I have a terrible confession to make. I like to wear nice suits and am partial to tweed. That means I can’t be a proper socialist. Proper socialists like Ian Murray the sole Labour MP in Scotland wear suits that don’t fit properly and which are made from cheap polyester. Ian is such a proper socialist that he recently came in at number five in GQ magazine’s list of the worst dressed men in Britain. Ian has only got the one look, when he’s not wearing a Union Jack suit that is, the red tie and dark suit combo which is the uniform of the Labour MP. You’d think that a simple look like that would be hard to screw up from a style point of view, but Ian manages it by virtue of wearing poorly made cheap clothes that don’t fit properly and which haven’t seen an iron since the last time the Labour party had a majority. That’s what a proper socialist does you see, being a proper socialist means you don’t know the difference between clothes that you look good in and clothes that make you look like you’ve dived into the remainder bin at Oxfam and put on the first thing you grabbed.
According to the Daily Telegraph only right wing people are allowed to dress nicely. If you’re of a leftish persuasion then you need to look like everything you wear was chosen for you by yer maw who still thinks you’re the same size you were when you were 14, and she paid for it all out of her state pension. The fact that I unlike Ian I will never figure in a men’s magazine’s list of the worst dressed men in the UK means that all my left wing credentials are a terrible lie. No more my vintage Harris tweed jackets and hand stitched Barker’s brogues, from now on I’ll be wearing rags that were found in a bin otherwise everything I say and do will be irretrievably tainted with hypocrisy. Clearly, if you consider your own appearance you’re a vain and selfish person who doesn’t think of anything else.
If it’s bad when a left wing man makes an effort to dress smartly, it’s even worse when it’s a woman. Unlike men, who usually get judged on what they say and do, women get judged on their appearance. It doesn’t matter if a woman has an intellect to put Einstein to shame, is as efficient as a quantum computer and can multitask better than Swiss army knife, if she wears the same frock two days running and weighs one gramme more than a stick insect then that’s all that she’ll be judged on. Oooh look at her, will opine the journos, letting herself go like that.
Desperate to find a new SNPbaad angle, on Saturday the establishment sheep of the Daily Telegraph decided that the important news story to come out of the floods in Scotland was that Nicola Sturgeon wore a shocking outfit. Now, if Nicola took Lady Gaga as her style icon and had decided to visit the flooded areas wearing a dress made entirely out of bacon slices, that might be considered shocking, even if she said she was wearing the dress in an attempt to support Aberdeen pig farmers. Mind you, if David Cameron wore a suit made out of bacon people would just wonder if he’d fallen out with his special friend.
But the First Minister wasn’t wearing a bacon dress, she wasn’t even wearing a saltire suit which would be the Scottish nationalist equivalent of Ian Murray’s Union Jack one. What the Telegraph considered shocking was that Nicola was wearing a nice warm jaiket and a pair of posh wellies that were entirely appropriate for the bad weather. If she’d worn an old torn jaiket and a scuzzy pair of boots, the very same paper would have criticised her for looking a mess and showing disrespect to the flood victims.
The article contrasted Nicola’s choice of footwear, which some 30 seconds on Google would have told you cost about £50, with man of the people David Cameron who chose to visit flood victims in a cheap pair of wellies from Asda. The article was a snide and nasty attempt to imply that if a woman wears nice clothes then she’s out of touch with suffering, that her empathy is fake, and her concern is plastic. Unlike man of the people David Cameron of course, who told his aides to get him a cheap pair of wellies because he didn’t want to come across as too much of a posho. There have not been, to my knowledge, any articles in the press discussing how much Cameron has paid for his suits, whether they’re bespoke or off the peg. Although admittedly you don’t need to discuss Cameron’s sartorial choices in order to decide whether he’s a hypocrite, you can tell that every time he opens his smarmy gob.
Next week we can look forward to a shocked exposé in the Telegraph announcing to a gobsmacked Scotland that Nicola puts the central heating on in her house even though the temperature hasn’t gone as low as minus 15C. Such a shocking waste that is, and so disrespectful to poor people. What’s really disrespectful to poor people are all the articles in the right wing press that demonise the poor and which promote the evil politics of a right wing Tory government that favours the rich and the powerful over the low paid and the vulnerable.
It’s depressing enough, although entirely predictable, that the Telegraph will trawl the back of the wardrobe in order to find something to attack the Scottish government, but it’s even more depressing that a newspaper story criticising a woman for how she is dressed was written by a woman. That’s Auntie Tammery that is, sooking up to her male bosses by pandering to sexism.
She then tweeted a link to the article to independence supporters in a crude and obvious attempt to provoke some sort of response that could then be used to decry the bullies of Scottish nationalism. Let’s wind up Scottish independence supporters so that we can get one of them who’s had a wee bit too much to drink to post something angry on social media, and then we can use that to characterise the entire independence movement. That’s the modus operandi of a gaggle of giggling schoolweans as well as the UK press. It’s all so childishly pathetic, yet this is what passes for professional journalism in the UK.
Now I better go purge my wardrobe of anthing that’s not made from cheap polyester before I’m accused of hypocrisy.
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