The Daily Mail's Nandy-pamby leadership coverage

Molly Greeves on the double standards facing Lisa Nandy during the Labour leadership contest

Molly Greeves
6th February 2020
Image: Mail Online
Last year, a Courier Blind Date was used in the Mail Online to shame a female student who voiced a negative opinion about her date. History is doomed to repeat itself, apparently, as a Courier archive was dug up last month to slander Lisa Nandy in her bid for the Labour leadership. 

Nandy was a politics student here at Newcastle University back in 2000, and ran a fun column called Dear Lisa, where she gave advice. Some highlights that particularly flustered the boomers include her admitting to smoking weed (gasp!) and lying in bed with another woman (even bigger gasp!). Despite these articles being nearly twenty years old and having nothing to do with the leadership race, they were bound to be used as leverage against her by “journalists”. In fact, a cheeky Google search revealed that this clip was already used in the Mail Online in 2013 when Simon Murphy, a former Courier editor, wrote a misogynistic article about the then-Shadow Minister. 

"Lisa's Personal Photo Casebook" from 17 May 2000
Image: The Courier Archive

The Mail isn't the only publication that jumped at the chance to humiliate her

It feels redundant to explain why this is irresponsible journalism; most of us know not to pay any attention to the endless stream of bullshit that flows from the Mail Online. The fact that this is not news – or shouldn’t be, at least – is emphasised by the title of the article which conveniently forgets to mention that when Nandy was “offering sex advice to students”, she was a student herself. But disappointingly, they weren’t the only publication that jumped at the chance to humiliate her: our editor was also contacted by Good Morning Britain who, unlike the Daily Mail, at least asked for permission to use the photo. 

Women are expected to have spotless pasts and to be "serious", or as I'd translate it, "masculine"

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing in a video filmed in 2010, while she was still in university
Image: USA Today on YouTube

As well as an obvious attempt to take down a powerful woman for the fun of it, this is the latest in a trend of right-wing publications attempting to degrade female politicians for their “scandalous pasts” (some of you may remember how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was chastised for a video of her dancing in college). According to some, not only do women need to be intelligent, educated and qualified to be in positions of power, they must also have spotless pasts and be “serious”, or as I’d translate it, “masculine”. And while there’s nothing wrong with a more masculine lady, a woman can be both sexual and serious, the same way men have been since the beginning of time. 

Whoever you chose to vote for in the Labour leadership race, stay vigilant about this kind of coverage, and ask yourself whether you’re more afraid of femininity or an eternity of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. I promise one is scarier than the other. 

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