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Why I disagree with Yvette Cooper’s ally that motherhood somehow makes a woman superior

By Nina Steele 

I think it’s fair to say that politics is a dirty game and not for the faint-hearted. Our elected officials understand that their lives would often be scrutinised and this is generally accepted as part of the job.

Even so, there are some lines that no one dare cross and although some of these rules are not explicitly stated, they are implied. For example, it is generally accepted that unless a politician makes his/her children fair game by using them for political gains, their privacy should be respected. Even then, any attacks on said children will not be tolerated as Elizabeth Lauten found out for herself when she labelled the Obama girls ‘classless’ and then a media storm forced her to resign.

It is the same kind of media storm that greeted the article written by one of Yvette Cooper’s allies, in which she suggests that Yvette Cooper would make a better leader of the labour party by virtue of being a mother. Thus implying that Liz Kendall (the other high profile female in the race) is not fit for the job because, unlike Yvette Cooper, she is childless. That from a party that calls itself progressive!

What is so progressive about being prejudiced against a woman, just because she is childless? I thought that the job of the left was to champion minority groups, not to try and crush them in order to score cheap political points. No wonder so many people are turned off by politics.

How preposterous to even suggest such a thing. To make such a suggestion is not only ignorant, it smacks of desperation. So the minute Yvette Cooper feels the heat of the campaign from her female rival, what does she do? Resort to the cheapest trick in the book by having an ally remind everyone that she is a mother unlike her rival. Unfortunately for her, it seems to have had the opposite effect, and rightly so.

If motherhood makes you superior, how do you explain the many cases of feckless mothers we often read about in the tabloids? Women who, in many cases, do not work, yet choose to have lots of children, with their lifestyles entirely funded by the taxpayer? Yes these may be extreme cases, but chances are that most of us will come across a bad mother in our lifetime and we often don’t have to look far to find one.

Being fit for office has nothing to do with being a parent. Talent is something that people have regardless of their personal circumstances. First, women politicians had to fight to be taken seriously and when you thought that things were going in the right direction, this story comes up.

Politics is still dominated by men, and the last thing women need, is a story like this one. To pull a cheap trick like this is shameful to say the least, and I hope that the backlash that ensued has taught Yvette Cooper and her friends, a lesson they are not about to forget.

Yvette Cooper

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