Thursday, 17 July 2014

Estonians, Etonians and women in the cabinet

This is a good and much needed article by Jamie Delingpole on why Conservatives should avoid identity politics. Instead of which they are embracing them in a big way in the recent British cabinet reshuffle.

This drew a smile: 

"There are currently 256 male Conservative MPs and 48 female ones. If you're going to draw from the smaller talent pool just because it contains lots of breasts and vaginas and handbags why stop there? Paedophiles, for example. They're not nearly as well-represented as they were, apparently, in the glory days of 1970s politics."

No, promoting women become they are women is certainly not conservative but, on the other hand, conservatives - well, Tories, at least -  are not supposed to believe in meritocracy. Harold Macmillan, at any rate, certainly did not - he made the Duke of Devonshire Under-Secretary of State at the Colonial Office because 
'Cavendishes are always good with natives' 
and said
'Mr Attlee had 3 Etonians in his cabinet. I have six. Everything's twice as good under the Conservatives.'
He chose Lord Home to succeed him because he was an earl and complained, very wickedly, that Mrs Thatcher 
'has more Estonians than Etonians in her cabinet'. 
Behind a lot of Macmillan's jokes, especially the snobbish ones, one detects the bore who emptied the House when he was a backbencher and the sensitive middle-class intellectual who went to Eton, married well and hid his ambition and nerves with ham acting and a bottle of whisky a night. 

But no-one ever denied that he was a clever man and I like what he said when Mrs. Thatcher invited the Queen and all the living Prime Ministers to No. 10 to mark the 300th anniversary of the building of the house. As the photograph was being taken that appeared on all the front pages the next day, James Callaghan said,
I wonder what is the collective noun of Prime Ministers.
And Macmillan, who was 91, answered instantly,
A lack of principals.



  2. James Delingpole is a boring, juvenile provoker. Most men, unlike you and perhaps James, engage with women on many levels. They understand that womens' input is valuable. Women accomplish a great deal in the world that most of us live in.

  3. James Delingpole should have been raised by a pedophile instead of a woman. They are all the same, of course.

  4. Excellent piece.