38 Degrees Refuse to Release Evidence of “Sexist Abuse” of Laura Kuenssberg 197

This is the transcript of my conversation with the 38 Degrees Press Spokesman today about the scrapping of the Laura Kuenssberg petition, for which 38 Degrees were praised by David Cameron in the Commons today.

Hello Craig

Hello Adam. I hope you are not quite so busy today? Has it calmed down for you?

It is a bit less busy. Well we are very busy on other important things. Did you see the article by David Babbs in the Guardian today?

I did, but it doesn’t really answer my question. I haven’t received the evidence of the abuse connected to the petition which you said you would consider sending me. Are you going to send it?

I don’t really have the time for this

But you must have this evidence. You took a well-supported petition down. You must have the evidence you based your decision on.

There were abusive tweets and comments

Can you send them to me?

You can search for them yourself online

I have done so. But you must have the evidence?

Look yourself online

This is a big story. In all the national press. You must have kept the evidence on the basis of which you made the decision?

You said yourself you had seen misogynistic comments

I said I could find a single one – very unpleasant but only one – out of hundreds of comments I read

So you did see misogynistic comments


Search yourself online. There were tweets.

So far I have been able to find one. That is one comment and one tweet. Have you seen more?

There were misogynistic comments and tweets

More than two? Out of thirty five thousand signatories? How many have you seen?

There was misogynistic abuse

How many have you seen. You personally Adam. You said yesterday you had seen the evidence. Have you, personally, seen more than two?

If you are going to start shouting at me

More than two? Simple question, yes or no?

I don’t expect you to be impolite and abusive towards me.

How much evidence did you see?

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Is that more than two? Is that more than two? That’s a very simple question.

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Have you seen more than two things? Have you seen more than two things? That’s a very simple question. I am recording you. Is that more than two things?

You can record if you like. We had sufficient evidence.

Is that evidence more than one tweet and one comment?

I could…I have got to go I have things to do here

Do you have more than one tweet and one comment?

Hangs up.

I do not claim the 38 Degrees do not have any evidence to show to “justify” removing this petition. But if they do, I find their attitude absolutely astonishing. It seems to me most probable they did so under establishment pressure with no serious consideration of evidence, and zero concern for the 35,000 people – about half of them female – they have now stigmatised as misogynists.

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197 thoughts on “38 Degrees Refuse to Release Evidence of “Sexist Abuse” of Laura Kuenssberg

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  • Bert.

    There is something I find quite interesting about this farce.

    Almost all websites; particularly those with a reputation to defend, will include a disclaimer to the effect that they are not responsible for anything found on another website which is linked from theirs. So anything off 38 degrees is hardly relevant. Beyond that we seem to have one comment in 35,000: about 0.002857142857%. This demonstrates, what for me, is an important point: the slightest (the very very very slightest) excuse to justify what is wanted will be sufficient.

    You can’t believe the language I use to describe the blithering nonsense of the feminists. I have more than a belly-full of their BS for nearly fifty years. And why is it that they can use all sorts of insulting; offensive; abusive, and almost invariably untrue, language to describe us.

    From Neil Lyndon’s ‘Bad Mouthing’:

    A lapel badge: “The more men I meet, the more I like my dog.”

    Anna Raeburn, counsellor: “I regard men as a pleasant pastime but no more dependable than the British weather.”

    Jane Fonda: “I still believe that women are the superior sex.”

    Margaret Thatcher: “Of course, women are better…”

    Julie Burchill writing in Time Out: “A good part — and definitely the most fun part — of being a feminist is about frightening men. American and Australian feminists have always know this, and absorbed it cheerfully into their act; one thinks of Shere Hite julienning men on phone-in shows, or Dale Spender telling us that a good feminist is rude to a man at least three times a day on principle. Of course, there’s a lot more to feminism… but scaring the shit out of the scumbags is an amusing and necessary part because, sadly, a good many men still respect nothing but strength.”

    Jonathan Miller, speaking to The Times: “Men don’t get on well with each other, they don’t have standards of intimacy, so they exchange jokes.”

    Janet Daley, a columnist in The Independent: “The standard western adult male is rendered incapable of being comfortable with emotional expression being quite incapable of understanding what it is like to be someone else.”

    Caroline Jenkins, a correspondent writing in the letters page of the Radio Times: “Mothers bring children into the world and mothers bring them up. Fathers mostly sit about on their behinds watching television while mothers feed the kids, bathe the kids, play with the kids, tell the kids bedtime stories and generally wear themselves out. Most fathers can’t be bothered to spend more than an hour with their kids until they have grown up or until their exhausted wives see the light and divorce them.”

    Yoko Ono: “I wonder why men can get serious at all. They have this delicate long thing hanging outside their bodies which goes up and down by its own will … Humour is probably something the male of the species discovered through his own anatomy.”

    A character in Erica Jong’s novel, Any Woman’s Blues: “Maleness is wonderful, really, isn’t it, honey? Perfect denial of reality.”

    I like the last one; it is just so perfect a description women: totally ignore the evidence and carry on regardless. Exactly what this thread is about.


    • Bert.

      I have a small problem: in my last comment I put part of it in quotes. The quotes (HTML quote/unquote tags) were removed by the system. This then fails to highlight the quoted passage and may also give the impression of plagiarism: that I have used Neil Lyndon’s material in my own name – which, of course, I do not.

    • Paul Ward

      Bert, I think you are missing the point somewhat. This is all about establishment figures rallying round and basically lying/pretending there is a problem here with misogyny/sexism when the evidence clearly shows that virtually all (or 99.997142857143% to use your figure) of the comments in this case were critical of Kuenssberg because of her bias, her unprofessionalism etc etc and nothing to do with her gender. You make two good points: (1) the comments in question were a *miniscule* minority (and, from what I saw, were so mild as to not make a staid maiden aunt bat an eyelid) – but plenty of other people have noted this; and (2) the after-the-fact, goalpost-moving “defence” along the lines of “it wasn’t abuse on the actual petition, it was abuse elsewhere on the internet” is blown away by the standard disclaimer on any website . . . why 38 Degrees didn’t simply note that and tell them where to go is a mystery. But these establishment figures can bring a lot of pressure to bear, I guess.

      However, your leap from this specific case – where establishment figures are cynically using accusations of sexism and misogyny to deflect from their own completely unacceptable bias and hawkish protetion of their own class privilege – to a more generalised position – where, seemingly, sexism doesn’t exist or (from what I can gather from your list of quotes) that women are “as sexist” about men as men are about women . . . as I say, you are missing the point.

      We saw a similar thing with the anti-semitism row a week or two back – some people took any defence of Livingstone or Shah as a sign that the defender was somehow “denying anti-semitism” or trying to excuse it. No, they were simply pointing out that “anti-semitism” was being cynically invoked by certain people in order to distract from the problems they were having and smear the people who were giving them those troubles. Anti-semites, misogynists and racists exist and need to be called out – but allowing the establishment, like Cameron, Kuenssberg, Harding (her boss), and all the others to hijack anger at these things and use it to deflect attention from (in this case) her execrable excuse for journalism and let her play the victim is contemptible.

  • Brian tootle

    I will never use the 38 website or petitions again, whycan’t they show thier evidence if they have any, which I doubt.


    well this is just disgusting and 38 degrees can go fuck themselves if they are political puppets that cave at the slightest bit of attention from the very people that need to be accountable.

    • Philip Hutchinson

      I had hopes for 38 Degrees, but now, as you say political puppets.

  • Jolyon

    The key moment there is when he accuses you of “shouting” at him (I imagine you weren’t, Craig) and then says that you are being “impolite and abusive” to him. It’s a microcosm of what’s happened to the petition itself—make up something that portrays the other party as irrational and offensive and then claim that as grounds for breaking off (or stifling) debate. As an ex-partner in City law firm for 25 years, I am not unfamiliar with the tactic…

    Keep up the good work.

    • Pudsma

      Absolutely Jolyon -I will not get involved with 38degrees if they maintain their current position……as it flies in the face of freedom of speech. What good is a petition site that will remove anything that upsets the Establishment?

  • Philip Hutchinson

    They have rocketed DOWN in my estimation. I want nothing more to do with them

    • Tarnia Thompson

      Well said now time to find an organisation that will run a petition to abolish a licence fee for a propaganda outfit

  • Nick Adler

    Well done Craig.

    The broadcast in question looks extremely partisan to me – http://www.theguardian.com/media/video/2016/may/10/bbc-report-petition-sack-laura-kuenssberg-video

    Whether it was right to ask for her to be sacked may be questionable, but to suggest that the whole petition be taken down on questionable allegations of mass-misogyny is much worse, and smears everyone who felt there was something wrong.

    You’ve made it appear that more than 99% of the signers were being thoughtful and that balanced reporting is indeed in some danger at the BBC.

    The worrying possibility is that the Military Industrial Complex (based as it is on government spending) is in power at Whitehall, in the BBC, and in Westminster, undermining all those who think we’re a nation that’s become even more militarised and aggressive.

    A position we may not even be able to afford, let alone justify.

  • Terry Kelly

    I don’t know about everyone else but I’m finished with 38 degrees.

  • Martin Dimmock

    It occurs to me that if confidence in 38Degrees is lost, then that suits the Tory government too. Perhaps the CEO thought “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t”.

  • Thomas George

    I tweeted to ask for the evidence as the petition was taken down then someone must have the Stats. The refusal to provide the evidence add weight to the argument that it was all a Fix.

  • Terence Wallis

    I’ve unsubsribed from 38 dregrees & will now avoid them like the plaque. Mmm, that’s odd – ‘plague’ is how I think of & describe the BBC.

  • David Rach

    “I am recording you.”

    Are you going to release the recording of this conversation?

  • Carol Jackson

    This is very worrying. I hope it receives maximum publicity and brings about change at the BBC. Laura Kuenssberg has been dreadfully biased since long before she became political editor. It’s time she was replaced by someone impartial. 38 Degrees needs fundamental changee too. Keep up the great work Craig Murray.

  • Okon Umoh

    Everyone is being bought out by the establishment. Those who refuse to be lobbied out, coerced, bought out, are labelled misogynists or antisemites. 38 Degrees must decide now who they are and where they stand in this struggle, to borrow a phrase from Bob Marley.

  • Angela Hughes

    I won’t be supporting 38 degrees or donating money to them. Amazing what a bit of pressure can do. It’s such a shame and it feels such a let down.

  • Ray

    This is really depressing news. If 38 degrees is now getting corrupt there is no point in taking part any more. Transparency is everything.

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