Tag Archives: miriam gonzalez durantez

Jo Swinson speaks out against gender quotas on boards

From PoliticsHome:

Senior leaders from business and government have gone head-to-head over whether mandatory quotas are needed to get more women to the top of organisations.

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Piggate: Miriam González Durántez and a cheeky recipe

mum and sons
The Evening Standard deserve full marks for spotting a certain recipe on a food blog which is run by Miriam González Durántez and her sons.

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez argues for quotas on boards – but warns that inclusive culture is also necessary

Remarkably, we’ve seen a consensus between our two leadership candidates that some for of action such as all women shortlists or zipping in list contests, is necessary to do something about the party’s shockingly poor record on diversity.

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, as reported in the International Business Times, has called for quotas on company boards:

I am a reluctant supporter of temporary quotas. Intervention, on a temporary basis, is probably the only solution to make a big change. It irritates my legal mind because obviously discrimination cannot be sorted with another discrimination, but I’ve come to the conclusion that unless you make an intervention, change will to be difficult.

She did go on to say, though, that where there must be no tokenism. Companies must allow women on their boards to play a full part:

Boards have a specific role: controlling what the situation is for shareholders and the community as a whole, that is why they were created. Too many boards are either not diverse or diverse nominally and not inclusive. They sit women around the table but they don’t participate in discussions, those boards are not fulfilling.

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: “Nobody calls Nick a working dad”

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez spoke about the double standards around parenting and work at a Marie Claire event this week. People refer to mothers who work as working mums, but the other parent is never referred to as a “working dad”:

We also do a project called Inspiring Primaries where we put in front of the younger children a panel of men and women, and we ask them ‘what job do you think these people do?’ And if it’s a blonde woman the answer is always, ‘a secretary, a party organiser or a hairdresser.’

The sexism has been so drip drip that we don’t even always notice it.’

I find people say of me, ‘she wears the trousers’ and as you can see, it is true, I have very nice trousers. Or if my husband and I share the school run, it’s me who has forced him, dragged him away from his work. But when people, or in my case the media, are using that label on you, they are not saying you are strong, they are saying you should get back in your box. You should make the dinner and have his slippers ready with a gin and tonic.

You can read the whole report on Marie Claire’s blog here. 

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Opinion: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez drops a few truth bombs on political parties

I’m currently studying abroad in Salamanca, where, as in the rest of the country, there are municipal elections on 24th May. (Yes, polling day is on a Sunday.) My bedroom floor is covered in a variety of different party propaganda (yes, that is the word they use in Spain for it) that I’ve gathered for academic reasons, obviously.

So, I was really excited to read Miriam’s article in El País recently. It most certainly did not disappoint – if you want a lesson in how to drop truth bombs on political parties, look no further.

Just to give a little bit of context – the Partido Popular is currently governing. It’s got “Working, Making, Growing” posters up around half the city, shouting from the rooftops about its economic success. Miriam notes that although progress has been made, it’s rather odd to be making that a central campaign plank while overall unemployment rests around 20% and youth unemployment around 50%.

She also attacks them for their failure to confront the ‘crisis of values’ facing the Spanish political system, talking of a ‘radical disconnect between the political class and citizens.’ She refers to Chris Huhne briefly, stating that the levels of corruption in the Spanish system could never occur in a country where a politician can go to jail for exchanging points on their driving licence.

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: It is the duty of every woman of my generation to stand up for young girls

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez joined Jo Swinson to visit female apprentices at a motorbike manufacturer in Jo’s constituency:

She also helped Jo launch an action plan for gender equality which includes action to tackle domestic violence, more childcare provision, more opportunities for women in science and engineering and work on body image.

Miriam went for a chat with Bryony Gordon from the Telegraph who was daft enough to ask her if Nick had sent her to help female candidates. That was never going to end well.

Miriam has been writing about her Inspiring Women campaign for the Huffington Post.

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez supports Lynne Featherstone’s campaign

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez went to Hornsey and Wood Green yesterday to campaign with Lynne Featherstone. Here they are putting up the 500th stake board.

It’s great to see two women who have done so much to help women and girls in this country and across the world together.

If you have been impressed with her work over the past five years, you might want to donate to Lynne’s campaign.

Miriam said of Lynne:

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez meets Miranda Sawyer

There’s an interesting interview between Miranda Sawyer and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez in the Guardian this weekend.

They meet at an Inspiring Women event on sport at the aquatics centre where the Olympics took place and, separately, in Miriam’s office.

Miriam talks about the attitudes in the Spanish village where she was brought up, where people pitied her working mother.

Her mother was the object of some local sympathy. “People felt sorry for her because she had to work,” González Durántez says, “but she wanted to. My mother has taught three generations in the village. I am never going to make so much of a difference.”

Actually, many of the women González Durántez knew had jobs – they just weren’t paid. Both her grandmothers came from rural communities where women laboured in the fields. Her maternal grandmother brought up eight boys (one died) during the Spanish civil war. “She was a tiny, dynamite woman,” González Durántez says. “Always vivacious and positive, a lesson in life.”

Though democracy came to Spain after Franco died in 1975, old-fashioned attitudes took a while to wither. At her school, “when boys did sport, girls did knitting. And boys, when they behaved badly, were sent with the girls.” González Durántez enjoyed reading and music – she played an hour of piano every day (“I say this to my children, who do half an hour a week!”). As the eldest child of the mayor, she was very much part of village life: “I organised things for the little kids, I helped my father in politics, I tried it all. A race or something, there I was. I wasn’t very good at running, but I tried it all.”

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When Molly from Sherlock met Miriam

In the bar on the Monday of the Glasgow Conference hotel last October, a smiling party press officer told me that Louise Brealey, Sherlock actor and writer, had been following Miriam Gonzalez Durantez around all day in order to write a profile for Red magazine. I’ve been looking out for it ever since and it’s now appeared. It’s a delight to read, so sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and enjoy it.

The two women seem to have developed quite a rapport during the day, and that comes across in the article.

I met Louise at a Sherlock Convention (I could pretend I was there because of the Teenager, but I did get more involved than I anticipated because Louise and Benedict Cumberbatch were on the guest list) last February and was very impressed by the fact that she insisted on staying until every single fan who wanted one had her autograph. She spent time talking to each person and didn’t even take a proper meal break.  Having seen her in action, I can imagine her and Miriam getting on very well.

She picked up that the atmosphere of Conference was not quite the gloomy and doom affair the press made it out to be:

The newspapers have decided the Liberal Democrat conference is a bleak affair, but this morning the lobby of Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza thrums with cheerful party members necking coffee, shouting shop and forking sausages. ‘Are you thinking beyond May?’ a councillor from Wells asks a co-forker over his congealed fried eggs. The latter’s reply is inaudible.

This was the first time that Nick and Miriam had been interviewed together, too. Louise was sitting in the very seat I sat in when I went to a meeting with Clegg in that very room so I found her description of its corporate opulence quite amusing.  She, like many others who have met him, found Clegg “nice, friendly, bright, normal.” It’s just a pity we can’t get him on a one to one with 60 million people by May.

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Happy Christmas from the Cleggs: here’s Nick and Miriam’s festive photobooth card

Nick Clegg’s Christmas card has been unveiled today – a photobooth set of four shots depicting he and Miriam as Nick pulls on a red Santa hat.

clegg famil xmas card

The insta-reaction from the Twitterati has been positive:

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Inspiring women in fashion: Out and about with Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

We’ve occasionally covered Miriam Gonzalez Durantez’s Inspiring Women campaign. This week the Guardian covered an event which was dedicated to talking to girls about careers in the fashion industry.

Groups of eight students grill each of the women in turn. Leila, 14, who wants to be a journalist, dives straight in and asks Gonzalez Durantez: “Is your job more challenging fun or a fun challenge?”, “Where would you be now if you weren’t here?” and “What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?” On Daisy Lowe’s table, the atmosphere is giddy. “How tall are you?” asks one girl. “Are you a feminist?” poses another. And then, crucially, “Do you know Cara Delevingne?”

Many of the students are deadly serious and focused, pumping the women for information about their big breaks in the industry, asking whether a university degree is necessary in fashion and wondering how one can have a high-flying career and a family – a subject Gonzalez Durantez knows well. “I always get a lot of questions when I tell them that, when we came to the UK, I decided to give up my job to ensure that my family was in the same country,” says Gonzalez Durantez. “I think it’s important for them to see that a ‘hard professional woman’ or a ‘family woman’, it’s a combination of things.”

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Nick and Miriam join Lorraine to talk about inspiring women and school meals – and grate cheese

Nick Clegg got cheesy yesterday morning on ITV’s Lorraine show. He was helping their chef make ragu for going on bonfire baked potatoes and was entrusted with chopping onion, carrot and celery and grating cheese which he seemed to carry out with reasonable competence. My mind boggled a bit when he asked which bit of the grater he should use. It was for going on top of a baked potato. It didm’t really matter.

Anyway, he took the opportunity to talk about the successful introduction of his school meals policy. This was not a serious political interview. It was never going to be, but it is quite nice to see well-informed discussion of the issues in an informal way. I think Nick should be doing much more of these things. You can watch him here.

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Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez on faking it, elites and inspiring girls

Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez by Liberal DemocratsThere’s a great interview in the Standard with Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez. It irks me slightly that Charlotte Edwardes doesn’t even get 20 words into her article before she mentions what Miriam is wearing. At least she got “top corporate lawyer” in there first, so I guess that counts as progress.

All the papers have picked up on what Miriam said to a group of young women – telling them that women have been faking things for years so they should fake self confidence. It’s  about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

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Clegg refused to speak to Gove “for months”, told Cameron “life is too short” to continue rowing

Nick Clegg Q&A 19That’s the claim in today’s Independent:

Nick Clegg has refused to speak to Michael Gove “for months”, according to a source close to the Deputy Prime Minister, revealing the extent of the breakdown at the heart of the coalition.

Mr Clegg was involved in a number of vicious stand-offs with Mr Gove over his unpopular, reformist agenda before his shock demotion from Education Secretary to Chief Whip in last week’s reshuffle. The row escalated after the Lib Dems forced through a free school meals policy for five- and

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Lord Storey on Nick Clegg: Not popular, nice guy, principled. What do the headlines report? “Toxic”

Lord Storey photo by Keith EdkinsWhen I first heard that Nick Clegg  had been described by former Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey as “toxic”, I expected to see some sort of angry denunciation. Actually, Mike Storey’s comments were much more considered and balanced. What he said was what every single Liberal Democrat knows, that if you speak to lots of voters, you know that Nick Clegg is not a popular person. He said “some might use the word toxic.” He then went on to add that he found that very …

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez 1 – Telegraph 0

Today’s Telegraph published an article which suggested that Miriam Gonzalez Durantez was behind Nick Clegg’s decision to take a robust line with Lord Rennard last week. It seems too much to ask that they actually get her name right, referring to her as Miriam Clegg throughout. But, according to Miriam, interviewed by the BBC at an event for her Inspiring the Future organisation, they didn’t get much else right either:

 I say this with a very heavy heart because this is in the Telegraph today and ever since the Telegraph was the very first newspaper who supported this campaign

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The Clegg Family Christmas Card, with a little help from their sons

Here is the Christmas card Nick Clegg and Miriam González Durántez will be sending out this year:

Clegg family Xmas card 2013

The London Evening Standard explains:

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“Move over Nick” says Telegraph as Miriam Gonzalez Durantez launches women’s network

Liberal Democrats have known that Miriam Gonzalez Durantez has put considerable time and effort into supporting women within the party. She has now moved on to the national stage to launch a campaign, Inspiring Women, which aims to send 15,000 women to talk to 250,000 girls in schools about their careers and to encourage them to aim high.

Earlier this month, we covered her article in the Telegraph in which she explained why she wants to do this:

The new generation of girls are clever, engaged and curious; they are ambitious, but in a realistic way; they are not afraid of

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LibLink: Miriam González Durántez – Why I’m calling on brilliant British women to go back to school

González_DurántezMiriam González Durántez has written for The Telegraph about how to provide good role models for girls.

She writes:

The UK, and Europe in general, is without any doubt one of the best places in the world to be a woman, if not the best. We can vote, we can work, we can travel, we have access to education, we can own and inherit property, we can speak freely, we are the masters of our own emotional lives. It is often easy to take all this for granted.

And yet while men are able to toy with unlimited options, we still face a series of stark choices. If we do not have children, people assume we are “frustrated”. If we stay at home taking care of our children, it is said we are “not working”. If we have a job, we are portrayed as just “part-time mums”, and sometimes even as bad parents. If we succeed in our professional lives, we’re branded “scary”; if we follow fashion, we’re “shallow”; if we like science, we’re “geeks”; if we read women’s magazines, we’re “fluffy”; and if we defend our rights, we’re “hard”.

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Of course, the Daily Mail has form when it comes to smearing party leaders’ families

My colleague Andy Boddington has already (rightly) laid into the Daily Mail for its gratuitous insults against Ed Miliband’s father, Marxist historian Ralph.

The paper has form when it comes to smearing the families of party leaders. Let’s turn back the pages of history to… well, 10 days ago when the Mail tried to link Nick Clegg to fascism through his father-in-law:

clegg father in law daily mail - sept 2013

Or we could roll back to December 2012 when the Mail splash on a desperately thin story implying some …

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Ah, maybe this explains Nick Clegg’s awkwardness over Nigella yesterday…

Nick Clegg has taken a mostly unjustified pasting in the media over the past couple of days for his answer to the question:

If you had been in the restaurant eating close by to Nigella and Saatchi when he disturbingly put her hands around her neck, what would your reaction had been?

Stephen Tall was right to say yesterday that his response was a bit ill thought out and incoherent. I preferred to think of it as him taking the pony to get to the point rather than the helicopter, something that he does quite a bit. Nick did get there in the end and made it clear that if he saw someone being violent to their partner, he hoped he’d intervene to protect the weaker person.

Nobody could be justified in thinking for a second that Nick would ever condone domestic violence. Yes, Yvette Cooper, that would be you I’m talking about. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP was as bad.

There’s another dimension to this, though, that I’ve become aware of today: Nick’s wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and Nigella are friends. They knew each other before they did a video for The Stylist way back in 2011. Nigella had taken over the site as editor for that issue and she and Miriam cooked croquetas together. There’s even a You Tube video.

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Praise for Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats from both sides – should we be worried?

I remember hearing Nick Clegg saying that if he was being attacked from both left and right, then he felt reassured that he was doing something right. He may be feeling slightly worried now, as there have been a couple of not entirely unpleasant pieces in the New Statesman and Daily Telegraph in the last few days.

From the left, we have Rafael Behr, the political editor of the New Statesman, arguing that it’s Nick Clegg, not Nigel Farage, who has shaken up Westminster:

For Lib Dems, the distinction is between two styles of politics. There is the managerial one, laden with

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Nick Clegg’s son to go to state secondary school

It’s just been announced that Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez have decided to send their son Antonio to a state Catholic secondary school. He’s been attending a Catholic Primary near his home.

Antonio will attend the London Oratory school. Nick and Miriam expressed the wish that now their decision has been made public, the privacy of their son will be respected.

Nick has previously said that he doesn’t believe in God, but his wife Miriam is a practising Catholic. He recently said:

I’ve never made my kids an issue in politics. My kids are more precious to me than anything else in

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Mail on Sunday’s smears and innuendo against Miriam and Nick: Lib Dem statement released

Well, there’s a turn-up for the books — the Mail on Sunday in its first post-Leveson front page decides to play the man (and woman) rather than the ball, and splash on a desperately thin story implying some form of scandalous link between Miriam González Durántez’s support for Booktrust and the charity being given a government grant.

The paper’s baseless accusations get short shrift from the Lib Dems in this statement issued by the party tonight:

The decision to continue the funding for Booktrust was made by the Prime Minister

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Hurricane Miriam is in the Pacific

How can she be? She arrived in Brighton yesterday.

Boom! Boom! (as Basil Brush would say).

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Politicians’ fathers and spouses – fair game?

There’s always a debate as to the extent that politicians’ family should be fair game for media coverage. There seems to be a general consensus that their children should be off-limits. Mind you, that didn’t stop Caroline Spelman’s 17-year-old son being pitched into the national limelight recently. (However, in that case there appear to be justifiable reasons for coverage).

Over the last week, we have seen a number of stories concerning UK politicians’ fathers and wives (or, more correctly, wife).

The …

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What made the Mail, the Express and the Telegraph keen to see Nick Clegg doing more of his job?

An odd set of messages this week from some of the right-wing press: the Mail, the Express and Telegraph all ran pieces criticising Nick Clegg for taking his children to school, while being essential to the smooth running of the country.

In a classic bit of pandering/flamebait (delete according to taste), they variously criticise Clegg for not working 24 hours a day before concluding that he is “powerful”, “Co-Prime Minister” and “the second most senior politician in the land”.

The Express’s Virginia Blackburn likes to think of Clegg as “a commanding figure, a statesman, a diplomat representing his …

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LibLink: Nick Clegg, the New Statesman interview and crying

The latest edition of the New Statesman has an interview with Nick Clegg, which has mostly garnered attention for the shock news that Nick Clegg is a human being and has been known to cry to music:

He is besotted by his “three lovely boys” and is most proud “by a long shot” of the family life he has created with Miriam. They manage to lead a relatively normal life, “not in a bunker in Westminster”, and he tries to pick his children up from school and put them to bed at night at least two or three times a week.


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Lynne Featherstone’s speech to conference

Liberal Democrats.

I look around and I see the faces of so many friends, colleagues, Cabinet Members. Yes – I did just say that – Liberal Democrat members of the Cabinet.

Now conference, I was pretty clear at the time as to just what I thought of having an all male all pale team sent to negotiate on our behalves in May. Often for some of us women we get frustrated when we see mediocrity promoted above us.

But in this case, they weren’t mediocre – our negotiating team did one hell of a job and I thank them all …

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Book review: Campaign 2010 by Nicholas Jones

Anyone who has read Nicholas Jones’s previous books – especially Soundbites and Spin Doctors (1995) and Sultans of Spin (1999) – will look forward to a new tome from the BBC’s former political correspondent, who has proved himself to be an acute observer of the Westminster scene, and a fearless revealer of politicians’ trade secrets.

Campaign 2010, Mr Jones’s new work, is billed by publisher Biteback as “political theatre brought to a fresh level”. Can it live up to such hype? Sadly – and it genuinely pains me to say it, as I have high regard for …

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