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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Calm Down, Dear

If you haven't heard by now that David Cameron told Labour frontbencher Angela Eagle to 'calm down, dear,' when she argued with him in the House of Commons... well, you must be living under a rock.

Mr Cameron has elected not to apologise for his comments, and his Tory buddies think it was a joke, and he was 'mocking a popular TV advert.'  Presumably the really peeving Michael Winner advert which are condescending enough on their own.

The jeers and sneers from the rest of the Conservatives just add to the overall feeling of derision.  Interesting to note, though, if you watch a video of it, that you can see Ed Miliband having a good chuckle, whilst Nick Clegg sits next to Cameron without cracking a smile, looking distinctly uncomfortable.

They're talking about this on the Wright Stuff just now, and the overall feeling seems to be that Cameron was offensive, condescending, and patronising.  Natalie Pinkham pointed out that UK Parliament is hardly a women-friendly place anyway, with women being seriously outnumbered in the Commons, and under-represented in the Cabinet.  Having ridiculous remarks like this being fired at you across the House of Commons is another way of undermining women's authority, and, consequently implying that they have no business being there.

Ms Eagle herself had this to say:

"[Cameron has] done it before in the House of Commons,
especially when he's been on the back foot...
when you are the prime minister, that kind of behaviour to women members of the Commons isn't exactly what you'd like to see, is it?...It's kind of par for the course for me.
I expect him to do that. I've seen him do it before."

The fact that this behaviour from Cameron is not new and, in fact, seems to be quite common practice surely shows that this was not some pop culture reference/joke but in fact just another women-bashing remark founded on deep-rooted sexism.

As Harriet Harman said:

"Women in Britain in the 21st century do not expect to be told to
 'calm down dear' by their Prime Minister."

Ms Harman is one of the few women MPs who really stands up for, and champions, women's rights and equality.  Thus her ridiculous epithet, Harriet Har-person - nothing more than a way of undermining her and everything she stands for every time her very name is mentioned.

Politics in this country has a long, long way to go before we reach any kind of real equality and respect.  So if this story made you mad, or even uncomfortable- - get out there on 5th May and show it in your vote!

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