocking ≠ online bullying

          Please don’t use strong words lightly because this can up the ante unnecessarily or they lose their meaning. It then becomes almost impossible to guess the meaning & intent of a person who uses them and one has to make assumptions aka second-guessing or mind-reading. In turn, bad faith actors can hide behind this ambiguity with plausible denial. Words matter, language matters, and context matters.

          • RoseyK 11.2.1.2.1

            Apologies for not being clearer. I was making the point that HC's account hid replies and blocked anyone that responded in a way that didn't agree in totality with the article. And I was questioning whether these hidden replies are being categorized as online bullying (after all, why else would the tweeter of these replies be blockedby the account holder, seems extreme if it's simply "moderation")?

            • Incognito 11.2.1.2.1.1

              Thanks for clarifying.

              There can be many reasons for moderation. I/we sometimes apply moderation here on TS, e.g., moving comments to OM, to keep the discussion relevant and focussed if desired. On Twitter, one doesn’t have this option. Diversion trolling is a thing.

              It is the account’s owner prerogative to moderate as they see fit. In this case, nobody has to follow HC on Twitter and nobody should be upset if their tweets are blocked for whatever reason – they are just tweets not one’s oeuvre of a lifetime.

    • Sabine 11.3

      We should.

      But we don't.

      And we certainly don't give a dime about females who wish to access single sex services, they get called all the names, they get death threats, rape threats, doxed, bullied out of of jobs and all that in the name of kindness and inclusion.

      Some of these women who are high up the food chain have totally lost touch what it means to be a women who does not have access to private hospital rooms, private executive toilets, and who are rich enough to pay for care givers privately.

      So really, Helen Clark can say a lot of things, it matters not one bit to the women who has to now share a changing rooms at the workplace with males cause they self id as 'women' and thus get to parade their dicks about unfettered, and worse even where the women that complain get told that they could be persecuted for harrasement. That would be UK, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

      Soon to come here.

    • weka 11.4

      I strongly suspect that if I spent moderator time looking that I would find we've had this conversation before. If you cannot link then you cannot quote. The only reason I didn't dump your whole comment in the trash is because it already had a reply (which would also get dumped).

      If you don't know how to link, then ask for help. Saying that you don't know how to link and then quoting is disrespectful to the community and the mods. It's behaviour that says 'I know what the rules are but I'm going to ignore them because commenting is more important than the rules or moderator time'. I'm sure you don't think that consciously, but that's how it comes across. Not just you. You bring a lot to this site in your comments, so this is hard for me to do, but every time someone does this it eats away at all the work we do to maintain robust debate here.

    • weka 11.5

      Clark went on a blocking spree the other day, of New Zealanders who brought up gender critical issues.

      • Sabine 11.5.1

        Well I guess they would not want their followers to see that there is dissent. Got to pretend that all women, all men of all stripes totally support the castration/desexing of children, and the dismantling of the category of 'women'. Mind, would they even be able to state what a women is if you asked them? I doubt they would be any more forthcoming then Nicola Sturgeon who needed more fact to decide weather a male rapist is a man or a women. Peas of the same pot.

  12. Shanreagh 12

    I am sorry for the unlinked link in my post. I have been advised about this before.

    This is the post, without the link. Incognito has the tweet of Hon Clark on the Guardian opinion piece.

    'Nicola Sturgeon like every single human being on this earth has faults and virtues.

    Her faults do not detract from the view that she, like other women politicians, receive a special type of insult that male politicians do not and that is based solely on her gender.

    Human beings do not deserve insults that are based on something that is (usually) immutable. These insults result in our good names being assaulted. It does not matter if that good name belongs to a person whose views we disagree with. So if you diminish the standing of one of us, you diminish the standing of all of us – that sort of concept.

    I know someone will say 'what about Hitler?' (and win the internet) but I am not talking about demonstrably evil people. Neither Ardern nor Sturgeon were demonstrably evil people.

    We should extend civilised behaviour to all. It does not matter that a person's views are not our views. If one person decides to forego public speech because of a fear then that is the problem for all of us in our society.'

    I realise she is disliked by many for her views. I don't much like the support she has given to the 'Transwomen are women' mantra and the subsequent lessening of safe spaces (including in prisons, changing rooms and rape crisis centres) for women as a result of self selected gender.

    I am not going to deny her right to say what she or her party believes. That misogyny/sexism/insult may be one of the reasons for her resignation makes me angry.

    To deny that this is concerning is to, in my view, fall into the trap of saying discourse is only for those we approve of,

    then is the next step civil & legal rights are only for those we approve of…..?

    • Molly 12.1

      "To deny that this is concerning is to, in my view, fall into the trap of saying discourse is only for those we approve of,"

      Yes, it is concerning. Especially for the person occupying the position of First Minister.

      Yet that is the course she consciously chose to take.

      • Shanreagh 12.1.1

        I don't understand the spin you have placed on my comment which was clear and unequivocally without spin.

        This has to do with being a woman in public life, it is not about the views we espouse as a person or for our party in public life. There is a difference, it is this difference I am trying to tease out.

        If you dislike or find someone's views unacceptable to you, it does not give give you the right to deny them the right to speak or to put obstacles up by using misogyny, physical characteristics or race or religion or union status to minimise or ridicule their views.

        What some have been at pains to point out is that by expressing our dislike of the views we disagree with, by calling on race, gender stereotypes, may result in talented women of every political persuasion from putting themselves forward.

        If this happens this will diminish the variety of views coming forward. If we have a diminished range of views we will find ourselves less and less able to see ourselves reflected back in the people we elect in politics.

        It is a restating of the quote often (wrongly) attributed to Voltaire.

        I feel very strongly against the anti women focus of the TWAW mantra.

        I do not support the pro TWAW views of Nicola Sturgeon.

        I do not support anyone trying to tackle the views of Nicola Sturgeon & her party by resorting to misogyny, hounding on social media, name calling etc

        I do not support anyone who uses slurs, misogyny as a way to hound women from office, especially high office such as those formerly occupied by Sturgeon and Ardern.

        • Molly 12.1.1.1

          I don't understand the spin you have placed on my comment which was clear and unequivocally without spin.

          I clarified that Sturgeon was both victim AND perpetrator of abuse towards women.

  13. Incognito 13

    The following article is relevant to this Post. Don’t miss the 2 comments, as they’re quite telling.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/pro/the-dangerous-false-narrative-that-misogyny-led-to-arderns-resignation

    It seems almost impossible to call out misogyny nowadays. Either it is too much, or not enough, or said in the wrong way/tone by the wrong person …

    • Visubversa 13.1

      Most Members of Parliament – especially senior ones don't actually answer their office phones, or clear their own emails. Every MP has an electorate office with an office manager/electorate agent who clears the after hours messages and answers the phone during office hours. They also have staff to do the same things in their Parliamentary office. Jacinda may have had reports as to the kind of misogynistic venom left on her phones, and she would have seen things in the press and on TV but those who left the phone and email messages and thought she was getting them were deluding themselves.

      • Shanreagh 13.1.1

        Yes I agree to an extent with this.

        Having worked in a couple of Ministers offices most OTT stuff directed at their offices was usually given to them to read either in summary or in full. Depending on how turgid or violent one Minister I worked for would usually respond just by acknowledging or in cases taking them up on their views. Violent ones were usually passed on.

        Some of the stuff had to be dealt with by giving to those entrusted with security and we would have been failing in our duty if we did not do this or alert our Ministers to this. We had training on dealing with this as part of our induction.

        I don't think anyone is saying that the PM or Nicola Sturgeon got downcast and fearful from reading stuff on Twitter or social media. We know that political figures do have Twitter accounts and know that these can be operated by trusted staff working to pre-set boundaries. (Brownlee had an instance where he had to back track recently).

        Enough of the 'nutter' territory stuff comes in directly to work emails, by text or by letter. Not all people have have cast iron feelings and can avoid being drawn down by this rabid stuff.

      • Incognito 13.1.2

        Why limit it to office phones and official e-mails? Ardern has her own SM accounts, AFAIK. She also received many death threats, etc., but quite possibly not opened & read by her personally. That doesn't make it ok.

        Saying that it won’t or can’t (?) hurt the intended recipient/target [as much] because somebody else may have intercepted it is not a plausible argument, IMO. In fact, I find it rather absurd. To make a crass analogy: ‘ignore the assassination attempt, PM, because your bodyguard took the bullet for you’.

        • Shanreagh 13.1.2.1

          I agree with this. Any person in power would have had to be living in a glass bubble away from everything/everyone not to be aware of awful SM and insults conveyed through comms channels.

          Those working in the offices would be lacking if they did not report such issues. For those politicians operating their SM accounts in person how could you not be aware?

          Then there is the heightened stress, wrong word, within offices when the heat ramps up. During the parliamentary protest office workers from parliament and the Govt offices behind were routinely abused by protesters.

          So the atmosphere ramps up.

          We have always had those who threaten or abuse MPs or the PM. That is why we have induction programmes on how to deal with them, we have Ministerial drivers trained to speed in close formation to make sure other vehicles don't get too close. And that is scary to be part of.

          Jacinda Ardern would have had these outward manifestations of threats to her every time she went out officially.

          • Anne 13.1.2.1.1

            Haven't followed this thread due to other commitments, but in reply to your 13.1.2.1 Shanreagh:

            My understanding is the threats made against little Neve was the final straw for Jacinda Ardern and you can't blame her. Beyond comprehension to want to attack an innocent little girl.

            I cannot understand why these vile individuals can't be tracked down and brought to book. At the least have them named so everyone knows who they are.

            • Shanreagh 13.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes I agree with this.

              I cannot understand why these vile individuals can't be tracked down and brought to book. At the least have them named so everyone knows who they are.

              I have recently discovered Twitter. There are good people there.

              I report anyone who I feel breaches standards. I was not brought up to hide/applaud these people under the misnomer of free speech* and so the concept of 'narking' does not bother me at all.

              Why is it bad to report someone who is

              either breaking the law or encouraging others to do so

              breaching standards

              *Free speech does does not mean free of consequences speech

              .

    • Shanreagh 13.2

      I feel that the writer has started with a straw PM argument and proceeds to try to demolish it.

      No-one let alone the PM has claimed that misogyny was the sole reason for leaving, she is far too canny for that. To lay claim to that will just set them all up again as even mentioning 'misogyny' and 'female' and 'leader' in the same breath has the smell of weakness about it.

      Reasonable people reading the online vitriol directed at Jacinda Ardern can easily see the misogyny, the insults about appearance etc. I have no doubt that Nicola Sturgeon also had a share of misogyny & other insults directed at her.

      It seems almost impossible to call out misogyny nowadays. Either it is too much, or not enough, or said in the wrong way/tone by the wrong person …

      Incognito this is no doubt tongue in cheek with a good dollop of sense ….

      An easy way is to see if something is misogynistic or, less euphemistically, anti women is to carefully recast the words so they read from a male point of view. This is easy when the misogyny is easy to spot ie appearance etc but it is getting harder. Much, much harder.

      Byron Clark in an article in the Spinoff talks about women in the alt right movement.

      https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/20-02-2023/women-and-the-alt-right-in-new-zealand

      Here the language of being anti women comes from the women themselves as they carve out, or resign, themselves to a helpmeet role only with their male alt right partners. They revert to putting up the stay at home Mum with the subtext that those who object to this are anti women.

      This won't work, as from very early on the language of the women's movement has been one of choice.* It is not about consigning any roles to anyone by dint of what their genitals look like.

      * We did have a few mis-steps and authoritarianism very early on (in the 1970s) . But the 'fight' was the patriarchy not other women.

      • Incognito 13.2.1

        It was not the strongest article but I think the intention was to set up some dialectic structure and it got a bit lost in the synthesis part. On balance, I agree with the gist of the article.

  14. Farewell Sturgeon. At least she had the good grace to fall on her sword, unlike the MAGA extremists.

  15. Corey 15

    While female politicians do get more abuse, the abuse is not why either of them left and it's kinda belittling to say it is.

    Nicola Sturgeon was an enormously popular leader who won unprecedented majority support in Scottish Westminster seats and Scottish parliament elections , she inspired many voters with populist left wing rhetoric but in office was obsessed with social justice issues while housing, health capacity, living standards got worse and worse.

    ​Sounds familiar cos it is.

    The left need to ditch identity politics. Everyone outside of media, academia and the beltway HATES it.

    Ardern and Sturgeon were obsessed with identity.

    Sturgeon had been in power for 8 years which is 30 in social media years, never calling a second Indy ref despite claiming she would in every election while living standards got worse and worse she worried about culture wars and demonized women who disagreed with her and refused to debate these issues and passed bad laws

    Not too different than Ardern who while housing and living standards fell like led balloons was obsessed with trying to create new types of humans through legislation, telling us who we are, what we can say.

    Had labour focused on living standards and economic issues Ardern could have done 4 terms easily, instead she's just a footnote in history who did five years because she promised transformational change but was only interested in transforming the way we think and talk.

    The left needs to focus on ​​​​​economic policies, living standards and housing.

    Otherwise we're doomed. DOOMED.

    Nzlp can pretend democracy isnt majority rules, but it is, and unless you're making life better for the majority you're gonna lose badly and if you're not focusing on economic issues you're not helping anyone, not the majority or the minority.

    The left must do better.

    Ardern couldn't stay on after she lost control of caucus and her ministers were putting secret crap in legislation like Mahutas anti privatization inclusion in three waters, sturgeon couldn't stay on after her disingenuous self id in prison law.

    For anyone to say a person who attacked women and gays for disagreeing with her was attacked out of office for being a woman is disingenuous. She painted herself into a corner and had to go.

    • roblogic 15.1

      Ardern is on a different level from Sturgeon. A far more skilled and charismatic leader. But she burned her political capital saving thousands of lives in a 100-year pandemic.

      The 3 waters objections are pablum motivated by corporate right wing smear merchants. And recent weather events have highlighted why we need it.

      Ardern's Labour avoided the worst excesses of woke overreach. JA wasn't "obsessed with identity", her priorities were child poverty and climate change. Great ambitions, but they are part of deeper systemic problems (global capitalism), requiring more than 5 years in government to solve.

    • SPC 15.2

      housing, health capacity, living standards got worse and worse.

      Yeah na. Like, no.

      The greater availability of affordable social housing in Scotland has kept its poverty rate down, according to a wide-ranging report.

      Scotland currently has 19% of households living in poverty, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said.

      This compares to a rate of 24% in Wales and 22% in England.

      The Scottish rate has declined from 23% in the mid-1990s to a low of 18% between 2008 and 2013, before rising slightly to its current level.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-51384174

      Lots of things available in Scotland only.

      https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1562578/Scotland-free-services-tuition-fee-prescriptions-evg

      while housing and living standards fell like led balloons

      Yeah na. Like no not here either.

      Saying something does not make it so.

  16. Bazza64 16

    Eleanor Catton receives funding of $50k from a “money hungry” government that supposedly doesn’t care about culture ? Some people like to bite the hand that feeds them. Then gets a few home truths pointed our to her by John Key & the tax payers union. I think it was sensible advice. But if you don’t like the message then call it abuse.

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