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Diane Abbott, MP, Shadow Health Minister: live webchat about British culture becoming 'increasingly pornified', Thursday 21st March, 1pm

(84 Posts)
MylinhMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Mar-13 14:41:54

Hello

We'll be welcoming Diane Abbott, Shadow Minister for Public Health and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, for a webchat this Thursday 21 March, at 1pm.

Diane made history in 1987 by becoming the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. In May 2010 Diane was re-elected in her constituency and doubled her majority on an increased turnout, and in June 2010 she made the ballot for the next Labour leadership contest. She is a leading Labour politician and also has a distinguished career as a broadcaster and commentator.

Earlier this year, we read with interest Diane's comments about British culture being 'increasingly pornified' and damaging to young people. Diane has since told us that some of what Mumsnetters have said on the issue, especially in relation to our Let Girls Be Girls campaign, has been a big influence on her thinking.

Diane is interested in hearing your questions on this - and more - in relation to her role as both an MP and a Shadow Health Minister. Please join us on Thursday from 1pm and, as ever, feel free to post advance questions below.

Thanks
MNHQ

Thanks for answering my slightly tricky, but basically sympathetic, schools choice question. Am glad to hear things are going well for your son. Wondering slightly which RG he's at, as I went to Bristol and then Exeter for PGCE.
< stealth boast wink >

MylinhMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 21-Mar-13 15:57:42

Hi everyone - a big thanks to all for taking part. Diane enjoyed answering your questions, so much so that she's emailed us this additional response.

UnsureOfOutcome

Hey Diane, can I ask what your priorities are as shadow health minister? What would you do differently in terms of the NHS? I live in Lewisham and was on the march recently to save our A&E so it's a matter very close to my heart.

Can you explain a bit about how Labour would handle NHS funding and the problems around the burden the service is under? Where do you see the NHS in 20 years' time - what state will it be in? I'm terrified we'll end up going down an american-style healthcare route ...

I think what the government is doing to our NHS is a tragedy. NHS staff are battling with an expensive, ideological and unwanted reorganisation. We're seeing the budget being cut, clinical staff being axed and real pressure on patient care. I think many people are regretting ever letting the Tories anywhere near our NHS. I want to say clearly that Labour will repeal the legislation of the government's NHS reorganisation. We will support the NHS, make reconfigurations where we need to, and restore its founding principles.

elkiedee Thu 21-Mar-13 15:48:44

thread marking post so I can find the thread, sorry I missed it but it's our regular outing to the Children's Centre at that time on Thursdays

Pennykettle Thu 21-Mar-13 14:17:37

Frenchym Thanks for clarification, I have a 10yr old and wd be horrified if DC watching hardcore porn. With you completely on the discussion point. It's very important, I think, for our children to feel they can talk to us about anything.

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 14:11:37

Thank you all for taking part in the conversation. I have really enjoyed it. Good bye and wrap up warm for the week-end!
Diane

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 14:10:15

eggsandham

Hi Diane. Thanks for coming on here. I read somewhere that you were thinking of running for London Mayor. Is that true?

I am not ruling it in or out smile

LineRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 14:08:55

Xenia

I'm still hoping for President H Rodham Clinton.

LineRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 14:07:48

Diane

I'm glad you'll be seeking to un-blame feminism. The problems of masculinity are more rightly to be blamed on pornification within competitive capitalism, I reckon.

Thanks for coming on MN.

Xenia Thu 21-Mar-13 14:07:26

Yes, good role model (Mrs Obama) and she was a lawyer as was Hilary Clinton (although a pity she gave up work rather than it were Mrs Obama running not Mr - hope the time will come). We need to change things so that the Prime Minster and Chancellor in a year or two are both female and that the US president is a woman. We have a very long way to go in terms of women obtaining at least 50% of positions of power which is power many of us want and have no interest in power behind the throne - men can have that power behind the throne if they think it is so much fun.

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 14:07:10

plainbellysneetch

Is it true that you actually went to school with Michael Portillo? If so, that's rather lovely - like childhood sweethearts wink

On which note, when are you coming back to This Week's sofa? I used to love watching you and Michael rolling your eyes flirtily at each other. Now it's all just... politics and that.

I went to Harrow County Grammar School for Girls. And he went to Harrow County Grammar School for Boys and there was lots of joint sixth form activity (!) It was great working alongside him on This Week. We definitely seemed to have a bond. His mum told me once that she loved the programme because I put Michael in his place!

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 14:02:52

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans

As the white mother of a black 12-year-old girl, I was both furious and devastated when she experienced her first racist incident recently (a comment on her "fat black face"). She's beautiful but she's already learning that beauty = white & size 6.

Could you give me any advice on helping her to feel confident about her own body and to deal with racism in general since I doubt this will be the last time it happens? sad

Thank you.

Young black girls sometimes have problem with self-esteem when so many popular culture role models are blonde and a size 6. I would encourage her to go online and learn about people like Michelle Obama who is a brilliant role model and a normal sized black woman. There are a couple of websites devoted to her. You should also encourage her to read about black history and culture. It helped me!

jmcintosh Thu 21-Mar-13 14:01:48

Diane, thanks for your answer. Unfortunately, Liam Byrne's explanation of his position in no way explains why, by abstaining from voting against the bill, you have helped the government avoid repayment of benefits that were illegally withheld. Shameful.

FrenchyM Thu 21-Mar-13 14:01:26

Hi - should clarify. When I said 'kids' I meant young people in their mid teens. Apologies, should have been been clearer. Certainly not supplying porn to children!!!

I know a young person who watches porn because I have discussed it with them not because I have supplied it or watched it with them. I believe if we open up discussions rather than trying to stop them watching it's much more useful for both parties.

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 13:58:35

strangerwithmyface

Hi Diane, I love watching you discuss the day's issues on This Week. I have two questions.

Do you think we ask too much of schools when it comes to sex education? We expect them to introduce children to sexual health, their sexual rights, and now, to counter-balance a misogynistic, hyper-sexualised society. Surely some of these responsibilities should fall within the remit of parents, the media, politicians, etc... And their solution shouldn't be - we'll add it to the curriculum.

Secondly - what are you reading at the moment?

I saw the brilliant Stephen Spielberg film about the US president Abraham Lincoln. So I am currently re-reading "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns which is all about Lincoln and is one of Barack Obama's favourite books.

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 13:53:52

LineRunner

Diane

Thanks for your answer.

If you are going to address masculinity, I hope you will be able to explore the point that the current issues facing boys (white British and black) are the result of constructions of masculinity and are not caused by feminism.

Absolutely. One reason i am anxious to make a big speech about men, boys and male identity is to nail the lie that feminism is somehow the cause of the problem.

eggsandham Thu 21-Mar-13 13:52:54

Hi Diane. Thanks for coming on here. I read somewhere that you were thinking of running for London Mayor. Is that true?

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 13:52:26

Lucie09876

Hi Diane! Hackney resident and proud <parades tshirt>
I read your comments in the Citizen about how the horsemeat scandal has affected poorer income families disproportionately and how Hackney is one of those poorer boroughs. While you challenged the gov to tackle food packaging and illegal sourcing, have you personally done anything to reassure constituents? Has there been much of an outcry or concerns raised from Hackneyites?

In fact not many constituents have raised the horsemeat scandal with me. But I feel strongly it the very poorest families that end up buying this meat of dubious provenance and that I have a responsibility to speak up for them. I am meeting with retailers to find out more about where they source their food. This week I met with Waitrose who were relatively reassuring.

LineRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 13:50:17

Diane

Thanks for your answer.

If you are going to address masculinity, I hope you will be able to explore the point that the current issues facing boys (white British and black) are the result of constructions of masculinity and are not caused by feminism.

Xenia Thu 21-Mar-13 13:49:06

There are risks to girls from two sides - the objectification issues above but also the no go Muslim areas in London and elsewhere trying to prevent women who aren't covered from being out and about. We want women to be free to be sexy once they are old enough and choose to be so and not feel they have to dress modestly or cover up or be housewives.

TheOriginalLadyFT Thu 21-Mar-13 13:48:38

While I agree extreme porn and the easy access to it is a serious issue, I'd like to see us challenge what has become a 'norm' - for example, page 3 and the use of sexualised images of women to sell anything from computer programmes to off road bikes.

What do you think the chances are of us starting small and banning page 3? I have a son, and it worries me that he is swimming against the tide constantly to grown up viewing women as equal when all the time he sees them as somehow lesser because of this sexualisation

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 13:47:49

jmcintosh

Diane, how would you justify your failure to oppose the workfare bill to Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson?

Our spokesperson on these issues Liam Byrne explains his position as follows

Pennykettle Thu 21-Mar-13 13:42:19

Frenchym - you know of kids who are watching porn and obviously that's fine by you (are you supply it? Watching it with them?) so how would you know if they are negatively affected if the 'joys' of porn are just dandy as far as you're concerned? Plus the fact that not all kids are the same.

We shouldn't forget that we are a bunch of primates living on a rock: monkey see, monkey do.

Pennykettle Thu 21-Mar-13 13:42:17

Frenchym - you know of kids who are watching porn and obviously that's fine by you (are you supply it? Watching it with them?) so how would you know if they are negatively affected if the 'joys' of porn are just dandy as far as you're concerned? Plus the fact that not all kids are the same.

We shouldn't forget that we are a bunch of primates living on a rock: monkey see, monkey do.

Teachercreature Thu 21-Mar-13 13:40:13

I agree there are some major issues facing teenagers. Although I think it's good that issues such as exposure to porn is being dealt with, what about things like music videos and teen magazines? Or scenes in daytime programmes like Hollyoaks? Even if you remove obvious problem areas children are still facing overly-sexualised images. Given that this can happen well before sex education, children can end up confused and with conflicting messages. How will this be tackled?

DianeAbbottMP Thu 21-Mar-13 13:39:56

payphone

Hi Diane.

Did you support the recent proposal by Stella Creasy and Amber Rudd that sex ed should be given a much higher priority in schools? I'm worried that the Department for Education seem determined to downgrade sex ed when really, our children need it more than ever in order to negotiate a world in which rather rigid (and sometimes worrying) templates of adult sexuality are presented very freely, very early.

Actually I was calling for a revolution in sex ed before Stella Creasy and Amber Rudd. But i am glad that they are supporting this campaign. The more people campaigning on this issue the better. The way this government has turned its back on sex education is relly concerning.

We need much more must focus on preparing young people to form healthy, respectful, emotionally fulfilling relationships, and also deal with issues of self-esteem.
I agree exactly with what you’ve said. We need to empower our young people to navigate their sexuality in a healthy, confident way, in a world that I think has become pornified, market-driven and hostile to many aspects of female sexuality.

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