You may recollect that about this time last year I started on this epic series of posts in the week when Victoria’s Secret had their runway show, yet banned a woman from breastfeeding in one of their shops. Well here we go again.
According to the tabloids, Victoria’s Secret had their 2015 show this week. This week also, the Speaker of the House of Commons suggested dragging the House out of the Victorian era (did you see what I did there?) and permitting women to breastfeed in the Commons. For some arcane reason breastfeeding in the House is verboten.
Rather predictably there has been a bit of protest from some of the old buffers. Sir Simon Burns said that feeding a hungry baby ‘would risk tabloid ridicule.’ He wasn’t the only one objecting, either, but curiously all the objectors were men.
Let’s go back to what we can laughingly refer to as his ‘reasoning.’ Risking tabloid ridicule. If he reads the tabloids, a bit of legpulling over moves to allow women to do what their breasts are designed to do is the least of the worries MPs have to face, and certainly Sir Simon has been in the firing line a good few times.
In 2007, he masterminded the ‘priority access’ ruling that allows MPs to jump the queues in the House bars, restaurants, even the toilets. If you’re a mere prole who voted the moneygrubbing bastards in, then you get put in your place.
In 2008 he hit a cyclist while driving his 4×4 in Parliament Square, and was fined 400 quid and 200 quid costs. I think he got off lightly.
Famously, in 2010 he was forced to make a grovelling apology to John Bercow, calling him a ‘stupid sanctimonious dwarf.’ He refused to shake Bercow’s hand when he took the oath of allegiance. A year later, he compared members of a campaigning group to zombies.
Better still, in 2013, while a minister who was in charge of overseeing the structure of rail fares, Burns routinely used a ministerial car instead of the train to go the 35 miles from his home to the office. He tried to justify this by claiming he couldn’t read sensitive papers on a train, but this argument got slung out by the Cabinet Office, though not before he’d blown an estimated eighty grand of taxpayers’ money.
I can’t see why breastfeeding would be a matter for tabloid ridicule, so I doubt his logic. Judging from his past indiscretions, it may just be he doesn’t want the tabloids poking about too much.