Socialist Worker

Cameron, the IMF and the army celebrate International Women's Day

Issue No. 2444

IMF head Christine Lagarde

IMF head Christine Lagarde (Pic: MEDEF)

International Women’s Day was a chance to celebrate—or patronise, depending on your view—women’s achievements.

The day was originally conceived by working class women who wanted to fight for radical changes in society.

Unsurprisingly, the bosses and the rich see it somewhat differently.

The head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde issued a video message to celebrate pushing an “equality through austerity” agenda. Prime minister David Cameron tweeted about women who inspired him.

Nike launched the Air Max 1 Women’s City Collection. Various brand ambassadors said stuff to sell stuff. 

The Independent newspaper marked the day with a special supplement apparently filled with inspiring women. 

It included RAF reservist flying officer Lesley Woods. Her job is to make the army look good in the media. For Lesley there is a “kindness, courage, compassion and camaraderie that is unique to women in the armed forces”. 

Meanwhile reservist lieutenant colonel Patricia Cook explained that it was “exciting” going to Iraq in 2004.

Many other firms used International Women’s Day on Sunday to promote themselves. But some couldn’t be bothered to get the details right.

As the National Grid put it, “This Saturday is International Women’s Day.”

It got Simon Langley to explain why gender imbalance within business was such an important issue. Simon asks, “Why would any business knowingly exclude a group which is capable of producing the next innovative idea that could potentially be worth millions of pounds?” Quite.

If this wasn’t enough, the Metropolitan Police were holding a See How Far We Have Come event to “Showcase Female Excellence in the Metropolitan Police Service”.

Multi-millionaire Tony Blair has found a use for a bit of his cash.

He’s given £106,000 to Labour’s general election campaign.

The news was reported as a sign that Blair has “confidence” in Labour leader Ed Miliband. 

Three candidates have turned down the cash. So far.

£21,000 for Tory to get valuable insght

Tory whip Mark Lancaster has come up with a great excuse for his second job.

The minister took a £21,000 a year second job with Palmer Capital Partners, a London investment firm, for 18 months.

Apparently this was nothing to do with being unable to get by on his MPs’ salary– plus expenses.

No, it was to get “a valuable insight into the world of investment”.

It seems we may have no MPs left after May’s general election. 

The parliamentary watchdog Ipsa has said MPs will no longer be able to claim expenses for things such as dinners or TV licenses after 8 May.

Disgraced Tory MP Malcolm Rifkind recently said MPs wouldn’t do the job if they couldn’t claim expenses.

But on the other hand, MPs will see their salaries rise to £74,000. 

And the budget for staff and office costs for MPs will rise, so perhaps we’ll be stuck with some of them.

Cost is no limit to Royal protection 

Women who have suffered abuse get startlingly little help in terms of resources and support from the state. If only they were rich royals!

Cops are monitoring 220 stalkers who “could” pose a threat to Kate Middleton. 

A “fixated threat assessment centre” is also pouring resources into monitoring online sources for “potential threats”. Former head of royal protection for the Metropolitan Police Dai Davies said, “Prevention is one of the key areas.”

Shame that doesn’t apply when it comes to protecting ordinary women.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London has launched a competition to find a dog to meet the queen. The chief royal scrounger is due to visit later this month.

Battersea boss Claire Horton said, “What dog owner wouldn’t want their pet to see the queen?”


Terrorism 101 on Palestine

Children’s work which refers to Palestinians as “terrorists” has been withdrawn by a council.

Eleven year olds at a primary school in Motherwell, Scotland, were issued worksheets that said, “Palestinians feel they have the RIGHT to use terrorism against Israelis.”

It then asked the pupils  to “describe two examples of Palestinian terrorist activities”.


Tory MP Crispin Blunt

  • The flights and a hotel for a trip to learn about Jordan were paid for by foreign exchange firm Kamal Exchange Company (KEC) 
  • Within weeks of his return to Britain, he had landed a £1,250 a day second job—as an adviser to KEC
  • He has two other jobs on top of his £67,000 MP’s salary

Was Crufts killing a hate crime?

The press made much of the murder at Crufts last weekend. While a shortage of leads encouraged puns, the media needs to take responsibility for its words and the actions they encourage.

In the run-up to the canine eugenics competition the Daily Telegraph claimed, “There’s a foreign invasion going on at Crufts”. 

It added that people thought “foreign pooches are winning a disproportionate number of the top prizes.”

The Daily Mail joined in and explained, “Foreigners benefit from more experience using hairspray”. The Independent asked “Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?”

Now an Irish Setter who lived in Belgium lies dead.

The Things They Say...

‘I feel a little bit awkward if I’m honest’

Labour’s Chuka Umunna on apparently being a sex symbol

‘You keep it real’

Umunna backs selfies

‘That is a fact of life’

Ukip leader Nigel Farage on women earning less than men after having a child

‘Women-friendly policies’

The heading on the sheet Farage took to the interview—but perhaps didn’t read

‘The terrifying prospect of the Scots ruling England is now all too real’

The Daily Mail gets panicky

‘Why the rich love property’

An enlightening pullout from The Times

‘I think people have got a right to see the people putting themselves forward as our next prime minister and to see the choice’

Prime Minister David Cameron spelling out his support for TV debates in 2010

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 10 Mar 2015, 16:47 GMT
Issue No. 2444
Share this article

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.