Two nights ago I was at a ‘husting’ with other candidates in the Ashfield constituency, at a church hall (capacity audience, 200+ people) in Sutton in Ashfield. The incumbent Labour MP, Gloria De Piero – 192 vote majority in 2010, have I mentioned that before? – feigned pleasure at meeting me, and I did likewise. She was a presenter for Sky before being selected from an all-women shortlist in Ashfield, so smiling at people she presumably loathes must come naturally to her.
The chairman was very professional, although his ‘random number generator’ had let to the two women among the five candidates being drawn #1 and #2 to speak. What are the chances? Seriously, please let me know. I’m a bit pushed for time right now.
In the second row in the audience were two middle-aged women who nodded vigorously at everything GDP said, so I think we can safely assume they were her supporters. During my five-minute-long initial speech they interrupted constantly, and cackled – both could be cast perfectly as witches in Macbeth – in contravention of what the chairman had requested, that the speakers not be interrupted.
During the interval I went up to one of the women, and asked if she hadn’t heard the chairman’s request about not interrupting speakers. Her doleful response was worthy of a six-year-old, after having been caught misbehaving:
I wasn’t the only one!
Two candidates had forbidden video recording, but the (lady) vicar kindly allowed speakers to audio record their own speeches – one of five minutes duration, one of two minutes. When I get a little free time I’ll upload the audio files or the transcripts.
As well as the candidates’ speeches there were questions from the audience, and this leads me into the key point of this post, misrepresentation by Labour party canvassers of what I’d said that night. In the last two weeks we’ve concentrated our door-to-door leafleting in Sutton in Ashfield, the largest centre of population in the Ashfield constituency. Tim and Jon have been particularly helpful with this tiring task, with which I’ll be engaged for seven out of the next eight days. If you can help, please email me [email protected]
Last night I received an email from a lady who lives in Sutton in Ashfield, Ann Smith. While I’d obviously challenge some of the content of the final paragraph, and would appreciate a discussion with her about equity feminism (we have no problem with it) and gender feminism (the cause of so much of men’s and boys’ suffering) we reproduce her email here in full, with her kind permission:
I am a stay at home mother with a partner and 2 children, and I have displayed one of your campaign posters in my window. I have just had the Sutton in Ashfield Labour leaflet brigade (all female) bang on my door and aggressively shout me down for supporting you.
They basically demanded to know why I was supporting a man who said just last night that “women and girls shouldn’t have access to the NHS or universities as women are taking places away from men” and someone said that “women shouldn’t be able to hold senior positions in companies”.
Now having actually read your election manifesto, objectively, without engaging my feminist victim complex, I know this is bunkum.
I pointed out the fact that the reason more women don’t hold senior positions is because they don’t want them. There has been a resurgence in recent years of women choosing to stay at home and be wives and mothers. Maybe that’s because for the most part feminism has lied to masses of women about having it all, when that is in fact physically and biologically impossible.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-feminist and would regard myself as a feminist. But I hold the beliefs of actual feminism. Not female superiority. A real feminist should never stand for making women the dominant sex, that is not only ridiculous, but extremely naive. A real feminist actually fights for not only the rights and dignity of her own sex, but also for the rights and dignity of the opposite sex. And I believe that this is the kind of feminism you want to protect as well.
Ann Smith, we salute you. If you let me know your address, it would be good to pop by for a cup of tea and a biscuit. I’d like to thank you in person for your courageous email.