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12 January 2022

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Bullying weighing room culture at the races

Bryony Frost

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:


News

Super-rich get richer, while we can't make ends meet. Join the fightback!

Blow to establishment as jury backs Colston Four

Covid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

Tories concede under cladding pressure but don't go far enough

Low pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis

Shameless Johnson partied through lockdown

Energy price crisis: nationalise energy giants to save us from £600 hit

Energy bosses: 'Jump, cuddle and eat porridge while we raise prices'


Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan: Working-class revolt only suppressed by massive mobilisation of troops

Solidarity with workers protesting in Kazakhstan


Campaigns news

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


Workplace news

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

Carmarthenshire gritters take action as Plaid-led council reneges on agreement

Jobcentre Coronavirus outbreak leads to reps meeting call

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


Reviews

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


Readers' opinion

War criminal Tony Blair knighted

Bullying weighing room culture at the races

Free prescriptions? Maybe when you're older


Obituaries

Obituary - Pauline Wall

Obituary - Ethan Bradley 1993-2021


 

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Related links:

Sport:

triangleBorn out of greed: 25 years of Rugby Super League

triangleOlympic 'success' masks cuts and inequality

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Is capitalism good for sport?

trianglePutting the Olympic gravy train ahead of public health

triangleEngland football team

Culture:

triangleSt Mungo's report fails to address bullying and victimisation of workers

triangleSexism, safety and the profit system

triangleTate strike suspended

triangleTate workers on indefinite strike hold march and rally

Bullying:

triangleOaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions

triangleOaks Park school strike spurred on by head's lies

triangleRoyal Mail workers stand against 'unachievable workloads'

Women:

triangleDefending abortion rights in the US

trianglePlymouth: Hundreds attend vigil for Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Cricket:

triangleCricket's history of racism and elitism

Capitalism:

triangleMoney Heist: A Robin Hood tale set in modern-day capitalism

Article dated 12 January 2022

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Coventry bin workers on strike, January 2022, photo by Dave Nellist

Socialist Party members joined the picket lines of striking bin workers in Coventry fighting for better pay. January 2022

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