Guess where I am writing this column? On a tablet, on a plane, travelling at 500 miles per hour across the Atlantic. W
What’s more I can send my thoughts on this week’s events via the Internet whilst my head is literally still in the clouds. Which if I think about too much gives me a headache. That and how we are able to get a signal flying at 30,000 feet when I can barely get one down my road.
Yes we have come a long way since my cub reporter days when I wrote everything in a spiral ring note book and typed it up on a manual typewriter using a sheet of blue carbon paper to save a copy for the files skewered on lethal desk spikes. I carried a dictionary to check my spelling and kept ten pence pieces in the ashtray of my car in case I had to find a phone box to call in a story. Although most of the really good stories were given to the boys. We were allowed to do news about fluffy dogs and the W.I. until we broke free and demanded parity. When we didn’t get it we left to fight the good fight elsewhere.
Sounds like another century? Well actually it was. But we still have a long way to go. And I am not talking about what’s left of a flight to New York.
This week as you know little Matilda started school. I wrote her a note telling her how proud we were of her. I said that I knew she would continue to be be kind and work hard for her teachers. My heart melted after her first day when we saw her in her little uniform, head bowed, doing her homework which was painting a picture without going over the lines. “Look Nonna,” she said. “I am working hard.” Bless her. And guess what, Matilda? If you work really hard you might even be called a “girly swot” by those who secretly admire your work ethic but can’t be bothered to emulate it. Some of them will be silly boys, who should know better. But don’t.
According to our current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, our former Prime Minister, David Cameron, is a girly swot. And being called a girly swot is apparently a terrible insult to those who were educated in the all male confines of Eton. Though might I suggest if David Cameron had been a bit more of a girly swot he might have swotted up on what would happen if he lost a referendum and walked away. No matter it’s all just a bit of fun isn’t it ? I tell you what.
Why not throw in calling the leader of the opposition a ‘big girl’s blouse’ for good measure? Oh you did that too Prime Minister. Jolly good. Actually what is wrong with being a girly swot? It’s such a fine line between telling a young girl they can achieve anything if they work hard and telling them the truth that it might not always be easy. Oh and by the way instructing them that they can’t wear skirts to school is not going to help. Forcing them to dress like the boys does not make them equal. Giving them the choice does. We are not the same. We just want the same. Two very different things. It’s not a question of who wears the trouser.
This week people have been turning puse at the suggestion from former James Bond Pierce Brosnon that the next 007 should be a woman. How can Bond be a woman, they cry. They are missing the point. Brosnon didn’t suggest Bond should be a woman but that a woman should take over the code name 007 when Bond retires. In other words hey guess what spies can be women too. Ask Stella Rimington, the first female head of MI5, the first female real life M, long before Judy Dench stepped into her mythical shoes. Personally I say leave Bond to the boys and give us some more kick ass stories of our own. Being a follower is never as good as being the first. And having to fight for it rather than have it given always feels more satisfying
Tomorrow Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson will bravely appear on television describing how the new world of online trolling made her want to die. I say bravely because just by talking about it she is well aware it will stir up the jealous vitriol she has been subjected to and start all over again. The impact the taunts have had on her is devastating. Fellow band members tell how she went from “an amazing funny girl “ to a “broken doll”. She says even now “I just want to perform and be myself....But I just look like a fat ugly rat.” She doesn’t of course but the name calling has stuck... the damage has been done .
So my final words to our current Prime Minister are these. Stick to your own gender for your insults. We have enough of our own already. Whoever said sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me was a fool. And probably a man .