As an Irishwoman, I might be expected to blog on yesterday’s historic visit by the President of Ireland to the United Kingdom and his reception by the Queen. But I am not going to do that as I wish to comment on something even more historic – the now legendary resignation of Maria Miller.
If there is one thing the chattering classes in Ireland always admired Britain for was the incredible speed at which an errant MP was dismissed. In Ireland you could be involved in dodgy dealings costing the taxpayer millions and you could still sit comfortably in your ministerial job for months, perhaps even years. You could be Minister for Finance, not even have a cheque book, and yet have thousands of pounds going through accounts you controlled, but that would not necessarily stop you becoming PM. But not in Britain. It was the always the case that if you were up to something dodgy you walked, or at the very least you were pushed.
But that was before Maria Miller. Now, a lot of ink has been spilled over this affair – and the best commentary is probably here. But yesterday’s car crash interview by her ‘aide’ Ms Mary Macleod MP raised the stakes.
In this interview not only was the British public accused of being misinformed and stupid and the media being involved in a “witch hunt” due to their fear of Leveson and of course their homophobia, but crucially in a rather throwaway remark Ms Macleod MP said ‘she wanted to see more women in Parliament’. So there we have it – Maria Miller should not resign “’cos she is woman’. You really could not make it up.
Today, Maria Miller finally resigned because she got the taxpayer to fund her mortgage on her home which she then ‘flipped.’ If the ordinary person, or indeed benefit claimant, made the kind of mistakes she did they would probably end up on the wrong side of a fraud indictment. But not Maria, oh no, she had the full backing of the Prime Minster, “cos she is woman’.
It really is deeply worrying, not to mention insulting, that it has now been admitted that Maria Miller delayed resigning and received “warm support” from the PM because she is female. “We want more women in Parliament” therefore we cannot apply the ordinary standards to female MPs who are caught with their noses in the trough. We cannot to that because it might put other wimmin off running for Parliament.
No, it will not put anyone off running unless their aim is also to buy properties, have the taxpayer fund part of the mortgage and then flog it for a nice profit. And if this does put these people off then good riddance!
It is also implied with this accusation – laid at the door of pretty much every right-thinking individual in Britain – that as Maria is being unfairly treated (in the eyes of her aides) it will put off other wimmin because we will all be afraid of the rough and tumble of politics. That is us – poor, little, meek wimmin – hiding our lights under the bushel. Oh, let me sit down, it is all getting too much for me.
Listen up, dodgy expense-claiming wimmin MPs – you do not represent me. You never have and stop playing the gender card when it suits you and then demand total equality the next day. Maria Miller missed the window where she could have resigned with dignity. Instead, she dragged out proceedings for days, accusing everyone of being on a witch hunt, of prejudice, and of picking on her because of her gender. It is pathetic, it is underhand, and it is dishonest.