Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1162/33585
From The Socialist newspaper, 12 January 2022
Bullying weighing room culture at the races
Bryony Frost (Click to enlarge)
John Merrell, Leicester Socialist Party
Horse racing, known as 'the sport of kings', has a long history. And for most of that time the jockeys were male, until the 1970s, in particular 1979, when women were allowed to become professional jockeys.
Horse racing is one of the few sports where men and women compete on level terms, and in the last 12 months Rachel Blackmore and Hollie Doyle have reached the peak of their professions, not only in their many race successes, but also winning the most sought-after Grade 1 races, over the jumps (hurdles and fences) and on the flat. Achievements "that have struck a chord with the wider public" (The Times 10/12/21).
However, behind these happy scenes a darker picture has been revealed at a disciplinary hearing and, as we have witnessed at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, divisive attitudes prevalent and promoted under capitalism have been condoned for far too long in a professional sport.
Bryony Frost, a highly successful jumps jockey, has been vindicated in her claims of "bullying and harassment" against a senior jockey Robert Dunne. The latter has been banned from racing for up to 18 months.
Regrettably, the Professional Jockeys Association's immediate response to the hearing outcome was to give support to Dunne. However, unlike at Yorkshire Cricket Club where, management have been in the forefront of accusations of racism, in this example of misogyny, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has deliberately limited it to a jockey v jockey issue, without any acknowledged consideration of its wider implications.
In the past 40 years, sexism has been expressed in inequality of pay and conditions, sexual assaults, and domestic abuse. Bryony would not have been the first victim, and the "rancid" weighing room culture (as described by the BHA lawyer) would have been known throughout the industry. And yet it took a very brave whistleblower to expose it. Apart from Dunne's punishment, the only other commitment to action by the BHA is to draw up a new code of conduct for the jockeys. As we know elsewhere, 'self-regulation' poses no threat to the divisive ideology of capitalism.
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In The Socialist 12 January 2022:
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Blow to establishment as jury backs Colston Four
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Solidarity with workers protesting in Kazakhstan
Protests against BBC transphobia
Leeds People's Budget: We beat council cuts before, we will again
Communities fight back against Rio Tinto mine
North London NHS - "It's going to be us who saves it"
Southampton student vote for online exams must be accepted
Coventry bin workers' pay strike
10,000 tube workers vote to strike over jobs, terms and pension cuts
East Mids rail conductors force concessions, train managers' dispute continues
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South Yorkshire bus strikes spreading and getting stronger
Weetabix workers defeat 'fire and rehire' and ballot on improved pay offer
Invergordon Royal Mail mutiny wins
Don't Look Up: An entertaining satire on corporate power and the US establishment
Anne: Hillsborough and the fight for justice
Money Heist: A Robin Hood tale set in modern-day capitalism
War criminal Tony Blair knighted
Bullying weighing room culture at the races
Free prescriptions? Maybe when you're older
Obituary - Pauline Wall
Obituary - Ethan Bradley 1993-2021
The Socialist 12 January 2022 |
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