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.

She went on to talk about how the private school system in this country creates its power elites:

She’s strongly pro-state, despite the fact that Clegg attended Westminster, one of the most expensive schools in London, and sees no reason to move their three boys into the private system. “As far as I know they will always go to state school,” she says.

That said, she realises the power of the prestigious schools, especially Eton — David Cameron’s alma mater. “Everyone picks on Eton,” she concedes, “but it is a serious point. If you dress in tailcoats it doesn’t make you any cleverer, but it makes you feel part of an elite.”

But she scoffs at the idea that Eton will breed the leaders of the future – any more than anywhere else. “This is the 21st century. You cannot buy your place into the elite. You have to earn it. There is not a shortcut. Whether you are at Eton, or [a state school in] Islington, You have to work — you cannot bluff forever.”

She then recountsd how it felt the first time she was confronted with that sort of network when she went to Bruges to study:

“I suddenly met kids from Oxford and Cambridge and Sciences Po [in Paris] and I thought, ‘Wow, these people have something that I just don’t have’. I remember vividly seeing them raising their hands in class and thinking, ‘My whole life had been about doing this’ — she holds her hand down. They got together in teams, and they spoke out, and it was a big thing for me to see.”

It nearly put her off. She wanted to leave, but “my mother said, ‘You can do this. Stay’. One day I thought, ‘I can do this’.”

Now that’s her message — “I tell my children: ‘It’s down to you. It’s no good blaming the teachers, or the system. The more effort you put in, the more you get out’.

She also talks about being friends with guilt, which to me seems to be much more a part of motherhood than fatherhood unless anyone wants to correct me on that one.

You can read the whole interview here.

Photo of Miriam Gonzàlez Duràntez by Liberal Democrats

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

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  • Eddie Sammon 17th Oct '14 - 6:07pm

    It is an interesting interview. Personally I don’t feel there is much room for traditional gender roles in mainstream liberalism and people should try to live a liberal life and not just espouse liberal views.

    I don’t believe it has to be 50-50 everywhere and every couple is different, but broadly I don’t think men should be taking on lots of interesting projects and expecting the wives to stay at home with the children.


  • Caron, re: clothes – she is being interviewed in this gossip mag for the sole reason that she is in a relationship with a particular man, what do you expect them to actually talk about?

  • Has she been elected?

  • As a Cambridge graduate, I wonder if what Miriam encountered was not the brash confidence of an elite, but people who’d been encouraged through the tutorial system to speak up and argue their case. I didn’t leave Cambridge full of confidence, but I had more than I arrived with in respect of speaking up and having confidence that my ideas were worth putting forward. Listening was part of it too.

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