Sunday, July 16, 2017

Lord Bonkers' Diary: “Why can’t we have a woman as leader?"

When I read this I am reminded that Lord Bonkers was a great supporter of women's suffrage. (But then the first Lady Bonkers would have taken a pretty dim view if he hadn't been.)


“Why can’t we have a woman as leader?” came a question after I spoke at a local Liberal Democrat dinner this evening. I replied that, while I am attracted to the idea, you must first find a woman who is willing to stand. “At one time,” I went on, “we would have engineered a by-election in a safe Liberal seat and got the Wise Woman of Wing to Westminster. She would certainly make a good leader – being Terribly Wise and so forth.” Such matters are not so simply arranged these days, not least because there are no safe Liberal seats any more.

Jo "Gloria" Swinson has ruled herself out this time, settling for the deputy leadership and what she fondly imagines will be a shoo-in next time. Well, we shall see, but "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley," as the former Somerset wicketkeeper Neil Burns once remarked to me.

So instead we must look to our new female Members. Wera Hobhouse is no doubt a relation of my old friend L.T. Hobhouse, with whose latest every young Liberal could once be found curled up. If you want someone Terribly Clever, she’s your girl. Then there is Christine Jardine, who must be a relation of Douglas Jardine, the great England captain from the Bodyline series. His strategy, based upon the insight that Donald Bradman did not like it up the snoot, brought the Ashes home. We could do with similar generalship today.

My eye, however, has fallen upon Layla Morgan – so much so that I have written a song about her on the banjulele. It goes something like this:
You've got me on my knees, Layla.
Rumpty tumpty tum, Layla.
Darling won't you ease my worried mind?
Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South-West 1906-10.

Previously in Lord Bonkers' Diary...

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