Well, it’s been a week in which old gags we don’t often get the opportunity to revive much these days suddenly seemed relevant again. Considering the subject of the economy is rarely far from the headlines as the countdown to you-know-what continues apace, it’s been good to declare for the first time since the heyday of Sid James ogling Barbara Windsor, ‘You don’t get many of those to the pound.’ Yes, Rachel Johnson got her pixellated tits out for the lads! Whoops – sorry, what I meant to say was…Rachel Johnson staged an empowering feminist gesture on behalf of a political cause.
In other words, a woman whose fame is largely due to the gene pool she shares exposed her breasts on television – and doing so in no way trivialised the issue at hand or gave the impression the most radical protest a woman can make is to submit to something we’ve been repeatedly told is symbolic of patriarchal oppression. Heaven forbid! Of course, who can forget Emily Davison’s courageous flashing of her bloomers at the 1913 Derby? No, Boris’s sister made a valid point, unlike those dim slags who used to pose on page 3 of the Sun or those exploited victims of the white male gaze who used to congregate on platforms at the climax of a Formula One race. Phew! Glad we’ve cleared that one up.
Ms Johnson’s stunt follows hot on the heels of Dr Victoria Bateman’s highly-publicised ‘political striptease’, something that inevitably evoked memories of a similarly silly Monty Python sketch in which Terry Jones plays the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs delivering a dull speech in the manner of an old-school stripper. Yes, folks – that’s where we’ve got to, when Python sketches satirising the monotony of mainstream politics are actually overtaken by the real thing fifty years on. If one can overlook the rather frightening fact that such a narcissistic fruitcake can hold a lecturer’s position at one of the country’s most prestigious universities, Bateman’s publicity-seeking desperation perhaps highlights just how low Remoaners are now prepared to go.
Dr Bateman does have previous when it comes to using her body as a sandwich board for her opinions, however, especially in a Brexit context. She first stripped-off for the cause at a Cambridge University Faculty of Economics meeting in 2016 and first bore all on video for the benefit of social media just last summer – both of which were warm-ups for her streak across the media this past month or so. At least the 70s nudist joggers celebrated in song by Ray Stevens had no pretensions to hackneyed political activism. Don’t look, Ethel!
From my experience of friends who have had children, I’m aware toddlers have a habit of ‘throwing a paddy’ when denied something they desire and are also prone to randomly taking their clothes off at given intervals (something that can prove somewhat awkward in public situations). We expect such behaviour from small children; they don’t know any better because they haven’t been trained in social skills. When adults adopt the same tactics whilst pursuing a political point they both diminish their credibility and utterly devalue their argument. Moreover, a generation of women who have fought to be taken seriously for what they can do rather than being judged on their looks or their bodies are faced with the depressing sight of headlines again being grabbed by a pair of tits – or two.
As an analogy, the whole Emperor’s New Clothes concept was already a tired old cliché when it was used as the climax to the ludicrously overrated Robert Altman’s turgid satire of the 90s fashion business, ‘Prêt-á-Porter’. Dr Bateman’s counterproductive exhibitionism has been rightly received with the hilarity it deserves, her rambling logic lost in the sniggers greeting her (over) exposure. Her infantile simplicity when it comes to a complex subject – basically, EU Good/Brexit Bad – does nothing to win any converts either. Yes, she is a mere sideshow to a far more serious ideological battle; but the fact she is prepared to get her kit off for a cause that has been marked by foot-stamping petulance from day one again provokes comparisons with toddler tantrums. Perhaps the only fresh air that can be inhaled from Dr Bateman’s stale striptease is that it’s nice to see pubes back on the naked female form in this hairless age. And that just about says it all.
From the nastiness of Polly Toynbee actively advocating the imminent demise of the over-50s who voted Leave to the pointlessness of Johnson and Bateman all-but burning their bras, the straw-clutching tactics of those who refuse to accept the will of the majority are becoming increasingly insane as attempts to prevent or reverse the inevitable are floundering. Their Parliamentary allies are still hard at it, however – either threatening yet again to form a breakaway centrist party happy to lick the jackboots of Brussels or inventing endless amendments seemingly written on the back of a beermat to serve as further minor spanners in the works. Even the PM can’t be bothered hanging around to hear the latest defeat being declared now, preferring to stick her fingers in her ears at home. Aren’t we all.
Okay, I know I’m not the first to adopt this premise, but if we can imagine the result of the 2016 Referendum had been won by the other side, does anybody seriously believe the issue would still be dragging on day-after-day two-and-a-half years later as the dominant headline at the expense of all the other pressing issues facing the nation? And would Jacob Rees-Mogg be whipping off his Union Jack Y-fronts on television and inviting Brexiteers to write slogans of support on his honourable member? Mercifully, no. It’s time to put your clothes back on and grow-up, Remoaners.
© The Editor