Sarah Palin gave a great performance to the Republican faithful. I am not myself swayed to favour a candidate because they go hunting, have five children, are married to a Trade Union member or defend the citizen’s right to carry arms. But then I’m not an American and I do not have a vote in the Presidential election. I don’t think the behaviour of children is a more relevant considersation for a female candiate than for a male one. What matters is how the candidate would behave in office.
I do like brave interesting politicians who aim to curb the excesses of big government. Mrs Palin came over as a feisty and fresh face on the international stage who has been doing just that in Alaska. I liked the way she began the spending controls by selling the Governor’s plane and doing without the personal chef. I enjoyed her telling the audience that you just have to use the veto as Governor to stop less desirable spending. Her intention to go to Washington to serve the people rather than the “liberal” media commentators was a novel idea in this age of spin. Let’s hope it catches on.
It was even more fun hearing the hissy fits from Democrat women, still smarting from the rejection of Hilary. They came over as unpleasant, tearing into a member of their “sisterhood” because she dared to have popular views on putting government back into its place as servant of the people rather than as a life support machine for the elite, cutting back its size and arrogance. It seems some Democrat ladies only want the glass ceiling broken as long as the whole of the rest of the big rambling building of government remains intact and is voted more money by the winning women.
It is sad to read that in some places in the UK as well as in politics in the USA the glass ceiling still impedes talented women. I want them to break through by their efforts, as some have so successfully. I speak as someone whose best boss was a woman. Margaret Thatcher was a good boss because she listened, weighed your advice based on how well thought through it was and how well you defended your case. She was prepared to do difficult things that did not poll well if they were right for the country and right for the longer term. Her successors in office have not had that combination of longer term vision and impatience to get things done which she had. Even those who disagreed with some of the things she was doing admired her dedication and tenacity in doing them. Her worst critics in Labour have come to defend important parts of her new settlement of the Union and privatisation issues, as they have come to see how some of these reforms were crucial to advance people’s living standards.
In the USA the Republicans have done more to advance the cause of talented women in government in recent years. Miss Rice is, arguably, the second most powerful person in the world after the President. Now they have placed a female Governor on the ticket for the White House. As Mrs Palin hit out at Mr Obama, it was amusing to hear her remind the audience that she had much more executive experience just by being a small town Mayor than the Senator, let alone her experience as Governor. My advice to Mr Obama is “Don’t make experience an issue in this election”