Thursday, November 10, 2005

Who cares if Cameron goes commando?

The Conservative Women Organisation recently hosted the two Conservative leadership contenders to a debate. Among the issues raised was the party's failure to engage with women. During the last General Elections, its share of the women vote declined. The women also complained that when they presented the party with suggestions for the manifesto, these were dismissed out of hand. They made the case for all-women shortlists, but neither David Davis nor David Cameron were buying. That aside, both contenders pledged to take all measures short of all-women shortlists to give women a voice in the party. This is all very good, but I must say something here. A short while before that meeting, both men had been interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour. The sort of questions put to them in that programme were nothing short of disgraceful. Women want to be taken seriously, so why on earth did this desire not manifest itself in the choice of questions for the candidate? One of the questions put to the contenders related to their taste in women (Davis apparently prefers blondes, but Cameron wisely refused to answer). Davis has now been condemned for his 'sexist' response, but why put the question to him in the first place? Another question related to their choice of underwear (Cameron refers boxers, and Davis, briefs). There was also a question about choice of alcoholic beverage. Heavens! If those are the sort of questions a leading women's programme comes up with when given an opportunity to address the future leader of the Opposition, does anyone wonder why women don't appear to be taken seriously? Can you imagine the uproar if a male party member asked a female prospective Parliamentary candidate about her preferred choice of underwear? Get a grip, ladies.
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