The Times thinks Sally can't have it both ways

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Flossie
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The Times thinks Sally can't have it both ways

Post by Flossie » Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:32 pm

The Speaker’s wife has gone too far on Big Brother

At the time of writing Sally Bercow is odds-on favourite to be the first contestant voted out of the Celebrity Big Brother house. You don’t give a toss, do you? Can’t say I blame you. But you can bet your boots that the Speaker of the House of Commons does. John Bercow, her husband, is probably down on his little knees right now praying that the bookies have got it right and his torment will soon end. I can picture him, jackknifed over his mobile phone, hitting the redial button like a woodpecker to vote against his wife.

But Mrs Bercow is garnering support from an unlikely corner. A Tory minister is reportedly leading a House of Commons campaign to keep her in the show. A text message is allegedly circulating among Bercow enemies that reads, unpleasantly, “Vote 4 the Slapper”. MPs who dislike both Bercows reckon that the longer she stays in the house the more harm it will do them. Bookies are offering odds of 20-1 that the Speaker will resign over it.

This would be absurd. Bercow is a good Speaker; how democratic is it to judge him on his wife? And aside from being accused of flautulence by Kerry Katona, she’s coming across better than expected. I’ve never found Sally Bercow “loathsome” like some. Attention-seeking, hell, yes. She screams “look at me!” louder than a knicker-flashing toddler who has overdosed on jelly snakes. But she seems fierce, clever and kind. She’s giving £100,000 of her fee to an autism charity and refuses to be a meek, Norma Major-ish political wife freezing leftover cheese. John Bercow knew what she was like when he married her; indeed they met when she was in the grip of alcoholism and was even more “headstrong”. Besides, politicians are not averse to publicity stunts themselves.

But she has now gone too far even for me. The point came when she revealed to housemates how she talked round her husband, who felt vulnerable about her being in Big Brother. “I just used my feminine wiles and took John away for a dirty weekend in Devon,” she purred on national TV. “He eventually gave in . . .”

It’s not just that I can’t erase the image of dinky John holed up in a cottage, drumming his heels with glee. It’s that it’s such a naff, unkind thing to reveal. She’s right: she’s not an adjunct of her husband; she’s an independent being. But if you can make that feminist argument why the need to use sex to get your own way?

If a man said the same of his wife — “I gave her a good seeing to: that shut her up” — he’d be pilloried. She also says that she loves him. In that case she shouldn’t humiliate him by coming out with crud like this. It gives his enemies ammunition that doesn’t help either of them. Sally Bercow knows she would not be on that show but for her husband’s job; she should respect that job and keep his private life private. That’s nothing to do with feminism, just plain common sense.

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Post by Anna » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:52 pm

I was initially pleasantly surprised when I watched her in Big Brother because she seemed OK but for me it progressed to disliking her more as the days went on. She seemed shrill, fixed in her own views to the extent that she was dismissive of anything that seemed strange to her (Pamela taking supplements for instance) and she appeared drastically lacking in self-awareness. She seemed surprised and hurt for instance, that she had so much opposition prior to coming into the house, so locked is she in her own view of herself as some kind of feisty heroine who's striking out for independence from the role normally expected of a politician's consort. I could support this stance more if she was in the house on her own merits, but she wasn't. The only reason the press were interested in her posing in a sheet was because of who she was married to, and the back-drop of Westminster. Likewise, the only reason she was in the Big Brother house was because of who her husband is - or more accurately, his office. Her whole 'celebrity' is based upon being married to the Speaker.

However much she likes to claim that she has some kind of feminist rebellion going on, I think that basically she hasn't matured. She still seems to be stuck in an adolescent rebellion stage of development where she's fighting for her own identity but conventiently ignoring that she's doing this by behaving destructively to the very people and things that have given her her platform in the first place. The subtexts to her behaviour are numerous and she seems in obstinate denial regarding all of them.

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Post by Anna » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:21 pm

A couple of opposing views from The Guardian (they oppose each other). I always like to have a look at the Guardian's stance on any issue as you can usually rely on finding a different position to that given in any other newspaper. :D

'Sally Bercow is no feminist role model':

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... r-feminism

'Sally Bercow won't be stopped by spite':

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... er-charity

Some of the comments to the second article are quite interesting - especially considering these are Guardian readers disagreeing with the points put forward in the argument.

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