Louise Mensch’s best bits: Don’t Menshn the Twitter wars
The übermensch has finally fallen. But not, as some of us might secretly have hoped, amidst enormous scandal and public disapprobation. Instead – in a shock move that some have cynically suggested was timed to draw public attention away from Nick Clegg’s failed Lords Reform Bill – Louise Mensch this week announced her resignation as an MP, citing a desire to spend more time with family.
And how we shall miss her antics. Over the past year or so, Mensch has risen from a little-noted MP, best known for writing ditzy chick-lit, to one of politics’ most controversial love-them-or-hate-them figures. How? All through the sheer force of self-publicising on Twitter.
When it comes to politicians, of course, the surest way to attract the ire of Twitter is simply to be on Twitter. And attract ire she did -with panache and aplomb. So, now that she’s finally chosen to leave the House, here are a few of her Best Bits:
Occupy! Mensch was widely ridiculed on Have I Got News For You for espousing the view that Occupy protestors were hypocrites. Why? Because of daring to occasionally tangle tastebuds with that pillar of capitalism, Starbucks.
Because, you know, you can’t possibly challenge any system that you are part of! Even if you never had any choice in being part of it. That is definitely how things work.
Riots! Twitter! Riots! Despite positioning herself at the libertarian/neoliberal end of the Tory wedge, Louise has shown some fairly muddle-headed and inconsistent views – especially when it comes to internet freedoms. Publicly backing Paul Chambers’ right to free speech in the Twitter Joke Trial was a positive move, but at odds with her suggestion during the riots that social networking services be shut down at times of national crisis – effectively curtailing free speech and enforcing a media blackout.
Drugs! Mensch went down a storm on her latest Question Time appearance, where she admitted that taking drugs had messed with her brain. Hilarity ensued because she ker-azy? But on a more serious note, this was a classic Tory “do as I do, not as I say” line; she allowed herself the freedom to make choices on whether to try drugs, but from her ‘enlightened position’ of having tried them, wished to deny others the autonomy of making their own decisions. Not cool.
Menshn! Hilarious, and definitely the best thing that she has ever done. Menshn is one of those things that is so ridiculous that when it first appeared, many thought must be a joke. A new version of Twitter, that did basically the same thing as Twitter, but was named after Louise Mensch. Except that apparently it wasn’t named after her. Except that obviously it definitely was.
In its first guise, Menshn’s security was more full of holes than Nick Clegg’s policy promises, leading to an entirely lolz-worthy 24 hours when users exploited the site in every which way possible; something which (even more hilariously), Mensch’s business partner Luke Bozier denied was happening. Even whilst it was clearly mid-happen.
Trolls! And then just when I thought I was firmly anti-Mensch, she came out all feminist and badass. Like many woman visible online, Louise has had to endure endless misogynist slurs, implying that she isn’t good enough, isn’t clever enough, isn’t masculine enough, is too sexy, isn’t sexy enough – et cetera et cetera – to succeed in the public realm. She publicly condemned her attackers, giving some much needed attention to something we all-too-often put up with, and being generally completely impressive.
And so, despite not agreeing with her in oh-so-many ways, it makes me sort of sad to see the loss of one of our very few female MPs – especially for what feels like such a regressive, tired old excuse. I don’t mean to imply that career is more important than family -quite the opposite, in fact. But no matter which way you paint it, there are still far more women abandoning their careers in favour of childcare and family than there are men, despite men having 50% of child-rearing responsibility.
However strong her reasoning – and I am sure that it’s perfectly sound – her throwing the towel in feels like yet another unfortunate failure of society to support women all the way to the top. And that’s something that needs to be challenged and changed – no matter who those women are, or how vehemently one might disagree with them. Because at the end of the day, I’d rather protest against a government made up of men and women that I disagree with, than one made up of only men.Tagged in: Louise Mensch, Menshn, mp, twitter
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