July 11, 2016

"The story of how Theresa May, the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary, became the presumptive Prime Minister is one of tragi-farcical, politico-comic self-destruction."

Writes Amy Davidson in The New Yorker. Read the whole thing. I just want to excerpt the part about how one of May's rivals, the Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, flamed out after the Times of London published an interview with the headline: "BEING A MOTHER GIVES ME EDGE ON MAY—LEADSOM" that began "Tory minister says she will be better leader because childless home secretary lacks ‘stake in future.'"
It went on to quote Leadsom, who often included the phrase “as a mum” in her pro-Leave statements, as saying that May “possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.” This, she said, set her apart from May as a potential leader. She added, “I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children, so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t,’ because I think that would be really horrible.” But, she went on, “genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.” In other words, Andrea has children; Theresa hasn’t....

As a matter of logic, this disparagement of childless leaders is ludicrous... And, as a matter of politics, Leadsom’s comments were a wreck. She insulted the childless, and she seemed personally cruel to May, who has quietly said in the past that she is, indeed, sad about having never had children. (May, who is fifty-nine, has been married to her husband, a banker she met when they were both students at Oxford, for thirty-five years.)

... [Leadsom]  responded... by attacking the Times, tweeting that the story was “truly appalling and the exact opposite of what I said. I am disgusted.” Leadsom demanded that the paper release the transcript, which it did, along with the audio, and which not only confirmed the story but made Leadsom look worse. When the Times asked, “What is the main difference between you and Theresa May?,” her children and her “huge” family were practically the first things that Leadsom mentioned, after a passing reference to her knowledge of the economy and her “optimism.”

80 comments:

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Three children is a "huge" family?

themightypuck said...

What's the point of Cameron resigning if they just put in another anti Brexit person?

tim in vermont said...

New Yorker hates people who don't think that people like the people who read the New Yorker should run their lives down to the size of a beer they can buy.

Sebastian said...

"tragi-farcical, politico-comic self-destruction." Amateurish, sure. But as anti-con disparagement, that won't cut it.

Politics aside, children do change quite a lot of things for quite a lot of parents.

narciso said...

good point, she's also the one who has been lenient on most of the islamist, yet banned pamela geller, from the uk, in addition, was leadsom's admission so unbelievably horrid, the failure of the uk to maintain it's birth rate, among native born, has created many of the problems they now face, but amy was andrew sullivan dense, so it's not surprising, she's a former sportscaster like lupica,

Laslo Spatula said...

"...one of tragi-farcical, politico-comic self-destruction."

I just figured this was a review of the new female "Ghostbusters" movie.

Because: chicks.

I am Laslo.

narciso said...

good point, she's also the one who has been lenient on most of the islamist, yet banned pamela geller, from the uk, in addition, was leadsom's admission so unbelievably horrid, the failure of the uk to maintain it's birth rate, among native born, has created many of the problems they now face, but amy was andrew sullivan dense, so it's not surprising, she's a former sportscaster like lupica,

David Begley said...

As Hillary would say, "If this is about the Mum card, deal me in."

rcocean said...

I think May's point is a good one, although a minor one. Everything being equal, I'd trust a women/man with a family over one that doesn't.

Of course, that's just a general rule, there are lots of exceptions: Cf: Ann Coulter vs.Hillary Clinton.

Michael K said...

"What's the point of Cameron resigning if they just put in another anti Brexit person?"

Farage should be PM but, like Churchill, he is hated by Conservatives for being right,

Stan Smith said...

Let's see...if I'm not black, I can't understand the trials of black people, but if I'm childless, I totally know how a mother thinks. Got it.

By the way, didn't humanity (homo sapiens) evolve in Africa? Aren't we all of "African heritage" in that case?

narciso said...

they ridicule leadson because like farage, she has conviction, and she started out in the private sector, she was in banking, he was in commodities, right out of dulwich,

Chuck said...

Pity that the two women weren't Labour. Because then The New Yorker would have found a way to make them interesting, nuanced and important. Instead of silly, stupid and archaic.

AprilApple said...

Can leftists ever STFU?

Gahrie said...

By the way, didn't humanity (homo sapiens) evolve in Africa? Aren't we all of "African heritage" in that case?

Yes.

narciso said...

this is what the brexit folks wanted,


http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/07/11/seven-takeaways-from-theresa-mays-ascension-to-u-k-prime-minister/

another career bureaucrat, who thinks her constituents are backward yokels,

HoodlumDoodlum said...

...Donald has more children than Hillary...

William said...

I get quite enough agita following our own election. I don't intend to add to my misery by paying any attention to the British one.

Psota said...

Meh. Doesn't Home Secretary outrank Energy secretary? Clearly they were aiming for a woman, so you might as we'll pick the highest ranking one.

Unknown said...

It appears the more conservative candidate was soundly rejected.

"She might be understood, in American terms, as a cross between Carly Fiorina and Michele Bachmann, except with less experience than either."

Original Mike said...

Yes, childless women and atheists don't give a fuck about humanity's future {/sarc}.

rcocean said...

Yes, childless women and atheists don't give a fuck about humanity's future

Certainly when compared to the religious with kids.

Maybe you can respond with some more dumb snark - and throw in a few teenage eye rolls.

Original Mike said...

Certainly when compared to the religious with kids."

How would you know? Seriously.

Saint Croix said...

I don't have any children, so let me defend the bad speaker.

I was raised by liberals, in a liberal culture. Birth control, birth control, birth control. That is our culture. "No need to get married." That is our culture, too!

It wasn't until I was deeply into my thirties, and I started getting a baby urge, that I realized that I need to reproduce. Otherwise I am going to die out like the do-do bird. My line ends with me if I am too idiotic to reproduce.

Anyway, if liberals are wondering why heterosexuality is considered the norm, that is because we are the breeders and we create babies and keep the human race alive. Gay people, or people who are masturbating into oblivion, are not the norm. You are going to die out, like the do-do bird!

I feel that liberals are very dishonest about human reproduction. For instance normalizing abortion so people have the option to get rid of their children, and normalizing homosexuality, so people will fail to breed and their line dies out. Liberals brag about how nice and sensitive they are. Well, if you were actually nice and sensitive you would love and want babies, not give women killing opportunities. You would love the vulnerable, not try to get rid of them. And you would encourage people to have babies, since that brings love into the world.

Having said that, rude and obnoxious speakers have to get smacked. That's the only we learn!

Unknown said...

Liberals love and want babies too. Amazing how your liberal parents managed to make you Saint Croix.

mockturtle said...

May is a dhimmi and that's the last thing they need right now.

Unknown said...

Liberals even get married.

Quaestor said...

Liberals love and want babies too.

Of course they do.

The only question that clouds their minds is which wine to serve.

Unknown said...

Wine, before they make the baby, sure but not too much because we know what happens when men drink too much before the baby making...

What do you eat with your neighbor's brains Questor? Fava beans?

mikee said...

So in 2 years, or 5, or 10, if the islands off the shores of France are still floating there, with an economy as good or better than that of the remnants of the EU, will anyone bother to remind the world of the current crop of doomsayers?

Saint Croix said...

Liberals love and want babies too.

You must not have read the Carhart opinions!

Amazing how your liberal parents managed to make you Saint Croix.

That happens all the time. Didn't you ever watch Family Ties? Hippie liberals give birth to a Reaganite.

MikeD said...

Actually a valid point, tho' best left unsaid! That said, May was a remain voice &, protestations aside, she's looking for a way to scuttle Brexit.

n.n said...

The difference between liberals and [American] conservatives can be observed in what and why we choose to normalize, tolerate, and reject. The liberals are notoriously selective and opportunistic.

Saint Croix said...

Liberals even get married.

Yeah, but they hate early marriage and baby-making. That's a "mistake"! Wait. Wait. Wait some more! That's the liberal advice on making a family.

What they really like is gay marriage. Or marriage-with-just-one-baby. Wait until you are 39 and then have a baby. That is the liberal agenda. And so people wait until they are 39 and then have a baby.

Or fail to have a baby.

At 30, 90% of a woman's eggs are gone. At 35, 95% of her eggs are gone. At 40, almost all of her eggs are gone. Most women have given up on sexual reproduction at this point, and it's a desperate race at the IVF clinic.

Also, the older you are, the more likely you will have a premature birth. If you have an abortion, you are more likely to have a premature birth. Liberal ideology gave birth to premature birth. You can have an abortion, no worries! You can have birth at 39, no problems! The dishonesty is mind-boggling.

narciso said...

andrew marr in his sardonic roman a clef, head of state (it means what you think it does)
predicted a brexit, a year from now, after a boris johnson premiership, led by an non politician, who the establishment tried to crush, he wrote this two years ago,

Unknown said...

Why have you waited Saint Croix, you're not a liberal.

Unknown said...

I wonder too if the commenter "n.n" who injects abortion into almost any subject has any children of his own. I've seen this phenomenon before, where a very pro-procreation person has no children of their own.

I have several children, have been married for many years and am a liberal, go figure. Don't worry Saint Croix, I've had enough children to compensate for your lack of children, noting your concern about the perpetuation of the human race.

narciso said...

they deny how the uk and really much of europe is the way it is currently, with the birth rate below replacement, the welfare state can't be sustained, however, it has become the primary support, so the effort was made to 'import a new people' for labor reasons, but also to prevent a thatcher from rising again, they made this very clear in their briefing papers,

Saint Croix said...

Why have you waited Saint Croix, you're not a liberal.

Ignorance! And lack of focus.

Unknown said...

Ah, that's too bad Saint Croix, I bet you'd make a fine dad. It's never too late for a male. Catch yourself a young wife.

Saint Croix said...

Ah, that's too bad Saint Croix, I bet you'd make a fine dad. It's never too late for a male. Catch yourself a young wife.

Thanks, I will!

narciso said...

no the message is made clear, if you are a tory, you should remain childless, and then we might listen to you, if you are labour or liberal democrat, do what you want you are the enlightened, unpeople you must be punished, and in some cases euthanized so such notions will not contaminate the next generation,

Oso Negro said...

People without children "care" about the future at about the level the average do-gooder "cares" about poor children in Africa.

Original Mike said...

"People without children "care" about the future at about the level the average do-gooder "cares" about poor children in Africa."

Help me out here. I did not farther a child, but I have a step daughter. So do I care (excuse me, "care") about the future the same as you, or not at all, or maybe half way in between?

chickelit said...

Just read a "what if" article (written by a woman of course) stating how the free world could soon be run by iron-willed women: May, Merkel, and Clinton.

Not mentioned: Merkel is on her way out (deeply unpopular); Rodham is tanking; and, this woman, May, is being compared to Thatcher for no apparent reason other than common genitals.

Saint Croix said...

I did not father a child

Neither did Jesus (at least in orthodox Christianity!)

Our urge to reproduce is related, I think, to a fear of death and extinction. People who believe in an afterlife have no such fears.

I think I was afraid of intimacy with women for years--decades--because of the biological uncertainty of fatherhood. "Is that baby mine?" That is a biological insecurity that is baked into manhood.

Finding Christ helped quiet my fears, and gave me a lot of confidence.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oso Negro said...

Blogger Original Mike said...
"People without children "care" about the future at about the level the average do-gooder "cares" about poor children in Africa."

Help me out here. I did not farther a child, but I have a step daughter. So do I care (excuse me, "care") about the future the same as you, or not at all, or maybe half way in between?


Help me out here, Original Mike. Do you consider yourself a father? If so, you have skin in the game. If not, then not. Do you care about the future of your daughter, or not at all, or maybe half way in between?

FYI, I believe in step-fathers. I also believe in wicked step-mothers. They aren't just the stuff of fairy tales.

rhhardin said...

It's all about women voters and women media audience.

I'm better because I can do math and she can't, would be a better line. That gives me some insight into the future.

Phunctor said...

This is one of the unspeakables of our age. It's the root cause of our civilization being run as an end-of-life organization with no provision for self-replacement.

Even ignoring the eventual invasion by virile and commanding anti-pyjama-boys, it's a problem that solves itself in just a few generations.

Accomplished childless women exist. Their posterity does not.

That's a sad thing for men who only desire the passionate company of intellectual equals, but reality > feelz.

Maybe sexbots with strong AI will scratch that itch?

Bob said...

From an evolutionary biology POV, a woman who has gone through the struggle of childbirth and the sacrifice required to raise that child would indeed have a larger stake in the future.

and those with fruitless loins are to be pitied but certainly not ridiculed.

John Bragg said...

"What kind of country/world are we leaving for our grandchildren?"

If you don't and won't have any, that question has a different resonance.

Put another way, the present value of the world in, say, 2075 is a lot less if you don't have any loved ones who are going to be around to see it.

Leadsom will. May won't.

That's far, far down the list of reasons to favor a PM, but the pointing-and-sputtering is ridiculous.

zyz65 said...

So, to recap, in a period of three weeks the UK has, from a standing start deposed its head of government and appointed a new one, who has several years relevant experience. Meanwhile the US is in week 48 or so of its year and a half replacement cycle, which is doomed to appoint one of two shockingly unsuitable candidates. Which system exactly is tragi- comic?

CStanley said...

Well an awful lot of people lately are expressing the opinion that they are getting older and thus can avoid despair over the current state of the world for their own sakes, but feel dismay about the world their children and future descendants will inherent.

So I think there's truth to the sentiment- you care about the future in a more intense way if you have children. It was obviously a dumb thing for a politician to say though.

Robert Cook said...

"they ridicule leadson because like farage, she has conviction, and she started out in the private sector, she was in banking, he was in commodities, right out of dulwich,"

Perhaps they ridicule her because her primary claim of qualification is that she's a "mum." I'm sure you wouldn't feel that a candidate for President should be ridiculed, would you, if he or she claimed being a "mom" or "dad" as his or her chief qualification? Like Hell you wouldn't!

Robert Cook said...

"By the way, didn't humanity (homo sapiens) evolve in Africa? Aren't we all of 'African heritage' in that case?"

Yes, we are. But many of us over time lost the obvious identifying physical indications that would mark us out to be treated like shit.

Robert Cook said...

"'Yes, childless women and atheists don't give a fuck about humanity's future'

"Certainly when compared to the religious with kids."


Asserting facts not in evidence.

Curious George said...

"HoodlumDoodlum said...
...Donald has more children than Hillary..."

Even Web Hubbell wouldn't hit that twice.

rhhardin said...

The important thing is to have ancestors.

TosaGuy said...

If I hear someone use the word kerfuffle I can pretty much guess that they read James Taranto.

rhhardin said...

You can change the future by wearing shorts. Dress down fridays every day. It catches on.

rhhardin said...

I stopped reading Taranto; he seems to have taken up the role of resident smart person, which is always deadly to humor.

Lawler Walken said...

This isn't new. I remember when Barbara Boxer claimed that then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had no personal stake in the Iraq war because she's never given birth.

It's funny. Women are such bitches to each other.






chrisnavin.com said...

She could always head out into the Fog, collect a little bootblack or chimney sweep, and raise 'im as her own.

Henry said...

"What kind of country/world are we leaving for our grandchildren?"

If you don't and won't have any, that question has a different resonance.


For some completely random reason, the figure that came to my mind was Vito Corleone.

Personally, I think rhhardin's 7:28 is the only accurate statement in the thread:

The important thing is to have ancestors.

chrisnavin.com said...

At the New Yorker, perhaps the 3,000 word essay can be like a child.

**Balthazar's Rathbone-Nowitsky's latest child is a social-science-aspiring, pop-music inflected delight. It weaves together issues of intersectionality and the body within social protest movements, the history of the NY subway, and childhood summers at an eroding Nantucket shoreline.

The words and ideas are placed like freshly glazed donuts in a display case; donuts which help you think.

Brando said...

So to recap--you can't make long term policy if you don't have children, you can't rule on women's issues if you aren't a woman, you can't send troops into combat if you didn't serve yourself, you can't make decisions that affect businesses if you haven't run one yourself, you can't understand black people if you're whitesplaining, and you don't truly appreciate having legs until you've lived without legs for a while.

So clearly the only person qualified to lead our country is a black grandmother army vet business tycoon who only recently had her legs reattached.

Robert Cook said...

"Anyway, if liberals are wondering why heterosexuality is considered the norm, that is because we are the breeders and we create babies and keep the human race alive. Gay people, or people who are masturbating into oblivion, are not the norm. You are going to die out, like the do-do bird!"

Gay people and masturbators are normal in that they have existed everywhere throughout human history. Homosexuals, you'll note, have not died out like the dodo bird. (The idea of "heterosexual" and "homosexual" as distinct sexual orientations is of recent vintage.) Even if homosexuals are a minority of the population, their existence in every society in every age makes them a normal part of humanity. There is a difference between "majority/minority" and "normal/abnormal." As for masturbators, well...if you find a human society with a population of only one, you'll still have a population that includes a masturbator!

"I feel that liberals are very dishonest about human reproduction. For instance normalizing abortion so people have the option to get rid of their children, and normalizing homosexuality, so people will fail to breed and their line dies out."

Abortion is also a norm...it is found throughout human history in every human society. Advocates of abortion do not assert that abortion is a wonderful thing; they advocate that it be legally available to insure the procedure is safe and to minimize, if not eliminate, young girls trying to abort their own babies or disposing of newborns in trashcans and similar circumstances. Abortion will continue, whether it is legal or not--as it existed before being made legal--but fewer women will become sick or die due to unsanitary or incompetent abortions performed by sketchy people in sketchy circumstances.

London Girl said...

Not fair to say they were looking for a woman - it just panned out that way. May was always a strong tier 2 candidate. Prior to the referendum the top two candidates were Boris Johnson and George Osborne, the Chancellor. Osborne's ahem full-throated defence of Remain made his candidacy a non-starter. Johnson looked set to win. He was taken out by the second most high profile Brexiteer Michael Gove in a kamikaze act of political destruction. Gove is a heavyweight and probably woukd have won, except even the Tory MPs were freaked out by his disloyalty to his erstwhile ally. That left Leadsom as the most prominent Brexiteer. Meanwhile May whilst nominally on the side of Remain had been almost silent during the referendum.

May has been home secretary for 6 years which is astonishing as that post is notorious for destroying political careers. She is at the very least a safe pair of hands. I seriously doubt she is a convinced remainer so we shall see. Leadsom on the other hand was unknown before the referendum and has marginal experience in government. My main concern re the child story was that she walked straight into an obvious trap set by the journalist and then blamed everyone else for it before claiming that 48 hours of hostile press constituted unbearable harassment. Clearly not ready for prime time.

mockturtle said...

Gay people and masturbators are normal in that they have existed everywhere throughout human history. Homosexuals, you'll note, have not died out like the dodo bird.

If 'normal' is defined by 'having existed everywhere throughout human history', then pedophilia is 'normal'. Are you suggesting that, Robert?

Robert Cook said...

@mockturtle:

Pedophilia is normal, given it's existence throughout human history and in every society. In our own country, it was legal to wed girls as young as 14 (or younger) in a number of states, even until very recently. Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old cousin legally back in the 50s. Child brides exist and have existed in many cultures.

However, this is a norm that we correctly see today as undesirable, unhealthy, and damaging to the child, as it involves an unequal relationship, a weaker, smaller, less emotionally and intellectually developed person (the child) paired with a larger, stronger, more mature and mentally more developed and dominant partner (the adult). The child has no capacity of consent, as there is always coercion when an adult has a relationship with a child. Therefore, outlawing adults having sex with children is appropriate and desirable. There is no reason to similarly abhor or outlaw homosexual relationships between consenting adults.

mockturtle said...

So you're saying that 'normal' may be 'undesirable'. It seems clear to me that aberrant behavior [and antisocial behavior, like murder] have always existed in humanity. This does NOT make it normal.

Robert Cook said...

Yes, antisocial behavior is normal. This does not make it necessarily acceptable. Each society/culture will define its own "norms"--behavior it will accept, as opposed to behavior it will make taboo--for its own reasons, some rational, some not.

wildswan said...

If abortion has always been around why hasn't there been a world-wide birth crash before?

And, more important, - what's going to happen if the world-wide birth crash continues? Japan is a dying society but still the birth crash there continues even with the decline a visible social fact. So the crash is not something that will go away on its own. Germany's migrants, I've read, cannot be hired because so many cannot read or write so they won't solve Germany's birth crash. So, Unknown, RC Cook and other abortion supporters, instead of slagging other commenters why not give us your thoughts on the birth crash and why it is worst in present and former Communist countries?

Joe said...

The article is chock full of errors, as though the writer read about British politics from other hacks. She also fails to understand at all that British politics has always been extremely nasty and hard-hitting. Andrea Leadsom's comments are among the mild in that arena. Amy would have been well served to watch some videos of Prime Minister question time for an illustration in what British politics looks like. (Just watch a few Margaret Thatcher ones and all the Brexit stuff will seem like child's play.)

(Amy also needs to understand that Brits are masters at the personal slam--ad hominem is par for the course. It's so un-PC that it's quite refreshing, even if sometimes uncomfortable. Again, see question time.)

Further, her analysis of the Johnson-Gove-Leadsom relationship is pure fiction.

Like so many other statist anti-Brexit hacks, Amy Davidson is trying to justify why she--the "smartest" person in the room--could be so dramatically wrong. It MUST be the decline of British politics. Bollocks.

Robert Cook said...

"So, Unknown, RC Cook and other abortion supporters, instead of slagging other commenters...."

????

Who have I slagged? Why are you dragging in a topic of discussion out of left field that has not been part of the preceding comments?

mockturtle said...

My late husband and I watched Prime Minister's Question Time every week when Parliament was in session. Yes, British politics are much harsher than US politics but MOST British pols have much stiffer upper lips than do their American counterparts and take the abuse adroitly and with grace.

mockturtle said...

Did Thatcher whine about her maltreatment? No, indeed!

narciso said...

amy is a fool, which is the new yorkers keeps publishing her, 'you ask for a miracle, theo*
I give you the exciting new cabinet, sarc,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/12/women-to-make-up-half-of-cabinet-after-theresa-mays-reshuffle/

Saint Croix said...

Perhaps I should have said "favored" or "first" instead of "normal." Heterosexuality is the most important form of sexuality, because we breed and keep humanity alive.

Consider too how it requires union between man and woman. We must unite and team up. Man needs woman. Woman needs man. Without the other, we die out.

When I spoke of my ignorance earlier, that's what I was ignorant about. I did not realize that I needed a woman. In my 20s and 30s, I thought I could take them or leave them. No. If you want to reproduce, a man needs a woman. A woman needs a man. This neediness, this vulnerability, makes us respectful of each other, of our differences. It's very important that we see that.