Harriet Harman is either thick or criminally disingenuous

Labour’s deputy leader is tipped to succeed Gordon Brown, says Rod Liddle. But her vacuous feminism, her reflex loathing of men, her lack of interest in real statistics and her worrying links with trade unions would spell disaster for the party

5 August 2009

Labour’s deputy leader is tipped to succeed Gordon Brown, says Rod Liddle. But her vacuous feminism, her reflex loathing of men, her lack of interest in real statistics and her worrying links with trade unions would spell disaster for the party

So — Harriet Harman, then. Would you? I mean after a few beers obviously, not while you were sober. The alcohol is sloshing around inside your brain, you’ve enjoyed a post-pub doner kebab together and maybe some grilled halloumi (a woman’s right to cheese) and she suggests, as you stand inside the frowsy minicab office: fancy going south, big boy? (I don’t know for sure that she’d use the term ‘big boy’; this is largely hypothetical stuff, you understand.) Anyway, the husband — Jack — is chilling in their second home in Suffolk, the kids are with their scary godmother Patricia Hewitt and the Peckham pad is free for the night. You imagine what might happen, what carnal delights are in store: Harriet fixing up some Moldovan Fairtrade coffee and then back in the living-room minxily slipping out of her stab-vest, the one she tends to wear while in her constituency, while sliding a sultry Joan Armatrading CD on the stereo. Would you? I think you wouldn’t. I think you have more self-respect, a greater sense of self-worth, no matter how much you’ve had to drink. I think you’d make your excuses and leave, just as the first bars of ‘Me Myself I’ strike up. I think you’d do the same with most of the babes who were once, or are now, on the government front bench.

That’s the problem with Caroline Flint’s statement that Labour’s most senior women were used by the Prime Minister as ‘window dressing’. I mean, would you dress your window with Jacqui Smith, or Ruth Kelly, or Harriet? If you had a window? You might dress the window with Caroline Flint, who, we should all agree, is as fit as a butcher’s dog. But the rest? I suppose Caroline meant ‘window dressing’ in a different way, i.e. as a highly visible sop to the remaining tranche of early 1970s feminists still active in the Labour party and in the campaigning quangos. In which case, she is probably right: what other reason could there be for the presence in high office of Jacqui and Harriet, other than some form of gender discrimination — i.e. for their looks — or for discrimination of the better, ‘positive’ kind, i.e. they are the only women around.

Apparently, within one year David Cameron might well be Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition his half cousin, Harriet Harman. At which point we will have a government front bench which speaks (in private at least) with the sort of vowel sounds you might have expected from Lord Salisbury’s last cabinet, and an opposition leader drawn from no less a privileged background. Harriet Harman, we are led to believe, might one day soon lead the party of Keir Hardie and Nye Bevan. Harriet is, as they say, to the manor born and was educated at St Paul’s School for Girls (£5,000 per term, if you’re thinking about it), although following this useful start in life she managed only to get into York University. Nor do her kids go to school locally in Peckham — heaven forefend; they go to posh schools some distance away. But class war, which is always fun, is not the reason why we should have disquiet about Harriet Harman. Or, if you’re me, not the only one.

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The reason we should have disquiet about Harriet is because she is either thick or criminally disingenuous. My guess is thick. Being a bit thick should not disqualify someone from leading their party, I suppose, as both Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Salisbury would concur. But the problem with Harman is that this is stupidity repackaged as a form of jejune radicalism and as a consequence nobody in her party will gainsay it, for fear of being branded a reactionary.

Her only policy, her only raison d’être, is a particularly vacuous feminism dating from a sixth-form common room in about 1973. Were this a serious commitment and grounded in reality, one might respect her for it and even agree. But it never is grounded in reality. It is the perpetual shrieking of an idiot. Take, for example, her insistence, back in June, that rates of pay for women lag behind men by about 23 per cent, a figure which she jumped upon and which was widely reported in the press alongside her predictable commentary. The boss of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, actually had to tick her off for willful misreading of the figures — Harriet had not allowed for the far, far greater proportion of women working in part-time employment, with substantially lower wages. Once that was factored in the gender gap reduced to below 13 per cent. But even then — and again, this was either stupidity or disingenuous interpretation, and I favour the former — the figures raised more questions than they answered. Why do so many women work part-time? Why, even once these figures have been adjusted to take account of the part-time working, is women’s pay still below that of men’s? These are interesting questions which might well reveal a few truths about how we live now, and in a better world might impinge upon government policy. It might well be true that sexual discrimination is partly to blame; but it might be more the case that women prefer part-time working because they also wish to bring up children and that even when in fulltime employment a good many ‘down-size’ because they wish to achieve a better work-life balance and so on, and therefore do not end up earning the same salaries on average as their male colleagues. Hell, the evidence for this process is right there in front of her, with Estelle Morris and Ruth Kelly, to name but two. Investigate that and you might grope towards a policy which enables women to achieve their employment aspirations while at the same time recognises that, on average, fewer women wish to commit themselves totally to work than do men. But you dare not even suggest such a thing to Harriet. For her, it’s straightforward, even when she has to mishandle the figures. But my point is that there is not the slightest indication of thought from Harman about any of this, just a furious yapping based upon a misconception.

Her pronouncements this last weekend, about how some mechanism should be put in place to ensure that the Labour party always has a male-female partnership leading it, and that men should not be allowed to run things because they’re not very good at it, was from the same school of pre-Eighties high-school feminism: men, they’re all the same, gawd love ’em! Again, she misunderstood statistics and applied her usual brand of kneejerk gender hatred to the effects of the recession which, she implied, had been caused by men. Women must not be the victims of the recession, she whined, before the figures were produced which showed that in fact men had been much more badly hit as a consequence of the slump than had women. And on that notion that the Labour party should never be led by a man alone — isn’t there, sort of, a conflict of interest in such a statement? Given that Harriet is about the only woman left at the top of the Labour party? And, to occupy her campus-ground for a moment, what about those other victims of discrimination — black people, homosexuals, the elderly, the disabled? Shouldn’t there be some sort of mechanism to ensure that they are represented in senior positions at the top of the party? This is not simply a facile observation: as black Labour activists will tell you, one of the biggest obstacles in the path of getting more black and Asian Labour MPs has been the party’s insistence upon all-women shortlists. Of the various communities exulting in multicultural Britain, it is whitey who, sadly, is most committed to the principle of equality for women; hence all-women shortlists tend to discrimina
te against black men.

Bizarrely, Harman has been allowed to draft legislation based solely, it would seem, upon her hatred for men. Legislation to ensure that men who murder their wives are banged up for life with no recourse to a plea of provocation occasioned by the woman’s behaviour. And, at the same time, that women should henceforth be allowed to plead provocation when they murder their husbands and get a lesser sentence. This ludicrous and plainly unfair manipulation of the judicial system was again accompanied by Harriet shrieking out statistics — on this occasion, that 86 per cent of domestic murders were committed by men. You had the feeling that she’d be happier if the overall level of murders remained the same, so long as 51 per cent of them were committed by women. Sort of all-women shortlists for murderers.

So juvenile and deep-seated is her loathing of men that she has even argued that men are not really needed in a family set-up, that there’s really no great necessity for a child to know its own father. This goes against the findings of just about every social study of the family that’s been undertaken, where it is always the case that a child brought up in a stable family environment with a father and a mother tends to be happiest — and less criminally inclined — later in life. But then reality is rarely allowed to intrude upon Harman’s dogma.

Labour’s great campaigning women MPs always drew from a reservoir of feminism, alongside what used to be called class-consciousness (a difficult one for Harriet, this). But Bessie Braddock, Renee Short, Barbara Castle and the like were scarcely monomaniacs. Even Joan Ruddock was not as sex-obsessed as Harriet Harman.

I suppose if you were to put money on it, you would say that Harperson is the most likely candidate to become leader of the Labour party, assuming that Gordon Brown loses the election next year. An old Labour politician, now in the House of Lords, warned me about this several years ago, his hands shaking on his cup of tea. I thought he was going mad, to tell you the truth and simply smiled and asked after his wife. But he was right. You look at the rivals — is there a politician in Britain with less of a popular touch than Peter Mandelson? Well, maybe David Miliband. You are left pinning your hopes upon Alan Johnson, and they are fairly slender hopes.

I don’t suppose it will hurt Harriet very much that her husband is the treasurer of the Labour party and the deputy leader of Unite’s TGWU branch, Jack Dromey. And I don’t suppose the irony will smack her in the face if the trade unions, in deciding who will be the next Labour party leader, alight upon Harriet Harman. She’ll have got there all by herself.

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Show comments
  • Yvonne

    In her first job in Government in ’97 she was found wanting. Nothing has changed, she is still a waste of political space.

  • Ronnie

    Thick and utterly lacking in self-awareness.

    Ms Harman is the final nail in the coffin.

  • tobias

    By the time Harriet is leader, new labour will be down to a rump of about 50 seats. She will undoubtedly work hard to further reduce this figure.

    I am reminded of a joke that she is actually a tory undercover mole on a mission to cause as much damage to labour as possible. I laughed at the time but in the past week I’ve taken a few gulps and wondered.

  • John Ware

    I agree that Harman is a pain but what a sexist boor/bore Rod Liddle is:
    “Caroline Flint, who, we should all agree, is as fit as a butcher’s dog”

  • John One

    Women can and do prefer part-time work because they have a male partner who is working double.

  • Ken

    “Caroline Flint, who, we should all agree, is as fit as a butcher’s dog”

    – Ha Ha, great stuff and Hattie Hateperson is…?

  • Stalin MacSporran

    @ John Ware

    Surely the Rodster is only taking Flint at her own estimation of herself. Didn’t she do a glam photo spread for some newspaper in tight skirts and prostitutes’ shoes?

  • Johnny

    Harriet’s style “It is the perpetual shrieking of an idiot”

    oh how very cruelle yet true.

    I see the Communist Party of Great Britain is now led by a woman and is also passed into oblivion.

    Looks like the same will happen to Labour.

  • CharlieRay15

    I thnik you’ve missed the point, Mr Ware…

  • Don McGill

    @ John Ware
    August 6th, 2009 8:39am

    I don’t think Rod meant Caroline Flint was a bit of a dog – quite the opposite, I’d say.

  • John Thomas

    It’s easy to see the ludicrous side of Harman’s activities (as seen in Rod’s article, and some of the responses), but her record’s not all crazy and faintly laughable; I understood she has been quite influential in promoting abortion in this country, and recent laws to this effect – so she has a body-count of – how many million? – to her credit. OK, it’s not just her, but she must assume some of the guilt. I bet it’s more than Hitler (holocaust: 6m) and Stalin (12-15m).

  • Peter the Pedant

    The phrase is ‘to the manner born’ – ‘To the mnaor born’ was a sitcom

    I expect better from the Spectator. Harrumph.

  • Heloise

    It’s interesting this article discusses Harman’s ‘reflex loathing of men’ whilst almost totally focusing on men’s carnal reflexes. Pot. Kettle. Black (I say). It also sounds to me like the journalist has thought a little too much about being seduced by Harman to write about her in any kind of objective way. I would suggest that rather than panic unnecessarily about some kind of post-men armageddon (because it will just make your sperm count drop even more) perhaps just get out a bit more?

  • Robert Thompson

    Where do you get the idea that Lord Salisbury was thick? Given that he dominated politics in Britain between 1886 and 1903 it seems unlikely that this was the case.

  • Tony Gee

    My acid test for all these equality issues is – if you or a close family member was having surgery who would you want for the surgeon? The most successful and best qualified obviously regardless of gender, colour,race, nationality so why is this stupidity in politics given any credence – beats me.

  • c chapman

    Thick OR criminally disingenuous? Both I think

  • Sheila

    You are perhaps a little too generous to Harman, Rod.

    I think she is as much spiteful as she is thick.

    I really like line you write here, it is, in essence, why the Labour Party is dying: “the problem with Harman is that this is stupidity repackaged as a form of jejune radicalism and as a consequence nobody in her party will gainsay it, for fear of being branded a reactionary”.

    This spiteful brand of thought control is forced on the public – not just with feminist issues either – and they find themselves told not to use certain words or not even begin a debate on this or that subject.

    The frustration goes unanswered and then, finding no outlet, the Labour core vote have decided en masse in Manchester and Yorkshire earlier this year (Labour heartlands) to say “stuff it, then, I’ll vote BNP”.

    The core voters are giving up on the party because it spitefully demonises them when they say things its thought control police don’t like. As you point out, it’s the same for the people in the party.

    If people can’t debate an issue, they’ll just move on to fresh turf, a la the BNP.

    This dreadful woman may get away with leading the Labour Party, but this party’s days of leading people a merry dance are over.

    A quick look at the writing of people like Johann Hari and Gary Younge shows you how deep this mindset is on the Left.

    For so long their game has been to scream ‘sexist’, ‘racist’ to close down debate and now people are seeing through it and just walking away. Look at the writing churned out by those two goons and you see its a modus operandi the Left has no intention of giving up.

  • Steve.W

    Rod Liddle says – “I don’t know for sure that she’d use the term ‘big boy’; this is largely hypothetical stuff, you understand”.

    Largely hypothetical, so which bits are not? I think we should be told.

  • Susan

    More women work part time because they are stupid enough to accept inequality at home and get saddled with too many domestic chores. If they had the sense to avoid sexist men we wouldn’t have the pay gap.

    When it is as likely men as women pick, hire and deal with the nanny (no, Ron… I didn’t mean “do” her….) HH can shut up. We have a long way to go to get there.

  • Geoff F

    THICK. DEFINITELY THICK. Remember how Frank Field ran rings around her back in 1997?

  • Rosa

    Not your best work, the reason I suspect being that 8 pages on this person is 7 1/2 too many.

    Even the post mortem report will not run beyond a page


  • Matthew Wilson

    The really scary thing about Harriet Harman is that she looks a bit like Charles Moore in some photos.


  • Bardirect

    Even her 3 kids were given her maiden name rather than the surname of their father – but is it also true that the brainwashing has led him to introduce himself as ‘Jack Harman’?

  • Martin C

    Reminds you about why you voted Labour in the first place, doesnt it, Rod?

  • Jos

    @ Robert Thompson and Rod Liddle

    Quite right. Lord Salisbury is usually regarded as the brightest leader the Tories have ever had.

  • Daragh Nugent

    Quite right about women and children. Weekdays, I’m a full time father of a 6 yr. old girl; the mothers in the playground are civil enough and want to be there but the few men don’t and the women don’t want them really. We stand around the the Great Pyramids. The last time men attempted contact, it ended in a fist fight, in the schoolyard, no less. We’ve got the same problems here in Ireland with useless women in public life. Sympathies.

  • S Hall

    So juvenile and deep-seated is your loathing of women that you have to start this article with a cheap shot about whether you’d shag her.

  • CS

    Harriet Harman comes over to me as a posh, overpromoted and slightly nasty person trying to climb the greasy pole by inciting social friction.

    But does one really have to be a 1970s feminista in sensible shoes to find it crassly offensive to read a Spectator article which begins by arguing that no man with any self-respect would f**k Harriet Harman?

    Surely to find it crass and offensive, it’s sufficient to be a member of the human race.

    What demographic is the Spectator aiming at these days. The sort of people who post comments on Guido’s blog?

  • MikeF

    The reality of what Harriet Harman is about is, of course, not funny, but frightening. She apparently wants quotas to be set for rape convictions. What an appalling prospect. Quotas for convictions are a recipe for victimisation and scapegoating. They were, for instance, an essential tool of Joseph Stalin, who demanded set numbers of convictions – frquently enough for capital offences – on the part of regional office of the Soviet secret police of the time.

    Come to think of it. Should Harriet really be setting a policy agenda while Gordon is on holiday? Surely she is just meant to ‘mind the shop’.

    Well I never thought I would say it but Come Back Gordon, We Need You (though not for long). But – the thought has just occurred to me – maybe this is all a cunning plan thought up by Peter Mandelson to make us want to see Gordon in Downing Street. Could be.

  • Paul

    How dare you suggest that Harriet Harman is criminally disingenuous!

  • Palladio

    Point 1. I know for absolute certain I would not dress my window with Mr Liddle or be anything other than revolted at the thought of going home with him. Chaps in glass houses should not throw ruddy great rocks = Liddle is a BOOR
    Point 2. The Liddle formula for article writing: Take reactionary position, argue it through (as one would at the pub) using ones general knowledge and aggressive disposition alone (no research apparent) = Liddle is a BORE

  • Verity

    I’d agree with Sheila that spite plays a large role in Harriet Harman’s make-up. She oozes malice and smuggery.

    CS – You can’t use a greasy pole to incite friction.

    And smug Dave is her half cousin, eh? How priceless!

    I don’t want her to get the Leadership of Labour only because even David Cameron might be able to beat her and he would be as disastrous, in his own way, in No 10 as would his cousin in hers. I want someone who can win for Labour, and that person is Alan Johnson.

    Then with Dave, who will, of course, have reverted to David by then, out of the way, we can storm through and hold office for at least 20 years.

  • Verity

    I wonder how often Hattie Hormone and Dave talk on the phone.

  • MikeF

    Rod is a bit tetchy because he is bored – the football season hasn’t started yet. But after he has had a few beers with the lads and watched a game at the New Den he will be much more his old self. The season starts on Saturday, so I bet you next week’s column is much better.

  • Anna

    Agree with S. Hall, I’m afraid. It’s a pity for I’m often a Rod fan, but this piece has dented my admiration. It’s not that I’m a Hatty fan, and I’m sure good demolition jobs can be done on her, but this article is hopelessly crude, vulgar and spiteful (rather than witty) in its remarks on women and women’s issues. In fact it is so repulsively sexist that it rather suggests that Hatty’s much sneered at feminism still
    has a great deal more justification than Rod is willing to allow.

  • Richard

    There won’t be a Labour Party after the next General Election.

  • Simon Stephenson

    Sheila : 11.11am

    “For so long their game has been to scream ‘sexist’, ‘racist’ to close down debate and now people are seeing through it and just walking away.”

    Are you aware that it is a 21st Century offence to suggest that mainstream actions are in any way the causes of unwelcome outcomes? The people who are walking away from political debate and involvement are the ones at fault, because they are entirely responsible for the consequences of their actions. Nothing the majority has done to make such involvement pointless is in any way contributory to these consequences.

    In contrast, of course, to “good” outcomes, which are wholly attributable to the actions of the majority, and owe nothing to the contributions of individuals that make them possible.

    Still, when the moral high ground is defined as wherever the majority happen to be at a point in time, I suppose there’s no other way of dealing with the variable quality of outcomes.

  • Noa Zrk

    Rod’s quite right. No one wouldn’t.

  • Noa Zrk

    If I read your note correctly you want Labour, under Alan Johnson, in power for the next 20 years?
    Say it isn’t so, please….

  • Judith C

    Let’s hope that the loony Mrs. Harmful is the next leader of the loony liebores. Then it will ensure that they are at least out of office for as long as she’s the next leader, and hopefully for ever.

  • Philip Brooks

    Harriet Harman is the sort of politician I loathe most; not because of her feminist rantings which probably do nothing address issues of genuine discrimination but because of her sheer hypocrisy. The electorate exist in order to salve her own conscience over her privileged background and upbringing.She despises aspiration-people seeking the best for their children for example, but practices it herself. Egalitarianism is something she can inflict on other people with a clear conscience but makes excuses to exclude herself.
    Whilst we are discussing the Harperson can somebody remind me of that strange matter she was involved in along with her sister relating to court papers?

  • Jez

    MikeF August 6th, 2009 4:05pm:

    “Rod is a bit tetchy because he is bored – the football season hasn’t started yet. But after he has had a few beers with the lads and watched a game at the New Den he will be much more his old self. The season starts on Saturday, so I bet you next week’s column is much better.”

    He’s tetchy because he knows the Super Leeds are going to be all over Millwall this season- especially after our annihilation of premiership Burnley this weekend!

    Prepare for some anti-Yorkshire diatribe in the coming months! :))))

    Oh yeh, Harriet….

    Nothing to say and always saying it it too loudly.

    NuLab; Staight right Bankrupt.

  • James

    She could be both. Either way, you had better hope she does not have Alan Sugars lawyers!

  • David Short

    Thick and privileged.

    That used to be the Tory party’s features.

    I am so glad I don’t really live in this benighted country.

  • Ruth Sharpe

    Sorry, you are suggesting Harperson is up for the Labour leadership, yet Matthew Norman in the Independent puts the case for PM for PM. Out of the two, I think I know who is the more wiley operator, unless this article is a smoke screen. Personally, they can all go to political hell – and the sooner, the better.

  • MikeF

    Jez – Leeds, huh (there’s a Rodism for you). I wouldn’t be so sure.

    By the way, who is the man in the cover illustration. It looks like the late Denis Thatcher – but though he would have been suitably appalled by La Harman, I suspect he would have had no trouble ensuring that she did not spoil his enjoyment of his drink.

  • Kenneth Perry

    Rod,Oh Rod! You’ve missed the point Like all of us I am no great fan,but Harriets is a skilled Parliamentarian, and,Boy,Westminster needs these Professionals. No one has criticised her Ledership of the House,a heavy thankless,but vital job.Alan Johson makes his fellow MPs feel good,but what has he done for us?

  • Snowman

    Anna 4.13

    Do try and mix with people who don’t read the Spectator (60mn or about), they’ll give you one (definition) of ‘crude, spiteful, and vulgar’.

  • Tintin

    I for one like HH. She reminds me of a mad woman from the village I’d once lived in. Her top act had been licking rear car tires till the day a careless male driver reversed at some speed. What a mess.

  • Brian Taylor

    Harriet Harman a disaster for Labour? Then her husband – Jack Dromey – has been a disaster for this country!
    He was one of the chief architects of an open-borders immigration policy – contemptuous of the wishes of the general electorate – and look how that’s turned out.
    How much more mischief can the Horrible Harmans unleash?

  • david

    This awful vile women has single handedly driven millions of white working class men away from their own party. This loathsome women needs to learn to keep her foul middle class left-wing mouth shut!! every time she rants on thousands more vote BNP.If she is so concerned about the roll of women in Britain today she need not look any further then the appalling treatment some, muslim women face each and every day from their own male!! donomated “community” but that would be so none PC wouldn’t it…

  • Miles


  • Sheila

    The man in the illustration is the equally odious Jack Dromey, Harperson’s husband. He is a bigwig in the union Unite and has, as others note, helped to draft the poison that has now destroyed this country.

    And can you guess what Doormat Dromey (the children have Harperson’s surname) will do next? Why, he’s about to be parachuted into a safe Labour seat at the next election. No doubt his connections didn’t help him – we know how much socialists frown on those.

  • stephen maybery

    Rod, I wouldn’t touch the sanctimonious trollop with your’s let alone mine, the woman is a graphic illustration of all that is wrong with modern politics

  • Walter

    30 years ago the late, great Henry Root wrote to Harman (when she was, with gruesome irony, legal officer for The National Council For Civil Liberties) suggesting that she pursue a career in show business. His excellent advice was sadly ignored and he did not even have the courtesy of a reply. Perhaps we should all write to her again along these lines:
    “Why should an attractive lass like you want to confuse her pretty little head with complicated matters of politics, jurisprudence, sociology and the so-called rights of citizens? Leave such weighty considerations to us men, that’s my advice to you!”

    Perhaps those of us who can afford it could even send her a pound, as Root did, so that she can “buy a pretty dress” and seek “advice about a career in entertainment”.

  • Vaemar

    Yes, it might spell disaster for the Party, just as lack of bullets for the revolver of the bosun holding back the crowd fighting for the last lifeboat might spell disaster for the Titanic.

  • John O’Connor

    In the late 70’s Jack Dromey was invited by his ideological counterparts in Angola, the Marxist MPLA party, to be an official ‘witness’ (i.e. cheerleader) at the show trial – and subsequent execution – of British and American mercenaries who had fought for Holden Roberto’s rival FNLA party. And then there the little matter of the violent Grunwick strike… Voters in Dromey’s potential constituency need to be alerted to his previous ‘form’. Researchers and commentators, please get digging!

  • Brendan

    Sod compassionate conservatism, the rank, misogynistic voices of Liddle and Clarkson give a clearer indication of the sort of political culture that awaits when the Tories gain power.

    For any Labour supporter this should be encouraging – they may be doomed to lose the election, but if this article is anything to go by, they’re in no danger of losing the moral high ground – with cheerleaders like Liddle, the “nasty party” label will be sticking to the Tories for some time to come.

  • MikeF


    Thanks, I remember the man in his younger, Grunwick-era days – didn’t he have a Dave Spart beard then? If so that is why I didn’t recognise him.

  • Walter

    @John O’Connor “In the late ’70’s Jack Dromey was invited…”

    Despicable. And tells us all we need to know about this pair. I believe that when Dromey was in the TGWU he had a special interest in the defence industry, maybe more scope for digging.

  • Moira Hemson

    If Harriet Harman were ever to become prime minister I would emigrate at once. Even if I had to reside in some sub-Saharan African hell-hole, it would be preferable to living in Britain under the rule of the joyless, sour and spiteful Harperson.

  • Nicola

    What a frightening insight into misogyny today – badly written, ill-informed tirade more suited to the playground than this magazine. Consider my subs cancelled.

  • Occasional Ostrich

    you quote the fees for St. Paul’s School for Girls, presumably in case the hoi polloi might wish to consider sending their offspring there.

    If Ms Harperson is representative of the products of this school, why would we want to?

  • Jimmy

    “What a frightening insight into misogyny today – badly written, ill-informed tirade more suited to the playground than this magazine. Consider my subs cancelled.”


    Do you have a sub to cancel or are you getting this free online?

  • Jane

    Am I naive to think that all these accusations of misoginy are completely misplaced and miss the point of what RL is saying?

    I read this genius article as a very tongue in cheek means of ridiculing HH and her dreadful feminista crew in the most offensive way possible – ie using the language of a sexist, wimmin-hating bore. OK, Liddle is no saint, but please, get a sense of humour guys.
    Well, it made me laugh anyway.

  • Malcolm Armsteen

    ‘Harperson’ – oh, how we laughed. So original, so bold, so – so what?
    Did you actually PAY Lidl to write this dross?

  • Tom White

    I don’t think much of Harriet Harman, but this piece is vile. Stop dressing up your own loathing of women as analysis.

    Oh, and go and do some more reading about Lord Salisbury while you’re at it.

  • Tom White

    Interesting too that rightwingers on here want to repackage the Grunwick strike as mindless violence: do they not believe in the rights of workers to join a trade union? Because that’s what the strike was about…

  • Jonathon

    I’m sorry but this is a horribly distastful article – like her or not at least show her a degree of respect. I found the first paragraph so offensive – what a way to discuss a woman.

  • VioletUltra

    “So — Harriet Harman, then. Would you?”

    Roderick, the question you should ask yourself is “Would she?”. Probably not. I love how deeply unattractive men feel more than qualified to comment on the sex appeal of women. Especially when it is irrelevant to the job they do. Prick.

  • Sevo Slade

    What is Sky waiting for? “Are You Smarter Than A Labour MP” could be the hit of the Fall season; my only doubt is whether the grand season finale would pit the befuddled pensioner against Mr. Balls or Ms. Harman.

  • Vaemar

    But, “Jonathon”, this creature DESERVES no respect! She is one of a gang of immoral, consciousless criminals who in 11 years have brought this country, our futures and our children’s futures to ruin. They have destroyed not one or two aspects or institutions of Britain but almost everything – education, law and order, national defence, pride in our heritage and identity … Future history, if there is any, will remember them as nothing more than utterly despicable traitors and enemies.

  • logdon

    August 6th, 2009 10:38am
    I would suggest that rather than panic unnecessarily about some kind of post-men armageddon (because it will just make your sperm count drop even more) perhaps just get out a bit more?”

    And thus Heloise damns herself by the use of the tired old spiteful cliche?

    I can’t see any men panicking on this page. More of a guffaw in fact.

    Could it be that she’s tilting at her very own straw men who exist only in her very own head?

    A bit like Harman, if it don’t do the trick, make it up.

    Just like her comparitive figures on male/female earnings.

  • logdon

    August 6th, 2009 11:37am

    When it is as likely men as women pick, hire and deal with the nanny (no, Ron… I didn’t mean “do” her….) HH can shut up. We have a long way to go to get there.”

    So the ability to ‘pick, hire and deal with the nanny’ is the feminist yardstick now?

    Wow, thank god for emancipation. Ms Pankhurst had much we should be thankful for.

    By the way, you’re not Polly Filla are you?

    Eye readers will know.

  • Tony B

    My memory might being playing up but I am sure my first sighting of Harman was in the early eighties at astudent union meeting at the Central London Poly where she was being heavily backed by Trots? Although not so thick as to join this middle-class sect much of what went for their thinking is reflected in her dim, vicious, first year undergraduate mind-set. Yes she will finish off Labour.

  • Naomi Muse

    Very disappointed that the editor didn’t edit this piece as it really doesn’t stand up to the Spectator’s normal in depth and learned diatribes. Not a piece that should have been printed.

    However, to scrutinise Harperson, I do wonder why she has spent the whole week with such disparate verbal diarrhoea as it really has not done her any good at all. A few well chosen words would have been better for her, and the same applies to Rod, whose articles I normally applaud.

  • Alan D’Arcy

    Lord Salisbury only “dominated” British politics when he did because his mnority Conservative party was kept in power by the Liberal Unionists.

  • Peter

    I read the Spectator for erudite insight into whatever appears in its pages. From afar (Canada), I suppose I should be grateful for the Harman piece by Rod Liddle but thought she was such an easy target that he tried too hard to be clever, especially in the ugly beginning

  • Ewen

    A few pints, a doner kebab, minicab Saarf of the river; how delightfully lower orders it all is. Disillusioned Ex-Guardian/Radio 4 types always get it wrong when they try to reinvent themselves as laddish un-PC etc etc (yawn). I don’t like Harriet Harman but this tired old ‘lager ‘n kebabs’ shite is beneath a journalist of Rod Liddle’s undeniable abilities. I like a good joke, and I don’t care if it’s sexist/whatever, but to assess a political figure on the basis of whether or not you’d fuck her is garbage that appeals to Nuts magazine-reading dullards. It appeals to them because it’s a dilemma they’ll rarely have to consider, as (barring frontal lobe damage) few woman would consider fucking these throwbacks. What’s the next column? “That Anne Widdicombe eh? You’d need to have serious beer goggles on mate eh? eh?” Ah well, console yourself that it’s all deliciously non-PC and poncy middle-class types (daddy-o) just need to lighten up. Should appeal to the lads daahn the boozah. Or more likely, I suspect, daahn the private members club.

  • Ed Hall

    I look forward to reading Rod’s conjugal thoughts on Peter Mandelson next week.

  • Pavo Absolutus

    A far worse nightmare scenario would be to open your eys in the monring and find ? !! Dear God NO !! surely NOT !! NOOOooooooooo !!!!!

    Thankfully it’s only a nightmare and you awake, sweating profusely and shaking with horror, but what a relief !!

    Memo to self – cut out the binge drinking – the risks are far too high !

    After all, she’s the best weapon Cameron never had.

  • MikeF

    Come on everybody – flap over. Harriet has aparently gone off on holiday. We can all relax. Life is feeling better. I’ve already taken off my tin hat and gas mask and crawled out from under the bed.

  • jon livesey

    I feel a bit odd saying that every word Rod Liddle writes is correct, but a total waste of time. Nevertheless, that’s my reaction to this piece.

    To me, it reads like the complaints of a parent whose son has brought home the laziest, sleaziest slag in town, and proposes to install her as his girlfriend. The point is not to rail against the defects of the proposed girlfriend, but what the sad affair says about the judgement of the son.

    And that is the real issue here. Yes, Harmann is a blot on public office and a total pain, but so what? If you remember back far enough, the Labour Party does this to itself from time to time. When it finds itself in enough trouble, Labour has a tendency to wake up in bed with someone who looked a lot better in the pub last night than they look in the cold light of day.

    Remember Neal Kinnock? How about Tony Benn? These were pretty gruesome creatures whose presence more or less guaranteed a loss for Labour, and yet Labour embraced them, apparently more along the lines of being just as well hung for a sheep as a lamb.

    Labour is a bit like the drunk who can drink slowly when the pubs open, but who starts to throw whiskeys down as the pub closes. In order to win an election, Labour can grit its teeth and chose a Blair or a Wilson for Leader, but when the Soviet Army is in the Tiergarten and third place in the next election beckons, Labour goes completely off the rails and chooses a Leader that you wouldn’t want to bring home to meet Mother.

    Labour is a strange Party, because it has always represented the leavings of British society. The active members of the Labour Party include some of the strangest and least happy members of our society. In good times the senior membership can keep them under control and foist a more or less sane Leader upon them, but when the going gets rough and it looks like Labour might lose whatever happens, then the guys in the greasy macintoshes seize control and the whole thing turns into the last scene in Scarface.

    This really has nothing to do with Harmann. If it wasn’t her, it would be some other tattered zombie. When Labour is determined to march over the cliff, any zombie will do.

  • Nobby

    The whole Labour front bench ought to be tried for crimes against common sense. Harriet Harman’s positioning for the next leader of the Labour Party has been fairly obvious for nearly a year now. But this has been both a fun and serious read all the same Rod. Nice one!

  • John

    If this is the kind of hateful medieval bile she is the target of, I’d say she must be doing something right. Your contribution to the political debate is to assess whether you’d shag her (I’m sure she’s gutted you wouldnt, stud that you are). It truly pathetic.

  • freddieM

    it’s frightening to think that when fighting for equal rights in the late 60’s and 70.s that we would end up with Harridan Harperson!

    Still it is comforting to know that next time l am in the UK, l can belt the old man over the head with the frozen leg of lamb and do less bird that men! Lurve the cartoon by the way!

  • david

    Why is femimism so muted about the treatment of wowen in Islam. living in West Yorkshire not a day passes without some story or other about some young women from the muslim cummunity dissapearing or been murdered or plane beaten for loving the wrong king of man why is this aren’t brown women that important too our white middle class sisterhood.

  • Dermot

    Re: The opening para. Christ, it’s not like Rod Liddle is a looker!

  • Allan George Chisholm

    Excellent thinking,spot on,flowing like magma,well said, Rod Liddle,perhaps i shall subscibe to the Spectator to show support for clear thoughts on current affairs

  • PT84

    Liddle – what century are you from? I think you’ve just alienated 50% of your readers.
    Your article is nothing more than smutty misogynistic banter from the pub.
    It’s simply not funny or clever and incredibly boring.
    Would I do Liddle? Not a chance.

  • Mike

    Maybe after 8 pints but only with 2 paper bags on her head in case the first one fell off !!!

  • Mike

    I note that the usual brigade of humourless, blind and mindless Labour supporters are well represented here and conveniently re-write history. With all the damage this socially vindictive woman has done to both sexes, its only right that an article such as this starts off with a bit of male banter about whether you’d go for it and whether you’d actually survive after a bout with the black widow. Perhaps treasurer Jack Dromey, he who denied all knowledge of illegal donations to the party, has already been castrated unlike the rest of us. But aside from a bit of fun, the subject is very serious and Harman & Brown are actually two peas in the same pod. Brown targets middle England with his economic spite and vindictiveness whilst he leaves Harman to do the same but over social issues like womens rights by legislating left and right against men in a completely discriminatory fashion. As much as rape is wrong, theres one law for men and another for women but thats not good enough for this woman as men have to be punished just because they’re men. I was rather puzzled over the comments about the Grunwick strikes as they were unlawful & violent and as usual were stoked up by some fascist union leaders just to make trouble. Many of the previous bullying union practices have now evolved and changed into spiteful legislation perpetrated by the same people now in government. Reasoned debate doesn’t exists and the Brown/Harman duo are a prime example of how the nasty party operates. God save us from this demented woman and roll on election time.

  • Dale Wilson

    Brilliant article. So true.
    Harriet is a sexist pig, obviously been dumped too many times and now out for revenge.

  • Sam Hinton

    Proof that the majority of journalists are pathetic and immature. Grow up.

  • Hester Flabble

    Do you know, I wouldn’t touch you with a barge pole, Rod Liddle.

    You have faux bob geldof hair that looks like it smells bad, you’re pasty grey and weedy, and you have rubber lips. I think I just puked in my mouth a little.

  • Martin

    Do you honestly expect to be taken seriously as a publication with this kind of fifth rate sexist hackery passing as “comment”? I had to read a paragraph of Liddle’s self aggrandising masabatory nonsense before I came to any actual analysis or anything coming close to entertaining journalism. All the improtant things you are saying are lost in a tide of unneccesary, irrelevant unpleasantness.

    It is no wonder to me that your circulation is dwindling at a rate of knots. Give Riddle his walking papers.

  • Mike

    Whats up CS, no sense of humour when others like Joe Brand are more than capable of comically standing up for the fairer sex and have done on many an occasion. Rod Liddle like most men are NOT anti-women, they’re anti-Harman for similar reasons that most Brits are anti-Brown. Both are the most extreme manifestations of Labours nasty policies, actions and in built discrimination. Anyway you can put your sex card down now, we know where you sit !

  • Charlie

    Rod, what an outdated, boring and repugnant load of crap. Were you feeling so that you couldn’t be bothered to think up an argument against Harriet that actually made sense? I’m disgusted that the Spectator even saw fit to print and pay you for this article.

    You’re a vile, stupid man, and I just hope that every single female (and male, for that matter) unfortunate enough to know or be related to you is utterly ashamed of you.

    Grow up.

  • Alan

    I’m not a big fan of this article as it is verging on sexism, but lets not forget all the sexist comments that Harriet Harman herself has came out with (ie, Men are not fit to run things on there own, if the Lehman Brothers were called the Leham sisters it’ll still be running, etc…) yet reading the comments on here it seems some of you believe it is okay to be sexist towards men, but not towards women (ironically most of them are Harriet Harman fans who seem to have adopted her narrow minded way of thinking) and i’m not defending the writer of this article, but maybe he has had enough of her male-bashing and decided to give her a taste of her own medicine?

  • Brian Taylor

    Lynn Barber, the famous interviewer, herself the subject of the Saturday interview in today’s Times, on Harriet Harman. ‘Harriet Harman was the worst. I hated her, I thought she was very stupid and self-important. I hate the fact she equates herself with women, so if you’re against her it means you’re against women. I want to say, “I’m a woman, I just really, really hate you.”‘

  • Robert Ness

    As only an occasional reader of the Speccy online I was surprised by Liddle’s puerile arguments (when there is a rational case to be made against the awful Harman) and appalled at his crude, demeaning sexism. But then I read the comments below and while amazed by how many readers apparently take Liddlism in their stride I was nevertheless relieved by the number denouncing ‘Rod’ as a moron.

  • Dave

    Great article. Really enjoyed reading it. I’ll go for thick. I can’t stand the woman. Luckily, every time she opens her mouth she sticks her foot in it and makes herself looking even thicker. Bring on the election so we can move her out.

  • logdon

    Entertainment of high order, Rod. Certainly brought the idiot lefties out from under their wet rocks.

    As for the wimmin? I despair. How many articles which affect us all on these pages, yet with the honourable exceptions, and they know who they are, no female peep?

    Then one, just one slightly tongue in cheek, laddish riposte against the hormonal antics of loony Harman and all hell breaks loose.

    I mean, gasp, who will do that horribly onerous task of dealing with the nanny?

    Pathetic. And ironically, reinforcing of all Rod says.

    Keep it up.

  • Sara Huws

    I’m glad to see that you’re providing that equal playing field for men and women in your own magazine. Whether or not she is sexually attractive is at best, quite subjective, at worst, irrelevant.

    The woman, of course, is on a dangerous, man-hating crusade: making ‘outbursts’ rather than ‘statements’, and secretly plotting to steal office, like a baby-mad woman sneaking into the bathroom at night to make pinholes in your johnnies.

    I know times are hard for the print media. It’s hard to say how it will weather the next few years if it continues to stifle debate. Better stick to gazing longingly at your own navel, Rod, and wondering how long it’s been since you could actually see the wrinkled worm that’s dangling just below it.

  • Don

    And what level of beer goggles would any sane woman need to want to shag you, Ron?

    This is seriously pathetic stuff. Liddle has been a major force in lowering the standards of journalism in this country and seems determined to continue.

  • Michael Birbeck

    Well done Rod, you have reduced Tanya Gold of the Guardian to shrill and rambling vitriol.

    Worth a subscription to the Spectator for that alone.

    Your bait has been taken. Pity it is such a journalistic minnow on the line.

  • Rosa

    Rod it’s interesting that you talk about stable family environments when yours seems to be nothing of the sort thanks to your disrespect of women and accusations of domestic violence.

    That aside this article is inaccurate, biased and boring. The shameful reaction (based on bigotry and misogyny) to Harman’s recent statements just prove how unequal our society is. You write from a completely male perspective that is antiquated amongst both women and men of the younger generations.

  • annabel frost

    Has he gone off his trolley? Maybe he’s trying to ape her tone but some kindly blue penciller should have taken him aside and deleted the first page of this. Oh dear.

  • Bob T

    I wonder if Rod Liddle had any memory of writing this extraordinary piece the following morning?

  • paulgilboy

    You only mentioned the sexual side at the beginning because you thought about it! Her prissy domineering way gave you the goose bumps.
    God only knows what games jack and harriet get upto.

  • Ray

    In 1997 Blair was swept into power. Since that time we have witnessed a slow but sustained attack on the very heart of England and its institutions. An attack I might add that is based on pure class hatred of both the upper and middle classes and make no mistake about it.

    Even now our new and unelected Prime Minister Mandelson is planning on giving a two grade advantage to so called poor students for entry into University. This is a clear case of blatant discrimination against middle class students. Social engineering at its very worst, exacerbating class hatred.

    Hovering in the wings we have Harriet Harman and her poorly disguised misandry bordering on psychosis. Promoting the selection of female and ethnic women over those with equivalent qualifications; Demonising men with lies and exaggerations based on minor truths. What is equal about putting a man away for life for murder and allowing a woman to plead provocation?

    England must wake up and realise that it faces a threat far greater than it has ever faced before. Its supporters must realise before it is too late that this is not the Labour party that came into being to protect (with much justification) the workers of yesterday. This is a government with an agenda based on social revolution, an agenda designed to rip apart society. Old hatreds will and are coming to the fore and violence will inevitably follow; is that what we want?

    The so called middle class are not evil, they are men and women working hard to better their lives. We must not allow Nulab to demonise parts of society to promote their long term despicable, political aims.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Dear me, Mr Liddle. How old does a female politician have to be before jokes about her sex-appeal are off-limits. The woman’s 58, or so my wife tells me. She looks quite well-preserved for 58, rather better than, well, since you brought it up, than you do. Too many late nights, Mr Liddle, too much alcohol and far too much sex. Continence in all things! Meanwhile I am interested to see that you do believe Harriet Harman will be the next leader of the Labour Party. Since it could well have been Ed Balls or one of those ridiculous Milibands, I should say the Labour Party will come very well out of it. Which is bad for me, since I wish them to crash irretrievably.

  • Mototom

    Rod, I couldn’t really give a monkey’s chough about HH (although I think she did a good job when at the NCCL) but I imagine this article is exactly the sort of thing Spectator readers love to read. By a bore, for bores. And whilst I’m at it HH isn’t the only public figure with a poor grasp of facts. I’ve heard you recently re-peddling the BNP myth (if I remember correctly you were talking about Ealing Council) that local authority housing isn’t allocated to local people because it goes to asylum seekers. You should know that by law asylum seekers do not have access to local authority housing. If you can’t find the facts by yourself let me know, I’d be glad to help.

  • macumazan

    How can she possibly spell disaster for the party? It would be as if someone said of a new female Titanic captain appointed after it had hit the iceberg that she would spell disaster for the vessel. It’s all too late and no new appointment can make any difference; it’s all writ in stone. Labour is gone, the ship of state is doomed to sink and British politics is now all about lifeboat allocation and drowning.

  • Thought Crime

    “I imagine this article is exactly the sort of thing Spectator readers love to read. By a bore, for bores.”


    People like you then?

  • Ludlow Mortimer

    I suppose sticking to an intelligent analysis of issues such as her performance as a government minister is too much to expect of Rod Liddle.

    What an ugly, venomous, hateful, misogynist rant!

    It says much about the character of the writer.

  • MR Michael. T Parker

    Well Rod. I do think that the Spectator should help you with support to cope with your feelings of insecurity with regard to women and Harriet Harman in particular. She’s right! I also think that we should reduce by half our Parliamentary constituencies, then split them into two sections. Of these two sections one should have to elect only a woman and the other only a man. This to be reversed for each section every new election. A simple, logical step towards 50/50 governance, rather akin to the logic behind the decision that the Victorians would have raged against,a bit like you, namely women having control of their finances, rather than their husbands. It wouldn’t help your fuck problems, but it would certainly improve the country, as well as being logical.
    Best wishes for resolution of your problem.

  • Dixon

    I also thought this piece was well below Rods usual standard and unaccountably sexist…dwelling on “would you do her”?

    Then, hours after I read it, the proverbial penny dropped and I did feel thick! The clue is in the phrase “Blairs Babes”. It was the Blairite camp that invented this alliterative sales spiel and at the time not a single member of the eponymous regiment demurred, not even the lovely Clare Short. So, for a bunch of female politicians to allow themselves to be marketed as “babes” it is only fitting that Rod should be allowed to later assess them in their own terms! A bunch of harpies.

    Thats the problem with irony. It only works if the reader can be relied upon to “geddit”. The subtler it is, the less thats likely. And by heck I think Rods fired over the heads of a lot of readers here this time, myself, for a while, included.

    Oh and by the way, “fit as a butchers dog” was a traditional-style colloquialism coined in the nineteen nineties to express admiration of a man or womans appeal, not the opposite. Unless, of course, in irony!

  • Peter C.

    There is the expected tirade of meaningless venom (belittling abuse without reasoned explaination or counter argument) posted by feminist supporting females here, but the few male commentators who are also denouncing this article, which is criticising a blatantly monstrous human being, reminds me just how easy it is to brainwash people. And brainwash people with open dishonesty and raw hatred (which is Harriet Harman’s political currency) – be it hatred and dishonesty against others (the modus operandi of the far Right) or themselves (that of the modern far Left) .

    Albert Einstein once said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity”. And he added, “And I’m not sure about the first”.

    Radical feminism is evil and deliberately destructive. It will be judged as having been a crime against humanity by future generations of human beings who will be dealing with the movements full social, economic and intellectual consequences.

    One day some of you will maybe have to square yourself with others who will be aware of your present early 21st century rhetoric, and you will be asked to explain why you supported it. Those questioning others who, with the benefit of the wisdom of hindsight, widespread support by the wider community and the power and influence that will naturally come with it, will be very angry indeed – and rightly so.

    You had better prepare some answers. Because if you are now known for what you presently are, you will need them one day.

  • Ken

    This could have been a good piece, but as it stands and with its awful opening paragraphs, it only helps the Harman and New Labour causes by its lazy abusiveness. Why was this article not edited? Why did no one spot the gaffe about Lord Salisbury? Get a grip, Spectator, for God’s sake.

  • Mark

    Ludicrous and distastefull comments about HH’s imaginary sexual advances aside.
    Harriet Harman is actually a sexist, and a very priviledged one at that.

    So, because of the power she has, not only is she a disaster for Labour but for our Nation too!

  • Michael Birbeck

    “So, because of the power she has, not only is she a disaster for Labour but for our Nation too!”

    Precisely! You highlight one of the central planks of Mr Liddle’s thesis!

    The rest of what Mr Liddle said was, as the Coen brothers said in the Big Labowski, simply the “ringer”.

    He has rung some bells here!

    Obviously though some people are clearly over wrought!

  • Lutney Chocker

    Whilst I dislike Harriet Harman intensely for being a crypto-fascist, female chauvinist, bullying diversity dalek horror show… I do find Mr Liddle’s intro more than a little bitchy and unnecessarily personal (if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black!).

    Fine, have a good go and mock for her idiotic ideas, but leave the family and sexual bullying out of it, because quite simply it weakes all the justified criticism of her.

    Surely those of us who loathe New Labour would all welcome her succeeding Dr Brown, as that would finally destroy this wretched curse of a party.

    It should be enough just to say that you wouldn’t have token women and minorities in a sports team because it’s blindingly obvious what that would do to any sports team – and sport is a pretty decent analogue for life, in that life is about the drama of competition, cheating, fouls, unfair decisions, unsung heroes and undeserving icons, and glorious defeats and victories…

    …it is an unfortunate legacy of the post WW2 era that we have to endure these futile spasms of leftist cryptofascism attempting to subvert the natural order to impose some kind of theoretical fairness… it’s failure (like non-competitive sport) is inevitable, and, really we should simply watch and laugh at social engineering “King Canutes” as human nature defies their careful plans.

    Mock them intelligently; don’t denigrate yourself and your readers with crude puerile comments like “would you?”… it’s just cringe-worthy.

  • Studious

    The fact that Rod Liddle has a pen and some people actually pay him to use it doesn’t detract from his general loathsomeness. What a dreadful piece of journalism. It’s not like the industry needs more knocks is it?

    Even in less PC days this puerile, laddish drivel would have been unacceptable, and if it’s the best way that can be found to slate someone not in jackboots this week, then the slater should surely be replaced by someone with greater insight.
    Are there no editors at the Spectator?
    I won’t be buying again for a while.

  • Jacky

    Is this professional journalism? It’s embarrassing.

  • Michael Birbeck

    Jonathan Swift where are you now?

    Satire has been forgotten!

    And how?

  • Dixon

    Peter C “Albert Einstein once said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity”. And he added, “And I’m not sure about the first”.”

    As I understand it, Einstein’s work indicates the universe to be unbounded but finite. Literally, space curves around upon itself. It seems very unlikely that the quote is of anything Einstein actually said.

    But the point is nonetheless valid!

  • Dixon

    Judging by these reactions… the proverbial penny hasnt dropped for many readers here. Just as it didnt initially for me, as I explained in a previous comment ( August 9th, 2.10 ).

  • Helen Livingstone

    Anybody fancy sleeping with Rod Liddle? No, thought not.

    What’s wrong with someone in government sticking up for women for once? There’s creeping sexism everywhere in British society – porn is everywhere, (Jordan is held up as a role model for mothers!) and it won’t get any better while sexists like Liddle are still allowed to spout such poisonous rubbish.

  • Mr Mike Parker

    “Well Rod. I do think that the Spectator should help you with support to cope with your feelings of insecurity with regard to women and Harriet Harman in particular. She’s right! I also think that we should reduce by half our Parliamentary constituencies, and then split them into two sections. Of these two sections one should have to elect only a woman and the other only a man. This to be reversed, where possible, for each section every new election. A simple, logical step towards 50/50 governance, rather akin to the logic behind the decision that the Victorians would have raged against, a bit like you, namely women having control of their finances, rather than their husbands. It wouldn’t help your carnal problems, but it would certainly improve the country, as well as being logical. Best wishes for resolution of your problem.”

  • Peter C.

    Dixon:- “As I understand it, Einstein’s work indicates the universe to be unbounded but finite. Literally, space curves around upon itself. It seems very unlikely that the quote is of anything Einstein actually said.”

    I do not have the source to hand at present – but the quote I used has been used many times by different people to make a point about the symptomatic elements of madness that sadly and routinely creeps into the reasoning of different human cultures over time.

    He did indeed use these words. He said it following his work that culminated in his General Theory of Relativity and also in context with, and having witnessed, the carnage that had enveloped the world in the first half of the 20th century.

    As far as his doubts about the infinite nature of the universe following his scientific work are concerned, ref. the quote I used, that is why Einstein said “And I am not sure about the first”.

    Incidentally, back to the subject of feminism. Having read some of the comments here – I have come to the conclusion (I might be wrong, but I don’t believe I am) that at least one or two (possibly more) of the attacks by seemingly ‘male’ commentators are not male at. Because of the nature of one or two of the messages (accusations of Liddles insecurity about women, sexual hang-ups etc.) I was suspicious yesterday. But having just read the moronic drivel of ‘Mr Mike Parker’ – who is clearly desperate to be identified as a ‘Mr’ (hence the signsture) – the transparency of the characteristically dishonest, puerile and fanatical female feminist becomes pretty apparent.

    There are indeed genuinely male detractors here from Liddles article I’m sure. They are just as blind and foolish – but in a different way. It is generally very easy to tell which is which.

    If I am wrong, and ‘Mr’ Mike Parker is indeed a Mr (which I doubt) – you are an almighty sad case. Other commentators – please read what he/she said. It beggars belief.

  • David Lindsay

    She did vote for Margaret Beckett for either or both of Leader and Deputy Leader? Didn’t she…?

  • once again

    A extremely coarse article
    written by someone who should know better.

  • Don McGill

    But to return to Rod’s original question – It would a chance to notch up some toff totty, but even then, the answer has to be, I couldn’t.

  • MikeF

    Mr Michael T. Parker:

    “A simple, logical step towards 50/50 governance, rather akin to the logic behind the decision that the Victorians would have raged against, a bit like you, namely women having control of their finances, rather than their husbands.”

    Oh for heaven’s sake – the old standby of the tired left, a dig at the ‘Victorians’. It was the Victorians who in 1870 passed the Married Women’s Property Act that gave married women control over their own property for the first time in the UK.

  • D.G. Macleod

    Apropos Harpersons assertion that men caused the recession. My impression over the past decade is that you couldn’t shake a stick in a bank or financial institution without hitting an over promoted young woman. Oh God I better make it clear lest she send the police round this doesn’t mean I want to hit women with sticks, merely object to their over promotion. In fact this failed Government was also stuffed to the rafters with females, who had got to Westminster because of wimmin only lists and hence ever upwards into ministerial posts because of positive disrimination. They now appear to be leaving the sinking ship with the haste of departing rats. I for one shall not shed a tear for Blair’s failed Babes and shall invest in a decent bottle of champers on election night to toast the defeat of the few remaining by the electorates upon which they were foisted.

  • Johnny Brains

    Says a lot about how pathetic the readers of this drivel are when they waste their time whinging about MPs in response to the debased and waste of space Rod Liddle who has clearly never had any sort of relationship with anything but his own cock so obviously obsessed with absuing women he is. Get your cocks from eternally out of your hands and over it.

  • Elizabeth

    Rod Liddle – would you?

    Would you really manage to get to the end of his puerile, laddish article?

    Have a bit more discernment Spectator. This is the journalistic equivalent of beered up pissing on your pages..

  • Mirabelle Boateng

    Can anyone else smell the putrid stench of sexism in this article? Rod Liddle you should be ashamed of yourself. I am sick to death of women in power being reduced to mere sexual fodder by you men folk. Rod Liddle? Would I, would anyone? Most certainly NOT.

  • Peter C.

    ‘Johnny Brains” writes:-

    “……..Rod Liddle who has clearly never had any sort of relationship with anything but his own cock so obviously obsessed with absuing women he is. Get your cocks from eternally out of your hands and over it.”

    Well my dear – ref. a signature that is about as plausible as Danny La Rue, and the wording of your posting – thankyou very much indeed for confirming to me, beyond doubt, that my suspicions that some ‘male’ commentators here are actually females using pseudonyms (previously in an attempt to perpetuate the myth of widespread agreement and support for their way of thinking – but in your case, angry rage and mockery)is most definately true.

    And the hypocrisy of female come lean, Mirabelle Boateng, truly astounds as she writes:-
    “Can anyone else smell the putrid stench of sexism in this article?”

    Contrast one or two things with the vicious mouth of Harriet, and her ilk, Ms Boateng.

    Objective fairness, a modicum of intelligence and a touch of humanity might, one day, just be within your reach.

  • Eric

    Rod quite obviously has the hots for Ms Harman and is conflicted about it. What else would drive him to demean her sexuality with such puerile invective?

  • Sarah

    Rod Liddle, would you? I know I wouldn’t. Journalism this stupid belongs to Heat magazine. The only political agenda you are advancing is that of 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. MORONIC.

  • sailor1031

    there may well be some sense to this article but it’s not worth wading through the puerile sexist unfunny drivel to find. That first page was more than enough. Shame on Riddle for writing it but BIGGER shame on the Spectator for publishing it. We donh’t expect much from british journalism these days but, good grief, this is RUBBISH.

  • Alison Saville

    John Ware, “Caroline Flint, who, we should all agree, is as fit as a butcher’s dog” is a brilliant line! Mr Liddle may or may not be a boor (I couldn’t care less)but he’s certainly not a bore.

  • George

    Well done Rod – you’ve proved that sexism is live and well and in the Spectator. You really are a creep.

  • Sarah Gorman

    Might i ask what Harriet Harman’s appearance has to do with her political platforms? Oh, that’s right, nothing. Just another way to reduce a woman to her face so we can ignore what’s coming out of her mouth.
    Oh, and John One, gee you are so right. Women are just naturally lazy. We all just LOVE having to juggle work and kids. Part-time work does not equal watching soaps all day.

  • Derek Emery

    There’s no need to be intelligent to be a political leader, witness Tony Blair. What matters far more is presentation and easy spinning lapped up by the weak minded. Appeal to the floating voter is far more important but does Labour have anybody with even a hundredth of Blair’s presentation skills? if so where are they hiding?

  • Susan

    Oh, my goodness! Came across this old article by accident when googling for something on the party leaders post-election. “So – Harriet Harman, then. Would you? I mean after a few beers obviously, not while you were sober.” What?!?! Shame on you, Rod Liddle, and The Spectator for printing this.

  • The_greyhound

    This wonderful article hasn’t lost any of its relevance in the years since it was written. A model of intelligent criticism and exuberant wit, Liddle exhibits a devastatingly subversive sense of fun.

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