Get women running Britain if you want to see action!
21:50 GMT, 20 May 2012
France's newly appointed Culture Minister: Aurelle Fillippetti
Another week and Cameron’s popularity rating slumps to minus 28, with only one in three thinking he does a decent job. Just one in four rate Clegg’s performance.
This Government seems paralysed, an arranged marriage on the skids.
Dave sounds like an old record stuck in a groove, ‘feeling our pain’, but managing to sneak out for a posh dinner in St John’s Wood (where houses cost more than 2 million) with wife Sam that cost the equivalent of the average family’s weekly food budget.
Every day, the PM announces a new initiative in order to sound pro-active — this week it was vouchers for parenting — but the truth is, top civil servants have declared war on the Government and any new ideas are destined to get stuck on the backburner.
George Osborne’s plans for kick-starting our economy haven’t raised a splutter. What we need is radical action. This Government is packed full of M-people — male, middle class and mediocre; men who talk to other men they were at school or university with.
Menopausal twits such as Immigration Minister Damian Green, who told MPs last week that the length of queues in passport control at Heathrow can depend on which way the wind is blowing!
Meanwhile, civil servants enjoy ‘flexi-time’ hours, meaning if their standard working week of 36 hours in London and 37 in the provinces is exceeded, they can take up to three days off a month.
As it is, they plan to work from home during the Olympics. Self-important ministers, coupled with civil servants determined to do things their way, means there’s little chance of getting out of the slump.
Here’s the JSP solution: take a look across the Channel. Newly elected French President Francois Hollande — the first Socialist to hold the post for nearly 20 years — has formed a new government and, without any fuss, announced that half his cabinet will be female. That’s 17 ministers out of 34!
Women running the Justice Department, Social Affairs and Health, Women’s Affairs, Housing, Tourism and Culture. Black, brown, young, old, enthusiastic and intelligent, raring to get started.
The glamorous Housing Minister Cecile Duflot (head of the Green party) even turned up for the first cabinet meeting last week in jeans, having travelled to work on public transport. This is the start of a new era in French politics — a country facing the same economic woes as Britain.
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When Hollande got elected he imposed a 30 per cent pay cut on his new cabinet. Contrast that with the shameful situation with the (mostly public school educated) boys’ club that runs Britain. Cameron says he wants to help women, but has appointed just five to a Cabinet of 23. He must chuck out the M-people and let can-do females from the Lib Dems and Tories take over.
Women are woefully under-used in British politics, where the House of Commons behaves like a second-division prep school at every Prime Minister’s Questions.
Women routinely multi-task, make lists and stick to them, work in teams to solve problems, and have people skills. We rarely belong to special clubs and secret societies that involve weird handshakes. Women are brilliant at making a small amount of housekeeping money go further — we make all the major purchases for the home, choose the car and balance budgets.
Let’s give our constipated Cabinet the spring clean we need to get things moving. OUT goes Justice Minister Ken Clarke, which will give him more time for gardening, his beloved jazz and big dinners. Replace him with Lorely Burt, Lib Dem MP for Solihull, who has worked as a prison governor.
CHEERIO Andrew Lansley, the lame duck Health Minister, and hello to Harriett Baldwin, Tory MP for West Worcestershire, who spent 20 years in finance. BOOT OUT Jeremy Hunt, secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, in a mess over his alleged mishandling of Murdoch’s bid to take over BSkyB. Let’s welcome Esther McVey, Tory for West Wirral. She started her career in TV working for me, and is one of the smartest girls I know.
CULL Ed Davey, drafted in to run Energy and Climate change when Chris Huhne stepped down to face criminal charges, and substitute Jo Swinson, Lib Dem MP and keen salsa dancer from East Dumbartonshire. DISMISS Andrew Mitchell, Minister for International Development, and bring in Priti Patel, Tory MP for Witham, already involved in the field.
A SENDING OFF for Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne — replace him with Amber Rudd, who was a venture capitalist before becoming a Tory MP. Bring in Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem for Hornsey and Wood Green, a mouthy single mum and super-nag — give her Defence, and SACK Phil Hammond. He can return to running his millions without the inconvenience of a job.
Most ministers know little about their new area of responsibility in any reshuffle, and rely on civil servants for briefings to get them up to speed. Women are excellent listeners.
It’s time for Cameron to man up, take a deep breath and pick up the phone. With seven new female ministers joining Theresa May, Caroline Spelman, Justine Greening, Baroness Warsi and Cheryl Gillan, he stands a chance of getting Britain back on track.
Sorry Philip, but Chloe is too green to be a designer
Ultra high heels: The Chloe Green for Topshop shoe collection
Her dad, Philip Green, might be a millionaire who owns a hugely successful clothing business, but that doesn’t mean Chloe Green has inherited the fashion gene or has any notion of style.
Chloe didn’t bother studying design, but ‘chatted to her friends’ about what shoes they liked. Now, she’s come up her own range, named after family members — and guess where they’re being sold Topshop, natch.
And her mates Towie’s Lauren Pope and Alexandra Burke (not exactly arbiters of chic) turned up at the launch party last week. Sadly, Chloe’s holiday pal Kate Moss didn’t make it.
The range of footwear has cripplingly high heels, pale green soles and is made in Brazil. Are they the ugliest shoes in Britain Fashion bloggers think so. One said: ‘They’re not even good for an impulse buy at 175!’
Chloe has come up with footwear as garish and naff as her telly series Made In Chelsea. Next, she plans clothing and more shoes. How much money will her dad pour into his daughter’s dream of becoming the next Stella McCartney
Blotto in Glasgow
I spent a fun weekend in Glasgow — what a buzzy city, the restaurants are excellent, the bars lively and the architecture is stunning. Sadly, on Friday, like everywhere else, the boozing starts early and by 10pm the hen parties are out of control.
Outside The Society Room, a young woman lay on the pavement with her dress up to her waist … laughing uncontrollably while her mates took photos. My taxi driver said: ‘At least she was wearing knickers, they don’t always bother.’
On Saturday morning, doorways in this grand city reek of urine and vomit. The Scottish parliament is the first in the EU to pass a law setting a minimum price for alcohol (50p a unit), increasing the price of cheap vodka by 50 per cent to just over 13 a bottle.
David Cameron plans to proceed with a consultation paper on minimum pricing for England and Wales in the autumn. Will it make a difference I hope so, but binge drinkers will carry on — they’ll just buy booze on the black market. Why not remove booze from supermarkets and introduce regulated liquor stores with controlled pricing, like many other countries
Trooper: Paul O'Grady
O'Grady sticks it out
Paul O’Grady is a national treasure, because he doesn’t mince his words.
When he describes the new musical version of Corrie he graciously hosted as ‘bedlam’, I believe him.
According to Paul, the script hadn’t been finished so the cast had to ad lib and the set was incomplete when the show opened in Manchester on May 9.
Unwilling to leave the talented cast (including Kym Marsh and Julie Goodyear) in the lurch, Paul acted like a trouper and stuck it out.
After poor reviews, a planned tour has been postponed for a ‘rethink’ — what a waste of everyone’s time.