"Let’s not just assume that that stable and orderly transition is from one group of men to another group of men"

// 12 June 2006

Harriet Harman is gunning for the job of deputy prime minister, after going on BBC radio and saying that the Labour leadership should include both “women and men”.

Maternity pay and leave is a huge political issue, as is childcare. And I think that what’s important for a party that believes in equality is that we are a team of women and men. And I don’t think women in the country will believe that there will be a guarantee for further improvement on childcare and maternity leave and pay unless there’s women up there pushing for it.

Harman, the current constitutional affairs minister, is even arguing that there should be two deputy PMs. I guess she really wants the job, huh? It’s kind of a strange argument, seeing as the incumbant John Prescott never seemed to do that much, and even then the post has been stripped of many of its responsibilities in the last few months.

Unfortunately, I suspect she is unlikely to get the job, at least while Blair’s still clinging on to office. In response to the news that three prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have committed suicide, she said:

If it is perfectly legal and there is nothing going wrong there, why don’t they have it in America and then the American court system can supervise it?

Contrast this with the US authorities, who have variously called the suicides a PR stunt and an “act of war”.

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