By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter.
The combination of Eastleigh and Italy have between them unleashed a tidal wave of commentary about the drawbacks of being governed by the professional politics. Consider Charles Moore's column in today's Daily Telegraph:
"Eastleigh brings out something which more and more voters feel. A quarter of a century ago, when people used to complain in pubs that “they’re all the same”, I used to argue back: it seemed to me patently false. Today, I stay quiet. Nigel Farage says that we have three social democrat parties now. There is a bit of truth in that, but I would put it differently. It is not so much that they all think the same thing. It is more that they are all the same sort of people. They all belong to a political elite whose attitudes and careers are pretty different from those of the rest of us."
Even the briefest inspection of David Cameron and Ed Miliband supports this view. Miliband has been a full-time political apparatchick since University. Cameron briefly had a job in television, but not a career: the post was acknowledged to be a waiting room for the Commons, even by his employers.
Saturday, March 02, 2013 in Andrew Lansley MP, Chris Grayling MP, David Cameron MP, David Jones MP, David Willetts MP, Dominic Grieve MP, Eric Pickles MP, Francis Maude MP, George Osborne MP, George Young MP, Grant Shapps MP, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Justine Greening MP, Ken Clarke MP, Maria Miller MP, Michael Gove MP, Oliver Letwin MP, Owen Paterson MP, Patrick McLoughlin MP, Philip Hammond MP, Sayeeda Warsi (Baroness), Sir George Young MP, Theresa May MP, Theresa Villiers MP, William Hague MP | Permalink | Comments
By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter.
I wrote yesterday evening about William Hague's apocalyptic warning at the conference of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR) that "The jobs and the life savings of tens of millions of people in Europe may be at stake."
And promised in doing so to write an account of the rest of the conference, which I will divide into a brief mix of reporting and comment. It took place in London and those present were welcomed by Jan Zahradil, the AECR's President. Zahradil is a member of the Czech Civic Democratic Party (CDS).
"In June 2001, Saira Shah, a British journalist, revealed the horrific lives of many ordinary Afghani women. She was assisted in her efforts by RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. She exposed an Afghanistan where women were excluded from jobs and medical care, where education was denied them and where war widows were forced to beg on the streets of Kabul. This was Afghanistan under Taliban rule. On International Women’s Day in 2007, some six years after our invasion, RAWA said that,
“the world came into motion in the name of liberating Afghan women and our country was invaded, but the sorrows and deprivation of Afghan women has not just failed to reduce but has actually increased the level of oppression and brutality”.
UNIFEM, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have many statistics on Afghanistan, and I will share some of them. Some 86 per cent of Afghani women are illiterate; 87 per cent of the Afghan population still believe that a woman needs male authorisation to vote; every 29 minutes a woman dies in childbirth; and 50,000 war widows live in Kabul alone, and many still beg on the streets. The number of girls in secondary school is decreasing; 80 per cent of women face forced marriages; nearly 60 per cent are married before the legal age of 16, despite the 2005 protocol to,
“eliminate child and forced marriage by 2008”.
Sadly, that honourable aim is unlikely to be met by then or at any time in the near future.
I acknowledge that some progress has been made. As we know, 27 per cent of Members of the National Assembly are women, but only one serves in the Cabinet and, sadly, too many are ineffective and subdued. Indeed, in recent provincial council elections, not enough women came forward to take up the women’s quota, resulting in some of the reserved women’s seats reverting to men. I pay tribute to Malalai Joya, a brave and determined young Afghani parliamentarian who more than deserves the international accolades that follow her, but whose life is under constant threat.
Amnesty International writes that,
“women continue to face severe violence both within and outside the house”.
©2013 Conservative Home, All rights reserved