So PMQs is back, and everyone looks surprisingly happy and smiley. Clearly two-month-long summer holidays are good for people; maybe the Government should think about putting that in policy for the rest of us.
Anyway, it was the usual irrelevant back-and-forth (“He’s dithering!” “No, HE’S dithering!” “It’s behind you!” “I’m telling Mum!”, “Baaaaaa!”, and so on), watched by perhaps one-tenth of one per cent of the population in the vague hope that someone will break down crying or go entirely postal and start whaling on a Coalition colleague with their fists, in the same way everyone watches the Grand Prix in the unspoken hope of a crash. But at one point David Cameron said something interesting.
“I’ve got my first choice as Chancellor, he’s got his third choice,” said Dave. “Apparently he still fetches the coffee for him. Not very assertive and butch of the leader of the opposition, is it?”
A few thoughts there: one, is “butchness” an especially desirable quality in a politician? Or is it only for leaders of the opposition? Should we expect, for instance, under-secretaries of state to be faintly camp, while, say, the Chief Whip should be a muscle Mary? And is making coffee or otherwise a good indicator of one’s level of butchness? One wonders at the sexual politics in the Cameron household, as Dave veers desperately away from the cafetière each Sunday morning, eager to maintain his reputation as a stone rather than a sponge.
Also, and perhaps more seriously, this morning, when Dave’s commitment to equality in his Government is being questioned (rightly or wrongly), is implying that stereotyped masculinity is a prerequisite for political success really such a strong move?
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