Cookie Warning

Warning: This blog may contain cookies. Just as cookies fresh out of the oven may burn your mouth, electronic cookies can harm your computer. Visit all kitchens and blogs (yes, including this one) with care.

Monday, June 1, 2015

No Job For A Lady: Who Goes Home? Part 3

In "Who Goes Home?" the first episode of the British sitcom No Job For A Lady, new Member of Parliament (MP) Jean Price find herself unable to return home on her husband's birthday to eat dinner with him. Despite securing a pairing arrangement with Sir Godfrey Eagan, a popular and influential Conservative MP, he approaches her in the House of Commons tea room later, where he apologizes for his misunderstanding, but he must vote tonight on a farming bill that's important to his constituents. 

After the session, she returns to her cramped and darkened office across the street from the Houses of Parliament, where she upbraids fellow MP Ken for not warning her that her Early Day Motion could be amended. Beneath her argument that the House of Commons should operate between 9 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday, other MPs wrote that the government of Britain is too important to be relegated to her desired time intervals, and that "if any member can't stand the heat, she should get out of the kitchen." Furthermore, new female MPs should honor male members by being appropriately attired. "Trousers on a woman are an abomination," it reads. 

I wonder who might have written that?

Ken suggests that, as much as she wants to change the system, she should be aware that many MPs like it just the way it is, and that they will occasionally knife other members in the back to protect what they value.

When she complains about missing dinner with Geoff, he reminds her that his constituents don't live within cycling distance, but in faraway Scotland, and he only gets to see them for a few hours each week. This helps her reflect on the importance of being an MP, and the sacrifices that accompany such a lofty position. Then she walks out to her bicycle, where a police officer, or English bobby, instructs her not to chain it to the fencing around the Palace of Westminster in future. She corrects his assumption that she's a secretary, and assures him that a woman (no, excuse me, a Lady) can be a British MP. He remains skeptical, and when she introduces herself as Jean Price, Member of Parliament, he tells her that he's Norman Tebbit (who, like Sir Godfrey Eagan, served as an influential Conservative backbencher in 1990, when this episode was broadcast). 

Jean Price isn't in British politics for money or fame. All her life she's fought for the causes she believed in, and worked hard to strengthen the power of labor unions. She's always on the lookout to improve the lives of her constituents. As Tony Blair would later say of the members of his party in his memoir A Journey, she knows how to identify what's wrong with the system, but she doesn't yet know how to govern. But that's the role that a MP plays in British politics unless his or her party holds a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. For three seasons and eighteen episodes, Jean Price will fight for many more causes and people. She's a good character, in an educational and entertaining series. If my posts on this episode have interested you, you may wish to pick up the series on DVD, and view it in its entirety. 

Dragon Dave

No comments:

Post a Comment