Leadsom is not our new Leader

Admittedly, even those who constantly keep up with the political landscape were not entirely familiar with Andrea Leadsom, who has recently catapulted to fame after choosing to stand for Tory party leader and, more frighteningly, our next Prime Minister. In a system where Prime Ministerial dominance is almost inevitable, we must assess our options carefully and be very clear on what elections will actually mean. Especially in the post-Brexit scenario, where many of our voters did not actually realise the depth of their decision we must actually recognise  that our next PM will be responsible for implementing the changes and triggering Article 50.

At first glance, Leadsom seems to be a breath of fresh air, insisting that immigrants should not be used as a bargaining chip in EU negotiations. A new face, it is also easy to mistake her for a revolutionary woman who would change the face of politics and take us away from the right-wing politics that are damaging our current politics.

All I say to this, my friends, is beware of false idols. A woman in power does not constitute a feminist revolution. We are not advancing the interests of women nor staging a coup if the woman in question does not actually stand for feminism. In contrast, she is retracting from the progress that has been made by several women leaders. We cannot place Leadsom at the front of a feminist revolution because she is simply not a feminist idol.

It is only fair to address her comments on how being a mother gives her an "edge" over May. Granted, I have no affinity for her either, but for us to let Leadsom away with such an outrageous comment would also be wrong.  Motherhood is a personal choice, a personal journey - for some it is too difficult due to various factors, for others it is an enriching experience. And for others, it is one they simply do not want to be part of.

What's worse than that is the apparent smugness behind the words - she says that "I am sure [May] will be really really sad she doesn't have children." This is something of a joke, a throw in the face of people who contribute to the society without having a "stake" in it in the form of children. I have an intense interest in areas of social justice and the betterment of society and have no children. It does more than just offend people like me, it rubs Leadsom's comfortable motherhood in the face of working class mothers struggling, saying that everyone has an equal stake in our country's future. For a start, mothers bringing their children up on the breadline do not have the luxury of looking forward to the next ten years, simply to the next bout of money they will receive. Believe me, I know the feeling.

On another, more prominent note, to say that everyone has n equal stake is insulting - not all of us come from middle class backgrounds and have the privilege of working at our brother-in-law's hedge fund. The social-educational elite that has dominated modern day politics is something that we cannot ignore, nor can we kid ourselves that we begin on an equal playing field. Leadsom of all people should be aware of this.

Leadsom has assured us herself that "my real passion in politics is my desire for social justice." On that note:

  • She voted in favour of the bombing of Syria 
  •  She voted in favour of repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 
  •  She voted against the Commission for Equality and Human Rights' duty to develop a society where discrimination and prejudice limit a person's ability.   
  •  She voted against making caste discrimination illegal. 
  •  She consistently voted against euthanasia. 
  •  While she has generally voted against bankers' bonuses and for tax on the banks, she did not extend the taste for taxing the rich in general, voting against a tax raise for anyone earning over £150,000 and against mansion tax. 
  • She has voted for restrictive regulation on trade union activity.
Source: theyworkforyou.com

For me, and for other feminists, the ideas of social justice go hand in hand with feminism. It is a desire for equality across everyone, and as a socialist this includes across the classes. Lest we forget the various scandals she has been involved in, including dodging inheritance tax and receiving donations from family firms.

 How Leadsom can claim social justice is hypocritical at its very least. While voting against money for banks and higher taxation, she fails to continue this vote across other high earners and is actually in favour of more regulations for the trade unions while not in favour of regulation of property via the mansion tax. She is not ready to send EU nationals back, which is something that I find unremarkable and should be standard for any decent human being, but was willing to bomb Syria and risk the lives of innocent civilians throughout the country. To say she is feminist and radical amidst these very obvious failures to attempt to advance the lives of the people of Britain is grossly incorrect.

To my fellow voters, do not be fooled by appearance. Charisma may have been enough to catapult Blair to the top of the leadership, but we are now reaping the mistakes of that misjudgment. Neither May or Leadsom have the qualities, skill and moral output that Britain needs in order to undergo the working class, feminist revolution it is gunning for. What many may see as the sun setting on the darkness within British politics may only be an illusion of the eye - not a sunset, but a sky of flames.

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