Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Women in Politics

Martin Kettle in the Guardian wonders why there are still so few woman in politics.
'Why, nearly a century after women got the vote and were able to stand for parliament,' he asks, 'do so few women get to the very top? Is it prejudice and glass ceilings, as a survey on British business suggests today? Or is it that, in some significant way, most women politicians aren't as good as Thatcher? And if not, why not?'
It's a very Guardian thing not even to consider the one possibility that would threaten their own perspective. In this case, it does not occur to Kettle that perhaps women don't want to go into politics. Why should they? They'd only be told to talk about Paxman's Package. Labour, as we now know, is so desperate that it has employed an android called Chairbot3 - known to us as Hazel Blears - as its chairman.


  1. The practice of politics just doesn't interest most women and those who are interested in it are largely weird or have a bit of their femininity missing.
    Moreover, from the point of view of doing the job of representing the interests of their constituents, the current lot, especially the Blair Babes, are not very effective - flocking through the lobby like sheep herded by the whips to vote as they are told. It's deeply unfashionable to say so, but it seems to me to be true nevertheless, that women in general aren't too good at the abstract thinking bit - they do like to stick to 'the rules'.
    It beats me why anybody (most of all women themselves) should want more women to get involved in politics.
    Having said that, most of the men currently involved are decidedly second and third-rate. Perhaps the answer is that nobody in his right mind would want to be involved now; having to put up with his private life being scrutinised by the canaille, all honest expressions of principal being reduced to sound-bites and any sign of intelligence being ridiculed.

  2. And, Philip, look at the Boris nonsense today. Wouldn't dare agree with you on the abstract thinking point.

  3. Because we are the outcome of biological evolution by natural selection, and because that process has allocated different roles to the different sexes, women are, in general, less aggressive and competitive than men. This entails that, in general, they are not as suited as men to aggressive and competitive activities like politics. On the other hand, because women have been allocated a child-rearing role by evolution, they are better suited to jobs that involve caring or compassion or personal skills. This is why most nurses are female, and not male.

    Strangely, I never hear people complaining that there aren't enough men in nursing...

    Now, of course, these are generalities, and there are exceptions which prove the rule. Biological instincts can be overwritten. However, this is the reason why we should, and do, have equality of opportunity. If women want to go into politics, or men want to go into nursing, then they can. But this is equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome, which is what the politically correct fanatics desire.

  4. It is striking how far in front of the rest Thatcher is - the Bradman of women politicians.

  5. Bryan, you mustn't be taken in by the apparent silliness of Boris Johnson. In the brave new liberal world all opposition which is percieved as a threat is ruthlessly suppressed in exactly the way that all tyrannies do it, either by vilification or ridicule.
    Thus the only way you can have a prominent role in politics in the modern dispensation (because it is so repressive) is to offer yourself up to ridicule and then you aren't seen as a threat. It's the court jester who isn't destroyed. Boris instinctively knows that - I wouldn't be surprised if he knows it rationally as well - and as a result has managed to become loved by more people than he would reach if he showed his hand as un homme serieux. He is one of the few politicians currently prominent who can say something of what he thinks (often coded) and retain his position. He also has the courage to appear human, which attracts ordinary people.
    Ther are few other ways to be an independent man in modern politics. Don't underestimate him.

  6. Gordon McCabe, natural selection from what?

  7. I emphatically don't underestimate Boris. But forget party politics. I'd say editor of the Daily Mail within two years. You read it here first.

  8. Bryan, I'm not interested in party politics and I wasn't writing about them. References to 'liberals' have nothing to do with the liberal party (or any other party for that matter) but to the pervasive influence of a certain attitude to life and view of the human condition which is false, but almost universally accepted in the modern western world.
    And to suggest that Boris's future lies as editor of the Daily Mail is perhaps a little patronising and indicates that, contrary to what you say, you do underestimate his seriousness.
    He's instinctively a Tory, but it's hard to put that into effect at the moment because people don't want to know the truth.

  9. Philip, not totally sure what your question is getting at. Homo sapiens has ultimately evolved from a population of genetic molecules upon the surface of the Earth, but has more recently evolved from australopithecines. I'm aware that there's some debate over the exact details regarding our descent from homo erectus; is this what you're thinking of?

    Nice theory about Boris Johnson, though. I've often wondered if he really does have a cunning, long-term strategy: play the fool and get yourself liked now, when there's no chance of the Tories winning an election, and then get serious when it matters, circa 2010-2015.

  10. Philip,

    Yes, to underestimate Boris just because he is willing to make a fool of himself is indeed folly.

    But even if he does go nowhere in party Politics it is surely a sad and dangerous thing to presume that seriousness of purpose and humour are, or should be, incompatible.

    Speaking for myself I often laugh at people I admire and respect. My laughter is not derisory but an acknowledgement of their qualities - and originality.

    There is of course more than one type of laughter,and while nobody benefits from being on the receiving end of the derisory kind, derisive laughters ultimately just show the world their base and disrespectful, if not cruel, natures.

    But of 'Golden' laughter, which is a spontaneous human reaction of warmth to something commendably human in another, will always be something I hope those in power will arouse in me.


  11. I am emphatically not patronising Boris by suggesting he might become the editor of The Daily Mail, a post that has been among the most potent in British public life for some time. I have nothing against humour, it is the self-conscious 'character' I can't stand. I have never met Boris and so I can't comment on the reality, but, whatever his tactics, he is portrayed as a 'character' of a peculiarly boring and unfunny kind. The bonkers olde Englande guy is too played out for words and, anyway, Wodehouse cannot be improved upon. What is grotesque about this is the solipsistic dance of death with the media that politics has become.

  12. 'Solipsistic dance of death with the media that politics has become'? Self-absorbed or maybe self-centered - is that what solipsistic means?

    It's not clear to me how anybody can now get involved in politics without engaging in this 'dance of death.' And that's my point; Boris is trying to make something of himself in politics without compromising himself more than is absolutely necessary, because unlike Blair, who is utterly immoral, he retains a good bit of his integrity. That's the best you can expect as things stand at the moment, don't you think?

  13. Maybe you're right, Philip, about the politics. But the bonkers olde English gent role fill me with suspicion. I know many. I was with a load last night. 'Intregrity' is not the first word that comes to mind.

  14. i am a women and well frankly the things you people are saying about women is outrageous what a man can do a women can do better