While a increasing number of MPs, peers, their staff, pundits and other interested parties have come to accept that the frequently sexist and misogynistic culture in and around Parliament needs to be cleaned up and brought into the 21st Century, those who have decreed that a woman’s place is in the home are having none of it. And their number includes the legendarily foul mouthed editor of the Daily Mail.
Who f***ing says I'm a dinosaur, c***?!?
Paul Dacre has, instead of accepting that change has to come, and come quickly, decided to go on the attack. So it was that earlier this week, he ordered Sarah “Vain” Vine over the top to denounce the recent revelations of sexual misconduct as a “witch hunt”. This is the same technique as was used with the paper’s initially hostile stance on the Stephen Lawrence case - “we can’t be racist as we sent a black reporter”.
It’s a technique also used when viciously defaming the memory of Ralph Miliband - “we can’t be anti-Semitic, Geoffrey Levy wrote it and Alex Brummer and Jon Steafel defended it”, and when responding to homophobic attacks - sending Andrew Pierce to talk “As a gay man”. In any case, when Ms Vine whines “If this hysterical Westminster witch hunt is what a world run by women looks like, count me out”, this is total bunk.
Short answer - no
All that is wanted is for people to deport themselves decently and professionally. Instead, the Mail offers us … well, speaking of Andrew Pierce … “One very pushy lady: Kate Maltby's dad is a banker who dated Ann Widdecombe, and a family friend of the minister she accuses of touching her knee. ANDREW PIERCE profiles a woman determined to make it in politics - whatever the cost”. Yes, hatchet jobs on those who snitch.
Damian Green? Sexual misbehaviour? Never mind that his is the first name on That Spreadsheet, this is clearly a fine upstanding Tory gentleman. The Vagina Monologue might not have a problem laying into a few of those Damn Socialists, but grassing up a Tory deputy PM? Oh dear, oh dear! So when Andrea Leadsom appeared in the firing line for complaining about dead cat slinger supreme Michael Fallon, all hell broke loose.
“Sir Michael Fallon was forced to quit after Cabinet colleague Andrea Leadsom complained about his behaviour, it has emerged” gasped an outraged Mail article. She had, like all those victims of the Piranha Brothers, broken that unwritten rule, whatever it is. The condemnation was instantaneous: “Andrea Leadsom saved her job by accusing Sir Michael Fallon of sexual harassment” was today’s front page lead story.
Why oh why oh why?
There was a suitably judgmental Daily Mail Comment, and once again Andrew Pierce - there appears to have been a shortage of female pundits available - was on hatchet job duty, sneering “Andrea Leadsom is deluded, out of her depth and cynically scheming for the top job”, which may be true, but she is as entitled as anyone else to do her job without unwanted contact or comments. The Mail is on the wrong side of history - again.
Paul Dacre needs to wise up and drag his paper into the here and now. He might not like the idea of treating women as individuals entitled to equal status alongside men, but that is how it is in the 21st Century. It’s only a pity that the most influential newspaper in the UK has made the decision to remain in the 19th Century instead. So no change there, then.