Nicola Sturgeon spoke for the first time about the “painful experience” of having a miscarriage today, revealing that she lost a baby in 2011 shortly before the Scottish parliamentary election period. “Sometimes… having a baby just doesn’t happen – no matter how much we might want it to,” she said, echoing the words of Theresa May earlier this year, who said of her and husband Philip May’s struggle to conceive that “sometimes things you wish had happened don’t… but you accept the hand that life deals you”.
Today also saw the Sunday Times publish a sidebar of “childless politicians” for everyone’s information, which included Ms May, Angela Merkel, Angela Eagle, Ruth Davidson, Natalie Bennett and Justine Greening. They did it beside a story about Sturgeon’s miscarriage, so probably it was a really nicely thought-out thing intended to make her feel better. Solidarity in numbers, right, ladies?
Sidebars of shame are usually the Daily Mail’s thing, but it’s good to see that the Sunday Times is muscling in on some of that action – because shaming women is a big job concerning half of the entire world’s population, so one newspaper can hardly be expected to answer that calling alone. And when you start down that noble road, you uncover all sorts of interesting facts. For instance, who knew that every single childless politician was a woman? One whole list and not a single man included. That can only mean there aren’t any men in politics who haven’t procreated. It can’t possibly mean anything else.
I suppose that’s why Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith said, “I’m normal – I’ve got a wife and three children” recently when he was pitting himself against Angela Eagle, signposting her as gay and childless because it’s very important to have an opposite sex partner and some kids if you’re going to run the country. Who’s going to understand what to do with education and schooling if they don’t have children, after all? It’s not like all humans have been children, is it? Childhood is something bestowed on only the most exceptional of us. If you happen to be closely related to somebody who is a child, it gives you a clear political advantage that most of us could only dream of.
Owen Smith knew that men are only considered “normal” if they have children, which is why he announced his normality. If people thought he was a bit offbeat or lacking in natural paternal urges then it could have really harmed his chances of becoming Labour leader. That’s why there are zero male politicians to include in any list of childlessness – they daren’t even think about not becoming fathers, even if they have a niggling feeling they don’t actually want a legion of snot-nosed brats draining their salaries out of them, one overpriced piece of Peppa Pig merchandise at a time. The national interest in the potency of our male politicians’ sperm remains at an all-time high.
The 6 most important issues Theresa May needs to address
The 6 most important issues Theresa May needs to address
The big one. Theresa May has spoken publicly three times since declaring her intent to stand in the Tory Leadership race, and each time she has said, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ It sounds resolute, but it is helpful to her that Brexit is a made up word with no real meaning. She has said there will be ‘no second referendum’ and no re-entry in to the EU via the back door. But she, like the Leave campaign of which she was not a member, has pointedly not said with any precision what she thinks Brexit means
2/6 General election
This is very much one to keep off the to do list. She said last week there would be ‘no general election’ at this time of great instability. But there have already been calls for one from opposition parties. The Fixed Term Parliaments Act of 2010 makes it far more difficult to call a snap general election, a difficulty she will be in no rush to overcome. In the event of a victory for Leadsom, who was not popular with her own parliamentary colleagues, an election might have been required, but May has the overwhelming backing of the parliamentary party
Macbeth has been quoted far too much in recent weeks, but it will be up to May to decide whether, with regard to the new high speed train link between London, Birmingham, the East Midlands and the north, ‘returning were as tedious as go o’er.’ Billions have already been spent. But the £55bn it will cost, at a bare minimum, must now be considered against the grim reality of significantly diminished public finances in the short to medium term at least. It is not scheduled to be completed until 2033, by which point it is not completely unreasonable to imagine a massive, driverless car-led transport revolution having rendered it redundant
4/6 Heathrow expansion
Or indeed Gatwick expansion. Or Boris Island, though that option is seems as finished as the man himself. The decision on where to expand aviation capacity in the south east has been delayed to the point of becoming a national embarrassment. A final decision was due in autumn. Whatever is decided, there will be vast opprobrium
5/6 Trident renewal
David Cameron indicated two days ago that there will be a Commons vote on renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent on July 18th, by which point we now know, Ms May will be Prime Minister. The Labour Party is, to put it mildly, divided on the issue. This will be an early opportunity to maximise their embarrassment, and return to Tory business as usual
6/6 Scottish Independence
Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are in no doubt that the Brexit vote provides the opportunity for a second independence referendum, in which they can emerge victorious. The Scottish Parliament at Holyrood has the authority to call a second referendum, but Ms May and the British Parliament are by no means automatically compelled to accept the result. She could argue it was settled in 2014
Meanwhile, women swan into jobs like prime minister without anyone so much as mentioning that they haven’t used their wombs as God sees fit. It’s not like the Tory leadership contest prompted by David Cameron’s resignation was marred by Andrea Leadsom claiming she was more qualified to lead the country because she “has a very real stake in the nation’s future”, after all. If that had happened, maybe all those moaning feminazis who claim society is unfairly biased against women might have a point.
Sidebars like the one put out by the Sunday Times help to redress the balance, and make us focus in on what’s really important in politics. While everyone else concerns themselves with useless, point-scoring, headline-happy noise – “When’s Brexit going to happen?”, “Are we headed for another global economic downturn?”, “How can we solve the refugee crisis?”, “How will Italy rebuild and recover after the death and destruction wreaked by its most recent earthquake?”, “Will Angela Merkel be displaced by an Islamophobic movement in Germany?” – the ST cuts a lone figure, standing strong in the face of all that hopelessly myopic commentary, crying out: “Will somebody please think of the children?”Reuse content