The denigration of the youth and women in politics

I got the time today to watch back some of the Sky News and BBC coverage of the count of the Norwich North by-election on Sky+. What astonished me was that when Chloe Smith turned up to the count, they commented very precisely on the colour of her top.

Would they have dreamt about doing so in such detail if she were a man ? Of course not. it is bad enough that it is suggested that she is too young to be an MP, but with the press seeking to make comments about what she is wearing it surely makes us all realise how much harder it is for women to get in to politics and be taken seriously.

On teatime I was travelling to my old political stamping ground in North Norfolk with Radio 5 live on and was amazed to hear so many comments being read out about Chloe Smith that were concentrating almost exclusively on her age. Now I didn't vote for her (quite evidently), but was disgusted by the implication that at 27 she should be nowhere near parliament. I pulled over and texted this response to the presenters.

"I am a Lib Dem voter and activist in Norwich North and have was involved in the election and was at the count today. I don't consider Chloe Smith's age to be a problem. It is policy and judgement that matter and she should be judged on these, not her age. Perhaps if more young people were interested in politics we might not be wedded as a country to so many outdated principles and rules that don't serve the modern world"

I hope Chloe Smith does a good job, but I don't believe she would do any better job if she was 47 rather than 27, indeed given the energy required to be a decent constituency MP (and I have seen how much energy it requires at close hand in North Norfolk), the fact that Chloe Smith does not possess a bus pass is surely an advantage ?


James Higham said...

Then again, Nich, women do wear more exciting things than suited men and they're prettier.

Anonymous said...

Sort of right here Nich.

I didn't vote for Chloe, though usually a Conservative supporter, not because of her age but because she has no life experience (a theme I believe Ms Pond went strongly on). If she had been a public sector worker or in a wealth-creating position it may have been different.

But a "big 4" firm and then the Tory Party?

I care very much about the previous profession of my MP but Chloe Smith is very much a professional politican.

I am not against her because she is 27 but because she has (yet) to achieve anything real.

Benji said...

Winning a key by-election is something I'd regard as an achievement.

The current Parliament has disgraced itself completely. The more new members the better.

Anonymous said...

But didn't the Lib Dems attack her age ?

Stan said...

Age is an issue to some, but mainly the old who think they ahve a divine right to rule. It's about control and about maintaining the status quo.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Anon - The Lib Dems questioned her experience in terms of having a real job outside of the Westminster bubble. This was an issue for some, but not one I lingered on except to say that they Tories obviously felt it was an issue as they tried to hide her Westmisnter links.

Anonymous said...

And the denigration of men and boys by female politicians, of course - as in violence against women and girls is unacceptable under any circumstances, but men and boys... stuff 'em.

pigsinspace said...

Pitt the Younger was PM at 24, so Chloe is knocking on a bit.

Bernie Gudgeon said...

According to the front page of yesterday’s Times, men prefer to marry beautiful women, whilst women are prepared to marry dogs – always providing Fido has pots of money. It’s a genetics thing, apparently. Is it any wonder people focussed on Chloe’s top: the men were simply ascertaining her attractiveness; the women gauging their competition.