Open Letter To Jess Phillips


You accuse Jeremy Corbyn of engaging in non violent misogyny, despite his having appointed more women than men to the shadow cabinet. Why? Because there are no women in the ‘top jobs’.

Now I am a proud feminist, so why aren’t I cheering you on as you make these remarks?
I suspect you will say it’s because I’m a Corbyn supporter. I however, will say it’s because I don’t understand your point. Firstly, who has decided these are top jobs? Could it possibly be men? Maybe you can explain what makes the role of foreign secretary more important than education secretary? Isn’t the MP who fights for a decent education for all our children on a par with the MP who argues for or against airstrikes? Or are matters of war and peace considered more macho and therefore more important? The same goes for Health versus Home Secretary. Why is the MP who fights for greater security at home more important than the MP who fights for our precious NHS?
There is another reason your remarks rankle with me. I don’t pretend to know the ratio of men to women who voted for Jeremy Corbyn for leader, or Tom Watson for deputy for that matter, but I suspect it’s at least half. These women chose men over women. Were they too engaging in non violent misogyny, or were they focusing on politics and values when they made their choice, rather than genitalia?

Had there been a female version of Jeremy Corbyn standing for leader, I don’t deny, casting my vote might have given me an added thrill, but as it stood there were no female equivalents – or at least none prepared to stand at this time – and therefore it wasn’t an option. Jeremy won my vote because I believed he would be the leader who would fight for a fairer Britain. I believed that women, as well as men and children, would be the beneficiaries of that fairer Britain.

When it came to Jeremy’s appointment of John McDonnell into the post of shadow chancellor, I was thrilled. It was more important to me to have a shadow chancellor who was passionately anti austerity, than to have a female in the role. Does that make me a misogynist?
I would like to add, I voted for Angela Eagle for deputy. Not because she was a woman, but because of her strong trade union links.

While I am a strong believer in removing any barriers that hold women back from reaching their potential, and believe there is a need for all women short lists, I can’t see how it is misogynistic of Jeremy Corbyn to appoint MPs he believes to be best suited to these supposed ‘top jobs,’ especially when several female MPs ruled themselves out of serving in a Corbyn led shadow cabinet; any more than it was misogynistic of hundreds of thousands of women to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson or Sadiq Khan, over their female counterparts.

In 1979, millions of women voted for Margaret Thatcher, solely because of her sex. They mistakenly believed a woman would fight for women’s issues. How wrong they were. I consider it a positive that women based their choice for Labour leader and deputy, on who they thought would be the best person for the job. It demonstrates a growing confidence in our place in the world. To then have women, like yourself, shouting misogyny because there are not fifty fifty women in such a narrow choice of jobs, feels like a step back to me. It rings of lack of confidence. It says, if a woman’s not in charge of war and peace or home security, women are not important.

Well Jess, I respectfully disagree. We are extremely important. Far too important to panic over the lack of appointment of women into two roles left available after women voted men into the other two. We do ourselves a disservice to suggest otherwise.

Best regards

Michelle Ryan




  1. Shlomo Anker · January 5, 2016

    agreed. and on a side point, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall both refused to serve in the shadow cabinet and andy Burnham said he would serve. so thats hardly Corbyn’s fault. I am sure Yvette Cooper would have been in Shadow Cabinet if she would have wanted as Corbyn is happy for her to have senior whole in the Refugee taskforce.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. l8in · January 5, 2016

    Reblogged this on L8in.


  3. dainagregory · January 5, 2016

    Reblogged this on dainagregory.


  4. fgallucci · January 5, 2016

    Reblogged this on frederickgallucci.


  5. Cathy Cassidy · January 5, 2016

    Agree wholeheartedly, and wish the PLP would stop trying to destroy their own democratically elected leader from within and get behind him to begin fighting the most dangerous Conservative government we’ve ever had. Cameron and Osborne must be laughing themselves stupid. I despair.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. syzygysue · January 5, 2016

    Good letter Chelley. In fact, choosing a woman to fill a role because of her body parts rather than her politics, is the very antithesis of our sort of feminism … but perhaps this is another chasm between New Labour and Labour. If policy is to be determined by a focus group, any fairly presentable woman would probably do as the weathercock. Nevertheless, I was staggered in the leadership campaign to hear women who describe themselves as Feminists saying that it would be ‘fun’ (!) to have a woman leader!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Open Letter To Jess Phillips | meggiemom342
  8. Mark Ruark · January 5, 2016

    I am starting to get the feeling that Ms Phillips just likes the sound of her own voice, your open letter should give her a few things to think about and hopefully stop her posting such nonsense.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Peter Berry · January 5, 2016

      Agreed. Still too many MPs who are self serving egotists.


  9. Paul Smyth · January 5, 2016

    Reblogged this on The Greater Fool.


  10. Zazie Barnes · January 5, 2016

    Well said.


  11. Alan Fowler · January 5, 2016

    You need to realise, for the good of the UK as a whole, the Labour party needs to unite. Get behind your leader and support him and the party. Disagree with him and make your views clear in internal meetings and discussions, if you have a counter proposal to make. That is your right and what you should be doing. Attacking him publically weakens your case, and the party as a whole!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bill Hayes · January 5, 2016

    e had Harriet Harman on the front Bench as acting leader and she said that the Labour shouldn’t oppose the tgovernment benifit cuts simp0ly for “the sake of it” She was agreeing with the cuts – some opposition. Let’s get the right people for the job, irrespective of their gender.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill Hayes · January 7, 2016

      Apologies for the typos – faulty keyboard, now replaced.


  13. Ching · January 5, 2016

    Now eagerly awaiting for Jess Phillips to unveil her suggestions for non-white LGBT shadow cabinet ministers, well, for defence and home affairs departments anyway….


  14. alisonphipps · January 5, 2016

    Well said. 🙌🙌🙌

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Rambling Man · January 5, 2016

    Reblogged this on Rambling Man.


  16. Florence · January 5, 2016

    As a woman,I abhor the view that JC is a misogynist. I also could never consider supporting Cooper, Harman or Kendall because of their policies. This letter is excellent as it covers the main weaknesses of people like Jess Phillips who quite WRONGLY use gender politics as dog-whistle political attacks on Corbyn and the return to Labour values. Unforgivably Phillips and her ilk undermine the struggles of people like myself went through in the 60s, 70s, 80s, to really change our access to basic human rights to where we are now. I didn’t spend my time breaking through the glass ceiling so those like Harman and Phillips can benefit from those successes and then use their position to undermine women’s rights. They have openly supported neolib policies that harmed not helped the working classes, the sick and disabled, the unemployed or those in the new precariat, and most of all the women that have been the targets for 70% of the Tory “reforms”. Jess Phillips is an enemy to both the feminist movement, and the return to socialist values that really would advance women’s rights, not her distorted value-judgment laden view that to disagree politically with a woman is an act of misogyny.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Considering the fact that Jess having joined the party when Ed Miliband became leader and was preselected and promoted as the PPC for Yardley even before the CLP had discussed the selection criteria. Placing our faith (wrongly) in our elected councillors (John”I’m up the ass” O’Shea.. Office manager) to draw up the procedure we didn’t realise that the process had been “fixed” in favour of Jess.
    Her hustings performance and conduct in Westminster has been appalling, contradictory and generally misinformed. Her claimed experiences change dependent upon circumstances, subject matter or more importantly who is asking the question and what answer will create more controversy.
    I have in the past been judged as a left wing feminist or by West Midlands labour a “nut & a trot” due to my outspoken views regarding social housing during the Stock Transfer campaign. I alone stood against bedroom tax evictions in Birmingham (Jess voted to evict) being told to stop because I was acting against Birmingham Labour Party policy.
    As a disabled, single parent I raised my sons in a council house trying to survive on £222 per month not as Jess once told me about being a councillor (£16000 + wages) and the money helping to pay a £1/4 million mortgaged house. Not bad considering she was claiming “poverty” as her husband was only a lift engineer (£19000) – my dad & brother are also. I have been homeless, living in a Birmingham hostel I was sexually harassed by council officers. threatened, witnessed bullying & sex for housing favours & helped a woman who had been traffiked from Africa get home.
    I even went to Greenham Common once following the Deeply Vale festival but as a young mum didn’t stay, unlike Jess & her mum (brilliant woman who was CEO South Birmingham health & had her own Event Planning company – I met her !). Personally can’t see her dumping the 3 boys and career to assist newborn Jess establish Greenham with her CND signs on her cheeks .. LOL or FOWLMAO “Falling Out Wheelie Laughing My Ass Off”
    Sorry, I’m a bitch, malicious but I simply don’t like liars and Jess is an Expert Liar, and because I will state this I am now ostracised from Yardley Labour CLP from having been active even before Jess joined the party. Is Jess a feminist? Only when it suits her, the reality is she is a greedy, money grabbing publicity whore, very charming when need be but then she does share her birthday with David Cameron.

    PS … When Jeremy won the Yardley nomination she stripped out of the meeting later claiming that the vote was rigged by “infiltrators”, isn’t that what you were Jess?

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Re “Knife him in the front” comment / rape & sexual violence threats

    As a so called feminist who has in her own world (fantasy? ) helped 10,000’s women victims of Domestic Violence it is ironic that nothing further has happened regarding the alleged threats. Especially as there were counterclaims that they were fabricated I believe that in the interests of ALL women she should have shut up and done something positive. Find the authors and have them named, shamed and prosecuted, I am strong enough to have dealt with the sexual harassment by a taxi driver a few years ago, however, I had noted his details and reported him the next morning. Why? Because the young woman who gets in the taxi next time may not be and end up the victim of a sexual assault. As a woman, a feminist it is my duty to look after other women and even the men who feel less able to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. keithpp · January 5, 2016

    Harriet Harman was a disaster as Labour leader.

    Yvette Cooper lacked any understanding of economics, was funded by a Tory banker.

    Liz Kendal was an odious Blairiite.

    Jess Phillips, never heard of her.

    Hilary Benn, a bloody disaster, ignorant on foreign affairs, as he demonstrated in his infamous speech calling for bombing on Syria. MPs were granted a free vote, thus not grounds to sack him.

    Simon Danszcuk should be kicked out of the party because he is an arsehole, not because he has a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, as that is their private business, so long a she was no coerced (although it looks as though he was set up).

    People should be appointed on competence, not gender.

    And no, there should not be women only short lists. To be on a short list should be based entirely on merit, are you an activist, not a Labour Party supporter, what have you done for the people?

    John McDonnell was an excellent choice of shadow chancellor and I have been very impressed by his grasp of economics (which is more can be said of that idiot George Osborne.

    Caroline Lucas is an excellent MP, puts most of the Parliamentary Labour Party to shame.

    Most of the Parliamentary Labour Party should be deselected, they are free loaders, looking out for their own self-interest, not that of the 99%.

    Infantile comments from smug bastard David Cameron that reshuffle is taking a long time. Strange, I did not know it was an Olympic contest.


  20. Angela G · January 5, 2016

    Well said. If I wasn’t on my own I’d be cheering (no one can hear). You’ve absolutely articulated what I feel. I am more concerned with fairness and equality for all than hearing continual whining about a man who is doing more to be make this country a better place to live in than anyone else in the government at the moment, for both men and women, and he’s most certainly doing a lot more than Jess Phillips. Grow up, stop the attention-seeking and self-pity and get on with your job.


  21. Kathy Ferguson (@revdkath) · January 6, 2016

    Well said as always, Chelley. I’m afraid I think Jess likes the sound of her own voice rather too much.


  22. Pingback: Jess Doesn’t Speak for all Feminists (Even in Yardley!) | Bad Tempered Brummie Bitch
  23. Pingback: Labour’s divisions now are nothing like those of the 1980s – Leaders of the Opposition
  24. Pingback: Open Letter To Jess Phillips | subversivequaker
  25. subversivequaker · August 17, 2016

    Reblogged this on subversivequaker.


  26. kevin freeman · July 18



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