In her speech to the nation after the London Bridge atrocities, Theresa May mentioned the urgent need for a more nuanced debate and that this, at times would mean having “difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.” We Liberty Belles are five women from diverse social, ethnic, racial and political backgrounds who are attempting just that. For our efforts, we were recently targeted by a group calling themselves “Hope Not Hate” as “emerging voices of the far right.” The writer made no serious attempt to contact us for comment and made numerous inferences without any evidence to support them. The article contained zero quotes from us voicing far right opinions, because none exist. Accusations of racism are especially spurious given the fact that one of our founders – Natoya – is mixed race and another – Catherine – is from an ethnic minority.
None of us hold any “extreme right-wing views”. We as a group came together to discuss our issues with feminism and why we do not believe it works towards genuine equality. As such we have spent little or no time discussing far right ideologies. A look at our personal blog posts will confirm this. The statement that some of us are involved in the Men’s Rights community is true. However, as people are increasingly beginning to realise – particularly since The Red Pill documentary – the objectives and opinions of the Men’s Rights community have nothing to do with the far right.
We are libertarians, classical liberals and one of us identifies as socially conservative. No amount of research and digging on us will ever suggest otherwise. We have no links with The National London Forum beyond one of our number speaking there on a platform about male genital mutilation. Had she known of any links with the anti-Semite David Irving, or any bigot, she would not have accepted the offer – in fact several other members of the group had never even heard of The London Forum until Hope Not Hate’s article. By David Lawrence’s standards, had Elizabeth found herself standing at the same bus stop as Irving, he would accuse her of “sharing a platform” with him. No reasonable person, never mind a serious researcher or a journalist, should be that ungracious or naive. We are five ordinary women not professional speakers with advisors and agents.
Elizabeth also did an interview with THA talks, an online radio station whose slogan is ‘free speech for open minds’. She had no idea that they had given a platform to far right and Holocaust denying guests but a quick glance at their front page shows that they have also interviewed members of the Socialist Workers Party so they cannot be described as a far-right outlet; they are what they say on the tin, something laudable in this day and age.
We were accused of associating with “Nazi apologist” Claire Khaw. Liberty Belle Natoya Raymond, a talented journalist, met with Claire Khaw personally to find out who the person behind the extreme online persona was and found a timid keyboard warrior. We find her opinions repugnant and have refused to share a platform with her in the past.*
We all support free speech however. We believe radicalism and hate can only be defeated by open, robust dialectic and that censorship only benefits authoritarian extremists. We have nothing to hide. Rather, we have a passion for true egalitarian values. To be as clear as possible, the values we stand for are:
Democracy, classical liberalism, free speech, civil rights, equality before the law, small government, free markets.
These are all antidotes to far right and far left authoritarianism.
Some of us personally now have a genuine fear for our own safety and the safety of our families, given that “Hope Not Hate” appear to have their own links with Antifa via Searchlight Magazine and Unite Against Fascism. Antifa extremists are currently on trial in the US for carrying out unprovoked violent attacks on women and men who they believe to hold right wing views. In the light of this, David Lawrence’s labelling of us in those terms without having done proper research or making any attempt to contact us individually to find out our actual opinions is a possible threat to our safety. His article effectively targets us as persons of interest for sinister and violent left-wing groups, such as Antifa and BAMN. We wonder in fact, if his article was written specifically with that cowardly goal in mind.
We hope that reasonable people will defend us from such thuggish attempts to intimidate and silence political dissent from centrist moderates like ourselves.
Every survey in the last 30 years has shown that while a majority of UK citizens embrace egalitarian values, only a minority identify as feminist. There are many reasons we do not support feminism but perhaps most importantly we feel it represents a threat to the things we hold most dear; the well-being of our children, positive relationships between men and women and the stability of the family. We are five centrist women not a right-wing movement. We are not traditionalists and we are not radicals. We are individuals. We work, we write, we study and we care about the internal instability of West right now. We want to actively and positively contribute to the future.
As mothers to children of various ages, we also realise the value of a work-life balance, of having quality time with our children and partners – equal partners, not rivals – with a common life goal. With the help and support of our partners we willingly trade off a negligible “pay gap” for the profound gift of being mothers to our children when they most need it.
Life is measured in the legacy you will leave. For most of us – men and women – that will be our children. Feminism will never change that. If that’s “right wing”, we are in big trouble.
We set up our sub-group Ladies for Philip Davies in support of Philip Davies’ attempts to challenge radical feminist policies in UK parliament; policies which actually do little to help women, pay lip service to men’s issues and waste precious time and resources. Davies is constantly slandered by feminist groups as a misogynist, a lie which goes unchallenged by the mainstream media. Other lies and misrepresentations which go unchecked are:
Philip Davies blocked a bill to provide free hospital parking for carers
Via email, Davies told us, ”Who can possibly disagree with this in principle. I certainly don’t…However the Bill only applied to people with an underlying entitlement to carer’s allowance – that is only 1 in 6 carers. Hospitals made clear that to pay for this other customers would have to pay more which means 5 out of 6 carers would have had to pay extra for hospital parking if this Bill had become law. Hardly good for carers.” He added, “There is nothing in law that prevents hospitals from giving discounts to people who go to hospital regularly (not just carers) and many of them do. Indeed existing government guidelines say they should, so this could be best left to hospitals to sort out rather than create a law which clearly would have been a nightmare to implement”
Philip Davies tried to block a Bill to stop animals being used in circuses
This is an outright lie. “There has never been a debate on a private member’s Bill for Wild Animals in Circuses”
Philip Davies tried to block a Bill providing first aid training for children in schools.
Davies is not against first aid training for children in schools, he is against compulsory first aid training for children in schools. Making first aid training a mandatory part of the national curriculum links it to the Ofsted inspection process, adding yet more pressure to a system already under bureaucratic stress. He added, “In my area of Bradford, results are so bad they might need to use the time for extra maths or English lessons but we should trust the teachers to decide what is most needed in their school.” Davies is also a champion of community associations such as Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, where children can learn first aid and other skills.
Philip Davies tried to block a bill which protects women from domestic violence
The Istanbul Convention does nothing to help victims of domestic violence. As Davies points out, “You cannot make something illegal, more illegal.” Further, it completely ignores the fact that a third of victims of domestic violence are men (by some studies this number rises to 50%). Davies was the only politician who researched the utility of the bill in other countries which had ratified it and found it had zero effect on domestic violence rates. You can hear Davies speak about this in our interview with him. The Istanbul Convention is a clear example of virtue signalling masquerading as policy. But this kind of signalling is not without cost; it wastes precious parliamentary time and taxpayers money.
As you can see, the devil is in the detail. Compare this reality with Women and Equalities leader Sophie Walker’s assertion about Philips as, “basically is a sexist misogynist who puts his own ego ahead of his constituents” and it appears that Walker is blinded by the plank in her own eye.
In the face of this slander and unprecedented mainstream media support for the Women and Equalities Party, a party with zero seats in parliament, Davies has maintained his constituency seat in Shipley by a huge majority in the election. Hilariously, feminists were at first wrong-footed, and were celebrating his ‘defeat’ on Twitter with their usual grace.
The Women and Equalities Party slogan has been “Equality is good for everyone” yet they have tied themselves in knots with their own doublethink definition of what equality means. The founder of the party, Catherine Mayer wrote in The Guardian, “Equality under the law is mistaken for equality”.
In a pre-election failure interview with Channel 4 News, Sophie Walker, the WEP candidate “parachuted” into Shipley to challenge Davies’ seat said, “Philip Davies is a proponent of the idea that you can achieve equality by treating everybody equally.” In any other world, this would be a shining endorsement. But the WEP’s definition of equality is not the one which was borne from the Enlightenment, the one which abolished slavery from the West, which won suffrage for all men and women and ended racial segregation in US schools (something which is worryingly on the rise again in the US, being pushed by so-called ‘liberal progressives’). No, the WEP definition of equality is more redolent of something found in the pages of Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron or Orwell’s Animal Farm, where “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” In the case of the WEP, with their focus on equality of outcome and not equality of opportunity, women (or more accurately women who are feminists) deserve more rights and ‘equality’ than the rest of us.
This is something we Liberty Belles fundamentally disagree with. We do not believe in ‘positive’ discrimination – a position which clearly betrays a lurking fear that women really are inferior to men. Yet, everywhere we turn to assert our opinion, we find progressives and feminists – male and female – insisting we are oppressed.
Like Davies, we stuck our heads above the parapet to challenge the feminist status quo, and in return, we now find ourselves in their sights and under their scrutiny. We are confident the reading public will see this specious attack for what it is and ask them to watch our interview with Philip Davies to judge for themselves where we stand on the political spectrum.
On behalf of The Liberty Belles
Elizabeth Hobson @anti_fembot
Natoya Raymond @ladies4pd
Paula Wright @SexyIsntSexist
Catherine Kitsis @Femalefedupwith
Belinda Brown @bbhippopotamus
*Edit: a previous draft of this essay asserted the Claire Knaw had referred to Natoya Raymond as a “half-caste”. It was actually an associate of Knaw who did this. The comment was later deleted but not before Natoya captured a screenshot.
The views expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bombs and Dollar