Women in the news?

I love it when men say they aren’t sexist.

What part of his (tiny man-sized) brain does Owen Smith use when he thinks his statements about women are not sexist?

Well, natch as he’s a man, he knows a lot about sexism.

Apparently at a hustings yesterday he was criticised for previous sexist comments.

These have included:

  • Suggesting ‘smashing Theresa May back on her heels’ (violence)
  • Saying gobstoppers would be an appropriate gift for Nicola Sturgeon (silencing women)
  • Accusing Leanne Wood of appearing on Question Time because she was a woman (It’s not fair! What about teh menz card)
  • Comparing the Lib Dem/Tory coalition to domestic violence (trivialising domestic violence)

Add to that, he defended his comment about silencing Sturgeon as political banter, his coalition DV reference as metaphorical – there’s nothing metaphorical about DV, Owen – and his comment about smashing May was ‘rhetoric’.

Here’s a nice piece from the New Statesman.

Plus, back when Angela Eagle was in the leadership contest, he described himself as a normal person. Unlike Eagle, who is a lesbian.

I’m glad you think I’m normal. I am normal. I grew up in a normal household. I’ve got a wife and three children. My wife is a primary school teacher.”

How gross is that? How sexist? How stereotypical? How homophobic? And this man wants to lead the Labour Party?

But the left has never been good on feminism. I read blogs of supposedly liberal/left-leaning men, and they talk tosh. Serious tosh. Fur coat and no knickers doesn’t come near it. They purport to support the values, the ethics, the lack of discrimination and quite frankly, they have no idea. I assume it’s because they have no interest. Of all the blogs written by men that I read, only two have a grasp of the issues. Some have the sense to stay quiet. Others – five come to mind – don’t get it. The Owen Smiths of the blogging world.

‘I didn’t really mean it. It was only banter. I’m sorry if I offended.’ I paraphrase Smith there. Classic, but classic and utterly useless excuses.

To continue with Smith’s preference for domestic violence ‘metaphors’.

A new report out shows the rate of violence against women and girls in the UK is at a record high. Oh very good.

No doubt we will soon be hearing about how women are closing the pay gap, some top woman chief exec earns a shedload and sex workers are well off and enjoy their jobs.

The report comes from the Crown Prosecution Service and is so newsworthy it’s already disappeared from the Grauniad’s front pages after a few hours. The DPP is Alison Saunders.

Here are some figures and excerpts for you.

  • The number of offences against women, including domestic abuse, rape and sexual assaults, rose by almost 10% to 117,568 in 2015-6.
  • Since the new law of disclosing private sexual images without consent was introduced in April 2015, there have been 206 cases of revenge pornography taken to court – with many individuals pleading guilty, according to the DPP.
  • However, 206 prosecutions reflect a tiny proportion of complaints of so-called revenge porn. More than 3,700 victims contacted a special helpline set up last year in its first 12 months.
  • Stalking prosecutions rose by 7.1% to 12,986
  • Child sex abuse prosecutions rose by 15.4% to 6,217
  • Saunders also identified an emerging area of concern as the use of extremely violent pornographic communications, such as women being raped, or the posting of images of women who have suffered severe injuries or are being subjected to sadistic violence. She highlighted increases in prosecutions under new sections of the law for such cases, with 1,737 prosecutions in the past year.
  • There were a record number of rape prosecutions in the past year of 4,643.

And:

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence against Women Coalition, said the rise in prosecutions being brought by the CPS was a positive sign.

“We welcome this comprehensive report, the transparency it offers and the CPS’s ongoing attention to violence against women and girls in all its forms. The increase in prosecutions shows that more women are seeking justice.

“But it is still the case that the majority of women and girls subject to these crimes do not report them to the police, and the specialist services which support them are fighting for survival.”

People. This is not good for women. If you don’t care about women as a class, it could be a friend, a relative, a sister, daughter, wife or mother who are attacked or assaulted in whatever way.

We are looking at nearly 120,000 sexual offences against women in twelve months in the UK alone, and an increase of ten per cent on the previous year.

If you find Smith’s comments funny, like him, you are sexist. If you laugh at rape jokes, don’t call out other men for making derogatory comments, then you are sexist.

We live in a sexist rape culture, and the increase in these crimes is evidence of that. Please, do think, before you dismiss this.

It’s not enough to say ‘Of course I don’t agree with rape, DV, stalking, child abuse’. We need men to speak out and change the culture.

It could be your daughter. Or your grand-daughter. Maybe you’ll never know, because the truth is most women don’t report sexual assault.

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62 comments on “Women in the news?

  1. Oh, oh, oh.This situation wrt violence against women is so huge and so under appreciated it is criminal. I know I’m preaching to the converted but in North America the greatest non-accidental cause of death amonsgt women from 25-55 is murder by loved ones. In fact over 75% of the murders of women in that age group are done by people who women trust and know well. the vast majority of women reporting to Emergency rooms for non-accidental injuries are cases of abuse by loved ones. If aliens were to drop in and ask us what the women of our species most die of we would have to say that our men kill them deliberately – but only once the women love and trust them. That would be a big black mark against our application for membership in the Federation of Planets.

    And that is not nearly enough – the vast majority of women at one time or another report that they have been abused physically, sexually, verbally, financially, etc. And to make matters worse we are so unable to empathize that the majority say they did not report the abuse because they were afraid they would be disbelieved and become social pariahs or targets for revenge. Our systems for reporting and processing the abuse are nuts – absolutely nuts. Our nationalized TV network – the CBC – did an in depth report on rape in the American Military – because no American network would touch the subject. It turns out that many women were raped and often by those in power over them. The chain of reporting was such that all concerns had to be addressed to the woman’s commanding officer who quite often was the rapist himself. To make matters worse, it was conservatively estimated that 300,000 rapes took place over the study period of which only a few hundred were reported, less than half that went to trial and there were 67 convictions – out of 300,000 rapes. WTF!!!

    Lord, this drives me crazy and makes me ashamed for the male gender. An it is getting worse. Un #$%^& believable.

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    • Gosh. But, yes. Such is life for women. In fact the report I mentioned said that crimesxagainst women were the largest proportion. And. We. Do. Nothing.
      Nothing. At all. About. It.

      Of course we don’t report it. We are expected to accept it, to appreciate it. Because, you know, sex objects? Our role in life. You can’t believe how it sits.

      Usual comments? Walking alone. At night. Or in a deserted area. Wearing the wrong clothes. Drunk. Provocative. Looked attractive. Stood on the tube/bus/train. Hell, just being a woman. HER fault for the attack. Jeez.

      Where in any of that, is the blame for a man invading a woman’s space? Nowhere.

      It would be a joke it’s so ludicrous. But it’s not. These are crimes against women that can mean death, rape, vicious assault, any assault, physical and verbal abuse. And what are we doing about it? Well, clearly not very much. Prosecutions don’t cut it. We need to change our society, ha-tee-ha.

      One of my blogpals posted some time ago about women being assaulted. The number of women, me included, who said they had been – and had not reported it – said it all.

      Yes. It is getting worse. Reddit. MRAs. I see lesbian feminists, a few other feminists and the two men mentioned above who are trying to change things. But for most people it doesn’t matter.

      I am sure it matters to the 120,000 women in the UK, and the 300,000 women you quote. And all of us who don’t report anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is unreal – the worst case of the general population wearing blinders that I have ever seen. I’ve written comments on this topic before and I get accused of lying, alarmism, making up stuff – and just plain denial and then I get the comments edited out. Unreal absolutely unreal. I quote government and respected websites and I am told they are all lies. It is a BIG problem roughseas.

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        • I think we can agree on that Paul. We can focus on black people, on trans people, but women? Blinders, or blinkers, as we would say, is a spot-on description. What problem? There is no problem. What sexism? What discrimination? What disparity in wages? What lack of health care and education? What rape/assault/murder? You say unreal, I would say surreal but either way it’s not reality to pretend it doesn’t exist.

          I haven’t been told my sources, like yours govt websites, WHO, etc are lies though. Perhaps my readers know me better. I have had hints that I don’t know what I’m talking about on one of my other blogs though … appreciate your supportive if depressing comment.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Sexism is a logical conclusion in societies were so many children start education at single sex schools. Co-educational countries don’t suffer nearly as much violence between the sexes because they don’t see each other in dreadful stereotypical formats.

    In Australia too, the obsession with single sex schools encourages and brings out silly young women and brawny bully rugby boys.

    Also, violence is not just the domain practised by males against women, it applies to women against men too. Being in a relationship is one of the most dangerous areas to be in, especially in the English speaking world. Forget about Isis or terrorism, it is in marriage and relationships were many real and unspeakable acts of cruelty are performed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know about the schools. You could point to people who went to single-sex and others who went to co-ed and you would see sexism from both. I went to an all girls school after age 7 when the boys were filtered out. Shame. I liked the boys. I suspect I would have done worse in a mixed school. My school was very much into achievement for the girls. And we did mix with the boys school for concerts and plays. Silly young women, and brawny bully rugby boys would not have defined anyone I knew in my school or the boys’ school. Some of the boys visited our house and were impeccably behaved. One boyfriend – diplomatically – even shut my Victorian father up. Brilliant achievement.

      I would think families lay the initial views of sexism in children, depending on the parental relationship and perspectives.

      Indeed most assaults are reputedly by someone the woman knows. Of course, that is reported assaults. But I’m not talking about men, I’m talking about women and girls, of which in the UK, 13 are raped every single day, and 129 are assaulted. Unacceptable. And who is interested? Nobody.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Research from the 2012 ABS Personal Safety Survey and Australian Institute of Criminology shows that both men and women in Australia experience substantial levels of violence.

        Males make up a significant proportion of victims of family and sexual violence, yet are excluded from government anti-violence programs such as Our Watch and ANROWS.

        75 males were killed in domestic homicide incidents between 2010-12. This equates to one death every 10 days.”

        ABS ( Australian Bureau of Statistics.)

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        • And in the UK:

          Another difference is that men are less likely to be murdered by female abusers; Home Office figures reveal that on average, 100 women a year and around 30 men a year are killed within a domestic abuse context. Women are almost exclusively killed by men whereas in contrast approximately one third of the men are killed by other men and a little under a third are killed by women against whom they have a documented history of abuse.

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  3. I don’t want anything to happen to my mother, sister, wife or daughter. Therefore I want strong laws that protect all women from this violence. That also covers violence uttered in the form of unfunny jokes at a woman’s expense,
    Keep well
    xxx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww David. Of course you wouldn’t because you are a caring man. But the laws aren’t enough. Technically they are in place. And what happens when a woman reports anything? Victim blaming and shaming. What were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Were you alone? What time was it? It. Is. Not. The Woman’s. Fault.

      Man assaults woman = man at fault. Not woman for flipping being there. This is what stops women reporting assaults. I know. Been there and not done that. Wearing jeans, a pullover and walking across the park at 10 am. I sat through my subsequent university lecture in a total trance.

      Laws don’t do it. Society snd culture need to change. Idealistic? Of course. But we need to aim high. As you do.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is wearying, I agree. I tried to copy the conversation from his blog, but was unable to do it. I’ll ‘replay’ it from the other day. Someone on a thread used the word ‘mankind’. I pointed out (with a smiley face) that a better word would be ‘humankind’. The reply? “I don’t pay any attention to that crap”. When I queried, “Oh, so you endorse the patriarchal system then, eh?”, he said, “It’s been working just fine since time began!” (or something to that effect). . . .sigh. .. and people wonder why we object. I’m sure my suggestion that, for millions of women and children, the patriarchal system has indeed NOT been working for them – fell on deaf ears. As you probably suspected, he’s been tossed in the asshole bin.
    I also feel that your efforts at alleviating sexist speak have not been in vain. So keep trying – it’s important!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like a blog I wouldn’t like. Or have I read it? And not liked it? You know what happens when you point out sexism to so-called right-on people? Men and women. They deny it and get all aggressive/defensive. Just like Owen Smith. I mean his comments were blatant. Even if he wins the party leadership, which I sincerely hope he doesn’t, I doubt the Labour Party will oust the Conservatives in a hurry. Theresa May has waited a long time to be PM and timed it nicely and she’s working hard at establishing her presence, I was watching Prime Minister’s Question Time today (saved mopping the floor although I’ve done that too now).

      The trouble is sexism and violence against women does not affect most of the population. Or, not that they realise.

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  5. “My wife is a primary teacher.” Duck. I’m going to throw heavy items. So like that’s wonderful – she’s allowed to do a job men don’t wish to do and have decided it is acceptable for wives to perform (and be treated horridly by many male adminsitrators for their efforts – but no complaining now.)
    Not familiar with this man, but others like him.
    No mystery where the attitude comes from. The father of that Standford swimmer that raped an unconscious woman (and said during police interview that he “probably wouldn’t recognize her if he passed her again on the street”) actually said once the (inapprorpriately light) sentence was handed down from the judge “That seems like a pretty harsh punishment for 10 minutes of pleasure”. Attitude didn’t fall far from the tree.
    Good luck with getting the police to do their jobs to enforce local, state, federal laws – it’s so much paper work..”Just move and change all your contact information. Get counseling. Go on with your life” So much easier that way – for them.

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    • Interestingly when I did the school rounds of primary school, natch all teachers were women. Except one. The head teacher, or rather headmaster. All his little female esclavas. Exactly what you are saying.

      Well, as the rest of the world is expected to be au fait with DT and HC then I’m stuffed if I’m going to explain who Corbyn, Eagle, Smith, May etc are. I’m not doing ABC of British politics. The detail is irrelevant though, as you noted, it’s the principle. Or lack of.

      That Standford – rich so what else counts – swimmer, was unbelievable. What a piece of detritus. Bet she had ten minutes of pleasure. No. Not at all. Piece of tosh.

      Always good to push people and paper. So much better than changing ideas, society, culture, beliefs.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. “A new report out shows the rate of violence against women and girls in the UK is at a record high.” Unfortunately, I question this only because I think the numbers have always been extraordinarily high, but is only now being reported at a rate closer to what is actually taking place. Of course, crimes like revenge porn are relatively new, while stalking, as I understand it, has only relatively recently been criminalized in the manner it deserves, so perhaps those factors are adding to the figures. Whatever the numbers, they are still below what is actually occurring.

    I have a very hard time extending any sort of mercy toward these sorts, either. Rapists, sexual predators and those who commit domestic violence, as far as I know, are high in terms of recidivism. It’s hard not to say “Put them in prison and throw away the key.” But, of course, first they have to be caught.

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    • Agree that we have new legislation like the internet revenge porn and stalking. Some of the internet comments, let alone stalking and revenge porn, that I have seen are absolutely horrific. The rise of MRAs and PUAs, and the ease with which they can spread their repugnant messages through social media is another factor to take into account.

      Regardless of new crimes, all the ‘traditional’ categories of assaults – rape, sexual assault, DV, child sexual abuse, had increased. I doubt there is more reporting pro rata, most women I know bith personally and on the net haven’t reported cases of sexual assault. What’s the point?

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      • The point is that people are taking sexual assault and domestic violence more seriously than in the past. The “boys will be boys” mentality is slowly falling away and women, in particular, who are assaulted are getting the focus and attention they deserve. I’d like to think this sort of thing is less and less being swept under the rug.

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        • Whilever rich young men – and their fathers – who are good swimmers moan about their loss of swimming scholarship rather than expressing regret for sexually assaulting women, then society isn’t changing that quickly. Just as women get blamed for attracting violence rather than men getting the full blame for committing it. That’s the crux of the problem.

          There was an interesting article in the Guardian today referring to the above CPS report, and so many commenters just dismissed it. Dismissed the figures and the need for change. WTF? And rather than the nearly five thousand rapes a year, the estimated figure was 85,000.

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          • Agree with your above points, particularly the first one. Entitled twits tend to rear entitled twits.

            If there’s a positive, both father and son have been roundly lambasted for their stupidity.

            Why the son didn’t get a longer prison sentence, however, would appear to be more of a continuation of the problem.

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          • I read the woman’s side of it, there was a long letter published somewhere. What came out from that, to me, was that he had no regrets, wasn’t interested in apologising, and couldn’t care less about the damage he had done to a young woman. Just. ME. ME. And my sad swimming career.

            Which is exactly what you are saying about entitlement. Now if he had been black or hispanic, what would have happened? We don’t even need to go there because of their lack of access to further education. And lack of money.

            It’s a sad case that is actually educational in a very bad way. Totally endorses the fact that rich white (American) men rule the world.

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          • Well, I can tell you I’m not in charge of a whole lot. And I don’t really care to be because I’m not interested in taking advantage of others, be they women or men, if that’s what it takes to get ahead.

            I have to live with myself and set an example for my children. If that means not “playing the game” and stepping on others to get ahead, so be it.

            I’d rather live with a relatively clean conscious than have an arse-load of power/money/fame. I have as many flaws as the next person, but I recognize and acknowledge them. These include not always seeing things from the view of others.

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          • Normally, when talking about men per se, it refers to men as a social class, and subsets thereof, rather than individuals. Unless of course one is deliberately highlighting someone’s sexism/misogyny eg Trump who I see is now accusing Clinton of being mentally ill. The man is unbelievable. Except clearly some people do believe him. Amazing.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Least worst option. I think Smith is a total wanker. Labour is struggling as it is, but Smith would have made it a bigger joke. The party lacks stature. May is doing a superb Thatcher image, far better than Blair (ha!) and maybe that’s what people want. Although not impressed with the over-ruling of the Lancs frakking decision. Big business. Again :(

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      • I don’t trust any politician but I do like those that punch each other. May doing a great early job and has exceeded my expectations, let’s hope that she can keep it up and we can all forget about the Cameron/Osbourne disaster years!

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        • I don’t think Corbyn will win an election, but Eagle nor Smith would have been able to deliver that. I did think Smith was below the belt with his attacks on her. Vicious piece of work he is.

          May hasn’t really got a lot to live up to in terms of predecessors, either Tory or Labour. I had high hopes for Blair but he turned out to be as delusional as Bush. Possibly not quite as bad as Trump.

          I agree she has made a good strong start … but … oh dear. I think the frakking decision in Lancs is a fuck up. You don’t interpret the Brexit decision as ‘we need to listen to the people’ and then overturn the decision of the county council, with all the local villagers against it, in favour of big business. Bad move.

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  7. Ironically I find your post and comment replies no less sexist. Sexism can be directed both against men and women. That you despise men is very much evident in the first line of your post. A sexist woman protesting against sexism is like a porn movie actress trying to become a feminist. Bye

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    • If you displayed some cognizance of the issues at hand I might have taken your comment more seriously. I can only conclude you are a MRA with your sheer denial of the issues of sexism.

      Also, there is no need for your erroneous and misplaced assumption of my opinions about men per se. And, your comparison is misplaced.

      Your sort of ill-informed, uneducated comment is the sort that makes women realise exactly why they are feminist.

      No worries. I doubt you can add much to the discussions on here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A true feminist highlights both women and men’s issues, vs. somebody like you whose blog articles are highly biased in favor of of gender and against another. This article itself is a perfect example. ‘I love it when men say they aren’t sexist.’ in a way you are claiming that all men are sexist and you don’t believe in an exception to this generalization you have created in your mind, which is why you find it humorous when some man says he is not sexist. No I am not MRA but had your articles been more balanced and highlighted sexism faced by BOTH genders I would have given it some weight. You are only highlighting issues of one half of world population, as if the other half does not matter.

        I never denied that women face sexism so don’t try to put words in my mouth. Ignorant ‘feminists (or feminazi?) like you should watch the Hunt, because you are the one who is misguided, uneducated and ill-informed, not me https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunt_(2012_film). I also suggest you take a look at the books of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Hoff_Sommers to understand the real meaning of feminism

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        • I rescued you from spam in the interests of free speech, discussion blah blah.
          It’s not up to you to say what a ‘true feminist’ does or does not do.
          Feminism is about the removal of patriarchal oppression. That does not include making men’s issues (men = the oppressing class) a priority. People who focus on men and women tend to be called humanist or egalitarian or misguided. The clue is in the name: feminism. That means the movement is primarily focused on women.
          I am not biased in favour of one ‘gender’ or another. Gender is a social construct that is damaging to women by assuming that certain behaviours and characteristics are innately male or female. I thnk you are referring to biological sex.
          No, I am not claiming that all men are sexist at all. Don’t make fatuous assumptions.
          You are very wearisome. Men do not face sexism. Just like white people do not face racism from black people.
          Let’s get one thing clear. This blog post focused on a prat standing for leadership of the British Labour Party, which in turn puts him in line to lead the country (if Labour ever won an election again). Luckily said prat did not win. I am by no means the first to point out his rampant sexism/misogyny and discrimination against another candidate who was lesbian.
          Secondly I took a perfectly standard government report which highlighted the increase in sexual assaults against women. Both of these are news items. I appreciate you aren’t a journalist (or I certainly hope you aren’t) but the idea is to report major new stories. And writing about the menz everytime we write about women doesn’t make news, nor, quite frankly is it relevant. I suggest you look up ‘what about teh menz’ as it is oozing out of every pore in your skin, my dear.
          I apologise for suggesting you denied the existence of feminism. Let me try a different approach. I consider you, personally, are sexist. This is based on the fact that a) you are telling ME about feminism instead of accepting what I say and b) you consider men to suffer from sexism and c) you also tell me how to write, and that with two degrees and qualifications in journalism, health services, trade unions, that I am uneducated. Really?

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  8. Terribly discouraging statistics. The “banter” excuse is alive and well here too with our (help us) presidential candidate. Pretty soon he’ll be calling rape “rough sex,” and domestic violence “a lively disagreement.” A major problem, I think, is that this kind of talk from our “leaders” legitimizes the viewpoints. The misogyny is right out in the open. :-(

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    • Trump. Leaves me speechless. A disgusting piece of work. Even Arnie withdrew support! Sadly I agree. Women’s rights are retreating yet we have idiots saying there is no need for feminism and men are the ones being victimised. Hmmm. Not quite.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Big news in UK today is that Theresa May has a pair of trousers that cost nearly £1000. SHOCK/HORROR – she is out of touch with the electorate! Why do the British press think that this is important? Grossly unfair press coverage. She is the Prime Minister FFS and there are more important things to report. I wonder how much David Cameron spent on a suit? I don’t suppose he buys them at an Outlet Centre! Did anyone report on this? On the other hand I guess Jeremy Corben got his for under a fiver!

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    • I read that in my morning browse through the Grauniad’s increasing sillyness. Although, as you point out, someone did comment on the thousands of pounds Cameron spent on suits. It is, classical sexist reporting. Woman prime minister. MUST comment on appearance. Whether it is clothes, make-up, shoes, yawn. Oh hair-do. Forgot that one. Not sure you’d get a suit for a fiver. Partner got black trousers, white shirt, belt thrown in for £6 though for a security one nighter.

      I bought leather trousers thirty odd years ago in Germany for around £50. The next pair in the UK were more than £100. With NPV taken into account, the second pair prob equalled May’s in price. Although they looked better :) And those Burberry trainers? But still. Her choice.

      Supreme court not going too well … I’m struggling with the constitutional ramifications here. While parliament may be sovereign, I thought the sovereign was more sovereign, so to speak.

      Like

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