Monday, 21 January 2008
Anatomy of a 'gaffe' in today's press
Jacqui Smith's advisers probably shouldn't have mentioned her trip to a Peckham kebab shop, given that she would have had her protection officer with her. But the idea that it is a gaffe for a woman to say that she would not walk about a strange inner city area alone at midnight (although she happily does so in areas she knows) - even if she does happen to be Home Secretary, albeit the latest Labour one to be presiding over falling crime levels - tells us a lot more about the fatuousness of the British press and our main Opposition party than it does about Jacqui Smith. Would it have been better had Ms Smith declared (presumably to widespread derision) that, of course, she would happily walk the alley ways and back streets of Hackney late at night? And perhaps rent-a-quote David Davis, who ought to have more sense than to dub an honest response 'shameful', could explain to us in which halcyon age it was 'safe' for a woman to do so? Of course, there will be lots of fearless lone women walking the back alleys of London through the night once the Tories are in power. Just as they did in the 1980s, didn't they?