Why the editor of Closer should get her tits out

Laurence Pieau thinks that the topless shots of the Duchess of Cambridge are "full of joy" and "not degrading". I won't believe it until I see her nipples.

I've only got three words for Laurence Pieau: get 'em out.

The editor of French Closer magazine, which published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, has defended her decision by saying: "One shouldn't dramatise these pictures. The reactions are a little disproportionate." 

She added that the couple were "visible from the street", omitting to mention ". . . if you have a telephoto lens the size of a cannon".  

Warming to her theme, she continued: "She is a young woman who is topless, just like women who can be seen on beaches all over France and the rest of the world. They are pictures which are full of joy. They are not degrading."

Now, a more cynical sort than me might say that this is insufferable hypocrisy. I'd rather see some drooling bloke in a raincoat rubbing his thighs over the pictures than a professional woman pretending that, actually, they are, like, really empowering and a celebration of femininity, yeah?

If you think some blurry topless photos are "full of joy", Laurence Pieau, let me introduce you to the internet: it's ecstatic. There are so many breasts out there you could make looking at them at a full-time job. You'd have to retire at 67, nipple-blind but still not done.

These photos are not about a woman "like any other on the beach". And even if they were, that's still weird. Imagine if Closer announced that from now on, it was going to publish a photo of one random topless woman on its front page every week. Oh, the photos would be taken on a public beach - so legally the subjects would have less right to privacy than the Duchess. But they would have no idea that the photos had been taken until they strolled past their newsagent.

There would be pandemonium. I doubt they'd get a second issue out. 

Perhaps then we'd realise that watching a naked woman from half a mile away without her knowledge is not any less creepy if you happen to have a camera in your hand. 

The only reason that so many of us are so relaxed about invasions of privacy is that no one wants to invade ours. 

Of course, there is one way that Laurence Pieau can prove she really thinks the reaction is over-dramatic. Go on, Laurence: hire yourself a photographer, a balcony and take off your bra. Let's see you in all your un-Photoshopped glory, "feeling the caress of the Provencal sun" or whatever the crappy soft-porn copy was that you commissioned.

Then, and only then, will I believe you when you say that there's no big deal about a topless woman. That publishing those photos was not a calculated, yet casual, humiliation of a woman to flog a few magazines. That you don't believe people would think less of you if they saw your breasts. That privacy is over-rated.

Put the microphone down, Laurence, and step away from your Twitter account. You don't need to give any more interviews: let your nipples do the talking. 

Laurence Pieau, editor the French edition of Closer magazine.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.

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To stop Jeremy Corbyn, I am giving my second preference to Andy Burnham

The big question is whether Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper will face Jeremy in the final round of this election.

Voting is now underway in the Labour leadership election. There can be no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn is the frontrunner, but the race isn't over yet.

I know from conversations across the country that many voters still haven't made up their mind.

Some are drawn to Jeremy's promises of a new Jerusalem and endless spending, but worried that these endless promises, with no credibility, will only serve to lose us the next general election.

Others are certain that a Jeremy victory is really a win for Cameron and Osborne, but don't know who is the best alternative to vote for.

I am supporting Liz Kendall and will give her my first preference. But polling data is brutally clear: the big question is whether Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper will face Jeremy in the final round of this election.

Andy can win. He can draw together support from across the party, motivated by his history of loyalty to the Labour movement, his passionate appeal for unity in fighting the Tories, and the findings of every poll of the general public in this campaign that he is best placed candidate to win the next general election.

Yvette, in contrast, would lose to Jeremy Corbyn and lose heavily. Evidence from data collected by all the campaigns – except (apparently) Yvette's own – shows this. All publicly available polling shows the same. If Andy drops out of the race, a large part of the broad coalition he attracts will vote for Jeremy. If Yvette is knocked out, her support firmly swings behind Andy.

We will all have our views about the different candidates, but the real choice for our country is between a Labour government and the ongoing rightwing agenda of the Tories.

I am in politics to make a real difference to the lives of my constituents. We are all in the Labour movement to get behind the beliefs that unite all in our party.

In the crucial choice we are making right now, I have no doubt that a vote for Jeremy would be the wrong choice – throwing away the next election, and with it hope for the next decade.

A vote for Yvette gets the same result – her defeat by Jeremy, and Jeremy's defeat to Cameron and Osborne.

In the crucial choice between Yvette and Andy, Andy will get my second preference so we can have the best hope of keeping the fight for our party alive, and the best hope for the future of our country too.

Tom Blenkinsop is the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland