UK – Just because they’re women, doesn’t mean they’re any good

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GO – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/5963745/Just-because-theyre-women-doesnt-mean-theyre-any-good.html

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If the women are good, I’m with them; if they’re not, I’m not, argues Melanie McDonagh.

By Melanie McDonagh
Published: 7:24AM BST 03 Aug 2009

Comments 56 | Comment on this article

One of the interesting questions that feminism turned up was whether sex was the bit of your identity that trumped the rest: class, religion, nationality. Actually, if you dig out a dusty copy of The Female Eunuch, you’ll find that many Seventies feminists were anti-capitalist, but even so, one of the prevailing assumptions of the women’s movement (pre-Thatcher) was that Team Woman was what you supported as a woman, almost regardless of how you felt about its members.

That whole mindset seems mildly quaint now, but it has been given a detox by Harriet Harman, Labour’s Deputy Leader. She says in an interview that voters are fed up with “boys running the show”. Two years ago, she tried to ensure that, in the Labour Party, either the leader or deputy leader would be a woman.

“Men cannot be left to run things on their own,” she says, a bit like Ivy in Last of the Summer Wine. “In a country where women regard themselves as equal, they are not prepared to see men just running the show themselves. I think a balanced team of men and women make better decisions.”

Well, that depends, doesn’t it? Granted, when you see the Tory front bench desperately making the most of Theresa May for television purposes, you do wonder why the party can’t manage to translate their legions of women supporters into a front-bench presence. And if you ask whether it makes the heart leap to see Harriet Harman standing in for the PM, well, personally it doesn’t. Now Barbara Castle would have been another matter. But if you ask me to cheer on Team Woman if it’s made up of Harriet Harman, Jacqui Smith, Caroline Flint and Glenys Kinnock, I’ll sit on my hands.

Harriet’s other equality-enhancing idea is to have a Gender 20 meeting for women politicians running parallel to the male-dominated G20. But all that does, in a deeply embarrassing way, is to highlight how few women have become party or state leaders. Those who have made it on their merits – one hand will do to count them – do give you a quiet sort of pride in them as women: Angela Merkel, the feisty German chancellor, say, or Mary McAleese, the Irish president. What I’m saying in answer to Harriet is, if the women are good, I’m with them; if they’re not, I’m not. Not a ringing answer to the great gender question, is it?

Anniversaries are a spurious sort of reason to celebrate artists, but who cares? On Saturday, Radio 4’s commemoration of the bicentenary of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s birth took the form of a reading of Maud by Joseph Millson. It was a revelation: passionate and coherent. I love Tennyson – a bit of a shameful infatuation until lately – and poems like The Grandmother’s Apology can make me cry in public places, but I’d never quite got the point of Maud. Great poetry, read aloud, is one
of the things that radio is made for.

It turns out that a youth who won the right to have his DNA removed from the national database under human rights law now has his genetic details back on the record, after being caught with drugs. Good. As far as I’m concerned, the more DNA we’ve got, the better. I recently attended a talk where Damian Green, a shadow minister arrested in connection with a Commons leak, complained bitterly that his genetic details were on official files. I couldn’t honestly see what his problem was. Perhaps if those of us with unblemished records were to volunteer to place our own DNA in the public domain, that might reduce the stigma. The police can have mine, if they like.

Comments: 56 – As @ 1600 – GMY+12 4Aug09

·         Harriet Harman recently stated, that MPs would have to produce receipts for all expenses claims. She lies just as much as the men do. No one in parliament can be trusted. Watch what they do, not what they say.
Dougie
on August 03, 2009
at 02:27 PM
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No I will not We know this but who will tell

Firozali A .Mulla

on August 03, 2009

at 10:51 PM

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·         Just who, of the current crop of Labour women, does this silly woman have in mind to run a whelk stall, never mind the country? Patricia Hewitt? Hazel Blears? Caroline Flint? Jacqui Smith? Tessa Jowell? Herself? Or perhaps she’d like to see the return of Patricia Hewitt or Ruth Kelly? Or even that brilliant performer Estelle Morris? Ye Gods!

Bluedragon

on August 03, 2009

at 10:24 PM

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·         i am assuming that the likes of josephwalker have never met a ‘real’ woman who is comfortable in the way she looks and doesn’t bother to impress ‘fake men’ like you.. there are women out there who work hard every day and don’t talk so disgustingly about men like you do about women.. get a life!

nitya

on August 03, 2009

at 10:20 PM

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·         She has a point about dealing rooms. Testosterone ups risk taking and rewards it to the point of reckless behaviour.Men in groups produce more Testosterone. And then failure produces Cortisol which makes people freeze with anxiety.
So yes male groups without checks did stuff the banking system. Gambling is terribly terribly exciting and what wasn’t Testosterone was Adrenalin.

Ink

on August 03, 2009

at 10:20 PM

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·         AdrianH

You forgot Edith Cresson – a quarter of all British men are butter-side-down.

Napoleon XXIV

on August 03, 2009

at 09:18 PM

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·         Why is it that so many feminists hate Margaret Thatcher? So much for Team Woman. Or is it that Margaret Thatcher, unluke the Blair/Brown Babes managed it without male help?

Napoleon XXIV

on August 03, 2009

at 09:14 PM

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·         The Mad Hatt(ie)er cannot keep her mouth shut. She is now blaming men for the banking crisis.

If I were Brown I would get back from holiday quickly.

I sense a feminist coup.

patriot

on August 03, 2009

at 08:12 PM

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·         Harriet Harman = yet another reason to remove Labour from power and make sure they never get the chance to destroy the country again.

What I have always wondered is why the government needs to keep changing things all the time, do they not ever consider things are better left alone? instead they complain and moan to each other because they are too spineless to say “no, lets just leave it alone”. They will never do this in fear that the other party will use that to their advantage to try and gain support from the voters. Its our own fault though, if the politicans did not change things constantly we accuse them of not doing their job correctly.
Women like this will over regulate, over police every decent (which very little we have left) part of society and its infrastructure to a point were we have left no freedom or liberties..

phill

on August 03, 2009

at 07:03 PM

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·         This article is a breath of fresh air. More than that, it is a model of sanity and sensibility. It effectively lances the boil, created by the poisonous posturings of sexually-challenged crackpots like Harriet Harman and Baroness Prosser, which has so disfigured the word ‘gender’. I concur with every word, Melanie.

DISGRUNTLED GRUNT

on August 03, 2009

at 07:01 PM

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·         Harman isn’t interested in equality. She is only interested in inequality in persuit of her own purpose.

In short she is a racist, sexist bigot. The main target of her poison being the white Christian male. How else can you explain her positive discrimination policy? The sad thing is that Hattie cannot see that there is no such thing as positive discrimination. It is merely another invention of the left to legitimise their ideological bigotry. There is only discrimination and no matter how much spin you put on it someone always ends up discriminated against.

Steve Ipswich

on August 03, 2009

at 06:15 PM

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·         No comment,My dear girl ,do not upset the female of the species.although poor things ,they got enough deceision to make,like hair styles,bags ,shoes,what dress looks the best .And that is before the day starts.

joseph walker

on August 03, 2009

at 05:21 PM

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·         Since posting my comment at 11.16, my wife has gently reminded me that she was overwhelmingly elected. Mea culpa!

A Lindsey

on August 03, 2009

at 03:35 PM

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·         A decent definition of sexism would be: To suggest a person or group of persons are incapable of something purely through virtue of their gender.

Harman is a sexist, and to be in charge of equality whilst one is sexist should be untenable.If David Cameron had told us that Women couldn’t be trusted to run the country on their own then he would have been cruxified and would most likely have to resign.

Hattie however, because of her position on the idiotic left, and the fact that she is a woman can say these things with impunity.

Matt

on August 03, 2009

at 03:35 PM

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·         I think that the Labour Party should leave Harriet Harperson at the reins. Incredibly she is even more adept at losing her part support than her boss Brown. She is truly appalling and an asset to the Tories!

Roll on the election.

Thought Crime

on August 03, 2009

at 03:16 PM

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·         I wonder if Mad Hattie would (in the interests of equality)like to introduce a new Lab law that says the top 2 jobs can never be taken by 2 females simultaneously.

Imelda Marcos

on August 03, 2009

at 02:46 PM

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·         For the second time in a month, I have received a letter from my bank, Barclays, offering me a loan of �17,200. Don’t they ever learn?

Incidentally,I am a pensioner on a small pension. Don’t they look at the accounts before they send these letters out? No wonder we’re in the mess we are.

Joy Anderson

on August 03, 2009

at 02:44 PM

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·         It is quite disgusting, disturbing and very dangerous that someone with such an embedded sense of discrimination against men is in charge of a department dealing with equality. It is all part of the Labour sick circus that such an evil witch should be in such a high position. Well following on from McBean (the worst most incompetent Chancellor and PM ever) and Mandy (lieing corrupt and disgraced MP and Europhile), what can we expect ? The Labour government behaves like Big Brother and has the weird, freak personalities of the TV show Big Brother.

I think women should be up in arms about her actions, �in their name�. Women’s contribution, where deserved, is being eroded by the feminist stasi. Laws continuing to favour women will make them more unemployable in the future. Additionally I think it is indeed demeaning that a quota, rather than ability, should be deemed the most important factor to determining the best person for the job.

Positive discrimination is indeed one of the most appalling social movements that has ever arisen. I hope that the Tory�s will end this malpractice. Only merit should ever be rewarded.

Nick

on August 03, 2009

at 02:35 PM

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·         Harriet Harman recently stated, that MPs would have to produce reciepts for all expenses claims. She lies just as much as the men do. No one in parliament can be trusted. Watch what they do, not what they say.

Dougie

on August 03, 2009

at 02:27 PM

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·         Question for swatantra(August 03,2009 at 10:49 AM) where do your figures come from? ‘…generally, women have to work twice as hard to get where they are than men…’. Its very easy to generalise but has any research actually gone into; who got the job because they wre the best candidate. Along with the majority of commentators on this site, I am not interested in the race, sexuality or gender – it is the person that matters. The shame is you cannot have an open discussion with the majority of ‘minorities’ without being accused of some form of ‘..ism’ or bigotry – perhaps Ms Harman should be put in from of one of the Equality Commissions?

Meerkat

on August 03, 2009

at 01:58 PM

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·         Does anyone take Harman seriously. Her comment “court of publice opinion” dies a death in the face of the newest episode of the expenses scandal. Regardless of sex, promotion should be on ability and merit.
However in the current party political system, it is who you know. Of course with Brown who is willing to take the job.

Let us rid ourselves of Harman and her ilk, regardless of their party.

DB

on August 03, 2009

at 01:45 PM

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·         So many of us who used to be in faour of equality for women in all spheres have been driven into opposition by the wailing banshees of the Labour party who do not actually want’equality’ they want female domination and everything their own way. Remember the 1970s ‘Scum’ manifesto (society for cutting up men) and the Andrea Dworkin maxim that all sex is rape and all men rapists? Look out guys if Harperson has her wicked way!

david

on August 03, 2009

at 01:25 PM

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·         Harriet Harmen only got this far by being born a women, had she been a man then her inadequacies would have ensured her career stalled years ago. However, I do believe we need more women like Harman in top jobs (just like Jaccqui Smith, and Hazel Blears in fact)to serve as a constant reminder on how tokenism and quotas can have dire consequences. When it comes to governemnt , I want my elected representatives to be the best qualified and the most capable for the job; when they are fighting for our rights in Europe I do not want our attempts blunted by fielding a substandard team based purely on their gender and not their capabilities. The nonesense spouted by Harman is designed to cover up her failings as a politician. I never thought I’d agree with John Prescott, but I do concur with his views that she should zip it. It is to the Conservative’s credit that they haven’t subscribed to this PC nonesense yet, and those women who do form part of the shadow government know that they got there by their own merits – which isnt something any female Labour polician can claim.

roddy

on August 03, 2009

at 01:04 PM

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·         “Man cannot be left to run things on their own”

Ipso fact a sexist comment. She does not say women cannot be left to run things on their own implying that they can be left to run things on their own. No comment on gays and transgender – just men.

I have nothing against women -after all, my mother was one and my wife is one. I would trust my wife before any man alive but I would not want her running the country. Look at the shining exaple set by those women who have run a country :-

Margaret thatcher – (Please fill in your own response)
Indira Ghandi – chop those nuts off
Corizon Aquino – fill those boots
Angela Merkel – how goes the economy
Bandra Aniika – that took forty years to sort out
Madam Mao ………’nuff said

Let’s face it Harperson wants rid of men —- and I want rid of Harperson ……..does that make us sort of equal?

AdrianH

on August 03, 2009

at 01:00 PM

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·         Equality is to be encouraged but cannot be enforced. I heard some figures of how few asian police officers there were in comparison to the proportion of asians in the country. The problem was that there were not the number actually applying to be in the police. Should we have an inferior police force because it “helps with the figures” – NO. THe same with politicians. Positive discrimination means that you will not necesarily get the best person for the job. Even those that do make it on merit will be tainted by doubters who presume that they are there to massage the numbers.

The test for this positive discrimination should always be being able to reverse the preference, be it gender, race, religion etc and determine if it is acceptable. If it is okay to be force to elect a woman or black person, it should also be okay to elect a man or a white person. Balance is precisely that, a stable state that is reached and maintained. This may be by quantity or quality. Personally I prefer Quality.

the Truth Fairy

on August 03, 2009

at 01:00 PM

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·         So, Harriet Harman thinks that a balanced team of men and women make better decisions does she?
In that case, why have these total prats from nu labour, of which she is a senior member, done their damnest to destroy the traditional family unit of mother and father, even to the extent of encouraging ‘same sex couples’ to adopt children in their obsession with ‘equality’?
Simply because they are total fools and hypocrites – the sooner they are kicked out, hopefully never to return, the better!

David West

on August 03, 2009

at 01:00 PM

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·         Grow up Hattie; admit you too are not fit for purpose just like other Blair Babes Jacqui Smith, Caroline Flint, Hazel Blears and Gordon�s Glenys.

I do not take my lead from your or your ilk; you are a bunch of losers. If you had the capability to perform, no one (man, women or god), can make you feel derelict.

Santosh

on August 03, 2009

at 12:51 PM

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·         I’m entirely in agreement with
A Lindsey
on August 03, 2009
at 11:16 AM and
Anya
on August 03, 2009
at 11:31 AM

In short, I don’t care a jot what’s between their legs, it’s what between their ears that’s important.

A R Ealist

on August 03, 2009

at 12:31 PM

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·         The author wishes that she could give a DNA sample then be left in peace.So then we appease the police state give our dna,then carry ID cards, give them ready access to our homes i mean ‘if we have nothing to hide then we have nothing to fear’Don’t make me laugh!this is of course very much the thinking and behavour what was done in the old soviet union.So i would rather be dead or live else where than let the state have my DNA Thankyou very much!

T

on August 03, 2009

at 12:27 PM

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·         George Rolph if women had been thought about naturally ie without “feminism” there would not be a dangerous sex ratio imbalance in China, India, and throughout Asia. There are 100 million women missing throughout the world population. Mostly these are in countries that have never experienced any kind of feminism. By your logic we should have allowed slavery of people of colour to continue in case their “movement” became a problem and upset the white folk.
Without stroppy strident voices weaker people just get killed like the 1 million women missing in Afghanistan because they marry and rape to death .. girl children. That is what feminism is for.. keeping women alive and it does not happen naturally .Men without being pushed do not do the protecting laws.

Pip

on August 03, 2009

at 12:27 PM

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·         Any sensible person wants the best person for the job regardless of gender and whilst it’s true discrimination exists against women, especially older women, the reverse happens too. Any campaign should be about equal opportunities for all, regardless of sex.

But, perhaps that’s too simple for bigots.

Diomalco

on August 03, 2009

at 12:06 PM

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·         She has a point.

If the country was to be run and deputised by women then that psychologically unstable G McBroon wouldn’t be PM!

Lost Forwards

on August 03, 2009

at 11:54 AM

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·         Political leaders or administrators, whether they are male or female, do not, in the end, make any difference, so long as one does not become authoritarian. Indira Gandhi in India suspended democracy and imposed emergency, she was known to be vengeful towards her political adversaries, Sirimavo Bandarnayake killed off hundreds of Tamils in Sri Lanka leading to the festering Tamil problem, Margaret Thatcher had a vision, no doubt, but she was hard-headed. She never left any space for an able successor in her party, which is still ruing its consequences. A woman, no doubt, is more creative than a man, both in mundane and serious matters, but as the adage goes, birds of a feather flock together, women, or for that matter, men, flock together in gender-centric groups. I, however agree with Melanie that if the women are good, one would support them, and if they are not, one would not support them. I think the same applies to men too, if not more harshly. And you can as well start with the present incumbent.

Ramesh Parida, Delhi

on August 03, 2009

at 11:54 AM

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·         How about those who want the police to have their DNA do so, and leave the rest of us in peace?

The fact that you bring up a drug offence – a ludicrous set of laws in the first place – doesn’t exactly help your argument. I’m not sure what point you are trying to make here.

Note that there are at least two people who won the case over DNA; however, the law was never actually changed, and I’m not sure anyone’s DNA was removed. The Government merely said “We’ll look at the issue, maybe”. The only possible change they are considering is to “only” hold the DNA for several years. Evidently when the Government breaks the law, they get to choose if anything changes.

Consider the case of Alysha Wilson ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/8152964.stm ), who suffered a year of trauma after falsely being accused of burglary because of fingerprints on a coworker’s wedding card. The police have apologised – the irony is that despite being found innocent, her DNA and fingerprints will now be kept on record.

Can we have a look at your DNA too? “Nothing to hide” etc.

Mark

on August 03, 2009

at 11:47 AM

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·         Where Harriet Harman has lost the plot entirely is that positions should be reached and performed on merit, irrespective of sex. If 100% of the best candidates for a given number of positions are female, let them all be female. Vice-versa if 100% are male. Or anything between these 2 ranges. Independent objective scientific measurements might be useful here to determine outcomes rather than pushing plastic PC principles. I observe that Harriet Harman happens to be female, a mere coincidence?

William Stanbury

on August 03, 2009

at 11:46 AM

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·         We need the best person for the job, irrespective of sex/gender. I’d hate to feel that I’d been picked simply to fill some quota rather than on merit. It’s demeaning.

Anya

on August 03, 2009

at 11:31 AM

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·         Many years ago my wife, at a political meeting, told those about to vote, that if they voted for her because they thought her the best person person for the job, then fine. If they voted for her because she was a woman, then she didn’t want their votes.

I admire my wife.

A Lindsey

on August 03, 2009

at 11:16 AM

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·         I’m with Bob Landy 9.13am. As a retired Plumber and a Chairman of a Secondry school for 23 years. I don’t know of too many Plumbers in Parliament. Danger of bringing to much common sense to the place I think!

Sean in the beaujolais

on August 03, 2009

at 11:16 AM

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·         It would be easy to castigate Mzzzz Harmann as a man hater, but we don’t have to wake up to Jack Dromey every morning

Turnberry18 on August 03, 2009 at 10:05 AM

Au contraire.

Dromey is saving the rest of Man-kind from the eternal hell of waking up to this sexist viper.

patriot

on August 03, 2009

at 11:16 AM

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·         The mistake we continue to make is constantly referring to people as either men or women. It perpetuates the sex war and prevents us from utilising the best aspects of either gender according to the task.

We end up belonging to on tribe or the other instead of a united tribe with a complimentary catalogue of talents.

The best person for the job is the obvious maxim, providing that all have equal opportunities.I suspect that males are resistant to letting go of the idea that they are a “tribe” and that the other “tribe, women,are a bit suspect.
Women don’t seem to suffer from this problem, apart from the odd ranting feminist.

Is this because women are the significant character and personality for a child during the early developmental period of life?

I’d stop short of suggesting that their still tring to loosten the umbilical, but it could explain why some males can’t accept women as at least equal.
The struggle to grow away from female influence demonstrates itself in the boardroom?
When we are all fully grown, we might accept that both genders are capable of handling all issues and responsibilities equally well,but might adopt different methods

lincolnshireduchess

on August 03, 2009

at 10:50 AM

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·         Baroness Har-fwit would be beneath contempt if she were not the ZaNuLab equalities commissar. This makes her dangerous.

She is hell bent on getting her discriminatory (In)equalities Bill into law under which white, working, heterosexual males will be discriminated against in favour of all other (ZaNuLab voting) minorities.

Were it not for this I would not care less about what she says. She is a 70’s feminist fossil with stone-age views to match.

She is doing a good job for the Tories by ensuring that her party head into the eternal wilderness.

It is frightening enough that, despite not being the deputy PM she is able to sit in No.10 while Mr.0% is on holiday fantasising that she is in control of the country.

The prospect of her becoming PM as the result of a discriminatory quota system is too horrible to contemplate.

After all, women cannot be left to run things on their own.

patriot

on August 03, 2009

at 10:49 AM

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·         The trouble is that, generally, women have to work twice as hard to get where they are than men, and BAME three times as hard, and that is what is unfair. An all woman shortlist in some instances should be permissable where there is a stark inbalance or abscence of what should be expected. It means that the selection procedures are not working properly so some kind of positive action is required on the part of employers. In an AWS/BAME shortlist you’d still get the best candidate coming forward. If no person fills all the criteria in an AWS/BAME shortlist then don’t appoint.

swatantra

on August 03, 2009

at 10:49 AM

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·         Integrity is everything! I do not give a damn about the gender of the person who wants power. Integrity is my watchword. If they have a penis or not it does not matter if they have genuine integrity. If you have forgotten what integrity means, look it up. It is easy to forget in a world run by gangsters in suits.

I am a member of the World Wide Men’s Movement. We are fighting feminism in many countries in the world because they DO NOT represent the view, concerns and needs of women at all and because they lie, cheat, steal, commit frauds, falsify figures, are anti men, anti capitalist and Marxist in thought, word and deed. In short, they are villainous, politically motivated and dangerous people.

Does that sound extreme? Well, it will if you don’t bother to do the research. If you do that research you will find that we are actually being temperate in our denunciation of this dangerous movement.

Women NEED representation just as men do. Our priorities are virtually the same. All sane women want to safeguard the family because of its foundational importance to the western world society. All sane women want to protect their children within their families. All sane men want to protect their families for the same reasons.

The Men’s movement is accused by feminists of being anti women. NOTHING could be further from the truth. It is an accusation designed to demonise the movement and it is made by feminists because they want power. Equality is just a smokescreen. If they were truly interested in equality, they would help BOTH male AND female victims of abuse, for example. The Men’s Movement have been doing that from day one fifty years ago. No organisation so concerned with the welfare of the family can be “against women.” The ideas are incompatible with each other.

What we say is this: We want women to be fairly represented but NOT at the expense of other men or families. Women NEED an organisation that is NOT feminist in nature and if they can get that together we will support them and help them in every way. We WILL NOT support feminism because we know what it really is and what it is really up too.

For this reason I support the general thrust of this argument put forward in this article.

“What I’m saying in answer to Harriet is, if the women are good, I’m with them; if they’re not, I’m not. Not a ringing answer to the great gender question, is it?”

That is almost our point exactly. Where we would differ is that we would add, “If the women are good we are with them as long as they renounce their feminism first.” We would add this proviso because, just as no sane person wants this country run by the BNP and will not support them because they are dangerous and divisive liars, we will not support any feminist for the same reasons!
They are more dangerous than the BNP at present because they have moved closer to the reigns of power than the BNP have managed to do in this country.

Harriet Harman, Jacqui Smith, Caroline Flint and Glenys Kinnock and all the rest of the “sisters” are dangerous. Really dangerous and most people (including many feminists) have no idea why or how dangerous. If the media REALLY started to look at feminism what they would find would shock them to their core.

Forget the idea that they were dangerous in the seventies but now they are not. They have not changed they have just learned to spin better. We have the evidence to prove it and it is also there for anyone who cares to look for it. Once you get past the spin and camouflage about “rights for women” and “equality” you find a nest of vipers striking at the very heart of our country.

Read Erin Pizzey, for example and discover the truth. She is far from alone in speaking it.

Let women do as they please but let them do it with integrity or be silent. The same thing should apply to men. It is truth that matters because truth brings trust and for too long, this country has been run or influenced by liars.

George Rolph

on August 03, 2009

at 10:48 AM

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·         It would be easy to castigate Mzzzz Harmann as a man hater, but we don’t have to wake up to Jack Dromey every morning

Turnberry18

on August 03, 2009

at 10:05 AM

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·         “Men cannot be left to run things on their own,” Harperson says.

Ipso facto, she is saying that a heterosexual relationship is the only acceptable basis for marriage and raising a family.

Do I detect a shaft of common sense at last, albeit inadvertent and misplaced?

Probably not.

in totidem verbis

on August 03, 2009

at 09:54 AM

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·         Melanie
There are very subtle differences between male and female brains .We also socialize people differently from babyhood. Women are more likely to be able to think creatively and to multitask. All that being guided into girly subjects or thinking through what the toddler will do next. We have very few creative people as MPs or indeed people with military experience who can handle anxiety. One thing that negatively effects groups is the level of anxiety in it. It gets in the way of creative solutions. Only creative solutions have a chance of being the better solutions for “wicked” problems.
What we have as MPs now are a huge number of male lawyers. Regardless of gender they are not trained to be creative and they are not trained to manage anxiety.
Prof Simon Baron Cohen says that Aspergers is the normal far end of the male brain. We have a lot of male brains and an awful lot of lawyers. We also have a lot of professional politicians with no mental training other than how to please and how to look good,how to work the numbers.
Male groups do not welcome females you know. Someone will always yank out the chair. They are perceived as being easier to pick off. Although I hope Labour is consigned to history there have been times when I have had a sneaking sympathy for women MPs. Perhaps they are given worse things to say/sell or perhaps they lie less convincingly. Sometimes “selling the party line” has obviously gone against personal belief. The whipping system is also part of the problem.
As is actually salary. We should pay people enough so they can stick two fingers up at the whips and vote their conscience. And the place should not be full of people driven by ego and ambition. It should be full of people who want to serve.

Pip

on August 03, 2009

at 09:51 AM

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·         Maybe Harman reads Tennyson?
“For men may come, and men may go,
But I go on forever.”

John Austin

on August 03, 2009

at 09:50 AM

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·         At the very best, out of politics Harridan Harmperson would be a high street solicitor handling divorce cases against men.
In the name of equality we have seen what ‘Blair’s babes’ can do and now daily we suffer the consequences of forced equality. We see each day the attempts to stuff all kinds equality down our throats on all types of media and it isn’t working.
There are many shining examples of females at work in top jobs and many have gotten to their respective positions because of merit and hard work not be because all the boxes are ticked, this is what we are in grave danger of getting right now.
Merit where it’s due and jobs for people, not jobs because your a size 10 !

Georgus Ozbourne in a nice new dress

on August 03, 2009

at 09:44 AM

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·         Twenty-five years ago a number of my women friends were appalled that I was unwilling to support Geraldine Ferraro in her efforts to become the first female Vice President of the United States. I pointed out that not only did I disagree with nearly all of her views, but that she was the running mate of Walter Mondale, who had served as VP to the most embarrassingly incompetent president of my lifetime, Jimmy Carter, and that I hoped to put far, far behind us both Mr. Mondale and the hopelessly failed policies of the repugnant Mr. Carter.

This was seen by my friends as utterly irrelevant, since all that really mattered was that a woman might at long last be in striking distance of attaining the White House– Ms. Ferraro’s views were of no importance whatsoever, as any woman would suffice.

When I pointed out to them that they themselves were practicing a blatant sexism in supporting a woman for no other reason than the bare fact of her gender, they became staunchly and self-righteously indignant, and accused me of being a traitor to my sex and a perfect example of the reason that women had for so many centuries been kept barefoot and pregnant.

I believe that I was right then, and am still right today. It’s the ideas, the ideals, and the positions for which an individual stands that determine whether or not I’ll offer my support or my vote, and the gender, race, or religion of that person is of no concern.

It was of interest to me that in the presidential election last year, the militant “support a woman no matter what!” feminists were nowhere to be seen when Sarah Palin was running for VP. As I myself considered Ms. Palin to be ludicrously out of her depth, and only just barely qualified to run for the presidency of her local school’s Parent Teacher Association, I wasn’t especially bothered by the lack of support shown her by the feminists– but I was profoundly struck by their hypocrisy.

It appears that a lack of ability or qualification only matters to them if the woman in question is from the right wing rather than from the left.

It seems pretty clear that in matters where gender– or race– enter the picture, we have a very long way to go in order to reach the point at which we are no longer EXPECTED to take into account these factors, and automatically lend our support to the member of the put-upon minority.

Shoshanna Moser

on August 03, 2009

at 09:21 AM

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·         If it is all about quotas then I think that the Taliban is way under represented in British politics.

Bob Landy

on August 03, 2009

at 09:13 AM

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·         I think there is a question to be discussed about whether systems are ‘masculine-centric’ or ‘feminine-centric’, because upon that you determine the success rates of men and women in them.

Education became feminised, with stepwise reduction in one-off exams, more coursework, touchy feely stuff, you know. Girls did better. Boys, still reeling from the lack of male primary school teachers from 7 – 11 when they need them the most, are dropping away.

In business, a ‘feminine’ approach might reward sharing insights, building a long-term franchise together and ensuring that it was done without emotional warfare. A more ‘masculine’ approach might be comfortable with emotional warfare, so long as the financial targets were hit and the blood on the walls to get there is acceptable collateral damage.

That’s too arbitrary in my book.

In my book its the difference between a cock fight and a garden. And in my experience there are women who enjoy the cock fight as much as men. And there are men who see nurturing and building long-term sustainable franchises just as much as women.

So decide whether you are marauding pirates or seeking to build the Garden of Eden.

Then find people who fit the spec. Men and women alike.

Rhys Jaggar

on August 03, 2009

at 09:11 AM

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·         “…his genetic details back on the record, after being caught with drugs…”

There are worst things in the world than ‘drugs’, technocratic fascism and ‘feisty’ journalists being just two of them.

Simian Herbalist

on August 03, 2009

at 09:03 AM

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·         Harman’s comment was typically ‘sexist’.
There should only be one criterion for qualification………’The right men for the jobs’….Sorry, I meant ‘persons’…….

dave b

on August 03, 2009

at 09:00 AM

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·         Some years ago I worked for an engineering company which proposed to introduce “positive” discrimination in favour of females. Fortunately they decided to ask the women already employed. Not one of us agreed with it. One bad female engineer and we’d all be tarred with the same brush. There is nothing positive about any form of discrimination but NuLab discounted any form of meritocracy years ago.

Re DNA – couldn’t disagree more. The DNA database could and most probably will be put to nefarious use by some future government – Refer to Gattaca.

Antonia

on August 03, 2009

at 08:46 AM

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·         A sensible commentary with regard to the recent suggestions of Harriet Harman. As a voter I couldn’t care less whether my MP was male, female, white, black, asian, straight, gay or a little green person from Mars. What I care about is whether they are competent at their job and when asking for my vote they can demonstrate something to make me believe this, not just an ability to parrot out the party line learnt by rote when they were working in their respective party office being the only job they’ve had since university.

I also want there to be an equal opportunity to succeed for those who choose to attempt it. This does not translate into quotas to be met to demonstrate absolute equality. If need be, have a selection system where the initial sift is not based on any personal data but on competence based assessment in response to set questions. The ultimate decision however must be based on talent, not on ticking boxes to demonstrate perfect equality.

My fear is that this obsession with absolute parity in all jobs regardless of whether women or any other sector of society actually want to do these jobs, has been so embedded by this government that we are doomed to continue this experiment untill it is plainly demonstrated to have failed. So we can look forward to a future Parliament which brilliantly matches the demographic of the population but which cannot guarantee that the people sitting on the benches have the skills necessary to fulfil their role. Only after several years of the failed policies that this will generate will a true meritocracy start to return. I hope we can survive in the meantime.

Lessa

on August 03, 2009

at 08:43 AM

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·         Harriet Harman should change her first name to Harpic as she is now completely round the bend.

On the DNA question I am with you Melanie. The police can have my DNA any time they like. However, the identities of DNA records need to be protected by passwords held by an independent agency. That would need to be satisfied on the bona fides of any request to identify the owners.

BazzaS

on August 03, 2009

at 08:42 AM

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·         The trouble the Tories have in getting more women on their front bench is that none went to Eton with Dave.
Maud needed to “Come into the Garden” getting away from old black bat, Night(that)hath flown and then all was well. I used to bash that parlour song out on the old Joanna as a kid. I wonder how many kids play that ditty, today? Not exactly gangsta rap is it? Keep writing about Tennyson and you’ll surely find yourself “standing at the gate alone”.

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