I mentioned UK Tory MP Louise Mensch in July applauding her handling of a blackmail attempt. Here’s a profile from The Guardian‘s Decca Aitkenhead Louise Mensch: ‘We’re not all ogres’ which is very interesting for similar reasons, and more…
We were still swooning at her brio when rioting broke out across Britain and she made headlines again, calling for Facebook and Twitter to be closed down during civil unrest. Many commentators considered the suggestion merely foolish, but computer hackers issued death threats against her and her children, which she promptly posted on Twitter, along with the defiant message: “Get stuffed, losers. I don’t bully easily.” A man has since been arrested. Along the way there was also a change of name, following her wedding to Peter Mensch – manager of Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – in a ceremony kept so secret, even her own children apparently weren’t told. And now, when we meet, another “secret” emerges, which plainly isn’t going to be a secret any more.
All in all, quite a summer. But Louise Mensch is quite a woman, one of the most formidable I have met in a very long time. Confident, combative, quick on her feet and fiercely intelligent, she also has that irresistibly easy charm that comes from a really expensive education. Her conversational style bears more than a hint of the junior debating champion –”I dispute the premise of your question,” and suchlike – and so conscious is she of her audience that she addresses most of her answers into the Dictaphone on the table between us. But she delivers them in flawless paragraphs of elegantly crafted sentences, with a fluency you seldom come across. Half the time she sounds like an aristocratic Edwardian, yet she can slip into the register of a Radio 1 presenter without sounding the least bit inauthentic. Focus groups love to ask voters, “Which politician would you most like to have a drink with?” and on that test I cannot think of anyone in Westminster who would beat her.
Read the profile and see if you think she’s handling the ‘facelift?’ questions well. I think they’re close to completely irrelevant. But apparently they’re a sore point — see Tory MP ‘hits the roof’ over comparison to model
This, section, too is very good, and sort of reminds me of some of Cathy Odgers’ (Cactus Kate’s) cant, only better expressed.
As part of the selection process she was asked to write an essay entitled: Why Are You A Conservative? Her first sentence was: “Because conservatism delivers liberal ends.” On economic policy, she regards herself to the right: “But I believe you should look at your policies in terms of how they’re going to impact the poorest people first. I fundamentally believe that politics is counterintuitive. The left think they’re helping working people by providing more rights, but all that actually happens is you create poverty and despair, because jobs go to your competitors who have fewer rights for workers. So which is the compassionate policy? I believe Toryism is the compassionate policy.”
On social policy, she places herself squarely on the left. “I am a feminist, I am in favour of gay marriage and totally against the death penalty. I would leave the party if we were to bring in anything remotely resembling it. I can’t emphasise enough how opposed to it I am. It’s barbaric, and it’s a shame on the United States that they still use it. Give me an American politician who’d oppose the death penalty and I’d die in a ditch for him – even if he was a Democrat.”
I read a similar expression of that thought: “because jobs go to your competitors who have fewer rights for workers” in a John A Lee book Political Notebooks over the summer. More on that later.