What makes women happy

Fay Weldon’s book What Makes Women Happy was published in 2006. From the first page:

The brutal answer to what makes women happy is, ‘Nothing, not for more than ten minutes at a time.’

I was reminded of this sentence when I read a piece in today’s Times, ‘Family friendly hours blamed for loneliness of long-distance MPs’ – here. Given that the key demographic change since 1997 – the first year of the first Tony Blair administration, with Harridan Harman appointed as the first Minister for Women – has been the increased proportion of MPs who are female, I think we can reasonably assume that the ‘loneliness’ primarily concerns female MPs. Extracts from the article:

Scrapping late-night sittings and votes was supposed to make parliament more family friendly. Instead, the end of the culture of drinking and socialising has led to growing levels of loneliness among MPs…

Until 1999 the Commons sat from 2.30pm to 10pm from Monday to Thursday. Changes were made by the New Labour government to make the hours more family friendly, sitting earlier first on Thursdays, then Wednesdays and since 2012 also on Tuesdays. The Commons now only sits until 10pm on Mondays.

Anne Milton, the government chief whip, said, ‘It can be quite a lonely life. There has been a lot of discussion recently about that. People [translation – women] can be quite isolated. I think there was a natural camaraderie when the house did sit all night. Now if the business finishes at 7.30pm or 8pm on a Tuesday evening you go home to your flat, or you’re staying in a hotel, and you possibly don’t see anyone else, and you are aware that your family and your kids are a long way away.’

So parliament bent over backwards, scrapping centuries of tradition to accommodate the wishes of prospective female MPs, and still the women aren’t happy. Women want the prestige and income that flow from senior positions, without accepting with good grace the associated challenges, so the inevitable whining starts.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • epistemol

    ‘Cake’, ‘have’ and ‘eat it’ are four words that come to mind..

  • I think women are happiest when they can throw as many obstacles as possible in the way of men dating younger women than themselves. Even if that means lies.

  • rahsoft2015

    forgive me for asking this but……
    If the sittings finish at say around 8pm then it gives people time to get the train home at a reasonable time back to their loved ones ( catch all for family and friends).
    There is nothing to stop MPs from socializing in the bar( or elsewhere) afterwards with each other.

    I am guessing that the natural camaraderie came about because of the nature of the work and that everyone was supposed to be working together for the betterment of the nation. There is/was the necessary drive that is supposed to be part of the job.

    I have a newsflash for you, being an MP is supposed to be a tough job. It involves life changing decisions for a whole nation( and sometimes globally), its involves consequences(for which some of you are loathed to accept your responsibilities). It involves sacrifices(ask any military service personnel about the effects of being away from family and friends ).

    Mike, I honestly don’t see any indicators that we can assume its women MPs who are primarily concerned.

    However on the assumption that it is, I can only say this.

    if a woman MP is feeling lonely, then I cannot have much sympathy. You can only look to those who have created a culture of fear around women being victims of what ever the latest bogeyman is. Men(or indeed other women) will feel cautious around those who are new, single etc for fear of being accused of a kind of crime( take your pick) when attempting to befriend you simply for the fact of trying to act like an altruistic human being and colleague.

    Please remember Parliament is not a form of Day Care for you. Since many MPs have decided to justify their abusive behavior over pay and expenses by claiming to be in some sort of self employment( with incredible perks) then we are not responsible for your social life/ well being.

    How about living up to my old London school motto, whilst being an MP …….”Service not self”