My last piece has provoked a fair bit of comment, especially the final, sweary paragraph. I stand by it, but acknowledge it may have been a tad strong for some. Apologies if offended.
Beestonian Simon Cross got in touch with the offer of a guest piece on Soubz swearing, and an explanation of why she’s so fond of the choice vernacular.
Over to Simon:
It is now commonplace to claim women are taking men on at their own games though not necessarily in socially progressive ways. For instance, alcohol abuse amongst young women has been rising for some years showing that women can beat the men given the opportunities. But what about other areas of modern life where men traditionally have taken the lead requiring women to put up or shut up?
One might think of the relatively small number of women who enter politics showing that they can make their voice heard in a male-dominated world. Mrs Thatcher famously told a reporter that she wanted to be Prime Minister because men up to this point had made such a bad job of it. What though of that particular game that many men tend to play: partaking of profanities in public places?
The question is important because of late our Member for Broxtowe has gained national prominence as the swearing politician. Will Anna’s public profanities be of concern amongst the good voters of Broxtowe? I think that it will concern more than a few citizens; in particular Broxtowe Woman whose non-partisan vote in the 2015 General Election will determine who takes this marginal seat.
Could Anna’s profane antics come to influence how Broxtowe Woman votes in the next General Election? It may seem a stretch to say that it might but we can reasonably wonder as to what women of our constituency (and nationally for that matter) make of her effing-and-blinding on the national media stage. I suppose it is possible that women will reckon that our expletive-minded Anna has learnt that to be seen as ‘independent-minded’ one ought to swear in a ‘manly’ sort of way sending a strong signal that one is in touch not only with Broxtowe Man but every effing-Man-in-the-Street.
But this involves a political danger because sweary Anna is sending out a message about how women must behave in politics to one part of her constituency only: Broxtowe Man. The message is that we should effing well be proud of sweary Anna because our effing Member is a mover and shaker in the effing Westminster Village, which is an effing man’s world. Before that she was an effing Barrister-at-effing-Law helping bang up the effing Bad Boys and before even that was an effing TV journalist on Central-effing-Weekend keeping effing plebs (which no Tory should ever effing-well make reference to anymore) in line, which as Anna is the effing first to admit was effing s*** telly.
My sense is that our effing Member is uttering profanities because she thinks it ‘manly’ and by casually swearing in the public domain (which in some contexts can be a criminal offence, which I’m sure she understands is because it is offensive ) imagines that we voters think she is the kind of woman to ‘get things done’. By taking on the men at their own swearing game she proves she can do it better. Whether Anna’s aping of male profanity appeals to Broxtowe Woman time will tell.
To define oneself as having a record of ‘free speech’ as Anna puts it on her website has more than one meaning. Ironically her bout of swearing shows she is constrained to speak in a ‘manly’ way. In this sense Anna is not only a parody of free speech but the diametric opposite of a parliamentarian like Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totness and regarded as truly independent Tory voice. As it happens Anna’s lax lexicon confirms her conformity underpinned by her record of voting as she is told (no MP in recent times has gained ministerial office by being truly independent of party High Command).
My guess is that when it comes to the next General Election Broxtowe Woman will note the boorish side of Anna Soubry’s personal and political character aping Saturday night louts.
Simon Cross 2013.
And before you go, please make your way to your local newsagent and pick up a copy of The Nottingham Post today: my monthly Saturday column starts today. The by-line picture is amusing: it’s just my eye. I’m not sure if this an editorial decision to ensure I don’t put readers off their food, or an error. Either way, it suits me.