Double Standards


On Sunday December 4th, I was on BBC Sunday Politics East Midlands to debate Brexit with none other than Anna Soubry, (above), and Margaret Beckett.  Although from different parties, these two are joined at the hip as Remainers.  Both (and especially Soubry) have a reputation as aggressive debaters.  Once Soubry gets going, she can be like a runaway train.

Now I must admit to a problem I face in this context.  I still have the quaint old-fashioned idea that a gentleman should be courteous to women, and not interrupt them — a convention that I certainly would not apply to men in a similar position.  But in this context, I realised that if I deferred to Soubry and Beckett I shouldn’t get a word in edgeways, so I determined to be a thoroughly modern 21st Century politician, and show them no quarter.

Nonetheless, at one point I wondered if I had overstepped the mark, and seeking to be emollient, I made a dreadful mistake.  I referred to “these two charming ladies”.  Immediately I felt their hackles rise behind me, and heard Soubry muttering and harrumphing in the background.

On the spur of the moment (you don’t get too much thinking time in a panel debate) I turned to the two women and said “OK.  Maybe not charming”.  Again, I wondered if I’d said the wrong thing, but looking at the programme later, it was quite amusing.  Indeed my press officer said that every time he viewed the clip it seemed funnier than last time.

Bear in mind that this same Anna Soubry made a remark, on air, in 2013, about a fellow panellist, which is frankly too obscene and offensive for me to repeat, though you can find it here.  So it is OK, in Soubry’s book, to make a thoroughly offensive, insulting and obscene remark on air, but not OK for a man to refer to two ladies as “charming”.  Truly political correctness, and the Sisterhood, are creating some bizarre double standards.

One other point before we let Soubry go.  In the course of my work I meet many senior Conservatives, and I have naturally asked how they feel about Brexit.  Here is a typical response (no names, no pack-drill, as my old mother used to say): “Well on balance I thought I ought to support the Prime Minister and the Remain side, but the British people have made their decision, we accept it, and our job now is to make it work”.

The few obstinate Remainers in the Tory Party are becoming an embarrassment to their own side.  Somehow I suspect that Broxtowe Conservatives may have serious questions about re-selection in 2020 — if Anna lasts that long.


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20 Responses to Double Standards

  1. Jane Davies says:

    I admire your desire to be courteous to women Roger, these days an old fashioned concept, but our upbringing means it is hard to be downright rude. I was also taught to be polite and respectful but sometimes one has to let all that previous training fly out the window, especially when dealing with fellow politicians, whatever their gender, who clearly do not have the same restraint. Besides, women nowadays want equality and we cannot pick and choose where that applies. Also sometimes male ‘politeness’ can come across as being patronising, a fine line to walk I know but if one dishes it out then one must be prepared to receive it back. By the way her comment about NF say’s SO much about her as a person!

    • John Burnett says:

      Well put Jane, a fine line but nevertheless important. In that respect I think Anna Soubry should be given the nickname “The Mouth” as a jocular reference to her willingness to express her opinion

  2. hugh rose says:

    You admit a mistake over describing those haridens as ‘charming’, I suggest you check up on what are the characteristics of a ‘lady’ which neither seem to display!

  3. David says:

    I wont name call, simply say I do not warm to soubry, never have , never will. The other, I have no comment.

    • KennieD says:

      I don’t think Soubry warms even to herself. She is just a mouth on legs.
      Beckett, well she is and always was, just a nonentity.
      However, BBC wanted some EU loving Remainers and those two “not-so-charming, *ladies*” were probably very cheap for Sunday tv.

  4. MIKE MAUNDER says:

    These double standards are only to be expected from Labour and Conservative Parties. They all have heard of the benefits of being pro E.U. and although they would like to distance themselves from the possibilities of E.U. benefits, they all know how Lord and Lady Kinnock have enriched themselves being part of the big system. Come on, the old politics of left and right is dead, except in the minds of those trapped in the old system, and I know only too well the personal magnetism of voting the same way as Mum and Dad. Nothing stays the same, and politics has changed in this country, so change with it. As for these Ladies, again get up to date. There is no room for gender difference, and that is why I don’t support the 50/50 gender wish for M.Ps. If the Ladies wish to be M.Ps then let them be on even terms with the men. As far as the outcome of the referendum is concerned, they both need to revert to fact, – Look again at the choice we were given on the ballot paper. – OUT was the majority, and Parliament has no need to pick over what that meant. THE PEOPLE have given the order, and now it is for M/Ps to do the deed, and since OUT means just that, if there is no ability from the E.U. to make way for us in the Single Market, then so be it. We just leave, and sooner rather than later.

  5. MIKE MAUNDER says:

    David Cameron is someone I charge with being a traitor. He brought about a referendum just as a tool for Party Political benefit, and not for the benefit of the British people. Thankfully the people voted the right way, and the result turned on him and bit him. The charge of traitor does not need to be brought since he has done the right thing and fallen on his sword. His defeat has released many little pillocks, who wish to bring delay and doubt upon the Democratic view of the British people, so now the charge of Treason hangs in the air for ? ? ? ? THE PEOPLE have spoken, and their view is a charge upon Parliament for their action in this matter.

  6. Dung says:

    Copied frrom East Midlands thred:

    Soubry and Beckett, I quiver at the very thought of those two old harpies but I smell a rat when I see them in agreement on anything. This was a stitch up of major proportions and obviously organised in advance with the full support of the BBC. You did well to fight so hard to be heard Roger and you spoke for all those of us who want out. This situation highlights the urgent need for UKIP to become united and strong again since the other large parties speak with one voice on the EU.

  7. John Burnett says:

    As a media event it may not rate highly, but as a political marker I think that interview was a milestone of importance because the gloves are coming off at last and the BBC should be careful because they are becoming part of the message rather than the purveyor of information

  8. Andrew Chapman says:


    Surely it has been established that UK Parliament negotiates all EU treaties via the Royal Prerogative. There has been no Parliamentary votes on previous EU matters. This is “case law” now. Therefore the Supreme Court has no business to decide other than that the same principle is applied to Brexit, otherwise we would be witnessing another “double standard” ?

    Andrew Chapman

  9. Sussex Man says:

    Roger, having chatted with you on a couple of occasions at UKIP dos, you are indeed a paragon of courtesy, nay courtly love, even. What you have done in some other life to deserve to end up in the same room as that Gruesome Twosome, I cannot imagine. But you deserve the UKIP equivalent of the Victoria Cross. With bar. At least Beckett is a definite has been. Soubry is current, mouthy, vulgar and stupid, and don’t let your courteous instincts ever tell you otherwise.

  10. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin says:

    I thought you did the best that you could in the face of Margaret Beckett, who has all the PC nonsense of the left and Anna Soubry who is just plain nasty.

    I too make every attempt to be gracious and polite to ladies and perhaps it can be seen as patronising. However, the alternative is to be just plain unpleasant and boorish. Soubry deserves no better because that is the way that she is made, but Margaret Beckett should know a bit better.

    You did well in difficult circumstances and the not so charming jibe hit the spot. It was funny, all the more so because they had no come back. They bridled at being called charming, so you told the truth instead. They had nowhere to go. Brilliant.

  11. Ex-expat Colin says:

    From Snowflake HQ: (how is he President of the Divided States of America…and the last 8 years?)

  12. Christopher Browne says:

    One thing that Sourby said that nobody seems to have picked up on is that the EU “only” sends 8% of it’s exports to the UK.

    That may well be true but their are 27 countries in the EU and exports from 4 or 5 of them must be around 10 to 15%, they will probably have a different view from the other weaker countries when it comes to tariffs and regulation etc.

    • Sussex Man says:

      Frankly, who gives a flying f what the Soubry creature says? I gather she decided to protect her career by voting with the Gov: all mouth and no trousers. God what a grim thought…

  13. Ex-expat Colin says:

    At G Fawkes they have a cake for her 60th on 7/12:

    “Anyway, we baked you a Brexit cake. You can have it, and eat it…”

  14. Ex-expat Colin says:

    EU Fail, Fail, Fail and we get fined…Rees Mogg on the EU or mainly the Commission.

  15. Frances Fox says:

    Roger, agree with your remarks but one thing I would like to mention is the fact that nobody seems to request that the EEC, EC & EU Treaties signed by Conservatives and Labour all detriment to our Country should be included in being abolished.

    Thank you,

    Frances Fox



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