Dear Theresa May,
I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of your embarrassing election campaign. I’m not going to talk about your pending Brexit negotiations or your fields of wheat. I don’t want to express my pro-Labour opinion or even my admiration for Corbyn’s campaign. I’m not even going to talk about my sense of pride for the young people in this country who came out in their droves to vote in spite of you and your out of touch government. I’m not even going to rebuff you for another U-turn, another outright lie of entering into a “coalition of chaos” that you so vehemently warned us all against.
It is what it is. Here we all are. There’s no point going over old ground, what’s done is done. I just want to talk to you, woman to woman about what exactly you are choosing to do right now.
From different generations we may be, different class systems even but women we are none the less. We must have some common ground in that. We are women who had the dumb luck to be born into a country of equal rights amongst the sexes. Where the women who came before us had the bloody mindedness to challenge the bigotry of their society and stand up against what was so outrageously wrong. Some even laid down their lives in the process, it was a long time ago now – perhaps too easily forgotten.
But we are the women who have the right to speak their mind, own property, take ownership of their bodies, vote in political elections. Women who have it within their means to become leaders of their country, just like you have done.
I expect you’ve had to fight, a bit like Thatcher before you – to be taken seriously within your own profession. Perhaps you didn’t have to put up with the outright and permitted sexism she experienced. Most likely because years before, she blazed the trail for you and many political women like you. Perhaps you’ve been spoken over or side-lined by male colleagues. Perhaps you’ve been leered over in the workplace or had your bosom commented on during a budget meeting.
Or perhaps not, I don’t know.
But it’s been great to see a female Prime Minister in my lifetime, I’m a tad too young for Thatcher. I didn’t choose you (none of us did actually) but that hasn’t meant I didn’t want to feel good about having a woman as our leader, as our representative.
I’m due to have my second child later this year, turns out that this one is a girl and that’s the kind of country I want her to grow up in. One where she can be an astronaut or a mother or a teacher or home maker or a Prime Minister. One where she could be a few of these things all at the same time if she wanted.
You know, a country where her vagina won’t hold her back.
But I’m concerned that what you’ve chosen to do today, is going to confuse all that. I’m concerned that you are muddying our clear progressive waters. I’m concerned that your desperation to cling to power is letting in a few back door bigots that we’ll all be stuck with for the next five years.
I’m concerned that you are the one in fact, sending us back to the 70s.
The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) have a portfolio of current and historical morally ambiguous policies and motives. I could berate you on their links to terrorism, their outright racism, their denial over climate change. I want to shake you by your shoulders over their opposition of same sex marriage in Northern Ireland. An Act that your party, a government that you were active in legalised in this Country four years ago.
I want to ask you for all these reasons, why for fucks sake would you drag us back down to this level?
But this letter isn’t about all of that. I can’t go into every issue we now face, we’d be here all night and I am already half delirious from staying up fancying over exit polls. With this coalition you will have yet again alienated a vast number of your public, most particularly the younger voters who have no doubt what their human, gender and sexual rights are supposed to be and how they should be represented. There will be other voices you will hear on this, many louder than my own.
I just want to talk to you about one thing. I just want to ask you, as a woman how can this possibly sit well with you? Are you going to be able to look at yourself in mirror? Will you be able to tell yourself that you were an advocate for women, a brilliant example to our young girls? Our second female Prime Minister who has allied yourself (and us) with a group of people who oppose woman’s rights.
So I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Theresa. I’m the type of girl to call a spade, a fucking spade.
The DUP have actively campaigned and lobbied to continue to deny women in Northern Ireland the right to legal abortion. They have been incredibly successful. The women of Northern Ireland, do not have legal control over their own bodies. It’s a travesty.
We can endlessly debate about personal religious beliefs or the individual circumstances and motivations as to why an individual might seek an abortion. We can talk about the difference between a baby and a foetus. We can talk about rape and mental health and access to contraception and education.
But the fundamental question here is – do you think women should own the rights to their own body or not? And if not, what else can be done to us or what else can we be denied?
Did you ever read the Handmaids Tale? Have you been watching it? When I first read it in my teens, fifteen years ago it seemed so wildly inventful. Like a fantasy horror story that could never come true. These days I’m starting to understand how a modern day, progressive society like Gilead could regress so suddenly and with such little resistance.
But I’m not a sensationalist, I don’t seriously think that you will broker a deal with DUP that will criminalise abortion in this country. I don’t think I’ll wake up tomorrow and same sex marriage will have been condemned or we’ll all have to start denying evolution.
But I do think you are sending an incredibly bad message. Another one.
You are saying that in order to keep control, you will compromise your ethics – our ethics. You will ally yourself with sexists and extremists. I don’t believe that this is what the people of this country want, I don’t believe it is what you want. I believe that you are trapped like a little cowering fox. You’ve jumped too many hedges and now the hounds have got you by the throat.
How does that feel?
Do you know why there was such a surge for Corbyn in the end? Because he offered peace, he offered equality. He offered hope and progress. You continue to offer division and confusion. You continue to misunderstand the mood of this country. Things are changing.
Why don’t you take the hint?