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So long Louise…

I have long been intrigued by the strange creation that is Louise Mensch – part simpering sex kitten, part strict dominatrix and endless cheerleader for the most unpleasant aspects of the current regime.

I described her in a previous article as “the F*** Me Feminist”. Louise fascinates me because I met her a few times as a student, when (politics aside) I thought she seemed quite fun. Sort of bouncy and blonde – like someone out of a Jilly Cooper novel (I rather like Jilly Cooper).

I once read one of her chick lit books written under her maiden name of Bagshawe back in the 90s and thought it was OK. Career Girls – I think it was called. It pretty much did what it said on the tin.
Mrs Mensch (as a politician she uses her married name) has been one of the most prominent female members of the coalition, peddling her own peculiar brand of free market feminism, and shrieking sexism to anyone who disagrees with her. She is a prolific Tweeter and is rarely off the likes of Question Time/Newsnight etc.

She has made such a lot of noise in her short political career – Mensch was part of the notorious ‘A-list’ that catapulted glamorous chums of David Cameron into Tory seats – that I kind of figured she’d be around for a long time. Like a posher, blonder version of Edwina Currie (seen here in her 80s finery) and who – lest we forget – is also a successful writer.

I was therefore quite shocked to read on Monday morning that Mensch was quitting politics, claiming that she wanted to spend more time with her family. Her husband, rock manager Peter Mensch, lives in New York and Mensch has decided that it’s time to move over to be with him – at the moment Mensch and her three children by a previous marriage live in the UK.

Her decision has provoked a tide of vitriol from old school Tories, who see her as a typical Cameroonian product – metropolitan, glamorous and totally lacking in substance or commitment. This piece from The Daily Telegraph – written by our old chum Norman Tebbit – is fairly typical.

I’m not usually one to agree with Norman Tebbit, but I kind of agree that one of the problems with someone like Mensch being parachuted into a constituency where she has no ties – her constituency, Corby is a working class former steel town in Northants – is that when the going gets tough, there are no real reasons to hang on in there.

You have no real relationship with the place – it’s just a job. And in the case of Corby, it’s an extremely marginal consituency – Mensch only won it because the previous MP was up to his neck in the expenses scandal and everyone hated poor old Gordon Brown. That was 2 years ago. Would Mensch have been able to hang on to the seat in 2015? Extremely debatable.

Obviously, the economy may have improved by 2015 or Dave n Gids may tire of austerity and start throwing the electorate a few sweeties again. That’s a big fat maybe. Especially when our old chum Nick Clegg (seen here looking sad) has said that he won’t support the proposed boundary changes that aim to equalise the size of constituencies and reduce the number of MPs to 600.

These changes are a bad thing for Labour – Holborn & St Pancras, the constituency I live in, is a ‘safe’ Labour seat with a solid Labour MP in the form of Frank Dobson. Under the proposals H & StP will vanish into thin air and the area will be carved up between 3 neighbouring constituencies.

Cameron has said he will try and push the the changes through without Cleggy’s help, although will he really be able to do this? Especially when the Tory back benches are filled with some very rebellious characters who delight in making Dave look like an arse. Could this even be the beginning of the end for the Coalition?

Obviously just as I fantasize about winning Euromillions, I frequently fantasize about Dave and his chums being sent packing and an early election resulting in a Labour victory. Our Tory friends (and their Lib Dem stooges) enjoy being in power – all those lovely privatisations that keep their chums in big business happy – and they ain’t going without a fight. But I’m starting to wonder if they really can be arsed to cling on til 2015 as being in power has proved to be such bloody hard work.

A rotten economy, which they can’t really blame Labour for any more, and an increasingly disgruntled electorate. It can’t be at all fun.

Which brings me back to the lovely Louise. I reckon she’s quit as she’s worried there will be an early election. The thought of campaigning on a losing ticket just fills her with horror – people like Louise don’t like to lose. If you care about what your party stands for, you’ll be there even when times are hard – I don’t regret the work I put into trying to get Ken Livingstone re-elected for one single second.

Louise, however, has decided to leave the country. I rest my case.


  1. Robbie Scott says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article but what really annoys me is when people say stuff like “You have no real relationship with the place – it’s just a job”.

    I think older folks (I’m 24) see politics as a vocation and it really isn’t any more, it is ‘just a job’ and it’s one that anybody can do. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a careerist or ambitious. I think we should stop treating politics like some aloof thing other folks do, we might attract more ordinary people that way.

    Additionally I think the political party of the candidate who stands down in this sort of way ought to pay for the by-election. The tax payer is picking up the tab for all those MPs who stood in 2010 and want to stand down to become police commissioners or Mayoral candidates.

  2. Tom says:

    Robbie, if you see politics as ‘just a job’, and that there’s nothing wrong with being careerist, it seems very peculiar to suggest political parties should have to pay for by-elections. When you leave a job, do you pay for the recruitment process to find your successor?

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