Dear Harriet Harman – if she didn’t exist we’d have to invent her. In these days when local authorities promote pole dancing as empowering for women, and teenage girls post pictures of their breasts on Facebook, thank God – or rather Goddess – for the voice of good old fashioned feminism. Last summer she took us back to the days of kipper ties and male chauvinist pigs. When women needed men like a fish needs a bicycle This week in Brighton she took on the super soaraway Sun, over its decision to dump Labour. All it knows about equality is the news in briefs, she said, referring to the new improved page three in which half naked girls give a comment on the day’s current events while displaying their mammaries.
Mind you, if it’s so bad, you wonder why she was so happy to have its support for the lest twelve years. And that the Current Bun helped deliver shed loads of votes. Somehow she failed to notice that it was offensive to woman. Perhaps another reason is that its editor, Rebekah Wade, is a woman, and a close friend of the Tony Blairs. Harriet believes that men cause all the trouble in the world, don’t they – like wars and football and Jeremy Clarkson. She has called for men to make way for women at the top of politics.
In Hattieland women of substance would be running the country – women like Hazel Blears, Caroline Flint and Jacqui Smith. You wouldn’t find any of them fiddling their expenses or indulging in male political back-stabbing. Ok, it’s easy to make fun of Hattie Harperson but at least she seems to know what she is in politics for- a conviction politician in a party of unprincipled careerists. Trouble is, you couldn’t help seeing her unfurling of the banner or radical feminism last week as a pretty transparent excercise in political self-promotion. She used her opprortunity as summer stand in for the prime minister to make a pretty transparent appeal to the Labour sisterhood as a leadership contender.
Hence her faintly ludicrous suggestion that if women had been in charge of the economy, the credit crunch might never have happened. There would have been less testosterone financial madness, she said, if “Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters”. Mind you, I couldn’t help thinking that Lehman Sisters sounds more like a 1950’s female singing trio than a merchant bank. But who knows, she may even be right, though somehow I don’t think that being female is any guarantee against stupidity or greed. Look at Victoria Beckham or Margaret Thatcher.
In a curious way, Harriet Harman (or “Harm-man” a her critics call her) is a feminist mirror image of she-who-used-to-be-obeyed. Note the way she vetoed the review of how rape victims are dealt with in the English courts because it wasn’t tough enough. Hers is a simple universe in which most of the world’s problems are down to the the patriarchy. Unfortunately’ her brand of 70’s feminism is of little interest to women under 50, who think the patriarchy is an indie rock band.
In what we hacks cal ‘the real world’, women are taking over with astonishing speed. Not only have girls outpaced boys in school they now dominate the universities and are taking over the professions. Nearly 70 percent of Edinburgh law graduates this year were female. I watched them at this years graduation ceremony tottering up to collect collect their degrees wearing fake tans and high heels that Harriet’s generation would have abhorred as
It’s the same everywhere. Men are finished – just look at them – with their slack jeans and ipods. Can’t even make the finals of The Apprentice. The glass ceiling may still exist in some quarters but it won’t stand up to those stilettos for long. Young women don’t call themselves feminists because they realise the term is becoming redundant. Soon there may have to be positive discrimination for boys