LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
19 September 2015
"There's People Bothering Me"

I’m afraid I have to cross new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn off my Christmas
list. A shame as I was going to send him a razor and shaving cream for which
he'll need instructions, a jacket that fits - again he’ll require help. And food.
Loads of food, festive hampers even. The man is rebelling against the obese-
trend surely. And several ‘how to’ books. One ‘How to Charm’, another ‘How to
Mature Before 60’, another ‘How to Get Organised’, ‘How to Iron’, ‘How to be
Professional’, ‘How to Be a Fashion Icon’ or simply, How to Win Friends and
Influence People, Dale Carnegie, 1998.

And why exactly is JC off my list you wonder – or possibly not if anarchy is not
high on your list? Well, it isn’t that he appears to be living in another decade, it
isn’t that he acts like a tetchy teenager, it isn’t that he wears black socks with
trainers and shorts (now that is unforgivable), it isn’t that he seems to be missing
something. Hmmm. A certain joie de vivre, spontaneity and is a rather angry
socialist. What happened to ‘kind, nice and gentle’ replaced by rude, arrogant
and unempathetic? What is behind that scruffy beard? Give it a little think here if
you will. Not to see your full face since possibly 1965. Hmmmm.

So what could have made me cross JC off then? It’s the dismissal of 51% of the
population. Women. Remember them? Women were given positions only after
the press called him on it. Nice. Really nice. JC’s response to his broken
promise of gender equality: he doesn’t believe in hierarchy. Oh really now.  
Home Secretary vs Education...Chancellor vs Health. Hmmm. Teachers, nurses
– jobs for which women are best known. Disgraceful, Jeremy. Really. Senior
positions for men, junior positions for women...undeniable. OK. There are 16
women and 15 men in his Cabinet. But it’s the devil in the details, isn’t it? Senior
women were not asked, were offered junior roles and were treated as after
thoughts. Not exactly an inspiring beginning is it, JC?

Even Ed (Miliband) managed a 45% female Cabinet and all the leadership
contenders committed to 50/50. Not even a Christmas card for you Jeremy.
JC’s response to the press: "You’re living in the 18th century. That’s when the
great offices of state were decided. We have a shadow cabinet of a majority of
women covering all areas of policy and public life and I think it’s a great team.
And it reaches out to the entire party and I think that is a bit of an achievement,
if I may say so." Best if you don’t JC. Foot in mouth et al....like your response to
the press: "There's people bothering me.", said to an aid. Indeed.

Thinking it isn’t a bit of an achievement, were furious MPs. One said she felt
“alienated by the party I have fought for all my life. I’m shocked, genuinely
shocked. It’s a real shame and missed opportunity. I thought his brand was ‘a
new kind of politics’. It sounds like the same old politics to me.”

Another MP told the
Mirror: “People are astonished at the women stuff – it’s
extraordinary that we have no women in the leadership team or shadowing any
of the great offices of state. I’m flabbergasted. It’s gone down very badly.”

JC likes to involve his devotees in his decisions and speeches – or so it seems.
Could be time to pay more attention to your party, Jeremy. A third said: “It’s not
that there aren’t really good, decent, impressive, clever women that could have
been appointed. But instead it’s a series of old, white men.” Oh dear.

Suzanne Moore in
The Guardian: “Sorry, but hating the media, the Tories and
austerity are not policies. They are feelings. Thinking, actually thinking anew, is
the challenge.” Oh dear. Don’t ‘calm down dear’. Jeremy has an obvious
disdain, OK, loathing of the press. Curiously he is a member of the Journalist
Union. Oops.

One problem is that JC is functioning as a rebellious socialist rather than as a
functioning unitary leader of the Labour party. Jeremy. I have a suggestion.
Perhaps it’s time to step up and give up your self-referring position. Just
suggesting. Viva la Revolution et al....

While this major political upset is quite impressive and thrilling – who doesn’t love
a bit of anarchy and fairness – but JC needs to get his unravelling act together
sooner than later as the venomous Conservative press and the virulent anti-
Labour government are clearly out to get him; “a threat to national security”...”a
traitor” – oh really; totally pathetic and totally unprofessional. Four and a half
years are going to seem like four and a half decades....


A Mile in My Shoes

A museum of empathy? Huh? No, really. There is a travelling... travelling, what?
experimental exhibition the purpose of is to counter the cultural of self-
centeredness, self-importance, self-interested, self, self self, selfies, etc. This is
the idea of a cultural commentator, Roman Krznaric. Just in time, don’t you
reckon?

It was a crowd-funded endeavour, titled A Mile in My Shoes, if you need a bit of
help here, think of all those shoes donated to fleeing refugees. Irony.

Artists Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor walked in their own shoes with others from
central London carrying a blanket, which Weiwei says is “a symbol of the need
that faces 60 million refugees in our world today”.

The Museum: “We are launching the world’s first Empathy Museum, an
experiential adventure space for stepping into the shoes of other people and
looking at the world through their eyes. It will be an international travelling
exhibition – starting out in London – and will exist online too. The Empathy
Museum is dedicated to developing the skill of empathising and creating a global
revolution of human relationships”.

“Moreover, we now live in such a hyper-individualistic world that our empathic
capacities are rapidly being eroded. Our failure to appreciate other people’s
viewpoints, experiences and feelings is at the root of prejudice, conflict and
inequality. Empathy is the antidote we need.”

Feel free to step into the Empathy Museum on line. No need for shoes – or
tissues.
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