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The Suffragettes

In January 1918 Punch signalled the end of the struggle for female suffrage, which had provided it with so much material, with one last cartoon. There was a woman, looking like Joan of Arc, holding a banner with the words “Women’s Franchise”. The caption read simply “At Last”.
In February that year an amendment to the Representation of the People Act gave the parliamentary vote to those women over thirty who held a £5 occupation qualification, or were householders, the wives of householders, or graduates.

Greasy Pole: Rising Star? Do We Need Another One?

Greasy Pole

The relationship between Ministers of the Crown and the civil servants who are employed to carry out their wishes has often been a matter of agonising delicacy. For example there was a minister in a Blair government who was faced with a crisis in the NHS while one of his top officials had been hiding about a thousand unanswered parliamentary questions while coming into the office at weekends to falsify the figures on the matter. As one minister put it: ‘Everyone thinks they are white knights and that we are the villains whereas the truth, which we all know, is that many officials are useless’. But then there was the Labour minister who was more concerned about the size and temperature of his morning coffee than about any of the vital matters preoccupying his office. Distinct from this, at present there is the Home Office, absorbed in such sensitive issues as crime and immigration, which manages to work in a more relaxed and considerate style.

Greasy Pole: What’s ‘Appropriate’ Then?

Greasy Pole

It is some time now since we could expect to be warmed and comforted by those big, declaratory Monday morning newspaper photographs of Prime Minister Theresa May, pondering on the most hopeful date to call the next election and how meanwhile she might wrestle with the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox (remember him?), Gavin Williamson… She was obediently tailed by her husband James May and in accord with their respective backgrounds they were then emerging from some parish church not far from the Chiltern Hills. Mr May was smiling, which could have been motivated by the fact that he is a top executive of one of the biggest and most powerful financial institutions which controls assets worth trillions of dollars, including shares in Amazon and the popular coffee house Starbucks, which have both been listed by Theresa May in her sights for action (or whatever it is) against the keenest of tax avoiders.

Greasy Pole: Beware of Leaders

Greasy Pole

It can be a time for their widespread regret, if not mourning, when any of our political leaders reaches the end of their time of dominance and the exposure of their futile dishonesty, leaving them with little more than a badge signifying their removal from the scene. Like Neville Chamberlain in 1938 waving his little piece of paper from Hitler to the crowd at Heston Airport. Like Ted Heath and his Three-Day Week which would replace slump with prosperity. Like Theresa May and her snap general election which was going to sweep away the muddle of Nick Clegg and that Coalition along with hapless Ed Miliband. But also, less enduring, there was John Moore who ended his time as Baron Moore of Lower Marsh. Moore was once favoured by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with a rocket-like rise up the Greasy Pole to the heights of Secretary Of State for Health and Social Security, where he enforced such changes as to nominate him Mr Privatisation with all the implicit rewards.

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