So, the old idea that women becoming leaders would make politics kinder and more charitable has turned out to be as mistaken – and basically as sexist – as the notion that they couldn’t play rugby (because of their softer upper chests), or fly passenger aircraft safely (what if a menopause suddenly came on?). Of course, with regard to politics you might argue that women could only succeed insofar as they emulated the worst aspects of masculinity – Thatcher, Patel, Braverman – and had the patriarchy behind them. But it knocks on the head the simplistic notion that men are at the root of all our ills, and only need to be replaced by the ‘gentler’ sex for peace and happiness to prevail.
In a similar way we’ve recently been disabused of the idea (in Britain) that a cabinet of second-generation immigrants would be more charitably disposed towards present-day asylum-seekers. In Patel’s and Braverman’s cases the opposite seems to be true. Which reminds me, historically, of those 19th-century British Jews who vociferously opposed new Jewish immigration around 1900 on the grounds that it would provoke nativist anti-semitism, which would then rebound against them. It’s called ‘pulling the ladder up behind you’.
So we can’t depend on gender or ethnicity to modify attitudes which generally speaking are formed by other factors, arising from the communities in which one is living presently, affecting both genders and all ethnicities; and in which locality, class, schooling, levels of income, the propaganda you are subjected to, and maybe your personal psychology, will be paramount. Our new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s political attitudes are far more likely to be affected by his (and his wife’s) fabulous personal riches, and his education at the most venerable ‘Public’ school in England (to which he has just gifted more than £100,000, as if Winchester needed it), than by his much lauded ‘British-Asian’ heritage. (The same applied to his distinguished ‘British-Jewish’ predecessor, Benjamin Disraeli.) Don’t be too influenced by the fact that all these influential politicians are either non-white, or women, or both. The Tory party, despite its misogynist and racist reputation, never has been. Class and ideology trump ‘race’ and gender every time.
Off topic, I’m afraid but Maurice Glasman has an excellent article on Spiked Online about where the Labour party should be heading…but isn’t.
Also a good interview of him in the Guardian a while back.
A great analysis with apt analogies.
I would modify a bit and say that
class and ideology trump race and gender
to a large extent, not completely,
because you still have to
ask the million dollar questions:
Whose interests are they serving?
Who exactly are they working for
in the final analysis?
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Aren’t they serving “themselves”…what they consider as “us”, that undefined by outsiders but immediately recognised by insiders group who have the inherent right to tell the lesser breeds, whether “foregners” under British rule, or the British under their rule, what to do?
The aim must surely be perpetuation of their rule, which obviously benefits them and their class.
And their class can be fluid; successful par venues are admitted for their money, the children half accepted, and, if the game is played right, the grandchildren fully paid up members.