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    Gendered resignations

    by Rumbold on 7th June, 2009 at 1:28 pm    

    Rowenna Davis has a good piece on the way in which female cabinet ministers (especially Caroline Flint) have been portrayed when they resigned:

    “Personally I think Flint’s resignation was opportunistic, badly orchestrated and ultimately self-defeating; but I don’t think it was a “silly woman” losing her head because of oestrogen and an X chromosome.”

    Caroline Flint was an awful Europe Minister. She hadn’t even bothered to read a constitutional treaty that she was imposing on us. Yet she was an awful minister because of her individual traits, not because her reproductive organs were on the inside rather than the outside. Nobody says that Gordon Brown is a failure because he is a man.

    Jess McCabe from the F-Word looks at some of the related media coverage as well.

      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Current affairs, Sex equality

    21 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Shatterface — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:42 pm  

      Rowena links to typically sexist articles in the Mail and the Telegraph (would we expect any better of them?) but her link to Yahoo news illustrates a poor understanding of English: a ’stiletto’ is a knife favoured by assassins, not a shoe heal.

      It does illustrate how some people will deliberately misinterpret criticism when they wish to play the victim card.

      Flint was a useless MP and a hypocrite: let’s not turn this into yet another thread about the horrible press.

    2. Rumbold — on 7th June, 2009 at 1:44 pm  

      The use of stiletto is playing on the image of high heels though, as that is what people think of now when you say ’stiletto’.

    3. Shamit — on 7th June, 2009 at 2:03 pm  

      So the Minister did not read the most important document within her portfolio and she admitted as such in the House of Commons.

      Yet, she was convinced this was the best thing for Britain and our citizens. Amazing respect for democracy and respect for the party’s manifesto.

      The same minister on Thursday night attacks Purnell yet not achieving the coveted Cabinet post turns on the Prime Minister. And she sees a conspiracy against women — if that claim came from Ruth Kelly, Harriet Harman, Beckett even Blears then it would have some credibility. Well there are degrees of opportunism but this one deserves to be within the top 3 of political screw ups and opportunistic behaviour.

      But what is Europe Minister doing in her job when she admits to the House of Commons she did not even read the Lisbon Treaty. Why didn’t the Foreign Secretary and PM act on this? The inaction on the part of the two bosses tells you a lot about the respect the Government has for the electorate.


      But Brown’s appointment of Alan Sugar is another stupidity which gives credence to Flint’s claims.

      Humiliating people — encouraging back biting — if thats the way businesses are run then most businesses would fail (that’s why its donald Trump and Alan Sugar do the apprentice and not Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, Richard Branson etc) — and Gordon Brown goes ahead and appoints him the Business Czar. And we all know of his views on the rights of Women employees in the workplace. Apparently they have to answer queries on when they plan on having children.

      And except for the inner circle Cooper no other woman is in any position of real power — compared to Blair years that’s a serious regression.

      This Prime Minister and his cronies have perpetrated a fraud on the Labour Party and the electorate — now 53% of labour activists think they were far better under Blair.

      But him not going is going to be the right catalyst for the labour party to achieve the status of almost being irrelevant. Now that’s an achievement both Brown and Balls would be proud of — inheriting a commanding majority and massive electoral success for a decade and converting into irrelevance in the political process within 2 years.

    4. marvin — on 7th June, 2009 at 3:08 pm  

      She said herself that Brown had put her in the cabinet was exactly because she was a woman, her words “female window dressing”.

      Presumably if she’d of been a man then she wouldn’t have been in the cabinet in the first place!

      Clearly having a large number of women in the cabinet was engineered specifically based on the fact they were women, going by the ratios of women v men in parliament.

    5. Shatterface — on 7th June, 2009 at 3:10 pm  

      Rumbold: follow the link to the original article and you’ll see it clearly refers to stabbing Brown in the back: there’s not a trace of sexism elsewhere in the Yahoo feature to back up Rowena’s interpretation. The first two examples used are sexist, the ’stiletto’ comment is about assassination.

      Had Flint been Italian there might have been cause for worrying about the choice of weapon.

    6. Don — on 7th June, 2009 at 3:37 pm  


      If her assertions are to be believed, and they seem plausible, women were in the cabinet, but not of it.

    7. Don — on 7th June, 2009 at 3:41 pm  

      On reflection, references to Raffles the Gentleman Burglar might be a bit obscure.

    8. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 4:05 pm  

      A dreadful minister. Not just for the Europe portfolio, but what she was proposing to do to council house tenants:

      ‘No 10 plays down Flint’s social housing plan’


      ‘In an a exclusive interview with the Guardian, Flint said up to one million people in social housing, including those on council estates, should look for jobs as a condition of receiving housing.

      New tenants would sign “commitment contracts” agreeing to look for work as part of their tenancy conditions. If they failed, they could lose their council homes. The contracts could be extended to existing tenants in future.’


      For that, she too should have been taken to the ducking stool, along with Blears. And for the sake of parity, I would have sent Purnell to the same pond for this:

      ‘Interest on emergency loans proposal

      In December 2008, Purnell proposed charging interest on loans to the unemployed and pensioners made by the Department of Work and Pensions, which are currently interest-free, at a rate of up to 26.8 per cent per annum. This was met with great hostility and was blocked by the intervention of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.[6]‘


      Fridge magnets notwithstanding.

      It would be a dreadful squandering of the feminist movement’s credibility in lending support to these self-serving sharks.

    9. chairwoman — on 7th June, 2009 at 4:15 pm  

      “It would be a dreadful squandering of the feminist movement’s credibility in lending support to these self-serving sharks.”

      I remember how hard I had to work in the ’70s to get a ‘man’s pay’ for a ‘man’s job’. It was a constant struggle and being as good wasn’t good enough.

      These women personify everything that was said as to why women shouldn’t be in executive positions.

      They have already squandered our credibility.

    10. Rumbold — on 7th June, 2009 at 5:33 pm  


      Good point about Alan Sugar.


      Yes, she rather missed the point of social housing.

    11. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 6:00 pm  

      The problem we face is that Gordon Brown could not or did not expunge the cabinet of the Blairite vampires.

      He opted for or could not put together a government without these sleepers; and now they are hatching. As always some too soon.

      What we all wanted after Blair’s departure was a real change in direction, sadly that did not happen.

      And as politicians always do, they use the passing of time as a form of negotiation between the government and the governed. I fear that is what Cameron and Clegg are using with regards to the expenses scandal.

      If I was Brown’s advisor I would kick out anyone who has dubious expense claim and make it public as to why.

      For me I would be so delighted to see Blears giving her resignation speech; absolutely over the moon.

      Someone name me a single Blairite who could stand the test of public opinion.

      I would go as far as to say Caroline Flint is proving my point with her every utterance.

    12. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 6:08 pm  

      ‘Yes, she rather missed the point of social housing.’

      Worse, she probably would have had no qualms about getting her groceries paid for by the taxpayer, and his mate Purnell getting £247 worth of fridge magnets; and fellow tap-dancer evading tax.

      And might I add Meg Munn MP to the bunch so well groomed by Mr Blair; where her husband seems to be the one who pocketed fees for advising colleagues on how to evade tax.

      Listen out for all these so-called rebels and see how they link up.

    13. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 6:13 pm  

      I found their original designation ‘Blair’s Babes’ quite offensive. Did Caroline Flint, or was she flattered?

    14. Shamit — on 7th June, 2009 at 6:20 pm  

      “Someone name me a single Blairite who could stand the test of public opinion.”

      David Cameron

      Refresh, I hate to break this to you but over 53% of labour activists now think they would have been better of if Blair was still leader.

    15. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 6:28 pm  


      ‘David Cameron

      Refresh, I hate to break this to you but over 53% of labour activists now think they would have been better of if Blair was still leader.’

      Absolutely right, David Cameron.

      You may not know this, but most of the activists deserted a while back, during Blair’s tenure.

      His centralisation of the party has come back to haunt it.

      You need to see what is happening to the likes of Purnell in their constituencies.

    16. Rumbold — on 7th June, 2009 at 7:12 pm  


      “If I was Brown’s advisor I would kick out anyone who has dubious expense claim and make it public as to why.”

      So Brown himself would have to resign then.

    17. Rumbold — on 7th June, 2009 at 7:13 pm  

      I do think that Brown is unlucky in that the scandal has happened when he is in charge- imagine if Blair’s expenses were revealed.

    18. Refresh — on 7th June, 2009 at 7:23 pm  

      Rumbold, not sure his expenses were that exciting.

      And if they were, then yes.

    19. Clairwil — on 7th June, 2009 at 11:42 pm  

      Sorry to go off topic but look what’s just become an MEP…



    20. white field — on 8th June, 2009 at 11:17 am  

      admin you are a fool i thought this was a discussion forum you your just a pencil pusher

    21. Refresh — on 8th June, 2009 at 1:14 pm  

      Not really off-topic in my opinion. The likes of Caroline Flint, James Purnell and Hazel Blears have played more than their part in this disaster.

      Not least because of the cowardice that is central to the survivalist tendancies of New Labour. They have, from day one, been toughest on their own support base. Whether it was the activists within the party, the trade unions, the working class or the poor.

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