Mhairi Black, the UK’s youngest MP, revealed what life is really like inside Westminster. In an interview with Guardian journalist Owen Jones, she said:
It’s so excluded from reality.
Two-thirds of the way through the interview, Jones had asked:
How low is [your opinion of Westminster] now?
All the things that I thought and argued during the referendum and during the general election have unfortunately turned out to be totally true. It is a complete boys club.
Black then went on to say she is the epitome of an outsider in Westminster:
If you want to talk about barriers in politics, I cover quite a lot of bases. I’m young, female, gay. I’m SNP.
This is not how representative democracy should function. One should not feel the heat of prejudice simply due to gender, sexual orientation or age in parliament. Otherwise, these prejudices will spill into legislation, to the detriment of these social groups in society.
Parliament should represent the whole of society. Yet 77% of MPs are male, while the country is 51% female. This is a million nails in the coffin of our so-called ‘representative democracy’.
Black continued to reveal what it’s like inside Westminster:
I am taken aback by, in the first instance, how patronising some folk were. And in the second instance, by how sexist people were. And it’s subtle sexism, it still exists.
Do you have any examples?
Black had a few:
You know, just the arrogance and the ‘darlings’ and the ‘oh don’t worry yourself’, and all this rubbish, you know?
In a damning irony, this sexism goes right to the heart of the Tory equality minister’s own workforce, where there is a significant gender pay gap. Recently, a pregnant MP was accused of playing “the pregnancy card” when she wanted a break in parliament. Last November, female MP Rupa Huq wrote an exposé on how:
parliament is still deeply unfriendly to women with children.
Black then went on to fully confirm the public’s worst suspicions about the ‘Westminster Bubble’:
It’s a total world unto itself.
She said that Westminster will soon perish if it does not get a grip:
I think it’s a totally defunct institution, that has to drag itself into the 21st Century if it has any hope of surviving.
Parliament is living in a past that is totally at odds with the reality of Britain today. If it does not change soon, it will be cast into the dustbin of history.
Black then said something that is probably the worst thing one can hear about a government:
It allows tradition to rule over reason.
This is a damning indictment of a parliament that is supposed to represent the public. Ritual is extremely dangerous because it cements privilege. Rationale is what should set our laws, not the arbitrary, pompous inclinations of a bunch of disproportionately old, disproportionately rich and disproportionately white, men.
Hopefully with fresh politicians like Mhairi Black on the rise, this will change sooner than we think.
You can watch the full interview here:
–Sign the global petition against the bloody tampon tax!
–Get involved with 50:50 parliament, a cross-party pressure group for a gender equality in politics.
– The People’s Assembly Against Austerity has a search function that makes finding local groups easy.
– Support The Canary, so we can go on telling it like it is.
– Write to your MP to tell them what you think about government policies.
Featured image via Youtube screenshot.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?