Conference season is always an exciting time. In what individual directions will the parties go? Why should the current leader keep his post? How will opposition parties steer their ships into the great harbour of power and sink the current Government’s battleship? All very worthy questions we’re sure you’ll agree. We do, however, have a favourite here at The Spin Alley.
Who will cock up the most?
And this season we’ve had a ball in the shape of Godfrey Bloom, the now former UKIP MEP, thanks to his comments about women being ‘sluts’ if they haven’t cleaned behind their fridge. All said in jest of course. Some may say this was an over-reaction but women have major pull in politics at the moment.
Rightly or wrongly (and let’s face it, it’s mostly wrongly) politicians have long been after the ‘women’ vote. As if there are certain things only women care about and tackling these issues will get your party that elusive female vote. What politicians don’t seem to realise though is that, whilst women like the chase and appreciate a bit of extra attention every now and then, this current hounding of anyone with a womb over the age of 18 is getting a little bit patronising.
At the Labour conference Ed Miliband name-checked the Everyday Sexism project in his speech, got his wife to say she is ‘more than a dress’ and wheeled out his two young children. Classic PR but it reeks of insincerity and vote-grabbing. The cheesy photo shoot on the beach was almost too much.
Cameron knows he’s not popular with women. Polls show that although 50% kinda like him it’s not in a very politically way and they wouldn’t vote for him. After his calm down dears and refusal to call out Page 3 you can’t blame women for thinking he doesn’t really have their best interests at heart. He’s an old school Etonian with a very archaic view of women’s role in society today albeit one who looks a bit dashing.
And what of little Nick? Well he’s too busy trying to keep hold of his leadership slot by defying everything the Tories suggest. A ‘party of Government’ they may well be but little good will it do them.
Politics claims to have a women problem. There aren’t enough in the top tiers or the Cabinet or in the press. Even Angela Merkel, one of the most powerful women in the world right now has had her re-election coverage peppered with things like what she’s wearing, how she looks and how she’s a mother figure to the country blah, blah, sexual stereotype, blah. Politics can’t see beyond the gender when it comes to women despite the promises made by middle-aged men that there is gender equality in the UK. But what the politicians don’t seem to grasp is that a lot of women, too many in fact, are already alienated by the thought of politics and all that goes with it. The longer parties use women as a political commodity to boost men to the top the faster they are to desert the idea all together.
Worryingly it’s no longer a case of addressing how to get women involved in modern politics, it’s accepting the harsh reality that maybe they don’t want to be.
Angharad is a former radio journalist balancing a career in PR with an insatiable writing habit that spans more topics than she can count on her smaller-than-average hands. She's passionate about the media, women's rights and politics with a love of travel, culture, entertainment and all things lifestyle on the side. Interests include prolific online shopping (bit of a reputation in the office), musicals, dinosaurs (be honest, they're awesome) and tweeting anything and everything from @Welsh_PR