You have no authority here, Mata Hari

The vultures are circling. Old Labour bruisers and a host of hangers-on have gathered. They scent blood. A frail looking 30 year old woman is about to chair her first council meeting and it is time for some fun at her expense. 

She starts. She gets through the announcements. Just about. She fluffs the order of the amendments. The old municipal bruisers roll their eyes. Labour head honcho grins and nods sagely to his entourage. A kindly officer rescues the young councillor and she ploughs on. She eyes the enemy. With their unerring eye grasp of detail the Labour councillors have noticed that she has long black hair and they wittily call her “Morticia” and “Barbie” behind her back. They think she doesn’t know that.

But, gradually the rookie politician picks up the pace. She sidesteps Councillor head honcho and his posse. With a neat grasp of standing orders she shoots a Labour motion down in flames before it is even presented.

Head honcho pounces:

“Madam Chair this is an abuse”

“You would know all about that” retorts rookie councillor

“That’s rich from Mata Hari over there”

The assistant borough solicitor is called. Rookie councillor cries foul. Head honcho apologises – gruffly and grudgingly. Likening a young woman to a traitor is just one of those things in the world of Southwark Council in the 90s.

They both live to fight another day.

In honour of Jackie Weaver and all women in local government.

* Ruth Bright has been a councillor in Southwark and Parliamentary Candidate for Hampshire East

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2 Comments

  • Joseph Bourke 7th Feb '21 - 7:03pm

    Ruth,

    I always thought those folk south of the river were a little more gruff than other Londoners. Good to hear the young councilor is still fighting the good fight.

  • Ruth Bright 8th Feb '21 - 9:29am

    Sadly I entered my 55th year a few days ago Joseph. This seems like a (very toxic) lifetime ago but after Handforth/Weaver it is still relevant.

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