Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fair Deals and the Fairer Sex

Haven't seen much point adding my tuppence-worth to the punditry explaining in excruciating detail that we have exactly no idea of what's going on, but for what it's worth, and speaking as a Labour voter, you have to be kidding guys if you think a Lib-Lab pact has moral authority. It doesn't. Suck it up. We lost. Let's elect another leader, regroup and win - for real - next time. (And if I was a Liberal Democrat, I would help a minority Conservative government gets its Queen's Speech through and leave it at that. Just say "No". "No" to seats in the Cabinet and "No" to a coalition. A coalition is not going to end well for the Liberal Democrats. They'd end up feeling dirty courtesy of the unavoidable spending cuts, and just hating themselves in the morning.)

Oh, and regarding the next leader of the Labour party, I heard Harriet Harman's interview on Newsnight when she said she had no plans to stand - in effect, reserving her position. I'm backing Harriet. I think David Miliband is a star performer and I wouldn't underestimate the charm of Andy Burnham, but I am outraged - I don't say that lightly - I mean outraged at the invisibility of women during the election. Around one in five MPs are women. Well, hurrah bloody hurrah. Are we supposed to draw comfort from that? I always presumed that time moves on and women are considered equal and it will all work out well in the longterm. How gender-stereotypically passive of me.

And it's not just the MPs, look at the media. The BBC's excellent Laura Kuennsberg and Sky's Kay Burley do their bit. There's a handful of well-known women lurking in the columns of the newspapers like Jackie Ashley, Mary Riddell and Polly Toynbee. But where is everybody else? And it's our own fault. The talented Gaby Hinsliff bailed out as a political editor because she wanted a life. At the point I could have gone for a political job, I put my family first and turned my back on the 60-hour-weeks. It is no better in the new media. Scan the recommended reads of pundits, there's only ever a tiny smattering of women's names. Why is that? Do we make the presumption we are not worth listening to, so we might as well not say anything? Are we too busy tatting to blog our reaction to the changing world around us? Surprise! Women are outnumbered anywhere it counts. Today's Guardian has six pictures of nice men - one of whom may be the next leader of the Labour party. Some of them are wearing suits. One has a briefcase. Two are in shirt sleeves.

Harriet Harman is obliged to stand. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman, Harriet. Now I'll have to join the Labour party.

23 comments:

Ali Clarke said...

I can't bear another election full of grey suited men.

So yes we need a woman (at least one) to stand. But where are they all? There is Harriet Harman and possibly Yvette Cooper (who presumably wouldn't stand against hubby). So that leaves Harriet.

Why, oh why are there so few women in the Labour Party willing to come forward. What have we done with/to them all. It's a sad indictment on the party and certainly isn't enough to make me join them again.

Alison Clarke, Women's Views On News

wife in the north said...

oooh oooh ooh. "Yvette to stand against Ed" absolutely fabulous. Yes please. Beats "David versus Other One" by country mile.

Reasons said...

Sadly most women have neither the time nor the energy to battle against the patronising sexism that is still at large in British politics. Many that do turn out to be bitter and more calculating than the men.

I'm not keen on Harriet but it would be great to feel the influence of the fairer sex.

returning scot said...

Question...would you advise me to come home to live in Britain? I'm currently in a lovely country with a coalition Govt, no National Debt, eye-wateringly-high taxes and even the loo roll has 25% VAT on it.

wife in the north said...

re returning scot: Come home, it is definitely more exciting here.

ladythinker said...

Give me plain sensible straight speaking EDWARD Milliband and i might vote Labour again.
What I will NEVER do now is to vote Lib Dem again - I think these last few days prove they only have one idea in mind - political reform.
I see that you've not mentioned the wee tough cookie Hazel Blears for PM??!!

billatbingley said...

Do I detect a closet Labour Party Candidate in you JuDith???

Expat mum said...

The problem is - everyone's standing around waiting for some other female to step up.
Who was it who said "Be the change you want to see in the world."?

John Woodman said...

I thought I mentioned the page 3 girls on election day...

claire said...

Rather than "yvette verses ed" wouldn't it be great if Ed stepped back and let Yvette stand. If we have to chose between the Milibands then David please - Ed looks like a overly keen fifteen year old.

sophie said...

Get ready to stand in 10 years time. You will have my vote. By then the formal coalition will have softened the face of conservatism- we will be looking after the frail and the very poor with dignity, and we will have smaller efficient government. You can follow through with the female touch.

Russell said...

You claim that 'women are outnumbered everywhere that it counts' but it appears to have escaped your notice that 2/3 of small business owners are women. The small business sector is what keeps the economy running - not corporates and certainly not the public sector - and women run the majority of small businesses. SMEs pay 70% of the corporation tax and employ 3 times as many people as the corporates.

AnnB said...

Things won't change until Parliament stops being a 'boys club' and start behaving like decent human beings intent on actually accepting that all parties can have some good policies and no one party is right or wrong and be prepared to put their personal differences aside. Our political system was set up by men and for men; no wonder women aren't interested and especially when any elected female leader will be pulled apart on how she looks and dresses and I am just as guilty of making those judgements as anyone else. Look at the leaders' wives: they were more commented on for their looks than their intelligence, it's as simple as that!

London City Mum said...

Expat Mum - 'twas Mahatma Gandhi.

Now there's a wise man who could teach our politicians a thing or two about 'real' life and sacrifice.

LCM x

Pamela said...

What about the lady MP in the Green Party - that's a good start isn't it. I'd be interested to read your commnets on the new government now that the Tories & Lib Dems have joined forces.

Expat mum said...

Thank you LCM - I have a bracelet with the quote on. Somewhere.

what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

Couldn't agree more. I am a lifelong labour supporter and now a party member. I don't particularly like Harriet, but it says so much about how our lives are - we cannot have it all to be quite frank, who would want it all? Trying to play by the boys rule - we will always loose, whether it's sacrificing a happy family life and secure kids or being labelled a ball breaker and pseudo bloke. No thanks.

plot on a hill said...

My vote would go to Yvette Cooper if she were to stand...anything to keep her dreadful husband Ed Ball out...

mutleythedog said...

You will not be surprised to learn that I have many friends in the new Government. I expect rubber goods to be tax relieved any day...By the way customs have released your order. All is legal...

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in this blog which appears to be written by a Labour staffer - very funny and this post deals with same subject of invisibility of women in politics..

http://mid-wife-crisis-blog.blogspot.com/2010/05/deja-vu.html

merry weather said...

To all readers of Mutleythe dogsdayout

I am so terribly sorry to break this news:

Rob, the author here on blogger of mutley the dog, and my beloved partner in life died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours last Friday, the 21st of May.

I would have preferred to email readers privately. That would have been best, I know. So sorry. Simply it is this - I am heart-broken.

At some near time I will post properly, as Rob would wish - a celebration!

Regards

Kate

J said...

merry weather: I am truly sorry to hear such terrible news. My heart goes out to you. He was special and funny and irreverant and someone I considered a friend. my love to you.

anna said...

Judith-
Long time no read. Even longer no see. Good to see that you're still at it. And well said. On the day after Wales launched it's (my) campaign on a not unrelated matter.
Take a look.
www.onesteptoofar.org