Look, it’s sunny. This never happens. It’s one of the hottest Easter weekends on record, and — as ever — it feels like it came from nowhere. We all go a bit insane when the sun appears for the first time, properly, after winter. Furry legs and tender, hibernation skin is unfurled; we convince ourselves that the tube to work is a bus from one Italian coastal resort to another, the bar on the corner sits in a sun-soaked village square rather than our nearest high street, and the world opens with possibility.
When MP Diane Abbott was photographed with a tin of M&S mojito on the overground last week, then, we cringed and then we nodded. Abbott tweeted a concise apology, writing that “A photo of me drinking from a can of M&S mojito on the Overground has been circulated. I'm sincerely sorry for drinking on TFL” – and twitter largely told her not to worry. User @hatkid said ‘I’ve never felt more represented’; @ChrisCogan12 helpfully suggested ‘They should colour code the cans to match the TFL route colours 😂’ (smart!) and even David Lammy chimed in, ‘Jah Rastafari ! Why was the rum not Jamaican ? 🇯🇲’
So: it is not good behaviour to drink on the overground. In fact, it is illegal. There’s a big difference, though, between sipping a tinned cocktail on the commute and drinking to oblivion in a way which puts other passengers in danger or makes them uncomfortable (though, of course, TfL's law against consuming alcohol on the public transport apply to both scenarios). Having said that, a tipple on the tube falls squarely into the ‘we’ve all done it’ category of misdemeanours — a fact that more than 40,000 Facebook users have opted to bring to life, marking themselves 'interested' in Londoner Memes' event ‘Sipping a cheeky mojito on the overground’, scheduled for June 22nd between 12 and 6pm.
Read more: Inspiring female MPs who are doing good:
Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
Speaking about her groundbreaking announcement, Danielle perfectly highlighted just how ridiculous it is that it's even a taboo to mention your period. She said on Twitter:'A lot of unexpected coverage of me talking about my period - which is great, but also highlights the need to talk about periods more openly.A woman mentioning her period shouldn't be such huge news - let's use this opportunity and work together to get to a place where it's not!'
Jess brought social media trolls to account when she called for those who post abusive messages online to lose their anonymity. The MP told parliament that she once received 600 rape threats in one night and is threatened with violence and aggression every single day online. The online community is so hostile towards women that Amnesty International have led a campaign calling for Twitter to take greater responsibility for preventing online abuse. Jess told the House of Commons that people should have to disclose their real identity to social media platforms, with hope that it would not only deter people from abusing women online but also enable us to hold them to account.
Heidi, alongside Jess Phillips, shared an emotional account of her own abortion with parliament earlier this month. In an attempt to reform Northern Ireland's abortion laws, she told the Cambridge independent that she felt she needed to share her story:'I had intended to say it because I had a feeling nobody else would.'I thought it probably needed saying.'I suppose it is very easy to make issues like that just about procedure and legislation and words and policy but, actually, it is about people's lives.'Jess Phillips too opened up about her own abortion, also sharing harrowing stories from women in Northern Ireland who had terminated pregnancies.
The original lead of cross-party calls for Northern Ireland's abortion laws to be brought in line with the rest of the UK's, Stella received tons of hate mail over her campaign to protect women's right to choose. It was in her call for debate over abortion that Heidi Allen and Jess Philips were able to talk about their own terminations.
The Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mourdant launched the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security which calls for more women to be at the centre of the DFID's peace, security and humanitarian programmes. As secretary of state for international development, she has attempted to reform the aid sector by creating an independent safeguarding unit that prevents exploitation. This comes in the wake of a series of sex scandals against leading charities earlier this year.
Wera Hobhouse brought Gina Martin's upskirting campaign to parliament as a private members bill set to outlaw the vile crime. While the bill was subsequently blocked by two male MPs, a third reading of the bill is set to continue on the 6th of July with Gina stating 'the Government Bill will become law as it'll get through the later stages more quickly and won't be objected to.'
It was off the back of the upskirting bill that Maria Miller and Jess Phillips have met with Wera Hobhouse in an attempt to include a revenge porn amendment. It would ensure there was a blanket ban on voyeuristic images regardless of the intention in taking it, as the MPs feared people would attempt to bend the wording of the upskirting law to avoid conviction by arguing they took the image with no intention of causing distress. They also wanted to introduce an amendment that would ban false pornographic images, in which faces are photoshopped onto explicit images. However, they were told it was impossible to introduce further amendments. This comes after Love Island stars Zara McDermott and Laura Anderson became victims of revenge porn this week.
As part of the discussion about classing misogyny as a hate crime, Mhairi Black spoke out about the misogynistic and homophobic abuse she receives online every day. She also asked parliament to reflect on their own environment, stating, 'Only a few weeks ago I was physically pressed up against a Member (of Parliament) in the voting lobby who is accused of sexual misconduct because there's so little room.'Acknowledging she has the 'same right and influence as any other elected man', she spoke up for the female staff who aren't in her position.
Leading the charge to make misogyny a hate crime, Melanie highlighted the 'link between low-level harassment of women and more serious sexual assaults' that was found by Westminster's all-party group on domestic violence. In her constituency, the rate of domestic violence is particularly high. As a result, she has called for a law change to have misogynistic acts such as wolf-whistling, leering and sexual comments in public to be made a criminal offence.
Monica introduced a Member's Bill into Scottish parliament that would see the creation of free universal access to sanitary products. Proposing also that schools, colleges and universities provide free sanitary products in their toilets, she led the campaign that stands to end period poverty in Scotland.
By the time June 22nd rolls around, we will have had at least a few more sunny days. We’ll have summer in our stride — that first madness will have abated, but mojitos on the underground don't require a mind lost. Little transgressions are good for the soul — here’s to Diane (just keep it in your jacket.)