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Why Jeremy Corbyn is on the wrong track with women-only trains

By Lindy McDowell

Published 02/09/2015

Rail effort: Jeremy Corbyn could be Labour leader
Rail effort: Jeremy Corbyn could be Labour leader
Kanye West
Barack Obama

Others may sneer, but actually I think Mr Jeremy Corbyn's proposal to create lady carriages on the rail network is a fine one. His novel idea is a suggested solution to a very real and serious problem - the rising tide of assaults on female train travellers, in particular attacks on those travelling late at night.

Personally, I would have thought that something in the line of a team of Corbynators patrolling the carriages with Tasers might be in order. Way to deal with the scumbags? Take them out, Jer.

Instead, Jeremy suggests taking out the female victims.

Taking them out of the main carriages that is, and shepherding them towards a specially reserved rail refuge which will have CCTV (seriously, don't they all?) and possibly a guard. A place where women will feel safe from the rail maggots.

Part of me can understand the thought process that has led Jeremy to this whizz of a plan. But as the critics have pointed out, it is segregation pure and simple. It's sexist and defeatist and, worse even than any of this, it isn't exactly tackling the actual problem or dealing with the perpetrators.

It may even, by default, be sending the message to those criminals concerned that there's not much anyone can do about their vile behaviour. And that the onus anyway should be on their women victims to steer clear of them.

But all that serious stuff aside, let's not rule anything out. I am still trying to follow Jeremy's innovative plan down the track to see where ultimately it might lead us …

How will we identify this lady carriage, Jeremy? Please tell me that you're not planning to paint it pink?

At least not that harsh Barbie pink Harriet Harman chose for her Woman to Woman electioneering battle bus.

Maybe a subtle blush pink? We could do it with Cath Kidston curtains and vintage style soft furnishings and ...

Here's your problem, Jeremy. We, women (not unlike men) are not all cut from the same cloth. Sisters we may be. But that doesn't mean we will all be comfortable holed up in the same carriage together. Imagine yourself and, say, Dave and Tony and maybe Boris stuck in the same coach. You get the picture.

A bit of transportational diversity is called for here, Jeremy.

We need options. Off the top of the head, a few for starters ...

The Mary Berry Lemon Drizzle Carriage:

This one will have ovens. And whisks. And Mel and Sue with their double entendres. Mary may also be on board. But Paul, obviously, will be confined to a more manly carriage. Trolley service will offer Victoria Sponge and homemade lemonade. Aprons compulsory.

The Kim Kardashian Karriage:

This will have nail bars and how-to videos showcasing facial contouring techniques. Trolley service will offer champagne which will be served over your shoulder to the glass balanced on your butt. Selfie sticks compulsory.

The Harriet Harman Harriage:

This will have workshops. Workshops on women's rights. Workshops on women's issues. Workshops on why women get herded into one "safe" carriage while pervs have the run of the rest of the train. Trolley service will offer fair trade quinoa. Placards compulsory.

The Mumsnet Carriage:

This will feature gossip and hints on how to get grass stains out of a white t-shirt. Free wi-fi will allow access to social media sites where passengers can catch up on pics of each other's baby scans. Trolley service will offer a range of Cow&Gate one jar meals. Breastfeeding compulsory.

Sexist stereotyping? Okay, perhaps it is, Jeremy. But no more sexist than herding women into a refuge carriage as a solution to combatting vicious crime.

And it's not just women who suffer from this sexism.

So too do the vast majority of decent male train travellers this proposal tars with the same brush as a brutish minority.

Off the rails, Mr Corbyn? You're off your rocker.

I'm not wild about West for President

Kanye West has signalled (hopefully facetiously) that he will run in the 2020 US presidential elections.

Anything's possible I suppose. After all, Donald Trump's running in the current race. All the same ... Kanye. In charge of that wee red button Mr President gets to push that could condemn the entire world to nuclear Armageddon.

I'm not suggesting he's a bit on the volatile side.

But let's just hope that if Mr West ever does make it to the West Wing that during his term in office Taylor Swift never again pips Beyonce in the MTV VMA's.

A more pressing reality out there

Meanwhile, as one entertainer eyes up a berth in the White House, the current incumbent lines up for a spot on reality TV.

It's been announced that Barack Obama is set to feature on an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls. By appearing in the survival series Mr Obama is apparently hoping to draw attention to ecological issues. Meanwhile in the real world ... there is a very real survival drama going on. The horrific struggle of refugees fleeing - and dying - all across Europe.

Right now a more pressing case for the attention of world leaders you would have thought. Including the one in the US.

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