One of the most frequent complaints about Hampstead & Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson levelled by her West Hampstead constituents is that she’s invisible. Clearly not everyone agrees, but for a relatively high-profile person it’s fair to say she’s not as much in the public eye as one might expect.
She of course will argue that she’s too busy working for those constituents who need her to be bothered with press releases and photo shoots. Once in a while, however, she still knows how to make waves.
At yesterday’s session in the House of Commons, Glenda ignored convention and while other MPs from both sides of the house praised Margaret Thatcher to a greater or lesser degree, Glenda stood up and proceeded to give Thatcherism a damn good kicking, referring to the state of education in particular in our constituency when she first became an MP in 1992.
Most of the way through her speech she referred to Thatcherism more than Thatcher. Then, in case anyone was under the illusion that she was hiding behind semantics, she finished off by arguing that the idea that Thatcher had broken the mould for female politicians was a nonsense. She dismissed the achievement, pointing out firstly that during the war women had “not just run the government, they’d run the country”, before concluding that these women “would not have recognised their definition of womanliness as being incorporated – of being an iconic model – in Margaret Thatcher. To pay tribute to the first prime minister deputed of female gender, ok. But a woman? Not on my terms”
Twitter naturally exploded with praise and loathing in fairly equal measure. Some might suggest that we decry bland politicians today and then decry those with the courage to speak their mind. Some might also suggest that – whatever the topic – it’s a shame we have seen so few performances like this from Glenda Jackson in the 21 years she’s been in Westminster.
If only Glenda Jackson spoke more in the Commons. A great speech, brilliantly and fearlessly delivered.
— Simon (@simonk133) April 10, 2013