I refer to the cat fight between Mary Portas, and the women of the cabinet, whom she referred to, not unreasonably in my opinion, as ugly.
Portas, who is Mr Cameron's advisor on regeneration of the High Street (and a fine job she's making of it, not surprisingly perhaps considering that her company, Yellow Door, promotes shopping centres such as Stratford's recently opened Westfield, said to be the biggest in the EU) is also making a tv programme called "Mary, Queen of Frocks", which I assume is about women's fashion. This may be considered to make her an "expert".
So she had a go at the then four female Cabinet members Tessy May (Home), Cheryl Gillan (Wales), Caroline Spelman (Environment) and Sayeeda Warsi (Nothing). Enough said!
However, after a fuss being made by Warsi, who, with no portfolio seems to have time to rise to the bait, Portas has backed down saying that it was just her" naughty sense of humour" and that, in fact, she didn't even know who the women in the Cabinet were!!!!
So, if she makes that kind of comment about people she doesn't know, how useful and unbiased will her report on retail and the dying high street actually be, and is it worth what she has cost the taxpayer?
Warsi, however, makes rather a fool of herself too, in her indignation:
"In politics you expect people to scrutinise every aspect of your life. And I don't blame Ms Portas for chipping in. But what gets me is the double standards.
"You would never get the same kind of sniping about men in politics."
Well, that's just not true. Much has been written over the years about how ugly Robin Cook was, that Frank Dobson was fat and beardy, that Boris Johnson had hair like a haystack, that Tony Blair had (and I repeat had) a nice bum, and how wrinkled and old he had become, that Gordon Brown always looked like a corpse, and that Alex Salmond got fatter by the day; it must be all these curries...
"No-one would have dreamt of giving fashion advice to any of the great men who led our country. Just imagine if someone had told Churchill what suits to wear.
"It's ridiculous to judge them [female politicians] on what they do or don't wear. "
What I would admit is that no one talks much about what men in politics wear, because they only wear dark suits, light shirts and ties. Even the most poisonous journo can't really make much of that. For all his money I've only ever seen David Cameron in a dark blue suit whilst at work.As for Winston, I imagine his butler or maybe his wife laid out for him what he was to wear and helped him on with it. I find it difficult to imagine that he was preoccupied with clothes.
If women want to avoid comments about their clothes it might be an idea to apply the same standards that men in senior positions do. In short, a dark suit with a light shirt/blouse. That would leave the journalists little to criticise.
But if they insist on wearing clothes that would be more appropriate for a day's spring cleaning, a garden party, or in the case of Theresa May, some dubious nightclub, then they must expect to be ridiculed.Incidentally, the £1.4 billion Westfield Centre was opened by Boris Johnson is a flurry of publicity. Embarrassingly a glass ceiling tile crashed to the floor only feet from where the mayor was standing during the ceremony. Doesn't sound too safe to me.