Friday, 24 January 2014

There's Nothing Liberal or Democratic about a Party That Demeans Women

There’s nothing liberal or democratic about the Liberal Democrat party. A more representative name would be “The old Boys’ party”. Of course, that wouldn’t necessarily differentiate them from Labour or Tory. That moniker would be true for all of them.

By claiming democratic superiority, the Lib Dems should at least show willing when it comes to being a party representative of the people, 50% of whom are women. The branding machine, no doubt a testosterone charged power house, has missed the fact that there’s a stark disconnect between what the Lib Dems claim to be & what they are.

I knew Nick Clegg was struggling to connect with women when he plucked a woman, who makes porn films, from obscurity & put her forward as a parliamentary candidate in 2010. Despite Anna Arrowsmith having no political experience, Clegg obviously thought having a porn baroness in the party would be “liberal” & “edgy” & after all, she’s a “feminist”. At the time I wrote, “If Arrowsmith is successful (she wasn’t) jobs for porn “stars” & lap dancers will be advertised in your local job centre (oops they are already). Failure of girls to apply would result in benefits being removed. If she’s a feminist, I’m Jeremy Clarkson”.

The sex industry is dominated by men who profit from the degradation of women and young girls. They’re called pimps. The fact that Arrowsmith seemed to uphold the stereotypes assigned to a marginalised group in the interests of getting ahead in a dominant group, didn’t bode well. If she was a fundamentalist feminist banging on about mad extremist stuff like equal pay or the sexual stereotyping of young girls, she wouldn’t stand a chance in the so called Lib Dems.

Clegg’s confusion between the prostitution of women and feminism has contributed to a culture where women are more likely to be seen as sex objects as opposed to political players. Lord Rennard’s indignance at being suspended for refusing to apologise over sexual harassment claims indicates the extent to which sexism is endemic in the Lib Dem culture. This week another disgraced Lib Dem MP, Mike Hancock, was suspended from the party for alleged sexual misconduct against a female constituent with known mental health problems. In both cases Clegg has been criticised for being slow to act & ineffectual.

The lack of women MP’s in the party, a mere 12% (7 MPs), none of whom hold cabinet positions, is another damning indictment. Clegg’s failure to give some of his greatest female talent, such as Sarah Teather, key roles, will be his undoing. Instead, the hapless Danny Alexander, the right wing, disgraced, banker (David Laws) and the lacklustre, career (as opposed to conviction) politician, Simon Hughes take up seats at the Lib Dem top table.

The fact that one of the most principled and respected talent in the party, Sarah Teather, is stepping down at the next election, because of Clegg’s stance on immigration & welfare, is further evidence that the party has lost it’s way. Those within the party with moral compasses, it seems, are ditched in favour of self serving sycophants. Some say women need to toughen up & play the game. I disagree. As Alison Pearson said in The Telegraph this week, “It’s the game, not women, that needs to change”.

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