Posts Tagged ‘Channel 4 News’

Cameron’s women problems

27/06/2012, 04:32:39 PM

Treasury minister Chloe Smith last night joined an exclusive club.

No it’s not the Bilderberg Group. Not much chance of an invitation there after her disastrous appearances on Channel Four News and later on Newsnight defending the government’s u-turn on fuel duty.

No she’s just been inducted into the ex-Next Big Things club. It’s a select intake of those of whom great things were expected.  But bad news travel fast in modern politics and Twitter was abuzz last night and this morning at the general awfulness of her career-limiting performances.

Of course an individual minister taking a caning in an interview is neither here nor there, but Chloe Smith’s case exposes a deeper problem for David Cameron.

In fact he has two big problems: both with women.

The first is the growing sense that the PM is a bit of a chauvinist. It’s revealed in small things like his silly put-down to Angela Eagle in the Commons (“calm down dear”) and probably not helped by leaving his daughter in the pub the other week.

These are relatively trivial offences, compared to the differential impact coalition cuts are having on women’s lives, wisely picked up early-on by Labour’s frontbench and now used to bring home the very real effects of the government’s programme to women voters bearing the brunt of unemployment, tax hikes and service cuts.

His second problem is closer to home. A government reshuffle is due soon. Unlike most other PM’s Cameron is said not to believe in regular changes, allowing ministers to get to know their briefs properly. A commendable enough sentiment, but the government is in need of fresh faces and to prune the less effective ministers.

In a bid to tackle his problem in communicating with women voters, the logical impulse is to promote more female political talent. But it’s not until you look down a list of government ministers that you realise just how few women there are.

The attendant problem is that the women ministers he currently has are among the least effective performers in the government.


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