On The Westminster Hour yesterday, Carolyn Quinn wanted to know what it is like being a woman in the House of Commons etc. This on the back of International Women’s Day coming up on Thursday and a debate on gender in the House of Commons.
Well – it’s still a boys school and we need more women. As to the atmosphere – water of a duck’s back in terms of the male testosterone being sprayed about. Having had my political baptism in the Haringey Council Chamber – three Lib Dems with me as Leader of the Opposition and fifty-four Labour members (then – it’s rather different now!) – the Commons seems quite sweet. However, there is a lot of pointing and jeering – by any other name at school this would be called bullying. And we are meant to have bullying policies at every school – so why not the House of Commons?
However, was grateful for opportunity to flag up the difficulty I am having with Downing Street. I want to deliver a solar cooker (looks like an oversized mixing bowl, covered with reflective silver foil) to Tony Blair. The point I am making is that these solar cookers cost around $2 and save women getting raped and murdered. This is because in many war zones when women go outside of the refugee camps to collect wood to make a fire to cook – they literally risk rape and murder. These cookers, which work of the hot sun, prevent them from needing to leave the safe compound.
So I am trying to deliver one to Tony, wrapped in purple and green ribbon for International Women’s day – but whilst I have permission to deliver a petition they will not let the cooker pass. I did threaten on radio to chain myself to the gates outside Downing Street (ever since the suffragettes I have been longing to chain myself to something for a cause) but that part was in jest!
But if the Downing Street media machine reads blogs – come on guys, let the cooker in: it’s not too much to ask.