Caitlin Moran, Moranifesto: 'Fun and fury as politics becomes personal', book review

As Caitlin Moran's career progressed her political consciousness increased and yet still she felt she didn’t have sufficient education or knowledge to state her views publicly

Fiona Sturges
Sunday 06 March 2016 17:26
Comments

In the early stages of her career as a journalist, Caitlin Moran assumed she’d never write about politics. It was, she thought, a subject for grown-ups, specifically for serious, adult men.

As her career progressed her political consciousness increased and yet still she felt she didn’t have sufficient education or knowledge to state her views publicly – “I would be shamed for writing something foolish, or ignorant, or which didn’t go into huge details about the Whig government of 1715.”

But after the huge success of her 2011 book, How To Be A Woman, written to assuage the panic that her daughters would “have to deal with all the same crushing, debilitating, time-wasting, unjoyous bullshit that I’d had to deal with when I was their age”, she realised that she did indeed have a political voice, and it was one that people wanted to hear.

Moranifesto is her second collection of writing (the last was 2012’s Moranthology) drawing on her increasingly politically charged columns for The Times, alongside new essays about the state of the world.

To be clear, you won’t find dry diatribes on the machinations of Westminster here – not least because Moran isn’t capable of writing dryly about anything.

Instead she assumes the role of both amused and distressed bystander, tackling the London housing crisis, the blitheness of the ruling classes, the Bedroom Tax, the Channel 4 series Benefits Street, online misogyny, sexual assault, FGM, abortion, cystitis, libraries, migration, adolescence, bacon, and why she has given up wearing high heels (“I’m tired of being scared of stairs”).

Here, as with How To Be a Woman, the joy of Moran’s writing lies in how she combines thoughtfulness and intelligence with proper belly laughs.

For her the personal is political and, like the finest columnists, she articulates what her readers have probably considered, but not entirely comprehended.

Often based on personal experience, her observations are heartfelt, sometimes filled with sadness but just as often bursting with joy.

Moran is rarely one to write in anger – “I find anger, in the main, a fairly useless tool to bring to communicating,” she says – but she makes an exception in her piece on Mick Philpott, the father of 17 who set fire to his house in order to frame his mistress for arson, and accidentally killed six of his children. Moran’s rage is directed at the journalists and headline writers who focused not on the fatal stupidity of Philpott’s actions but that he was on welfare.

“If people who had spent years without employment were more likely to burn six children alive,” observes Moran, wearily “then every pensioner in Britain would be a ticking time bomb – likewise every stay-at-home mother, and carefree man-about Mayfair with a private income.”

Her fury is evident but so, as ever, is her clear-sightedness. It’s this clarity about how the world can be improved, how we can all be better at life, that lies at the heart of Moran’s writing. She may be funny, but she’s also right.

Moranifesto, by Caitlin Moran. Ebury £20

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in