I find it interesting that women in positions of power seem more ready to step down from office where, by contrast, their male counterparts seem reluctant to do so.

I am thinking of Teresa May, and Liz Truss, as well as Nicola Sturgeon and Jacinda Ardern.

My thought is that they recognise more proximately than their male counterparts, the compromise to their own integrity. I feel that the men are so invested in their ego that they lose touch with integrity itself. I am put in mind of the quote from Vandana Shiva, another leading woman on the world stage, that “When money is your master your conscience is no more your guide.”

I believe the world of politics is filled with pressures from all sorts of directions, not least the fear of raising sufficient funds to carry the next election campaign. I see young politicians – those new to the political world – enter as hopefuls into the houses and corridors of power. Very swiftly they begin to learn that they are not free to voice their own opinions but compropmised on all fronts, must choose to stand together with their leadership on almost all issues and certainly the important votes.

Some choose to leave politics after meeting this toxic work environment.

It is clear that there are camps and clubs which advance one’s career through the knotty paths to power. This inevitably means the ability to jettison one’s own ideas to embrace the party line and grind the teeth to buckle down and knuckle under the local pressures.

But perhaps I misjudge that environment. To me the Houses of Parliament, as a single example, seems little more than a sewer of centuries old unprocessed emotion, encouraging others to join in the heckling and baying across the benches. A very sad reflection on the public school background possessed by so many occupants.

Maybe I am mistaken to speak so bluntly about these issues.

Author: Keith Armstrong

Dance teacher, writer, film-maker, educationalist, enthusiast.

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