Friday, 1 May 2015


I find it so sad just how much prejudice there is around.   I have always felt that it is every woman's duty to vote even if only because women died almost within living memory in order to get the vote.   My father's generation could remember a time when 'the common man' did not have a vote.   Now it is everyone's right.

Yet there is a degree of prejudice against women still.   A male politician who is 'bullish' is seen as an admirable man - one who will fight to get things done.   A female politician however - well that's a different  matter - so people like Nicola Sturgeon are seen as pushy.   People comment on her clothes - how red suits her and makes her stand out in a crowd.   I have not heard anyone comment on suits any of the men wear, or the ties, or the way they do their hair.

A little of the prejudice disappeared with the advent of Margaret Thatcher and her era, but that time has disappeared.   Until people stop commenting on whether a politician is a man or a woman, but just that they are a person standing for Parliament, then it won't have gone away.   And that applies to all aspects of life -equal pay, equal rights.  Sadly it won't happen in my lifetime.  Maybe not in yours.

And that brings me on to another, if anything more serious form of prejudice.  That is prejudice against the colour of anyone's skin.
I have been a couple of times with the farmer to Baltimore and it is a beautiful city.   I am glad I am not there now - the racial tension is terrible and a disgrace in this day and age.

The farmer and I live in a constituency with one of the safest Conservative majorities in the country - farming country, plenty of rich landowners.   For years our M P has been Rt Hon William Hague - much to be admired by everyone in his constituency whether they were of his political persuasion or not, becase he was such a jolly good constituency MP.   Well, he is retiring and we have a new Conservative candidate.

A charming young man, a real live wire, a businessman, a family man, educated at an English Public school, followed by Cambridge.  His father a GP and his mother a Chemist - so far it all sounds so good.  But many in The Dales have doubts about it all.   Why?   I am ashamed to say that it seems to be because of the colour of his skin.

He has an Indian name and I believe his parents were first generation incomers to this country.   He himself was born here and is English.

I have lived in a large Midlands multi racial city, taught in a multi racial (Sikh, Jamaican and local children) school for almost twenty years.   Most of the time it worked - folk worked together and race didn't matter - wasn't often spoken about.

Up here it is rare to see anyone who is not white and English.  I am horrified by the attitude of some people - I had not thought such attitudes existed up here, but now I find out that they do.

To people who say they are 'worried' about the colour of  skin I would like to point out our two very good hospitals.   The Friarage, our 'local' hospital in Northallerton and The James Cook University Hospital, a much larger establishment in Middlesbrough.   If you removed any Consultant with a foreign name (of African, Caribbean or Asian descent) from the list of people you can see for every illness, then there would be very few left to see.   The treatment one gets at both hospitals is first class, the Consultants are charming men and women and instil the patients with that sense of hope and trust that is so essential to recovery.   These same prejudiced people are not so likely to reject treatment when their health is at stake.

Please note that I am not a Conservative - to date I have little or no idea who I shall vote for next Thursday - too many issues, too many candidates, indecision on my part.   But one thing is for sure - vote I shall for sure.   And the colour of anyone's skin will not make the slightest difference to my choice.

On a lighter note, my hairdresser asked me to have a bet with her on the following:
If the Royal baby arrives on Election Day, which story will be the Headline News on the BBC Six o'clock News in the evening?  Like to have a bet on it?


A Heron's View said...

Looking in from the outside it appears that misogyny continues to prevail in the British media.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Prejudice is a horrid monster - and it prevails in almost every country and almost every economic level. I once watched as two boys of Native American descent bullied a boy of African descent. When asked why they did it - they replied casually - we don't like his color. Sad isn't it, when darker is the only criteria for liking or disliking a person.

I agree with you about the doctors of color - we have gotten far better medical care and medical knowledge from the doctors from India and Mexico - they are more considerate and more likely to listen to what the patient has to say. Would that the day comes when we are all just people and perhaps it will with intermarrying and mixing - perhaps we will all be comfortable with ourselves and with others.

As for elections - as you probably know, Hilary Clinton is running for the presidential nomination in the US and the comments are the same here as in the UK - clothes, hair, smile or no smile, pushy, etc - with no such mention of the same things for a male. Although some of the candidates on the other side are referred to as stupid, ignorant, bigoted, self centered fools - but then none of them are women and they have earned the labels by their actions and words, not by their clothes or hair style.

Joanne Noragon said...

The struggle has been forever. My grandmother marched to vote. My mother quietly and competently went back to the workforce. I've always been in, from age 17. I've told my daughters how far their mothers have brought them. Sometimes I wondered if they heard the lesson. But now I listen to young women having discussions on moving ahead, and know that someday it may happen.
But the struggle for people of color has only begun. May your young man carry the day and quietly prove he has what it takes.

angryparsnip said...

Here in America race has become a huge issue and our President, several mayors and governors (NY, California and Chicago) are making it worst instead of better. What a huge wonderful chance they had and they each have destroyed it.
In fact made it worst. I am a Democrat, their party, or was until recently. So very sad.
I vote because it is my right and a duty because I am an American. I am legal, work hard. pay my taxes, am frugal, conserve, raised 3 law abiding children. We all give back to the country and community, not take. That was my duty as being able to live in America.
That seems not to be the norm now.

I hope the wonderful young man will succeed in this election.

cheers, parsnip

Twiggy said...

I do agree with you, I didn't notice anyone commenting on Ed Miliband having a makeover or whether or not Nigel Farage was wearing a new suit, who gives a monkeys !!
I always vote too and think about people who would love the opportunity to vote in their country and don't have that luxury.
I live in a semi rural village where there is no racial mix at all, some of the comments I hear from parents in the school playground are outrageous. We teach the children in school to respect and care for everyone, but if their parents are like this, it can be an uphill struggle.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

The thrust of this post is important so I feel a bit silly commenting on the last bit about the hairdresser . . . but if the royal baby were to be born on election day - I think she should be called Princess Nicola.

Cloudia said...

Royal Baby trumps ALL other stories!
Glad to agree with you 100% today; though I would add that most of the structural racism in cities such as Baltimore is a longtime problem, and mostly sub-conscious. I think there is much less volitional hatred or distrust of 'other' these days - so much less so than the matter-of-fact racism of the past.....

Oh! And I hasten to add, that power excuses aside, prejudice is a HUMAN, and not a White problem. I have seen pre-judgement of others based solely of color from EVERY color!

ALOHA from Honolulu,

Frances said...

Not for the first time, I am so glad to have the opportunity to visit here, read your post and the comments.

Earlier this afternoon I met our mutual friend Elizabeth at the Union Sq farmers market to pick up some provisions and to also encourage the farmers who show up week after week. Do note that many of of these farmers are from other parts of the world.

I grew up in the southern part of the States, being indoctrinated into certain truisms before my own wings allowed me to fly to other places and to enlarge my view of what it was, and is, to share the planet over many centuries.

When Elizabeth and I were walking amongst this afternoon's farmers' stands, it was difficult to chat because of the overhead helicopters, making a low circuit of Union Sq, perhaps anticipating more demonstrations later in sympathy with demonstrations in Baltimore.

When the sun sets, we shall know more via the media about what the public makes of the arrests of police in Baltimore.

One more paragraph for this long comment. I demonstrated against the Vietnam War, and the Iraq invasion. I've never been arrested. I continue to vote, but also continue to wonder what it is all about.


Jennifer said...

I was going to mention Hillary Clinton too. Early on people were making snide comments about the fact that she is now a grandmother. ..managing to be simultaneously sexist AND ageist. And for disgusting racial prejudice you can't get any nastier than some people here in the U.S. have been since the election of Barack Obama. It's sad and sickening.

Cro Magnon said...

Part of the problem must be the amount of young female wannabes who can't wait to take their clothes off for the press. They do more damage than their tiny brains can imagine. My formative years were very much nurtured by women, and as such I was never affected by silly sexism, and find it as annoying as you obviously do.

Being a great admirer of the hard working Asian community in the UK (and a Conservative), I wouldn't hesitate to vote for your new man.

Heather said...

The royal baby is on it's way so no battles with the media on election day! I have always voted. For local elections I vote for the man, for the General Election I vote for the party. Our MP is Lib Dem and excellent at getting the right things done.
I well remember a presentation ceremony held in Gloucester Catherdral where by far the most impressive speech was given by the local MP who represented the Labour party. He happened to be of Asian origin and outshone all the other speakers.
Prejudice of any kind is so damaging.

Elizabeth said...

Well you seem to have opened up a real kettle of fish here!
Some splendid comments.
Yes, they always mention what a woman looks like!
I do hope your excellent young man prevails as local MP.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if politicians could be judged by how well they serve their communities rather than their political stripe.
A lovely anecdote from ages ago. A rather overwhelmed young Conservative was sent to canvass in a very Labor leaning district. It was raining and he was roundly rebuffed by most people whose doors he knocked on. Finally one woman said "Why don't you come in for a minute?"
He was thrilled. "So you must be a Conservative supporter?"
"Oh no, I'm Labour through and through, but I didn't like to see you getting so wet."

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

re. Cro Magnon's remarks about the damage page 3 type pictures can cause, you may be interested in this well argued letter written (not by me) to our (Conservative) MP when he declined to sign a petition for the end to sexualised images of semi-naked women in The Sun newspaper.

I can't find a link to the MP's letter this reply gives a clear idea of the kinds of things it said.
He's up for re-election. I am not voting for him.

Mac n' Janet said...

Prejudice will always be with us in one form or another. We have family in California who are deeply prejudiced against the South and can't understand how we can live here.
In Baltimore several of the policemen/women charged with the death of the young man are African/American themselves.
Women are treated differently in politics, sad, but true. Probably won't change in my life time.
I vote, reluctantly often, but I vote.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. I have been to various funtions over the last few days, where I have talked about this with groups of friends - we are all of one voice - but maybe that is because one chooses like-minded friends and in any case we are all of a similar age. Maybe things will change one day.

thelma said...

What a marvellous selection of comments to this blog, but to be honest there was a certain smug satisfaction when the Thursday leader's Question Time consisted of three women out of five on the panel. Cool......... as my two grand daughters would say.