“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” bemoaned Henry Higgins in the musical, “My Fair Lady.”
It seems he may have got his way, judging by the women we find in politics today. One could, perhaps, wish he hadn’t.
Once again Britain finds itself with a female prime minister. Most Tory supporters will be delighted with Theresa May. On the surface, she’s an admirable choice to take-over from the weak-chinned Cameron, whose antics over the European Union have thrown the world into a turmoil serving only to bring every ‘Armageddon’ freak from out the wilderness.
Further back in time than the writer cares to remember, when a woman entering politics was considered an ‘oddity’, and male-only governments ran high on testosterone, one often heard talk (mainly from women) of how one day the female sex would run the world and we’d all be better off, safer, and more peaceable.
The created image was of a Parliament or Senate festooned with half-knitted sweaters and winter-woollies; the clicketty-clack of myriad knitting needles mingled with the chink of teacups, clearly audible over a gossipy chit-chat interwoven between how to keep the price of wool from fluctuating violently, and what in the world was Mrs Johnson, the Leader of the House, going to give hubby for his dinner that evening.
It was a charming, fairytale, notion of governments too concerned with such minor domestic problems as the price of washing powder to ever wage war or threaten nuclear annihilation.
Sadly, this Disney-esque dream turned to nightmare with the arrival on the scene of Margaret Thatcher. For a few, fleeting moments, as Maggie stood on the threshold of Number 10 and tried to emulate Saint Francis of Assisi…
‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’.
…we all dared to hope she’d brought her knitting.
Alas, the next time she appeared through the door of 10, Downing Street, the saintliness was gone and horns had sprouted through the blue rinse and permanent wave.
Now, it seems likely the U.S.A. may have its first female president. Given the hawkish history of Hillary Clinton, it’s doubtful she’ll bring her knitting either.
It all begs the question: why do women turn into men when handed the reins of power? No sooner had Argentina planted their flag on the Falklands Islands than Maggie was declaring war.
During Britain’s economic chaos of the 1980s Thatcher, in full male tradition, stood firm against the coal minors and their union leader, Arthur Scargill, refusing any attempt at reconciliation.
Why couldn’t these issues have all been resolved over a nice cup of tea and a cream scone?
Is Theresa May likely to metamorphose into a reincarnation of Maggie Thatcher?
It’s difficult to say, but she’s held the unenviably tough job of Home Secretary for longer than anyone in fifty years, and during that tenure no-one’s heard so much as the clicketty-clack of a knitting needle emanating through her office door.
Whether that would be pleasing to Henry Higgins is open to conjecture.