exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

what’s wrong with this picture?

by Jen at 6:30 pm on 18.05.2010 | 4 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle, rant and rage

so a week ago, the conservatives and the liberal democrats agreed to rule the country as a coalition government under david cameron as prime minister. it was heralded as an unprecedented change.

coulda fooled me.

the new government? looks suspiciously like a lot of old government – read: almost exclusively white, upperclass, male.


the number of women in the cabinet (not to mention ethnic minorities) is not only completely unrepresentative, it’s completely *insulting* – talk about tokenistic.

columnists and feminist bloggers have, quite rightly, been taking our new overlords to task over a leadership profile that looks like something out of a 1950s sitcom. and much of the commentary response has been along the lines of, “well that’s who people voted for!” and “if there aren’t as many women and ethnic minority members of parliament to choose their cabinet from, that’s not their fault.”

bollocks. it’s a sad fucking state of affairs when the ‘old boys network’ in power expects to lay the blame at the feet of women and ethnic minorities for not being invited to the party in the first place.

it could not be clearer: if your party representatives are almost exclusively white, upperclass, male, that’s because your party is *exclusive*. if you don’t have women and people of non-white backgrounds representing you in parliament, it’s because your party doesn’t represent women and people of non-white backgrounds. if you can’t get women and non-whites to stand for you, it’s because of what you stand for.

in other words, not having a pool of women/non-white members of parliament to choose from, doesn’t let you off the hook for not engaging and involving them in your government. in fact, what is does is point out only all-too-clearly, that the way in which you develop your party policies and politicians is sorely, sorely lacking. anachronistic. retrograde, even.


do something *real* about the gender wage gap. do something *real* about police profiling. do something *real* about urban crime rates. do something *real* about the midwife shortage. make real progress on the multitude of real issues that face women and ethnic minorities, and i guarantee you, you will have absolutely no shortage of them willing to get involved in politics at the local and national levels on your behalf.

because not having a representative leadership does not allow you to just throw up your hands and whimper, “well there’s just not a large enough pool of women and minority mps!”, because if that’s the case, it just means you’re not trying hard enough. nor does it exempt you from responsibility for actively striving to represent all your constituents – including the 50% of the country that is female, and the 10% that’s non-white…

…and even the ones that didn’t vote for you.

2 people like this post.


  • 1

    Comment by Amity

    18.05.2010 @ 20:18 pm

    Oh *hell* yes! I like this line especially:

    “if you can’t get women and non-whites to stand for you, it’s because of what you stand for.”

    I could not agree more. well bloody said.

  • 2

    Comment by daddio

    28.05.2010 @ 04:22 am

    so, just caught up on your last 5 blogs…bit of a theme here. how do we shape little girls and honor the women who raise us? are enough women (of color and otherwise) willing to tough it out to the finish line for things that are politically important…like representation? and since you brought up the iron maiden, how the hell did she get to run the country?

    so, here we go…pink is a great color, more and more men are sporting pink shirts these days, so i am not sure that the color theory holds water as to how they influence us to become the people we grow to become. the only real way to power is through the purse string so i am not so the cash till isn’t a fantastic little girls toy to learn that early. flowers, yes we buy flowers because most women love the idea that they are treated special, at least 1/365ths of the time. yes, give money to heal fistulas, but not on mother’s day! some women endure and will take up the struggle for others who don’t. this has been true for much my life in the us of a. so today supreme court judges, senators, representives, judges, mayors and governors are today just as likely to be a woman, an african-american, a lesbian, a jew or a white man. nobody gives you nothing and if you want something you have to put in the full 26 miles of training and struggle to get to the finish line. that is why margaret thacher could become who she became…the woman was tough as nails, just the wrong political bend. power is not given, it is taken. why in the world would you give away power? those white guys got it because they wanted it…bad.

  • 3

    Comment by blues

    30.05.2010 @ 09:48 am

    Great post. Here in Spain the current government has had more women than any other previous government here. The biggest shocker was selecting a pregnant woman to head the military. It was awesome. But ethnic minorities? Oh that’s a LONG ways away here.

  • 4

    Comment by Jen

    31.05.2010 @ 21:02 pm

    wow – a pregnant woman heading the military?! that’s fantastic.

    but there is always so much further to go…

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