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Women MPs are being driven out by the nastiness of politics

Washed Up column, by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, November 26

At the time of writing we are just a few days into electioneering.

For me, the most salient news isn’t about the latest policy announcement from the various parties or the news that we are being asked to vote strategically by a houseful of people who haven’t displayed an ounce of strategic thinking in four years.

No, the most salient and depressing piece of news is the announcement that so many female MPs are standing down because they feel bullied and threatened.

Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

This year marked the 101st year since some women won the right to vote. We live in a society that in those 100-plus years has changed beyond all recognition.

Homes are warm and well-lit (if you can afford it), food is plentiful and cheap (if you can afford it), entertainment is breathtaking in its range (if you can afford it), we live longer (if we can afford it), and our ability to communicate is unparalleled.

We can, if we want to, go onto Twitter and make a comment about, or to, just about anyone we care to communicate with. We can also send emails, go onto Facebook accounts, find people via LinkedIn or see what people are up to on Instagram.

It should mean a society where people can chat, share, converse and generally build communities and break down barriers.

You might now live miles from your best friend from primary school but you can still have regular communications with that friend.

Your aged grandparents might live in the Outer Hebrides but, from your home in West Norfolk, you can communicate with them via FaceTime or Skype.

That’s great isn’t it? What huge steps forwards we have taken in the 101 years since 1918. But, in our nasty society, those communication platforms are being used to shut people down.

To bully them out of public life. To constantly attack until they lose the will to fight back. Parliament looks a much nicer place when it is full of multi-racial, multi-gender, multi-faith, multi-opinion people.

As the attacks on MPs, particularly female MPs, continues, the only people left to represent the people of the UK are the ones who simply don’t care about what people think of them – and I’m not sure they are the people I want leading this country.

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