Everyone is talking about Labour's pink bus. But not necessarily in a good way. Would a pink bus make you more likely to vote? How about free sparkly nail polish? A complimentary My Little Pony? I don't know about you, but what really makes me want to go out and do my civic duty is a nice cold margarita and a new pair of heels.
The pink bus just hands the jokes out right there on a plate, doesn't it? Barbie's Bus. Penelope Pitstop. Sheila's Wheels. Pink Bus W***ers. It's social media heaven. Like shooting pink fish in a barrel.
- HuffPostUKPolitics (@HuffPostUKPol) February 11, 2015
Seriously. Have they not been paying attention? Do they not know that pink is NOT for girls any more? Have they never heard of 'Pink it, Shrink it' or 'PinkStinks'? Did they miss the whole 'Let Toys be Toys' debate? Let buses be buses, for crying out loud!
The really tragic thing is that all this rollicking comedy and social media tragedy could have been avoided. If Labour had only chosen a DIFFERENT COLOURED BUS.
Obviously, they would still have been mocked, because, well, Harriet Harman is in charge of the campaign, and there's nothing more mockable than a serious, well-meaning, educated, intelligent feminist.
But perhaps some of those important messages about equal pay, childcare, domestic violence and care for the elderly would have got out there before the tabloids thought up some jokes about PostPerson Hattie and her bright red van.
Perhaps something might have been done about the representation of women in Parliament – which is currently at an all-time high and sounds really good until you realise that still, only 22 per cent of MPs are women.
And it's not likely this is going to change very much, any time soon. You know UKIP, the great new political force, that's going to shake up the old guard – well, just 11 per cent of their candidates are women. Which probably tells you something interesting about the intelligence of women, and the quality of UKIP candidates, but still. Under a quarter of Conservative candidates at the next election are women. There are only five women in David Cameron's Cabinet.
Out in the real world, fewer than one in 25 chief executives is a woman. There are only three female chief executives in the FTSE 100. The Equal Pay Act may have been introduced 40 years ago, but there's still a massive gap between men's and women's earnings. As many as 60,000 women are forced out of their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity discrimination every year.
It's no wonder that we go off the idea of voting when it doesn't seem to make any difference, and when the only time anyone chooses to try to engage with us, they do so in a BRIGHT PINK BUS. Please tell me it has a comedy horn which blasts out some banging 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. And some streamers. And a shopping basket on the front. Why they didn't go the whole hog and give it eyelashes and lipstick I will never know.
More than nine million women didn't vote in the last General Election. The idea of going around the country talking to some of those women about issues that affect them is not a terrible one. To do it in a pink bus, however, was pretty idiotic.
So, what would make you more likely to vote?
a) A pink bus
b) A free margarita
c) Sparkly nail polish
d) Long Distance Clara
e) A sense that it might actually make a difference