In the modern world, politics never sleeps and tonight that has proven very true here in the UK. If you’re not up when the morning’s headlines are released, you miss out these days!
Today’s scandal is the front page of The Times, which for the longest time has been regarded as the “newspaper of record” for the UK but which appears to be making a case for why that title should go elsewhere. Its main headline and front page article claim that Prime Ministerial candidate Andrea Leadsom said she would have “an edge” on her rival, Theresa May, because she’s a parent. This comes a few days after Mrs May expressed sadness in an interview that she couldn’t have children.
When I read the headline, I was angry. I can’t have children, no post-operative trans person can. I didn’t have children before gender reassignment, and I won’t have any in the future unless medical science advances a hell of a lot. Does that make me less capable as a politician? I say no, and I’d hope any decent person would agree, but this headline disagrees. Hence my Facebook post on the matter:
But here’s the thing: Mrs Leadsom immediately took to twitter to express her horror at the Times for running that headline. She claims it’s not what she said, and several other people, politicians and pundits alike, are backing her up.
The whole world can see Andrea Leadsom enraged at the suggestion she would say this of Theresa May. Her fury obvious and genuine
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) July 8, 2016
The Times hasn’t responded as far as I can see. That’s not a good thing, to be honest. The fact of the matter is, there has to have been a transcript of this conversation Mrs Leadsom supposedly had – she’s quoted, after all. Surely it’s not beyond the capabilities of the Times to post a copy of that transcript? Is there a recording? I record all conversations with the media, because I know from personal experience that they will twist anything you say in order to push whatever narrative they want.
Now I’m not one of Leadsom’s backers, I’ve already said on a few occasions that I’m planning to vote for Theresa May when Conservative Party members are balloted. Nevertheless, I’m a staunch believer in getting the truth out there, whatever the cost. I don’t like seeing people smeared, especially by supposedly respectable media. I also don’t like the reputations of journalists being tarnished unduly. Either one of those situations just happened, or the other did. I want to know which; and that’s not too much to ask.
There has been no unedited transcript provided. There has been no audio provided. Right now, all we have to go on for this is the Times posting their front page, and Leadsom saying it’s lies. Someone is lying, that’s for sure. Either it’s the Times by running a false story, or Leadsom by claiming the Times is lying. The transcript and/or the audio recording would sort this out right away (and open one side up to a defamation case, but that’s a story for another day).
So post the transcript, Times. What are you afraid of?
Update: So the Times’ deputy editor, Emma Tucker, posted a screenshot from an iPhone of part of the interview. She claims it’s the “key part”. It… doesn’t say what the Times’ headline says it says; and puts the main quote from the article in an entirely different context.
Transcript from the key part of the interview with Andrea Leadsom this morning in @thetimes pic.twitter.com/aFtIECBIiC
— Emma Tucker (@emmatimes2) July 8, 2016
This doesn’t look good for the Times.