The fragrant Isabel Hardman interviewed Libby Lane, the Church of England’s first woman bishop. In classic hack fashion she tried the “gotcha” technique to get the lady to pigeon hole herself and thus generate a headline or two. Instead Libby skilfully steered clear of the traps and thus irritated Ms Hardman.
Good for her – in my book the more journalists we can irritate the better…
However what did initially shock me were the comments underneath the article. Then I realised that in fact this was no surprise. Nothing like a post about a woman bishop to generate a wave of misogynistic bile and venom at the Speccie proving once again that the so-called Religion of Peace and Love is home to a vast regiment of bitter and twisted haters who yearn for the good old days when heretics could be burned at the stake and women waterboarded for withcraft.
Now I’m no fan of positive discrimination – in my view the job should go to the candidate best fitted for the task without reference to gender or race or age. But I do know this – when I was teaching in a tough comprehensive and had to ask a police officer to come in to discuss an incident or an individual pupil I found the female officers more aware, more flexible and more willing to work with us than the men who generally were plodlike in their lack of imagination.
Many of my female colleagues in the school were excellent teachers with good discipline and a willingness to get stuck in whereas some of the weakest teachers were men who had as much social awareness as a pilchard.
I’m not saying that all women police or teachers are wonderful – but they need to be judged on their ability to do the job – so give Libby Lane a break and judge her in five years time.
After all she can hardly be worse than quite a few of our male bishops….