Liz Hoggard: We're all 'second division' sometimes

Yvette Cooper is a bit of ahead girl swot. But she was pushed too far

Share
Related Topics

Oh poor Yvette Cooper – caught out scribbling teenage, insurrectionist remarks on her school jotter. The Work and Pensions Secretary betrayed a rare moment of vulnerability when a jocular note to a colleague at the weekend was made public. After admitting to finding a press conference filled with only "second division" journalists, she wrote acerbically: "Presumably that's why we're allowed to do this?'

Clearly it was a gaffe by Cooper and fellow minister Liam Byrne, who was sitting next to her (the Schools Secretary continued the fun by admitting it was "sort of like being allowed to play in the sand pit"). You're a fool if you think you can keep anything secret in a world of long lens cameras and high-definition TV. But isn't Cooper just voicing what many of us have felt?

Dear God, it's not hard to feel a little "second division" at work. How many times have I been put out to graze when some young high-flyer gets the interesting gig? No one in management is vulgar enough to say you're not needed at the moment. It's just the lines of communication go ominously quiet. You see funnier, better-looking colleagues exiting from head office, clutching fascinating projects.

When you offer to follow up a lead, nervous looks are exchanged. "I think Zac's got that under control," they suggest. Meanwhile, Hermione (gorgeous, 23, Oxbridge) is booking the trip to New York that you'd rather got your eye on. "We need someone with a bit more of a public profile," the head of human resources says smoothly. You go back to opening the post, trying not to plot dangerous revenge. You just know the email fired off in anger will come back to haunt you.

Cooper is frankly a bit of a head girl swot (three children and a minsterial post before the age of 40). Married to Gordon's right-hand man, she's tipped as a future PM in her own right. It's been hard to warm to her. But clearly this time she was pushed too far. No one likes being sidelined during a general election campaign. Especially when Gordon and Sarah get all the fun in Morrisons.

I know we should maintain a stiff upper lip when we're sidelined in the sandpit. They'll wheel us out again soon enough when they're short-staffed. Plus, anger is very ageing. Maybe Botox is the solution after all. According to a new study it doesn't just hold back the wrinkles, it stops you realising the full-scale of the humiliation. After the injections, volunteers in the study took significantly longer to grasp and react to negative concepts such as being ignored on their birthday or being interrupted during dinner. Presumably that's a bad thing – we don't experience the full range of emotions – but it sounds great to me.

We second divisioners (the J Alfred Prufrocks of the filing cupboard) need all the help we can get. No doubt Cooper will be persona non grata for a few days (she was scribbling during her husband's speech, after all), but I, for one, am charmed. In a world of robotic perfection and political non-speak, frankly the more human our politicians appear the better.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: a duchess by any other name is just wrong

Guy Keleny
A teenage girl uses her smartphone in bed.  

Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb

Janet Street-Porter
Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US