I am sorely tempted to change the name of my blog in honour of the crass moniker Ken Clarke threw our new Prime Minister’s way last week. He probably meant it as an insult but it proved to be a backhanded compliment – and one that marked the difference between the two Tory leadership candidates. Surely a difficult woman is someone of substance, her obstinacy the very thing making her worthy of note in the boys’ club of Westminster. Mrs May must have been over the moon at the boost to her campaign. High praise indeed from a man very much established as a thorn in that establishment’s side.
Of course I’m getting to the irritating and innate sexism of the remark. The words, ‘a difficult’… would never be followed by ‘man’ since the very qualities which mark out the woman as tricky to work with – tenacity, seriousness, inflexibilibity, ruthlessness – are qualities we are programmed to expect in a man. But a woman of the same mettle – that’s her taking things a step too far (probably in heels).
I hate to dwell on the gender issue here though as it is such a huge distraction from the real story. But it was annoying to hear someone on the news glowing that it was remarkable that the leadership race boiled down to two female candidates. No, not really. Not at all. Nothing remarkable to see here, move along please. Wouldn’t it be nice for the candidates gender to not even be a thing. To be totally unremarkable. Of no consequence whatsoever. Let’s judge the Prime Minister by her actions. Not by shoes, jackets, hairstyles, clothes size, children, lack of children, education, father’s profession, husband, hobbies, football team, or favourite veg.
I for one will be watchng those actions like a hawk. But then I’m difficult like that.