Monday, April 15, 2024
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Whatever happened to shrewd, charming women in politics?


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WHEN they first told Caroline Lucas she had pencilled her eyebrows too high, she merely looked surprised.

That look of surprise has given way to swivel-eyed lunacy. She has called for an all-women Cabinet to defy the decision of the nation made in 2016. The only apparent uniting factor in those potential colleagues mentioned by the Guardian, clearly at its most Silly Season skittish, is that they have allowed their hair to be cut by the local council.

Hasn’t the nation suffered the sight and sound of Yvette Cooper enough? Whatever happened to shrewd, elegant – and charming – women in politics like Barbara Castle and Margaret Thatcher?

How would Miss Lucas, whom the BBC promote as an expert on climatology despite her degree in nineteenth-century feminist literature, react to a demand for an all-male Cabinet? Epic indignation, shrieking and banging lentil jars? What never seem to pass behind those hand-crocheted yak wool blinkers are the ideas of democratic accountability or competence qualifying someone, man or woman, for high office. Despite her wealth, privilege and sense of entitlement, Miss Lucas is, like Titania McGrath, a victim, forever one of the oppressed.

But it’s not just the prospect of another woman prime minister (with our wounds still raw from the last) but the idea of identity-based Government that is so bizarre. Will David Lammy shortly call for a cabinet of Fat People to save us from the threat to the sandwich supply? Is Diane Abbott about to head a Government of the Totally Innumerate, whose third priority will be to keep Britain as the thirty-oneth member of the twenty four? Is Rory Stewart scuttling around recruiting other miniature hobgoblins for his fifteen minutes of fame, while Philip Hammond launches a Superannuated Goths party (slogan: ‘Taking the fun out of party’)?

It’s yet another reminder of how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable our political class are. This bunch of oddballs and inadequates need ejecting from our public life – the sooner, the better.

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