So, this morning’s news is ‘it’s Samantha (Cameron) versus Sarah (Brown)’: the new election strategy is to involve the party leaders’ wives.
This whole ‘first lady’ thing is hideous, like a throwback to some age we’d hoped was over when women were automatically just men’s appendages, helpmeets and decorative trophies. Though in other ways it’s very modern: a symptom of the celebrity culture which politics now inhabits just as much as football or pop music.
Possibly the reason the campaign managers are encouraging it is partly because they think female voters are turned off by all the men in suits and would appreciate some kind of female presence in the campaign. And maybe that’s true. But who says that what women voters really want to hear is the WAGS of male politicians telling us how great their husbands are? Is this what the suffragettes chained themselves to the railings for–so we could vote for the man with the most adoring, most personable wife?
Then again, when a woman does get some press because she is herself a political candidate, it’s quite likely she will be newsworthy for the wrong reasons–perhaps she will be someone of the ilk of Anna Arrowsmith, the Lib Dem candidate who used to be a porn director. Cue saucy innuendos from the tabloids and a thundering sermon from Ann Widdecombe.
Anyone else out there thinking of taking to their bed and hiding under the covers until this celebrified, testosterone-driven electoral contest is over?