Our thanks to Martin Scherer for this:
My path crossed Harman’s when I was the SDP’s Peckham organiser, so I know at least that part of Harman’s autobiography is ‘conveniently’ written.
We knew the sitting Labour MP was terminally ill, so we faced a by-election. However, Harman seemed totally ignorant even though she had already been selected to replace him. Instead, Harman decided to get pregnant (her words) and go to France on holiday.
We also knew Harman was unmarried pregnant and yes we considered using that in the campaign but that was the dirty tactic of Labour’s left, which Harman also describes in her book, and the very reason the SDP had parted from Labour. So, we didn’t.
We also didn’t because that was the 1980’s, not the 1950’s. Peckham had thousands of unmarried mothers and shot-gun marriages. Attacking Harman for being the same as many voters would merely boost her vote. So again, we kept off the topic.
Before the campai gn proper started, Harman decided to save her blushes at being called an unmarried mother – in ‘labour’ for labour. Harman and Dromey married discretely. No in-laws, no celebration. Again her description.
Don’t feel sorry for Jack Dromey. My experience of him was a bully with short man syndrome who threatened me at the count for forcing his marriage to Ms Harman. In her acceptance speech, Harman attacked the SDP for a sin of which she was guilty, but the SDP had kept quiet.
Of the three candidates, Taverne (SDP) Redwood (Cons) and Harman, I judged Harma n had the greatest opportunity to progress. Having won a ‘safe seat’, a stone’s throw from Parliament, Harman was well qualified – a solicitor – and very attractive. Like it or not, good looks are an asset in politics. Maybe she would become another Barbara Castle? Maybe even Labours 1st. female PM?
As labour’s old guard died off or retired, Harman rose like flotsam through the party ranks all the way to the top. However, Harman never took one of the great offices of state. Why?
Harman tells us in her biography. Once elected, she considered her job to be fighting for women’s rights, justice, and defeating Thatcher. That’s not the role of an MP, who is bound to serve the people – all of them. Not just half of them. What would she do when women’s rights were achieved, when Thatcher inevitable resigned?
Labour has always been in the clutches of the far left. The nasty left. Thrown out by Kinnock, a very brave politician, the nasty left re-emerged after Blair. I may not vote for Labour, even Blair, but without an effective decent opposition, democracy does not work. Whatever your view at the time, look at the disaster that Iraq became and Brexit could.
Just as the Conservatives always need someone to save them from naked, exploitative, capitalism, Labour always needs someone to provide strong rational leadership, to save Labour from the negative politics of opposition for opposition’s sake, from the ugly politics of envy. When disaster looms, that’s what men do. As Kinnock did. Take charge of the helm even when they fear there is no hope. Risk their careers, their lives, save the women and children first. In these equal days, why not a woman? Why not Harman? A woman who asserted women were just as capable as men and the job of political leader requires no great physical strength.
Harman could have stepped into role. Harman was made party leader, not once but twice. Each time refused to be any more than a caretaker until a man came along to risk his head above the trenches.
Why? Ms Harman, could have been Labour’s Thatcher, Israel’s Golda Meir, Germany’s Angela Merkel. Why not?
Again Harman’s biography tells us. It was always someone else’s fault. Another pregnancy. The truth is Harman’s glass ceiling was self-imposed as it is with most feminists. Harman’s autobiography is appropriately titled ‘A woman’s Work’
Don’t feel sorry for Jack Dromey. A Labour leftie, who screamed the politics of envy whilst living very comfortably on the backs of workers, as Labour’s Bessie Braddock put it. He also took a safe comfortable job at the tax-payer’s expense. MP for Birmingham constituency, Dromey has survived many scandals. Cash for peerages, illegal political donations, and failure to declare income. Dromey and Harman live in leafy Suffolk.
Politicians are always self-serving. Feminism is a social class politics. Feminists are self-serving politicians.