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 I have a really soft spot for them!

But this is a complete allegation , I don’t even know the women, I feel if I  you know that if I was the kind of woman who had influence in the shadows if I ever wanted to say something I would say that openly and publicly and what we are doing here today is supporting the girls. My opinions about the political issues of the day I keep them for myself.

Nick had already had a good laugh about it on Call Clegg:

This is such total and utter…sorry, I’m chuckling, I’ve read so much garbage over the last several days about what I think, what my motive are, what I’ve done here, what I’ve done there, and now suddenly claims are being made about conversations which, if they took place, would take place probably in the privacy of the Clegg kitchen.  I am simply not…it’s total garbage, it is a complete work of fiction.

He added:

But, just what I would say to the Daily Telegraph, or anybody else, look you can make up stuff about me, as indeed people do day in day out, have a go at me, but just don’t drag Miriam into it

Going back to the real reason for Miriam’s comments, she talked about what she hoped to achieve with Inspiring the Future:

I think it’s really important to tell girls from the women like us really who have been there who have had the careers and who have had the jobs, the ups and down on both, that they should feel free to do whatever they want to do in life.

And I feel very strongly that the message that girls can aim high is an important one and we are basically going around the country, it’s a national campaign so we start in London and are moving around it’s trying to tell 150,000 girls and hopefully more with the help of the publicity that we will get with the help from all of you, that you know they can achieve that and there is no reason for them to limit their aspirations and they should feel free to decide and on e of those options is to aim high.

Why don’t they know this already?

No, it’s something that I have perceived that some lack of confidence as to what they can do and I think sometimes the girls, particularly at this crucial age that they have to start making the choices as to what subjects they are going to keep and which ones they are going to abandon. I think there’s a lack of self-confidence that somehow limits them, and I can’t think of a better way for women to spend their time by coming to talk to girls and I think that’s very important, I have been very involved in women’s issues for many years. And I haven’t always felt we talk a lot to each other, if we do not necessarily talk to the next generation. And yes I think, I feel, very strongly about that.

She was asked about how her own experiences can help those from different backgrounds:

Well I was very very lucky that I had parents that really wanted me to aim high and they were  my inspiration. But I come from a small village in the middle of nowhere in Spain, we only had one school there we all went to the same school and we had children there from all levels of ability from illiterate children to children from very wealthy life afterwards, all kinds of backgrounds.

And I do feel strongly that whatever you do in life, ok the circumstances might be bad but at the end of the day is what is within you. And after time you may get there sooner or later but I vividly remember that I had got a scholarship and I thought there are all these kids from glamorous schools around me then I thought well, you know I can actually compete, I will probably require more effort for me to get there but I can do it. And I know that feeling of accomplishment is fantastic and if I can help just one of these many girls, 150 girls here today, have that feeling then I can think of no better way to spend my free time, insofar as I can help.

But wasn’t she only there because of her connection to Nick? I though she handled that well, making her point with humour:

Yeah, I don’t have any problems with that, yeah obviously the immediate exposure I have is because of Nick, otherwise I’m sure you’re not going to have any interest in an interview with an international trade lawyer, because I’m not as glamorous as I think! I think that with privilege comes responsibility. And I think it’s fantastic to be able to see from the frontline British politics, not everyone has access to that but I am very aware of the fact that with that comes my commitment to help wherever I can , I try to help a variety of charities, this is something I feel strongly about.

And if I can put two and two together with my experience with media exposure and the possibility to invite some really well known women to give publicity to this and to get more and more women registering, this is not about the well known women, this is about the every single woman, every woman can register, it takes one hour a year to do this. Absolutely everybody can do that. Because I do believe every woman has inside her a role model. They just need to be able to express it.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, you can find out more here.

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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4 Comments

  • Good on you Miriam – sock it to them!

  • Good on you Miriam – sock it to them!

  • There’s a plan in the right wing press to make out that ‘Nick does everything Miriam says’ so that he appears weak and under the thumb of his domineering wife. I guess its the logical attack when a leader’s spouse is articulate, intelligent and has her own career. Its a pretty underhand tactic but its working, a number of people (non lib-dem) I’ve spoke to seem to believe things like the school meals and childcare policies are things Miriam has forced on Nick instead of what the party have long campaigned for!

    Its laughable in some ways but its all part of a ‘Nick is weak and gives in’ narrative that’s being put together.

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