It’s nearly two weeks since the Deputy Leader of the UK Labour Party, Harriet Harman, told the high-brow newspaper The Sunday Times that she does “not agree with all-male leaderships” because men “cannot be left to run things on their own.” (Perhaps she was angling for a job as an Editor of The Lobby?)
Meanwhile, over in female-led Germany, Ms Harman’s calls for women to be taken seriously in politics are being ignored by her female counterparts who seem willing to flaunt their wares to attract votes. Vera Lengsfeld, a centre right politician from Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party, has chosen to portray herself in her electoral poster dressed in a low-cut top next to her party boss who is in similar attire. The image is accompanied by the slogan Wir haben mehr zu bieten (we have more to offer). More jobs? Lower taxes? Lower necklines? Probably all three in fact, but it’s the latter which is getting the most attention.
Unfortunately for Ms Lengsfeld, it appears that Ms Merkel didn’t actually give permission for her photo to be used. “We are not amused” appears to be the message from CDU headquarters. Yet Ms Lengsfeld, who hails from the east of the country and was once imprisoned by the Stasi, is sticking by her guns, and according to Spiegel magazine several other German politicians are considering a similar stunt.
Still in Germany but across the political divide, the Green Party has come under attack for their own election poster which depicts a white woman grasping the buttocks of a black woman. “The only reason to vote black” screams the slogan (black being the electoral colour of the CDU). According to the Greens, the poster is meant to highlight the party’s support for same-sex marriages, but instead they are now having to fend off accusations of both racism and sexism. This, despite the fact that the two leaders of the German Greens are a woman (Claudia Roth) and a male of Turkish descent (Cem Özdemir).
Back in the UK, Ms Harman must be non-too pleased that her seemingly feminist messages are being undermined in the German campaign, but at least it makes elections interesting. Those North Koreans don’t know what they’re missing.