Describing her maternal feelings towards Prince Harry, (due to Dorries giving birth to a daughter in the same year Diana brought Harry into this world) she blasted (blasted!) Mensch's support for The Sun newspaper's decision to print the images everybody had already seen online. Using the Corby MP's Today interview as a jumping off point Dorries decided she had a couple of other things to get off her chest when it comes to Ms Mensch.
I am not disagreeing with Dorries, there are undoubtedly many MPs who are more ambitious for their own career than the greater good. Attention should be drawn to the motives of these politicians, whether it be from Dorries or the general public. However Dorries goes on to describe an event that particularly got up her nose regarding Mensch's behaviour. It is worth quoting Dorries in full.
“One of the most unprofessional and undignified comments ever heard in a select committee hearing was when Louise Mensch announced that she had to leave a crucial, televised hearing involving the Murdochs, in order to do the school run. As she left she schmoozed to James Murdoch, in the witness chair at the time, ‘I believe we have children the same age’. This was stomach turning for female MPs, who act in a professional manner in order not to be judged lacking against our male peers, knowing that hell would freeze over before any male MP would behave in the same way.”
So Mensch is both selfish and ambitious, a Cameroon and, worst of all, a mother.
OK, yes that is incredibly peculiar behaviour and I can only think of two reasons for it, assuming Mensch has friends, staff and a husband all of whom could have been asked to pick the kids up instead. One – the illegal drugs of her youth have taken such a toll she is no longer capable of functional scheduling. Two – much in the manner Clegg, Cameron and Milliband like to portray themselves (and no doubt they are) as active parents who put their children first – media savvy Mensch believed this could be a winning anecdote on Mumsnet et al.
I have mentioned before how on a panel of women politicians the MPs made it clear their children were their priority, not their incredibly competitive and demanding chosen career. It is often a tic of MPs to use the words 'women' and 'mums' interchangeably, as though those with birth control or shrivelled up ovaries don't have the vote. It is, therefore, understandable that Mensch might have believed this insistence on doing the school run a good strategy. Dorries herself is very quick to mention in her first paragraph that it is her maternal instincts causing her to feel so protective towards the 27 year old Prince.
Of course nobody would begrudge any professional woman who is also a parent and/or partner to want to spend time with her loved ones. It is just taken as a given that being professional you will balance these commitments in a professional manner.
Is Dorries contradicting herself, lauding her own motherly traits – perhaps highlighting how they have clouded her instincts with regard to Harry's naïve (I am being kind) behaviour, only to condemn Mensch's? The fact this blog comes but a month after Tory women wrote in the Guardian that Tory women make better feminists than the left is not particularly bolstering. When Edwina Currie is in the Daily Mail both busy assuring us that: “It’s not that I’m a feminist; far from it.” but also warning: “The chaps will make mincemeat of us if we don’t stand together.” You know we have huge problems in deciding what we want from our women in Parliament.
Mother MPs, or MPs who are also Mothers? MP who regularly votes, or MP who always has tea on the table by 7? I don't know about you, but I just want them to be good politicians.
You will be glad to know that self-confessed feminist Louise Mensch is more than capable of totally rising above all this: “Waking up to find self on the Nadine Dorries naughty step … which is a pity as I spend my entire time worrying about what she thinks. (ahem).”
Everybody Stop Moaning