Join SDLP…If You’re Young Enough!

First of all, I am not necessarily recommending that any reader join the Party of which I am a supporter and member. Nor do I discourage it. They are a fine group of people. I am making a broader point.

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I think it points to a certain confidence within SDLP. The Party has been fighting the sneer that it is irrelevant and a poor Assembly Election seems to confirm that many have given up on the Party. It runs deeper. SDLP is in search of a new narrative.

The Good Friday Agreement has failed. Or from a SDLP perspective been allowed to fail. The Party has known this for some time but that means admitting its flagship policy has proven to be a failure. And that means telling Seamus Mallon that he got it totally wrong.

If the SDLP had a bad Assembly campaign, it had a good Referendum campaign. That might be considered to be a poor reflection on its priorities but it seems to have worked out ok. Sinn Féin went “missing in action” and are too closely identified with DUP to be a lead voice in the whole European dimension.

SDLP has (for once) the upper hand. To negate the Good Friday Agreement, an “event” is needed. A Game Changer. The EU Referendum result.

I am not suggesting that anyone in SDLP wanted a Norn Iron and Scotland “REMAIN” and an England “LEAVE”. ….I might be the only person on the Planet (except for Nicola Sturgeon a nd a few million Scots) who wanted that.

But certainly those in SDLP who see themselves as “nationalists will know enough History to understand that England’s difficulty is Irelands opportunity.

The three Westminster MPs are certainly stepping up to the plate. And not just in the Brexit context. Look how SNP, Plaid Cymru and SDLP MPs voted against Trident Renewal….the combined nationalist vote outnumbering the Labourites who voted against.

The  SNP are the real Opposition party at Westminster. The British Labour Party is a shambles. The subtle distancing of SDLP from British Labour is as interesting to watch as the increasingly good relations between the three nationalist parties.

SDLP has better  contacts in the Dublin and Brussels establishment than Sinn Féin and that is a good thing….except of course if you are a self-styled “progressive” in SDLP. Some people have gone a little quiet but in addition to the three Westminster MPs, Colm Eastwood must be feeling good….and Alex Attwood who has rarely resisted a temptation to praise Nicola and the SNP. A lot of SDLP statements recently seem to have Alex’s fingerprints all over them.

But there might well be SDLP members who see European Union as more important that Irish Unity. They need to clarify their position. To a nationalist party….and “progressive nationalism” is the buzz phrase, “UK” should be an irrelevance. A committment to “make Norn Iron work” is not the same as making the DisUnited Kingdom work.

Nationalism is all about identifying differences between the “UK” and Ireland…and Scotland and Wales. Thus the EU Referendum establishes that. I fully get that some self-styled progressives in SDLP never thought they would have to make a choice…..now its “Make Your Mind Up Time”. An unexpected Event has made the case for Irish Unity better and made the case for dishing the Good Friday Agreement better.

As Harold McMillan allegedly replied to the question about what he feared most as British Prime Minister….”Events  dear boy….Events!”.

Really the pic above says it all. People, who have any feeling for SDLP and its beliefs should rally round. …join. Doctors, Lawyers, Social Workers, Nurses, Teachers, Trade Unionists…the decent professional people who havent forgotten their roots and/or who are believers in Social Justice….once the bedrock of SDLP have opted out of Politics. They need to get back in the saddle.

Will any be convinced by a recruitment campaign? Well….maybe. Personally I am too old to be enthused about the Future (although I admit to a certain….excitement that I have lived long enough to see the Game Changer. It was NEVER about mere Demographics).

Yet …the SDLP record is not a good one in terms of membership. Certainly, publishing a list of skills that includes “Social Media” brings a smile to my old wrinkled face. For more than six years, I have a history of postponed and abandoned meetings with SDLP MLAs and SDLP “staffers”. As I have said too often …this Blog is tolerated (barely) by the SDLP hierarchy. I am not overly impressed that SDLP is shouting out for members with skills in social media when they have offered little or no encouragement to me. Not even a free “Conference brochure”. Not even a place on a panel when discussing ….social media.

It is not THAT important. Fool me once…shame on you. Fool me twice, three, four, five times…..yes Shame on Me.

So really SDLP needs to change. To invite new members to join on the basis of influencing Policy, Organisation, PR (as in the wish list) necessarily means diminishing the role of five or six MLAs and their staff,  HQ Staff (in areas of Policy and Press) and advisors who seem to have no formal role.

So …they look for action while I am easing out of Politics. Too little…too late?

It doesnt really matter. This Blog winds down and/or ceases on 11th August…its fifth anniversary. Luckily I have another life. Mrs Fitzjames Horse retires next week and to be honest, the arrival of another grandchild later this year is our priority…..

SDLP will  understand….and in a lot of cases …glad to see the back of me.

 

 

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Cold Turkey

There is one golden rule about military coups. If you start one…you must win one.

And thats how the coup in Turkey will be remembered. The plotters plotted. The plotters lost.

I do not like Turkey very much. It is not so much that I hold a grudge about the fall of Constantinople. It is not that I agonise about the Siege of Vienna. It is not that I spend sleepless nights thinking about the various Balkan Wars that I studied for O level History in 1968.

The Ottomans had an “empire” and I just dont like empires. Too many of the worlds problems are caused by imperialism (bad) anti-imperialism (good) and post-imperialism (it’s complicated).

Turkey is one of those countries that resents its own geography. Like “white” South Africa preferred to believe that it was a land between England and Netherlands which became detached and drifted south of the Equator. Like Israel has difficulty believing it is in the Middle East and thinks of itself as having a land border with either Central Europe or having a land border with North America.

Turkey seems to have the same problem. It wants to be part of the European Union. It was an issue in last month’s EU Referendum Campaign…an issue played up by the LEAVERS and played down by the REMAINERS. Regardless of the potential Timeline for any proposed joining the EU….there is a bigger and more fundamental flaw….Turkey is not actually IN Europe or at least most of it is not in Europe.

The “West” has been kind to Turkey. It is a criminal offence in Germany and most of western Europe to deny the Holocaust…the genocide of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies and others in the 1930s and 1940s. In Turkey, it is a matter of national pride to deny the genocide in Armenia a generation before Adolf Hitler.

The First Gulf War was fought because Iraq invaded Kuwait (an ally of the West). But beyond some diplomatic fuss, there was no War in the 1970s, when Turkey (a member of NATO) invaded Cyprus and set up a puppet state in the north of the island. The Republic of Northern Cyprus is a de-facto State.

See….that’s the thing. Turkey is a member of NATO and the only thing that the West wants in Turkey is…stability. And sites for nuclear weapons that point towards Russia and air bases to facilitate air strikes in Syria and Iraq. And of course, the “control” of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Turkey want western money.

STABILITY! What crimes are committed or tolerated in your name?

Turkey is…a democracy. Surely a good thing. And secular. Surely a good thing. And while the current government seems back-sliding towards a greater tolerance of Islamism than the west would like, it is still democratically elected.

The first few hours of last week’s Coup were interesting. It looked like it had succeeded and on Fux News, ex-members of the American “intelligence community” appeared as expert analysts to say that in the interests of the “West” , it would be good if the Coup succeeded. Democracy in Turkey was flawed…”not Democracy as we understand the word” as one ex-general put it.

Some statistics. Two hundred people are dead. The majority of the military foot-soldiers will not have been involved beyond accepting the orders of legitimate commanders but six thousand detainees, including military officers, police officers and judges indicates an extreme form of “purge” .

The alternative view might be that this Coup was extremely well supported and with so many people seemingly involved, it would have been difficult to keep the secret. Logically over cocktails in consultates in Ankara and Istanbul,diplomats would be chatting. Logically journalists would have been fed by sources and at NATO HQ in Brussels, Turkish colonels would have been sounding out other nationalities. Satellites of East and West would surely have picked up some movements.

And the Intelligence Services in Eastern and Western capitals would have picked up “chatter”. Possibly the information was fed back to Erdogan.

Either way, the Coup failed and Erdogan is actually more in control than ever. It is the nature of successful Coups that other governments condemn the overthrow of Democracy but arrange to work with the new regime. It is the nature of failed Coups that other governments distance themselves from any association with plotters and rejoice at the victory for Democracy and urge restraint in the judicial process.

Nobody loses…except of course the Kurds. The Kurds are always betrayed.

The World moves on.

I dont like Turkey. It is Saudi Arabia-lite. Allegedly a valuable “ally” which shames so called “western values”.

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Nice, France

What can I say?

Dallas was last week’s story and Nice is this week’s story. Next week……?

Nice hits us hard. My enduring memory of The Troubles is that each breaking news story was a reaction “it could have been me” or “it could not have been me”.

Thats how we kept reasonably sane. So some attrocities mean more than others and it is de-humanising. As a non-drinker, it was never very likely that I would be in a bar that the UVF would bomb. I had no association with “security forces” so unlikely that IRA would kill me. And no connexion to IRA , so not a deliberate target for the British.

Of course I could have fallen into the hands of the loyalist  Shankill Butchers or just been unlucky and passed by an exploding IRA car bomb…or I could have been one of those statistics in the files of the Historic Inquiry Section of PSNI…with remaining members of my family still searching for Justice.

It is unedifying. Retaining some Humanity and some Sanity by sacrificing some Humanity and some Sanity.

Anyone who lived thru the Troubles sees “Terrorism” thru the prism of our own lives. In extreme cases we will have heard people in Belfast….nationalists and unionists…take an anti-American stance after the attacks on the Twin Towers. Minority feelings of course but some nationalists  took the view that American Mid-East policy had caused it while others saw karma at work…as some unionists saw Americans as unhelpful in their war against IRA.

And we never really lose that. Less than two weeks ago, a couple of hundred people were killed in Baghdad, Iraq. We collectively shrug our shoulders. Last week five police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas…and it affects us more….we tune into American News channels like CNN and Fux News. And of course, the enduring  image of Nice is the pink flip-flop shoe and the doll.
We can identify with that. Certainly a grandfather of a 3year old girl can identify.
But little girls in Baghdad, killed by car bombs also own pink flip-flops but we rarely get to see it.
And little girls in Pakistan, killed by drones also own toys but we never get to see it.

We de-humanise ourselves. We identify with the bombs in Paris and Brussels. It “could” happen to us on a weekend break. It could happen to us on a ten-day vacation in Spain or Turkey.
But could it happen on a weekend break in Dublin? Or Copenhagen? Or Prague?
Could it happen on a ten-day vacation in Portugal? Or Malta?
I suppose the answer is “yes it could …but it is much less likely”.
For this is not a war on “western values”. It is a war on “some western values”…imperialism and post-imperial legacy. The bomb attacks on London on 7th July 2005 were carried out by English terrorists…of Pakistani heritage. Attacks on France are carried out by French terrorists of North African heritage.

What can be done. Britains nuclear weaponry is useless in the London Underground. The French nuclear arsenal cannot be deployed against a truck on the French Riviera.

Certainly there is something iconic about Bastille Day. “REPUBLIC”is a beautiful word in any language but “Vive la Republique” in French just sounds natural.
Yet it seems that the French, the British and Americans are not fighting the right people. The disaffected murderers in London, Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Dallas and Nice are little more than serial losers who are nihilistic and suicidal and ISIS or any terrorist group will either facilitate the hatred or retrospectively claim them.
But the real puppet-masters are in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia…nominally at least “allies” of the “West”. Nobody in Washington DC, London or Paris is dealing with the Saudis…or their bankers in New York, London and Frankfurt.

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Dealing With The “Bully Boys”

Last week at the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast, I saw a man of my age who was wearing a red button “Stand Up To Bullying”. There was a big anti-bullying day last week. “Bullying” seems to be flavour of the month.
Whether its at schools, workplaces, the internet…everyone talks about Bullying. Apparently one half of the British Labour Party is bullying the other half.
I do not take it lightly.
Back in the 1960s at my grammar school, Bullying was a big thing. The worst bullies were the teachers. Thats how it was. Wrong. Horrible. It ruined lives.
I was surprised that going back to the same school…to help my (then) 11 year old son choose a school, the Head Teacher talked about pastoral care. In the space of thirty years, Bullying had become a very bad thing…officially.
And if you visit your local primary school, you might see spaces in the playground. If your child or my grandchild has no friends to play with he/she stands in the space and a friend will be found.
Changed times. Rightly so.

The standard advice for people being bullied is “tell someone”… a responsible adult.

Which brings me back to the burning of Irish Flags and nationalist/republican election posters on Twelfth bonfires.
This Twelfth has been described as “quiet” …few confrontations. Big events….Garvaghy Road, Ardoyne, Ormeau Road etc took the headlines and as those confrontations fade into memory, the hatred that underpins the Twelfth has been exposed.
Yet it is curious. We are obliged to accept Orange “Culture”, so nobody in the LetsGetAlongerist establishment seemed to notice anti-Catholic, anti-Irish behaviour. But a few years ago, Polish flags started appearing on TWelfth bonfires and suddenly the LetsGetAlongerists noticed. Likewise when Alliance Party posters, particuarly those of Anna Lo, appeared on bonfires….well that was different.

LEtsGetAlongerism compels us to tolerate anti-Catholicism as “traditional”…but compels us not to tolerate hatred towards ethnic minorities. Yet there are some who might say that the Irish are actually the biggest ethnic minority in Norn Iron.

Yet there does seem to be some kinda recognition that these bonfires are very bad. But the LetsGetAlongerists bend over backwards to find a reason to control them…except the obvious one.
Thus we are told the fires are dangerous and a house was badly damaged in West Belfast. We are told the burning tyres are bad for the environment and indeed for animals…a pet cat was badly burned in Antrim.
And yet people tip-toe around the most obvious reason to control these bonfires. Sheer Hatred.

Are they a form of …Bullying? Do they make nationalists, Catholics feel threatened?
Should we tell a “responsible adult”. That after all is the new protocol. And it seems to me that the “responsible adults” we should tell are the Police Service of Norn Iron. But what exactly would PSNI do?
Well “crowd control” is a weak point in any police service. Some excesses regarding litter, public drinking, public urination, rowdiness is inevitable. Whether its an Orange Parade in Belfast, a GAA match in Clones or a Bruce Springstein concert in Croke Park,I dont expect the police to go in heavy handed with tear gas and water cannon but setting out some legislation might be a good start.
Public bullying is no different from private bullying.

Of course, telling a responsible adult is the modern protocol to deal with being bullied. In the past Victims tried other strategies. Suffer it, hoping to win some sympathy (rise above it) or be self-deprecating, the victims effectively bully themselves, allow themselves to become a figure of fun.

Is there a “progressive” way to deal with “political bullying” such as seeing your election poster on an Orange bonfire? Laugh it off…curry favour with LetsGetAlongerists cos you are cool with it.
It is a strategy that does not work for me.
It is not just your name and your photograph in the flames…there is a name of a political party …and whether you received a few hundred votes or several thousand votes, you should maybe consider the feelings of the people who actually voted for you.
As to Flags….If you can get worked up…quite properly …about the disrespect shown to the Polish, Portuguese or Spanish flags, simple consistency means you should get worked up when my flag is torched.
Thats not too much to ask for in return for my family’s vote.

To laugh it off, to stay silent…thats for LetsGetAlongerists. But lets not allow our politicians to hide behind being “progressives”.
“Progressive Nationalism” is a meaningless form of words unless it seeks to defend the dignity of Irish people in Norn Iron.

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A Toxic Environment

So after midnight. And bonfires are burning.
You may think that this is all about HATE. Turns out its ….CULTURE.

What exactly can Society do about it?
Well …nothing. Because its loyalist CULTURE and we are contractually obliged by the Good Friday Agreement (aka the Peace Process) to accept that loyalist culture is a good thing.

Priorities change. Serial LetsGetAlongerists agonise about the Environment. They burn tyres on these bonfires and thats very bad apparently. And apparently some of these bonfire builders actually put layers of grass downon the road so that the road surface wont be damaged while they burn Irish Flags and symbols and election posters and pictures of the Virgin Mary.
Thanks to Social Media, we now have a new tradition…photographing these symbols of HATE and putting the pics on Facebook and re-tweeting the pics on Twitter.

You have all seen them….the pics from Cavehill overlooking the City of Belfast. And the bonfires look strangely beautiful. But of course you cant actually hear the “F@@k the Pope” or see your National Flag in flames.
You have seen this years pics….from Bangor, Killyleagh, Portadown. The LetsGetAlongerists never seemed to mind too much when the posters were just SDLP and Sinn Féin (thats traditional) but they got worked up in 2014 when Anna Lo posters appeared on bonfires. This year, SDLP, SF, Alliance, Labour and very oddly “Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol” posters have been burned like medeival heretics.

All par for the course. Offended as I am by the burning of my National Flag, Offended as I am that election posters of democrats are burned, Offended as I am that posters with images of good decent people I call friends are on burned…the most disappointing thing is LetsGetAlongerists falling over themselves to find an excuse for this crap.
Can there really be a more depressing image than moderate Danny Kinahan MP (UUP) being photographed accepting a cheque for charity while standing in front of a bonfire with an Irish Flag on top.
A lot of people have a lot of time for Danny Kinahan but he lost friends today.

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The Labour Leadership Chicken Coup

If you are looking for anyone to blame for the chaos in the British Labour Party …look no further than Ed Miliband. By any standards, he was a decent bloke, a professional Islington type who landed a safe seat in the north of England. The defeat of his Blairite brother, David (also a Londoner witha safe northern seat) produced tension…David, probably more professional and charismatic but tainted by Blairism, went off in a huff to United States.

Labour lost the 2015 General Election. And certainly Ed was no asset. Especially with a vicious Tory media. I can forgive him losing the Election but he resigned with indecent haste….within days of the defeat.
I firmly believe that he deserted his troops. That is unforgivable.
With potential leaders like David Miliband and Ed Balls not even in Westminster, it was a shambolic four-person contest for Leader. Most people saw Yvette Cooper (Mrs Ed Balls) and Andy Burnham as the likely winner.
Cooper was too much of an “insider” (from a family of professional trade unionists, “advisor” in Labour HQ and of course married to a man who had the same career path). Burnham was more authentically working class, but vitriolic against Scottish Nationalists.
A third candidate, Liz Kendall was the ultra-Blairite and really only in the race to establish credentials as being in the first rank of six or eight big players in Labour…one for the future.
Few gave any thought that veteran left winger, Jeremy Corbyn might win. But they had overlooked the fact that the electorate included not just every rank and file Labour Party member…but thousands of “three pounders” who signed up as Labour supporters for the sole purpose of voting in the Leadership election. Predictably this included several thousand lefties who would vote for Corbyn. It also included several thousand people who detest the Labour Party and wanted to choose the worst possible Leader.
Of course opinions differed as to who the worst might be but it is still folly not to screen membership applications from Tories. And even bigger folly not to insist that new members serve at least a full year before being given crucial voting rights.

As the Leadership campaign unfolded, it became clear that Jeremy Corbyn might win. And he did…comfortably. The membership including the “three pounders” had analysed the crisis in the Labour Party differently from the Party establishment at Westminster.
To his credit, Andy Burnham decided to serve in Corbyn’s “shadow cabinet” and shamefully Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall (who has a higher opinion of her talents than I have) refused. Thus the plotting began immediately and Corbyn’s leadership was undermined right away.

The “Labour Left” is a strange thing. In any Parliament I have ever seen, there have been Labour back benchers who see it as their job to keep the Leadership of the Labour Party (even Labour Governments) honest. They are without ambition. They cant be bribed with the promise of a post in the Cabinet.
On the downside, they can be a bit messianic.
If you are the same age as me you might recall Ian Mikardo, Eric Heffer and the wonderful Joan Maynard, dubbed “Stalins Granny” but a formidable advocate of agriculture workers rights.
In 2016, you know of Jeremy Corbyn, Paul Flynn and Dennis Skinner “The Beast of Bolsover”. They are simply incorruptable.
The term usually deployed is “VETERAN Left Winger”. “Veteran” for two reasons. Their constituents have been electing them for decades. And at Westminster, where dominated by careerists, there are too few young left wingers.
Jeremy Corbyn or Liz Kendall? That question is already answered.
Paul Flynn or Jess Phillips?
Dennis Skinner or Stephen Kinnock?

The point is that in 2015, the Labour “establishment” under-estimated Jeremy Corbyn. They never expected him to stand for Leadership and certainly didnt expect to bedefeated by a man who has never shown any desire to leave the back benches. But …he won. And he wont be forgiven.
With no election due until 2020, it would have been reasonable to give Corbyn three years at the top. He could have re-moulded Labour as a Party with a “social conscience” rather than a Party of “social climbing” and been allowed the dignity of stepping aside for a new Leader, who might win a Westminster Election…a person untainted by a Blairit past or Blairite patronage.
But the knives were out from Day One.
The post-EU Referendum Coup against Corbyn was an act of cowardice, accurately dubbed “The Chicken Coup”…the co-ordinated resignations. But arguably, there is a pragmatic side that this Parliament may not run its full term and the election will be closer than thought. And of course, still time for Blairites to sieze back control.
But the most striking thing about the “plotters” is their cowardice.
Corbyn has the support of just 40 MPs and there are 170 MPs against Corbyn.
But the “three pounders” are back again. It is entryism and it is not very edifying. If it goes to the “membership” Corbyn will win. But only if he is on the ballot paper.

This is where it gets complicated.
Angela Eagle will be a candidate. I suspect she has advice that Jeremy Corbyn does not have to be on the ballot paper. If so, I suspect Eagle is an agreed candidate and none of the 170 plotters will oppose her. This means that she will be elected unopposed…which avoids a scenario where she gets (say) 35% of the vote and A N Other gets (say) 14% and spoiled votes (ie people writing in “Corbyn”) accounts for 51% of the votes.
This is of course no more than a device to convince people that Eagle is the overwhelming choice (sic).
But that means a hell of a lot of the plotters will be de-selected.

The point that people have missed is that the “Left” is now the moderate mainstream of the Labour Party.
You may be aware that in the 1980s Neil Kinnock, Labour Leader lambasted the Liverpool Council (then in the grip of Militant Tendency) as being a “a Labour Council…a Labour Council …hiring taxis to deliver redundancy notices” to its own employees. Shameful.
But did you know that the big issue at the Durham Miners Gala is a Labour Council….a Labour Council ….sacking its own Teaching Assistants and offering them their jobs back with a 25% reduction in wages.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke in support of the Teaching Assistants. The other man in the pic is David Lindsay, friend and blogger who arranged a meeting between Corbyn and the Teaching Assistants.
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Where are the plotters?
Perhaps Stephen Kinnock MP for a safe Welsh seat and heir to his father’s hereditary Welsh Windbag title) will take time off from advancing his career to condemn this Labour Council.

Labour dealt with the threat of Militant Tendency. It needs to deal with the Blairite Tendency. And…quickly.

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May And Loathsome

There is a lot of nonsense talked about life in 1950s and 1960s West Belfast. Nostalgia gives us a lot of clichés…”close knit communities”, “people who were the salt of the earth”, “give you the shirts off their backs” and “you could leave your front door open at night”.
It is all …half-true.
Occasionally there was a good old fashioned argument in the street. And I still remember the first time I heard the phrase “ya f@@@ing hoor” shouted across the narrow street. I had to ask my parents what the neighbours were talking about. Like most of the neighbours, my parents never took part in any unseemly activity. “They are only letting themselves down …in front of the Protestants…thats how they expect Catholics to act”.
Yet I remember the day that two women in their 30s …next door neighbpurs…fell out…over children.
I didnt notice the exact words used. But I recall my parents closing the front door and saying that “no woman should say that about another woman”.
It was about one woman having children and the other woman being childless. Like I say, I dont recall the exact words but it must have been pretty vicious. Certainly the women in the street turned against the woman who made the remark.
There is a taboo about the subject. Men…we dont ask questions. There are conversations we dont want to hear. At some point in his life every man will get a strange look or a kick in the shin as a gentle or forceful reminder that he has said the wrong thing.

So the fuss over what Angela Leadsom is alleged to have said (in a newspaper interview) about Tory Leadership rival, Theresa May is interesting. Seemingly Ms Leadsom suggested that as a mother of three children, she is better placed to be Prime Minister than Ms May, who has not been blessed with children.
Women are ourtaged. So are Men. Especially Men who back are Tory MPs who support Ms May.
As always, people talk about context.
As a Man, I cannot express an opinion as I have had too many kicks in the shin over the years.
A few points. Ms Leadsom says she was taken out of context. The Times (newspaper) has provided an audio recording. The journalist is a woman (yes its relevant because I dont think a male journo would go down that road or that a woman politician would have found it easy to raise the subject.
Either way, Ms Leadsom’s supporters say too much is being made of this.
And supporters of Ms May suggest that this adds to the charge sheet against Ms Leadsom.

The rise of Leadsom has been extraordinary. I had never really heard of her except in the context of her appointment as a junior Minister for Energy last year. I am not even sure I am spelling her name right.
She became one of the leaders of the LEAVE Campaign. Her emergence as the LEAVE candidate for Leader is due to good performances in the pre-Referenndum debates and the implosion of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.
But there are more serious questions about Leadsom. There are allegations that she exaggerated her CV. She is a late convert to the LEAVE side. A big fan of Fox Hunting and not a fan of Gay Marriage.
In other words, a pretty average backwoods Tory MP who is already over-promoted. Prime Ministerial material? I dont think so.
Yet Theresa May has questions to answer. Even with a REMAIN victory and David Cameron holding on as Prime Minister, it was always likely that the next Tory Leader would be a showdown between Theresa May and George Osborne.
The LEAVE victory took Cameron and Osborne out of the equation.
And May became the REMAIN candidate…with a wider appeal to LEAVERS because she was largely AWOL during the campaign.

So the actual contest to be decided by 150,000 Tory members is between May (backed by 199 MPs) and Leadsom (88 MPs).Ex-Gove supporters (48 MPs) are more likely to support Leadsome.
With 60% of Tory members being LEAVERS, the temptation is to think that they will vote for Leadsome…but her lack of experience, general flakiness and no secret that Labour members fear May much more….could sway people to May.
The clumsy (at best) or vicious (at worst) comments about childlessness could be a very bad mistake.
May is a capable politician who is a REMAINER.
Leadsom is a pretty average MP who is a LEAVER.
Who is better placed to negotiate BREXIT from Europe?
Tories can be pragmatic. It looks like May.

But the fact is that the entire issue of having or not having children should be irrelevant. Thats what the REMAINERS are saying….now.
Yet two weeks ago REMAINERS were getting hysterical about people like me (one wife, two sons, two Daughters-in-Law and three (so far) grandchildren….that I was a disgrace because I voted LEAVE without thinking about the children.
Hypocrisy from REMAINERS?

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