From John Ray's shorter notes
1 July, 2013
Julia Gillard: A failed feminist flop and a warning to women in politics
The Australian Labor Party (ruling Leftists) has just switched leaders, dumping Julia Gillard (left above) and installing Kevin Rudd (right above)
Before she is totally forgotten in Australian politics (yesterday?), I thought I might point out an unintended truth in La Gillard's claim that her term in office has made it easier for other women in politics. She has indeed. She has shown them what NOT to do.
She didn't even start out well. She gained power not by winning an election in her own right but by being propped up by turncoat conservative independents. The voters of the two electorates represented by the said independents voted overwhelmingly AGAINST the Labor party but got Julia anyhow. So she led what was essentially an illegitimate government. From the very beginning she was not much of an example of female success.
And what does one make of the fact that Kevvy got nearly double her poll numbers as soon as he replaced her? That is about as harsh a reproof as one can get in politics.
What led to her final downfall, however, was her feminism. When half the voters are men, feminist ideas have to be promoted gingerly. Julia did not do so and her final poll numbers among men were around 20%!
Her first big gaffe was the one that got her most praise at the time. It was the speech that gave feminists orgasms worldwide, the speech where she condemned Tony Abbott as a misogynist.
Unfortunately for her, however, she gave examples of where she thought the conservative leader had uttered misogynisms, and they were the sort of thing that would cause many men to say: "Hey! I think that too". She was in effect criticizing Abbott for saying that men and women are different. That may amount to misogyny among feminists but for most people it is just commonsense. It is even commonsense that is amply backed up by science. So she got a bit more of the feminist vote (which she mostly had already) but showed herself as a feminist extremist to most other people. And that is a big "most". Feminists of Gillard's stripe are still a small and cranky minority.
And then she really blew it with her "blue tie" speech, in which she claimed that her loss of power would lead to Australia being led by men in blue ties to the permanent exclusion of women. Tony Abbott, like many conservatives, often wears a blue tie.
The claim was however never plausible in any way. The deputy leader of the opposition conservative parties is the very effective Julie Bishop, an unmistakeable female! And because Australia is a monarchy, the ultimate legal authority in Australia -- as Gough Whitlam found out to his rage -- is the Governor General, who also happens to be female. And are we forgetting federal parliamentary conservatives like Jane Prentice, Natasha Griggs, Karen Andrews, Nola Marino etc.?
Julia's little bit of hysteria about her own importance did however have one amusing sequel. Kevvy embraced it. He has been wearing blue ties ever since! It was indeed men in blue ties who took power from her, though not the group she foresaw.
So that speech was the last straw for a lot of men. Her poll numbers among men dropped off a cliff almost immediately. Most men give feminism some leeway but hysterical feminism was too much.
And right to the end she was pushing feminism -- setting up a commission of inquiry into how badly treated women are.
So the reasons for her disastrous poll ratings and her ignominious dismissal are clear, and I think they show that women with leadership aspirations should do as Margaret Thatcher did: campaign on the rightness of her policies, not on the basis of what she has between her legs.
There is a rather amusing attempt to vindicate La Flop by one of her advisers, a British Leftist, John McTernan. He attributes her downfall to "a brutal and unfair misogynist culture" that we apparently have in Australia. No mention of her poll numbers or the fact that it was the LEFT who deposed her. Those misogynist Leftists!
He has a point however in saying that she was a good "parliamentary performer". Her ability not to answer questions was indeed non pareil. She was the queen of bluster instead. I once saw Tony Abbott ask her the same question three times in a row without him getting an answer on any of those occasions. Verbal fluency she had. Honesty would have been better.
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