Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The fall of the house of Ussher

The MP for Burnley, one Kitty Ussher (whose name provides ample excuse for the excruciating pun above) writes a rather bewildering piece in the Guardian today, where she seems to be defending Tessa Jowell from financial irregularity on the grounds that Ussher's husband looks after the children except on Sundays when he watches football.

There are Private Eye columns by Polly Filler that have a more obvious causal relationship than this. For the benefit of Ms Ussher and other confused Members of Parliament, there is no real correlation between childcare and money laundering (except in the sense of the little sods dropping your wallet in the loo). That you and your husband agree on childcare does not make it unexceptional that Tessa Jowell has a relationship with her husband that is so peculiar that financial decisions that have the potential to bankrupt and/or make homeless both Jowell and husband are apprently nodded through without any discussion whatsoever.

Regardless of the fact that I find it very hard to understand quite what it is that she is supposed to have done wrong, the fact that the Daily Mail in particular has attacked her with ridiculous and patronising headlines like "How much more is she able to take?" is reason enough to leap to her defence, and many of our new women MPs spontaneously decided to do so. Would they have written that about a man? I think not.

This is the Daily Mail. Not notably reticent in attacking Blunkett, Mandelson, Hughes and so on. The primary linking feature is not gender but politics. Also, "many of our new women MPs spontaneously decided to do so"? Like the spontaneous demonstrations of support for Robert Mugabe?

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