Women voters angry: Watch out, Mr PM

How important are women’s votes? This is something that British Prime Minister David Cameron is beginning to find out to his cost, as women voters (according to recent polls) have begun to desert him. Fortunately for him elections are not round the corner or he might find himself in hot water! In fact, older women voters are even more disenchanted by Mr Cameron. Among those over 55 years old, 48 per cent are said to be wary of him as compared to only 27 per cent in the same age group last year. But even younger women are turning their backs to him and despite his attempts to laugh it off, the gap appears to be growing.

Many are upset because the government’s economic policies have impacted women directly. As surveys indicate, growing unemployment has meant that women are usually the first to be handed pink slips. Women are also said to be annoyed because budgetary cuts have led to the disappearance of some of the services they depend on to bring up children, leaving them with far fewer resources than they had in the past. After all, here child careers depend heavily on social services such as creches and play schools, and there is little affordable domestic help. And women are also upset because, even though Mr Cameron has adopted the style and panache of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, he has not been able to include as many women as he should have in his Cabinet. All of this has created an irate bunch of women in Britain expressing their anger on Mr Cameron, quite openly on the Internet and elsewhere. This is, of course, a surprising outcome because Mr Cameron’s wife, Samantha Cameron, is a busy mother who also works hard at designing handbags for the upper crust, highly expensive Smythson brand. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, the Spanish wife of deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, is a high-profile lawyer, as well. Both the women expertly juggle family and work. Yet they have apparently been unable to persuade their husbands on how to win women votes. It’s inexplicable!
I was even more puzzled when I met the beautiful Ms Durantez at a charity fundraiser. I asked her how she manages with three children (all boys)? She admitted that she does get a lot of help from her family. A full time professional, she often wakes up at 5.30 am to get through the household chores before leaving for office. She is also supposed to be a really hard taskmaster, getting her husband to do the school run whenever possible. Significantly, her husband, too, prefers not to work too late and takes his weekends off whenever possible.
All of this fits in perfectly with the image of the metrosexual men the Prime Minister and his deputy obviously aspire to become… Yet, in these difficult times, when they should be desperately designing women-friendly policies, they are failing to do so. This has left women voters wondering if they have actually got old-fashioned Tories at the helm. And while Mr Cameron’s personal popularity is sinking, it is declining even more rapidly amongst the women voters.
Perhaps it is only a matter of time before the women, too, will “occupy” part of the city in protests, just as already over 200 tents have popped up near the St Paul’s Cathedral in the Occupy London Stock Exchange movement. Very much like the Occupy Wall Street protest, which has spread like a virus all over the developed world, this anti-capitalist movement in Britain is raising a peaceful rebellion against the worshippers of mammon.
While the protesters in London have settled in for at least a few weeks, with well-organised portaloos and a media centre as well, these street marches and instant satyagrahas seem to have become the order of the day. More “protests” are planned in November and the police department, too, has quietly acquiesced.

However, at a time when protests are de rigueur, it was interesting to see a brilliant play at the West End about a rebellious, wild, eccentric (acted by Mark Rylance) who decides to live in his caravan in a verdant British forest and resist being evicted by the local council. The play Jerusalem, written by Jez Butterworth, captures so much of contemporary Britain, which is both wonderful and dangerous, while mocking stereotypes. But as this country struggles to find the right balance between the rights of citizens and freedom, capitalism and socialism, war and peace I found the hymn Jerusalem, based on William Blake’s poem (and from which the play takes its title), a poignant reminder of the turmoil in Britain and the hope behind it:

Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spear: O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Given the protests and anger all around one wonders when that wish will be fulfilled?

The writer can be contacted at kishwardesai@yahoo.com

Post new comment

<form action="/comment/reply/103038" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="post" id="comment-form"> <div><div class="form-item" id="edit-name-wrapper"> <label for="edit-name">Your name: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="60" name="name" id="edit-name" size="30" value="Reader" class="form-text required" /> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-mail-wrapper"> <label for="edit-mail">E-Mail Address: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="64" name="mail" id="edit-mail" size="30" value="" class="form-text required" /> <div class="description">The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.</div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-comment-wrapper"> <label for="edit-comment">Comment: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <textarea cols="60" rows="15" name="comment" id="edit-comment" class="form-textarea resizable required"></textarea> </div> <fieldset class=" collapsible collapsed"><legend>Input format</legend><div class="form-item" id="edit-format-1-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-1"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-1" name="format" value="1" class="form-radio" /> Filtered HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Allowed HTML tags: &lt;a&gt; &lt;em&gt; &lt;strong&gt; &lt;cite&gt; &lt;code&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;ol&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;dl&gt; &lt;dt&gt; &lt;dd&gt;</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-format-2-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-2"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-2" name="format" value="2" checked="checked" class="form-radio" /> Full HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> </fieldset> <input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" id="form-f5e5cb884409d6e5d0ba5a59591162cb" value="form-f5e5cb884409d6e5d0ba5a59591162cb" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" id="edit-comment-form" value="comment_form" /> <fieldset class="captcha"><legend>CAPTCHA</legend><div class="description">This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.</div><input type="hidden" name="captcha_sid" id="edit-captcha-sid" value="82346508" /> <input type="hidden" name="captcha_response" id="edit-captcha-response" value="NLPCaptcha" /> <div class="form-item"> <div id="nlpcaptcha_ajax_api_container"><script type="text/javascript"> var NLPOptions = {key:'c4823cf77a2526b0fba265e2af75c1b5'};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://call.nlpcaptcha.in/js/captcha.js" ></script></div> </div> </fieldset> <span class="btn-left"><span class="btn-right"><input type="submit" name="op" id="edit-submit" value="Save" class="form-submit" /></span></span> </div></form>

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.