Whenever I think of female Conservatives, I think of Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. There's one particular episode where Carlton attempts to negotiate with the Police who have unfairly pulled him over by mentioning he's a friend of the Reagans. The audience erupt with laughter. This is an on-running joke in the show: Carlton, the self-confessed 'Young Republican' and his comical delusions of sitting at the table of power, when in fact, he's on the menu. The crux of the matter is thus- rich or not, he is black. It's a pessimistic view, not to mention a somewhat unconstructive and reductive one, and aside from the outrageously cool wardrobe of the characters, you wouldn't be blamed for dismissing the show entirely; yet on the run up to the Mayoral Election I've been thinking more and more about Carlton Banks.
Though the tide has turned in recent years, traditionally women have voted Labour. This makes sense. Women make up the majority of low income shift workers and are less likely to be owners of property. Women also make up a huge percentage of teachers and nurses, and two thirds of the public sector is made up by females. If it's not Labour, women are often voting Liberal with popular policies including initiatives to close the gender pay gap and subsidised childcare. What doesn't make sense, is a woman voting Conservative. And so, when reading that Boris Johnson was a popular choice for the ladies of London, my mind wandered to Carlton Banks and his delusions.
With one day left to decide your vote we should be reminded of something - this is not merely a battle of Boris v Ken and who you'd rather sleep with (neither frankly, imagine the foreplay) this is a battle of Conservatives v Labour. Boris is a charmer, no doubt about it, but I'd far rather vote for someone unbearably obnoxious like Ken, than someone inherently noxious like Boris, a poisonous careerist vying for the PMs chair, whose policies seek only to serve a privileged few.
Now, more than ever this vote counts. In France, the left wing Hollande's rise sends a message to the right-wing government that austerity measures need to be precisely that - measured, and that a carefree swinging axe to our dearest sectors- in our case the arts, the pure sciences, the NHS - will not be tolerated. We have the chance to send that message to this government, a chance which is surely worth a bit more than a few extra bikes on the hire-cycle scheme, a scheme that in fact was Ken's initiative, and a scheme that we welcome largely because the transport costs have been hiked up so bloody much under Boris.
Let's not forget, 88% of the austerity measures are yet to kick in. You think it's bad now, it's only going to get worse. Women are the most affected by these measures. More than a million women are out of work, the highest since 1988. The benefit cuts will cripple single mothers who cannot afford childcare, forcing a greater number of women into unemployment, and an even greater number of children into poverty.
Focusing on London policy, as a middle income earner, I myself would welcome an extra £1000 over four years saved if transport prices are lowered under Ken. I could also do with Livingstone's guarantee I won't get priced out of London by greedy landlords; yet if for the higher-income woman these are not worries, maybe the rising rate of female sexual violence under Boris, and the national cuts to rape crisis centres and Victim Support will be. Remember, comfortable or not, you're still a woman and so voting Boris tomorrow will be a Carlton-shaped joke. Except it won't be the ladies who get the last laugh.
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