Monday, 4 May 2009

Brown - his femine side.

Ben Brogan, (once of the Herald parish) is blogging from his new berth at the Telegraph on how a Cabinet Minister tells him: "Downing Street? It’s like one big homo-erotic gang-bang these days."

Before you rush over to his blog for salacious details the point Mr Brogan is making is that Brown’s Downing Street looks like a male cabal, completely out of touch with the nation and its own party. Jackie Ashley takes up the same theme in a doom-laden piece for the Guardian, talking about the "old mates" circle that surrounds Brown - McBride, Watson, Wheelan and Balls.

Given that he won’t step out in front of a London bendybus coming down Whitehall, how would Mr Brown rid himself of this idea that his Downing Street is macho cabal bonding over football and blind to any political nuance?

One move might be to copy the example of the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, when it comes to that inevitable summer re-shuffle.

Mr Zapatero, a self-declared feminist, made equal rights a centrepiece of his first term in office, passing a law making it compulsory for electoral lists and even company boards to be composed of at least 40 per cent women.

In his second term, which started last year, he appointed more women than men to the cabinet. Shortly afterwards I was in Majorca and reading the newspapers over several days, well looking at the pictures, it appeared that Zapatero never seemed to move unless flanked by not one, but two female members of his cabinet.

Every picture sent the message that women mattered in the cabinet and in politics. I suspect though, that the message was successful because you felt Zapatero meant it.

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