Hot on the heels of the outrage-that-never-was regarding Manchester United’s “sexist” women’s replica kit comes the demand from a “Conservative” cabinet minister that the team reinstate its ladies squad.
Tracey Crouch MP – who doesn’t at all have a vested interest as a girls’ teach coach – has said that United’s 2005 decision to scrap their ladies team was wrong, and that the privately owned company should do what she, as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Tourism, dictates.
I happen to think Tracey Crouch might be right, but I just cannot stand the sneering, finger-wagging way in which these people think they can get away with dictating to private businesses.
As one of the world’s top teams, they may benefit from having a Man Utd ladies team – in terms of branding, marketing, and merchandising. But if they don’t want to have one, they shouldn’t have to listen to government ministers whinging about it.
Despite some obvious flaws, the women’s game has improved greatly over the past few decades, in no small part thanks to teams like United who plough resources into girls teams, which they never stopped doing. The Women’s World Cup was bigger than ever this year, and it is a market that – as a United fan – I don’t want my team missing out on.
“Wait a minute!” I hear you cry. “There’s nothing conservative about blocking pornography, or trying to stop terrorists, or defending the rights of individuals who happen to be gay!”
Yeah yeah yeah, really easy, sweeping statements that focus totally on the ends justifying the means. But we don’t live in a tyrannical or consequentialist society. Indeed this is what the likes of Cameron and his mates around the world attack Vladimir Putin for. And then everyone has to tip toe around complimenting the guy when he does something good like calling out Turkey on their bullshit.
Now Cameron’s nowhere near the tyrant Putin is, but he can’t seem to get his head around the idea that minimising one person’s freedom for the sake of someone else’s isn’t the conservative way.
You can’t take my privacy from me just so you can catch criminals faster.
You can’t stomp on the rights of the religious in order to chase votes from the LGBT community.
And you can’t block porn because parents are too lazy to monitor their kids online.
You’re not our father, who art in 10 Downing Street. You’re the ‘Conservative’ Prime Minister. And your means should have conservatism at their root. If you can’t figure it out without resorting to nanny-statism, then you’re probably not an instinctive, freedom-maximising conservative, and should probably rename your party.
I happen to agree with his deputy party chairman on this, too.
The Conservative Party should relinquish the name, if it is going to keep electing people like David Cameron and Tracey Crouch, and let some of us who are actually conservatives, in means and in ends, take back what is rightfully ours.
In the meantime Mr Cameron, while you’re thinking that proposition over – can I ask that you leave the football team I support alone? Please? I mean, at least I can remember which team I support, right?