Isabel Hardman Is Right To Criticise The Labour Party’s Toxic Brand Of Feminism

Isabel Hardman has a great piece in The Spectator in which she rightly castigates Harriet Harman and the Labour Party for their narrow, possessive and parochial attitude towards feminism and gender equality.

Hardman writes:

Harriet Harman also described the Prime Minister as ‘no sister’, arguing ‘we’ve got a new Tory prime minister – and she’s a woman. But like Margaret Thatcher before her, Theresa May is no supporter of women’.

Now, it’s probably quite irritating for Labour to have to hold a women’s conference while the Tories are still crowing that they’ve got another female Prime Minister. But is this sort of ‘you’re not a real feminist’ moaning very, well, feminist? Naturally, Theresa May has a different interpretation of what a feminist politician should do to some Labour MPs: though perhaps not as different as they might think. After all, she did set up Women2Win, which has increased the number of female Tory MPs in parliament by lobbying the Conservative party and mentoring candidates. And after all, she did do quite a lot of work on domestic violence when in the Home Office, including working with the now Labour MP Jess Phillips when she was working as a national adviser on domestic abuse, and introducing the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour. And she also introduced a number of measures on female genital mutilation and forced marriage. But still, she’s not a Labour MP, so that means that obviously she’s not really a feminist.

Sorry, ladies, but feminism is even more important than partisanship. If you start claiming that only women who meet with your politics are real feminists, then you break into the People’s Front of Judea when feminists haven’t run out of problems to solve. You also alienate those on the right who are feminists but who you tell aren’t welcome in your special exclusive left-wing ladies’ club. Feminism has to span the political spectrum, otherwise it gets stuck in one party. And given the Labour party isn’t going anywhere right now, that’s not much use to the women who still need a politician who’ll show them what a feminist in government looks like.

Amen to that. Feminism (or egalitarianism) is much bigger than the Labour Party – thank God. And Lord knows that it needs to be.

Labour’s brand of feminism views women as weak supplicants and perpetual victims, helpless waifs entirely dependent on government largesse, social protection and financial support from the state.

It is a toxic creed of inferiority which imagines that women cannot make it on their own without help from enlightened white knights in the Labour Party to vanquish their foes and smooth their path in life. And that’s why Harriet Harman and other left-wing feminists hate Theresa May, and hated Margaret Thatcher before her. For here are two unapologetically conservative women who strove and succeeded on their own merits, and and overcame an (at times) extremely sexist culture and workplace by quietly getting on with the job rather than exulting in their own supposed fragility and victimhood.

Harriet Harman views Theresa May as a traitor to Proper Socialist Feminism because Theresa May (and other independent conservative women like her) never asked for Labour’s help on her path to success, and because Britain’s new prime minister is a living, breathing example to girls and young women (and men, for that matter) that success and full equality are not contingent on swallowing Labour’s nasty, backbiting politics of identity and victimhood.

For in reality, it has been the Conservative Party who have put egalitarian and meritocratic principles into practice when it really counted, electing not one but two female party leaders. Labour is the party of the all-woman shortlist, affirmative action, gaudy pink minibuses and thinly-veiled misandry. The Tories are the party of Britain’s two first female prime ministers.

So three cheers for Isabel Hardman reminding us that believing in gender equality should not and does not also require swallowing whole Labour’s politics of grievance, weaponised victimhood and government dependency.

Feminism and egalitarianism are bigger than the Labour Party, which is probably just as well – because Labour’s leading feminists are looking mighty churlish and downright small right now.

 

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Harriet Harman, Celebrated Feminist, Calls Margaret Thatcher A ‘Witch’

Harriet Harman - Margaret Thatcher - Witch - Feminism - Sexism

Acting Labour Leader Harriet Harman gave a very revealing interview to the Guardian this weekend, looking back on her career as she prepares to return to the backbenches after serving in the party leadership since 2007.

Whilst one can – and should – strenuously disagree with Harman’s politics, no one can deny her role in the feminist movement or the trail she blazed by standing up to the horrifically sexist club that Parliament was when she was first elected in 1982. Given these accomplishments, it is a shame that she now ends her frontbench career presiding over a farcical leadership contest and the potential splitting of her party.

But the most memorable part was when Harman spoke about how terrified she was of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that she actually hid round a corner in the Houses of Parliament in order to prevent the approaching prime minister meeting her newborn baby:

Couldn’t the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher have taken her [to the Strangers’ Bar in Parliament]? Harman recoils. She wouldn’t have dreamed of socialising with her, she says.

“Very early on, I brought in one of the babies to the Commons and I saw her at the other end of the corridor. She was bearing down on me with two adoring parliamentary private secretaries trotting at her side, and she looked as if she was going to come and admire the baby. I had this terrible feeling of thinking, ‘I don’t want her to look at the baby’, almost like one of those cartoons where the witch looks at the baby and the baby shrivels. I didn’t want my perfect baby to have Thatcher’s eyes upon him.” Did she hide her baby from Thatcher? “No, I just shot off down a side corridor. It was very visceral, very heartfelt.”

I’m not sure quite what Harriet Harman intended this little vignette to reveal about herself, but it speaks volumes about the way many in the Labour Party see themselves and view their conservative opponents.

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In Memoriam – Labour Party: 1900-2015

Labour Party - Labour Leadership - 2015

 

TRIGGER WARNING: This article is a polemic. If you are a Labour supporter who likes accusing the Tories of cruelty and moral deficiency but can’t take criticism in return; if you ostentatiously signal your own virtue by policing the public discourse for “unacceptable” words and ideas while turning a blind eye to appalling real-world actions; if you think that welfare reform is “divisive” but railing against “the bankers” (meaning anyone who works to earn a good salary) is A-OK; if you think Ed Miliband was a visionary leader, ahead of his time and ultimately just too good for this unworthy country – then read on at your own risk.

PRINCIPAL TRIGGERS: Unapologetic conservatism; belief in a higher power other than the state; schadenfreude; gloating; mockery; sarcasm; deliberate overstatement; forceful language; general failure to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for processing the 2015 general election result and the scale of Labour’s defeat.

Fair warning.

 

And so, not with a bang but a self-righteous whimper, Labour is collapsing from within, the party of Kier Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald publicly reducing itself to a smouldering heap of dark recrimination, bitter contempt for the electorate and tiresome more-compassionate-than-thou moral posturing.

This slow-motion, socialist car crash is utterly transfixing, especially because the man who led Labour to ruin, Ed Miliband – and many others – seriously believed he would now be prime minister of the United Kingdom, right up to the moment the exit polls dealt a deadly dose of reality. Now, it is not even certain that the party will survive to fight the 2020 election without having first splintered into warring People’s Front of Judea / Judean People’s Front factions.

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Harriet Harman Is Wrong

Harriet Harman - Margaret Thatcher - Witch - Feminism - Sexism

 

According to Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party, it is not possible to  be a Conservative and a feminist at the same time.

Who knew?

Of course, it goes without saying that this is complete and utter tripe. It would, for example, come as something of a surprise to Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany and the most powerful elected politician in Europe, that her conservatism automatically cancels out her feminist credentials.

Amber Rudd and Andrea Leadsom, writing in The Telegraph, do a good job of  dismantling Harman’s ridiculous assertion.

Money Quote:

At the core of Harman’s comment is her view that only socialism can empower women. What she fails to acknowledge are the different political philosophies of socialism and conservatism that inform how to improve women’s lives. Give a woman a Labour prime minister and she can live on welfare – just. Give a woman a Conservative prime minister and we will increase opportunities for her to get jobs, for children to get a good education, for hardworking families to improve their lives, for young women to get apprenticeships and for entrepreneurial women to start businesses. Conservative feminism is about boosting women to their full potential. We are optimistic and ambitious for women. Labour’s policy towards women is still about the state protecting them. They don’t believe women can achieve for themselves. What patronising rubbish.

Also relevant is this observation:

The Labour party no longer seems interested in how to improve women’s lives. Instead it uses the “women’s issue” as a political weapon against the government, making crude calculations about effects of deficit reduction and ignoring the improvements on the other side.

How true. The Labour Party do use “womens issues” as a cynical, blunt tool to score political points. As soon as George Osborne (and Lord knows I’m no fan of his) released his Emergency Budget when the coalition government took office, the Labour Party were quick to come out with a list of the ways that the spending cuts would harm women specifically. They went as far as to threaten legal action, relying on one of Gordon Brown’s “screw you” departing legislative gifts to sue the government for not considering the “equal impact on men and women” of their plans.

To the Labour Party:  Elect a female leader, and then come back and talk about feminist issues with a little bit of earned credibility.