I am angry. More so than usual. We are at the end of a week of remarkable revelations in Westminster. After revelations about the systematic sexual abuse and sexual harrassment perpetrated by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the social media #metoo campaign demonstrated the scale of the problem across all walks of life. And accusations from the corridors of power here in the UK came to the surface. The Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, resigned this week. The de-facto deputy PM, Damien Green, is accused, as well as a number of other Conservative politicians. Labour politicians don’t emerge unscathed: Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has been suspended pending investigation (and there are still questions whether Jeremy Corbyn ignored the warning of the whip Rosie Winterton that his conduct was unfit for office), and the Labour activist Bex Bailey disclosed that she had been raped and told not to report it by a senior party figure. The whole thing stinks, and makes me so angry. The response to it of so many in the public eye and the media makes it worse. What has been heartening is seeing the response of female politicians across the political divide, calling for a change. Real evidence that representation matters. As Hillary Clinton says, ‘the only way to get sexism out of politics is to get more women into politics‘. I have particularly enjoyed the interventions of Jess Phillips, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Harriet Harman. Go sisters! I can only hope that this will lead to a substantial change in the way politics is done. I can only hope.
Meanwhile elsewhere in British politics, the minor reshuffle caused by Fallon’s resignation outlined the incredibly weak position of the Prime Minister Theresa May, with many Tory backbenchers openly criticsing her choice to promote chief whip Gavin Williamson, and some cabinet ministers briefing against her to the press. All of which makes this article from the New York Times seem absolutely correct.
In my last post, I talked about the impending crisis for Spain and the Catalan declaration of independence. We came to the brink when the President of the state of Catalonia, Carlos Puigdemont, declared independence, but Spain soon moved to take direct control of the regional government. Puigdemont fled to Belgium and today handed himself over to the Belgian police. So disaster averted for now, but the issue of Catalan independence will not be going away anytime soon.
Meanwhile, in ridiculous American politics, we saw the first round of indictments in the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. I haven’t got the energy to go into it at the moment, but as the lead investigator Robert Mueller said today, there’s more to come.
We’re almost at one year of this diary and blog. I’m looking forward to seeing how things change over the years as I revisit previous questions. For now, the last original responses:
October 17th question: What’s the most valuable thing you own?
2017 response: Monetary value – flat. Sentimental value – gran’s ring. All of my artwork from various holidays.
October 18th question: What famous living person would you want to meet for drinks?
2017 response: Ooh hard choice! Helen Lewis, Tony Blair, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ed Miliband.
October 21st question: What new word have you learned?
2017 response: Fake news is the Collins dictionary word of the year.
October 22nd question: Write a haiku about your day
2017 response (written 5th Nov): Westminster sex pests, Allegations come to light, Government at risk
October 24th question: How are you? Write it in a rhyming couplet
2017 response: Sir Michael Fallon made his exit, I hope it means we don’t do Brexit
October 25th question: What is the most honest thing you’ve said today?
2017 response: Brexit is a load of shit. (ok, I didn’t actually say this out loud, but I definitely think it every day).
October 28th question: _______________ is completely ridiculous.
2017 response: British politics – especially our constitution.
October 30th question: Are you able to tell when you have enough?
2017 response: Sometimes. Depends on what – I’ve had enough of everyday sexism at the moment.
October 31st question: Halloween plans? What’s your costume?
2017 response: Mary Poppins inspired sister suffragettes with Jenny & Frances.
November 1st question: What was something you couldn’t do today?
2017 response: Stop Brexit.
Looking back on a time when I hadn’t started this project, and I still thought Hillary Clinton would be US president. I hope as I come to the second, and all subsequent years of this project, that I see the treatment of women in public life, and in all sectors of life, improve.