‘Twas the night before Valentine’s;

And all ’round the station;

Beleaguered swains thronged;

In complete desperation.


I loved this photo, posted widely on Twitter this evening, taken at Paperchase in a London station at home time. The grim faces set against the realisation that they’ll be doomed if they don’t find something suitable for their other half tomorrow. And who said romance was dead? There is one woman in that crush by the way. Let’s not be sexist.


 I tend not to do much politics on this blog. It’s partly because, having been a lifelong Labour voter, I now have no party allegiance whatsoever. I float. I know it may seem strange to those whose whole life is about promoting one particular party or another but these days I tend to assess political parties on their policies and what they say. In particular whom they seem to represent and whom they seem to dislike.

I don’t really feel represented by any of them, tell the truth, and many seem to be falling over themselves to deride and castigate people like me. We are, after all, a banking family. And one of dual heritage with independently-educated children. We seem comparatively comfortably off and lots of people resent this. Plenty of sticks to beat us with.

A lot of mud is slung around, you know, by people who don’t seem to care whether they’ve got their facts straight or not, so keen are they to court an audience primed for  adversarial politics. I’ve unfollowed a couple of Twitter this week for this reason and I’m on the verge of unfollowing a fair few others.

I don’t dislike anyone but I can’t abide tribalism, the mob mentality. To my mind, seeing things in  black and white is lazy and reductive, and usually the truth is buried in the shades of grey in between. I am determined not to make a film reference here but, oh look, I have. Grr. I’ll come back to this theme nearer the election, if I can’t avoid it but I can’t let the pink van saga pass without comment.

Here is a picture of the Labour Pink Van, which is targeting the votes of women.



You’ve got to wonder what on earth they were thinking? Was it, perhaps, “We need to target women so we’ll paint the van pink so women will know it’s for them?” It’s so utterly patronising.

What’s been funny to observe are the people who:

a) can’t see anything wrong with using pink to target women

b) are suddenly defensive. Their argument goes something like, “All sorts of things Labour’s campaigning on: poverty; food banks; inequality; tax dodgers and people are fussing that the bus is pink.

c) The people who justify it saying “Well what about the Breast Cancer Campaign?”

d) It’s actually magenta

My replies would be:

a) If you don’t know what’s wrong with using pink to target women, go and have a look at pink.stinks . Women are conditioned from babyhood to think that they must like pink and everything pink is meant for them. This has only got worse. The whole coercive pink thing puts women in a ghetto of women’s issues and, to me it’s frighteningly indicative that these politicians seem not to be able to think of women as people and the things that interest them to be not equal pay or or discrimination or childcare or women’s health but, simply, politics. Women are not a different race. Separating us with pinkness perpetuates this coercion. It’s amused me that most of the people in this category have tended to be men.

I like this article, incidentally, kindly posted by my friend @Annette1Hardy

b) Ah yes. These are Labour women, and some men who don’t belong in a) above, who recognise the issue, recognise that it’s embarrassing and wish it would just go away. Well, people, you started it. Yes, you’re right, there are other important issues on which to focus but actually I’d say that considering 52% as a special interest group apart from the norm is pretty important. What if you’d clumsily used a brown or black van to target people from ethnic minorities; a rainbow van for the LGBTIQ etc vote? How would this dismissal wash then?

c) That the Breast Cancer people etc. use pink to attract women is indicative of the coercive societal conditioning women undergo. In this case and others like it generally we like the fact that someone is campaigning about breast cancer. We don’t care about the pink. Incidentally Ovarian Cancer Action’s colours are largely turquoise and purple. Or is that magenta?

d) Are you for real? There is a magenta panel on this van, but it is largely Barbie pink. As well you know.

I’ve nothing against pink as a colour. Actually it suits me and I once had a beautiful fuchsia pink swing coat. I don’t like that women and girls are judged to be somehow fluffy and not to be taken seriously when they wear pink and I don’t like it that some men (and some women) still seem to see this as desirable.

I controversially banned pink when MsDD was a baby. It caused a lot of resentment and ill feeling but I stuck to it. I was told “How will everyone know she’s a girl?” Why was that important for a tiny baby?

MsDD did go through the standard pink phase when she was about two but soon got over it to the extent that at about eight years old she refused to wear trainers designed for girls, choosing the boys’ navy flash ones instead. Even now she point-blank refuses to wear anything pink and I now have to remind her that pink is just a colour. But it’s not just a colour, is it?


I’ve blethered on again and I’m so sleepy but I must just tell you about something that happened on our dog walk. We went up to High Elms, a popular local country park where we can usually meet lots of nice dogs and their nice owners. We always see Theodore, a large pale golden retriever who wears a splendid purple coat to keep the mud off his show condition locks.

Today we came upon a group of little dogs being walked by three women, one of whom recognised me from Twitter. Most of the dogs were being walked off the lead, which is quite normal. Oscar is usually off the lead when he’s away from roads. As we said our hellos I noticed that all of the other dogs were taking turns enthusiastically to mount a little dark labradoodle-type bitch. Oscar was showing an inordinate amount of interest in her too, which I thought was strange, because he’s usually a little scared of girls. Then it suddenly dawned ion me:

Me: “Err…is she in season?

Woman: “Oh yeah. I’m not going to breed from her until her next season.

Me: (Horrorstruck) “He hasn’t been done!

I hurriedly managed to grab hold of Oscar, who has not been castrated, put him back on his lead and took him away. Luckily he’s very laid back and loves his mum so he didn’t insist on staying with her. Honestly, though, how stupid do you have to be, how minuscule your knowledge of dogs cheerfully to walk a bitch in season in a popular place at poplar time of day off the lead without even bothering to say anything when male dogs are slavering around her like men at a Nevada strip club? It’s so irresponsible. Dogs can tie very quickly, the deed is done and puppies are on the way to be sold, most likely, over the internet, to lives with owners who haven’t the first clue how to care for them. People like that should not be trusted with the welfare of dogs. Grrr.

Now, some people say all dogs should be neutered. I’ll explain why Oscar hasn’t been done at some other point. Not that I actually have to justify my decisions.

Goodness, I’m grumpy tonight. I’m so sleepy so off to bed shortly. Night x