Dear me, ever so sorry. Is that what they call a Freudian slip? Yes, I suppose it is. I mean hands of course.
And I do mean it: I think Penny Mordaunt may well make a damn good Defence Secretary, better than just about any of her parliamentary colleagues I can think of.
It was five years ago that Miss Mordaunt appeared in a swimsuit on Splash!. Until then I hadn’t heard of her, but then I don’t follow Westminster politics as closely as I should.
However, the photographs of the semi-clad Undersecretary of State for Something or Other impressed me, and not only because of her shapely thighs. It’s just that I couldn’t think of any other female Tory politician who would have posed that way, at least while in office.
Margaret Thatcher? Be serious. Anne Widdecombe? Please. Esther McVey? Well, I suppose she might, but hasn’t yet.
Anyway, my curiosity piqued, I looked beyond Miss Mordaunt’s thighs, meaning at her record, and what did you think I meant? Amazingly, the more I looked, the more I liked – and I thought I’d never say that about a politician.
In fact, although my own thighs are unlikely to excite anybody’s imagination, I feel we have much in common.
Miss Mordaunt is a Royal Navy reservist, who once actually served as an acting sub-lieutenant, which roughly corresponds to my reserve rank in the Soviet army (all university graduates got that after some perfunctory training).
She studied philosophy at university, which happens to be my favourite subject. She was in PR; I was in advertising. She likes off-colour jokes – so do I. As shown by her appearance on Splash!, she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously – neither do I. She has a taste for pranks, as do I.
In fact, on a dare from her fellow naval officers, Miss Mordaunt once repeatedly worked a rude word for penis into her parliamentary speech.
I’ve never been in a position to do so, but probably would if I could. In fact, my public speeches have at times featured the kind of jokes that elicited Oh-my-God gasps from the audience (one of them was based on a foreign leader misspelling “can’t”).
On a more serious note, Miss Mordaunt detests the EU as much as I do and has voted on her principles when opposing Mrs May’s deal, or rather double deal. In spite of that she has managed to stay on the right side of the Remainer PM, and that’s where our similarity ends: I wouldn’t have the requisite diplomatic skills.
Add to this Miss Mordaunt’s Christian name, which is the same as my wife’s (although she hates the diminutive form of it), and she’s my kind of girl. Moreover, she may well turn out to be my kind of politician, although, modern politics being what it is, I’m not holding my breath.
I’m sure that feminists around the world are throwing their hats (or perhaps other items of their apparel) up in the air. They must be rejoicing at seeing a woman ascend to one of the top positions in the government of a major Western country.
Just kidding. I know they aren’t rejoicing, as they never did when Margaret Thatcher became PM or Jeane Kirkpatrick US Ambassador to the United Nations. You see, neither Mrs Thatcher (as she then was) nor Mrs Kirkpatrick, both conservative after a fashion, qualified as women in the eyes of feminist activists. Neither, for all her feminine allure, does Miss Mordaunt.
Ever since sex got to be described by the grammatical category of gender, it stopped being sex, hitherto understood as a simple function of a chromosome mix. Sex stopped being biological, physiological, chromosomal, hormonal or what have you.
It became a form of political expression, and the politics it expressed were – and remain – uncompromisingly left-wing. As such, they rise above, or rather drop below, nature, logic and even sanity.
Women who refuse to claim a victimhood status as a way of cocking a snook at every traditional certitude thereby forfeit their womanhood. Womanhood means victimhood or it means nothing.
Race has become like that too. Every pejorative term white racists use to describe blacks has its counterpart in the abusive slurs ideological blacks hurl at those who refuse to reduce their whole personalities to a chromatic incidental.
‘Uncle Tom’, ‘Bounty’, ‘Coconut’ are heard whenever a black person achieves a prominent status. For example, though I’ve never heard the eminent philosopher Thomas Sewell complain about that, I’m sure he has heard such invective many times.
When I just moved from the US to Britain (31 years ago – has it really been so long?), I once talked to an impeccable, Telegraph-reading gentleman. The subject was American blacks, who I said tended to be left-wing.
“They are left-wing,” opined my interlocutor, “because they are black.” “It’s actually the other way around,” I said. “They are black because they are left-wing.”
In the same sense, Penny Mordaunt isn’t really a woman. She may yet become one by taking a wide step to the left and starting to pronounce on the plight of her sisters. But somehow I doubt she will. Then again, I’m idealistic enough to think she’s my kind of girl.