Unpacking Michael Fabricant

Zero Tolerance of Violence Against Women

At 9am on Friday 20th June, Michael Fabricant tweeted

“I could never appear on a discussion programme with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I would either end up with a brain haemorrhage or by punching her in the throat.”

Michael Fabricant has been the Conservative MP for Mid-Staffordshire and then Lichfield since 1992. He’s been urging a pact between the Tories and UKIP since 2012.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a Ugandan-born British journalist.

She’s written for the New Statesman, The Independent, The Guardian, The Observer, and the Daily Mail: she was a research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research from 1996 to 2001. She has said: “leaving Uganda, having to make a new life in Britain, realising it was my home but it was not my home, having children in a country where they’d belong much more than I would ever will. I have been constantly fighting and arguing with my new country.”

If it matters, Michael Fabricant was “born into a British Jewish family“: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a Shia Ismaili Muslim. (While anti-Islam comments are much more prevalent in Ukip, anti-Semitic comments are found too.)

Unpacking the exact text of Michael Fabricant’s tweet, it’s clear that by using Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s twitter identity, he meant her to see it – it was unlikely that as a professional journalist, she would have had a Member of Parliament’s twitter blocked or muted.

Michael Fabricant

About an hour later, he tweeted three unapologetic excuses:

Michael Fabricant

A basic lesson in apologising:

Just say you’re sorry. Never say you’re sorry “if.” Say you’re sorry.

“I’m sorry I was rude” is good.

“I’m sorry if I was rude” is not. It weasels. It implies that maybe you weren’t rude. It implies that the person being apologized to has a twisted little worldview if they think “Oh, shut up, frog-lips” is rude.

An apology should give the sense that you actually feel some form of regret. “Sorry if” is a conditional apology. Conditional apologies make things worse, not better.

And then he tweeted to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown an infuriating non-apology “Sorry if you actually thought I would punch you. I actually don’t do that sort of thing. But you are utterly infuriating! kiss kiss”.

Michael Fabricant

Alibhai-Brown reacted:

“It’s extraordinary for an elected MP to think it’s OK. I’m still reeling.

“Words matter. This is what a violent husband thinks is ok to do to their wife.

“Is this his apology? Well he can stuff it.”

At 10:37, Fabricant tweeted another non-apology – for the tweet, not for the threat: his new non-apology was not directed at the woman he’d threatened but to the public at large.

Michael Fabricant non-apology

A more thorough lesson in how to apologise:

I’m sorry for tweeting… that I would punch you in the throat.
This is wrong because… threatening violence is wrong.
In the future, I will… not tweet threats of violence against anyone.
Will you forgive me?

Finally, he tweeted:
Michael Fabricant

“Violence against women continues to persist as one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world. It is a threat to all women, and an obstacle to all our efforts for development, peace, and gender equality in all societies. Violence against women is always a violation of human rights; it is always a crime; and it is always unacceptable. Let us take this issue with the deadly seriousness that it deserves.” – Ban Ki Moon

2 Comments

Filed under Women

2 responses to “Unpacking Michael Fabricant

  1. I watched the exchange with Rod Liddel this morning and thought YAB captured him perfectly – his attempts, maybe even desire, to be reasonable but the bigotry just keeps bursting out. Fabricant seems to be always desperate to get any media attention however he can get it.

  2. What’s to unpack? The man’s the kind of never-grownup airhead that has always infested the Tory backbenches. Yes, he’s reprehensibly moronic and there’s no excuse for him, but deeply significant of anything other than his own ego, he ain’t.

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