That is my usual reaction to Louise Mensch. There is a special place (let's call it the 'Red Room') in my heart for this woman. I am the kind of wishy washy liberal who can't separate the policies from the personality...no, sod that, her personality enrages me too. It's just...everything, not least her admiration of Maggie T (Louise Mensch basically steals schoolchildren's milk by proxy) and her arrogant attempt to set up a rival to Twitter because, everyone on Twitter is like, so mean and stuff. And then there are the books she writes, which have paragraphs like this in them:
Yeah. Then we have the admission that she took drugs, but she won't say what they are in case it encourages the rest of us to jump up from our swivel chairs and announce, mid-morning 'I could really do with a gram right now.' As though Louise Mensch taking drugs will make everyone go 'While the fact that Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bez from the Happy Mondays and Pete Docherty all took drugs never convinced me to dabble in them, the fact that Conservative MP for Corby Louise Mensch has also taken drugs must mean that there's something seriously cool about them.'
However, I won't bore you with a prolonged personal attack (I save that little puppy for my friends in the pub) and anyway, if I did, she'd probably just tweet it to all her followers and then get the Vagenda put on some kind of MI5 blacklist of potential internet terrorists, or something. Either that or we'd get attacked by loads of Tory feminists, which would be like being chased by a horde of unicorns, because THEY DON'T EXIST, OKAY?
Deep breath. This is where I turn to Louise Mensch's latest column in Glamour Magazine. It is a well known fact that Glamour is a Tory propaganda machine and as such must be handled with tongs lest I develop hives all over my (beautiful, buff) body. So I've got my latex gloves on and I'm ready to go.
Ok, so: TEN RULES TO BREAK IF YOU WANT TO GET AHEAD
Success is not a dirty word, says Mensch, despite what some unwashed Guardian-reading dykes may claim (am paraphrasing). Au contraire, success gives you FREEDOM, but to achieve success one must break the rules. Rules such as:
1.) Money is the root of all evil
Money is freedom, says the loaded Mensch. 'Women are told to look for 'job satisfaction' and often take poorly paid jobs in 'interesting' fields. That's OK at 21, but as you get older, you'll look at your peers driving nice cars and buying flats, and your red bank statements will make your stomach churn. If you can, go for an industry where there is a possibility of high pay.'
Fuck. My gloves are melting. I mean, I always kinda suspected that Mensch was the Ayn Rand of the 21st century, but this is empirical confirmation. If everyone followed her advice, there would be no nurses or social workers, no artists, no primary school teachers. We'd all be stockbrokers and marketing executives and estate agents, and we'd all be dying inside. The MenschMonster is basically saying 'you'll be bored, but at least you'll be very very rich, and not jealous of your friends.' A race of service based economy drones, that's what she'd like to see. There's also an assumption there that we all have a choice as to which profession we end up in. I wonder how many of Glamour's readers are working class, without access to the preposterous sums of money needed for a university education, let alone enough to pay £400 for a pair of 'disco knickers'. It goes without saying that Louise is happy for them to spend their giro money on her insipid attempts at literature, but not willing to mobilise them through effective social policy.
My advice to Glamour readers? Ignore Louise Mensch, and go and read Steve Jobs' 'do what you love' speech instead.
According to Mensch, it's not okay to hate your job. It's not clear whether or not she means that you should change to a better, non-existent job (hello, recession), or that you should just suck it up and be miserable. 'My husband- a manager of rock bands- gave me some key advice over twenty years ago. "In my company, we look forward to Mondays, not Fridays,' he said.
Yeah, if I had to spend the weekend with Louise Mensch, I would too.
My advice to Glamour readers: Your job probably blows. Most people's do. Chances are, with the economy the way it is, that you're going to be stuck in it for a while (but take heart, it won't be forever). Under the circumstances I'd say that you're perfectly entitled to hate your job and down a freshly prepared can of G&T the minute the clock hits 5.30 on a Friday. Shit, you're probably drunk already. Go forth and moan! Moan with your friends, because they all hate their jobs too, drink two bottles of Sauv Blanc in under an hour, and then go out dancing. And if it really is that bad: quit. Nothing is worth being unhappy for, and it's better than a lifetime of antidepressants.
You can always sign on.
3.) 'I want' doesn't get
'Calmly ask your boss for what you need.'
I agree with most of this. Women should feel confident to ask for a promotion, or a pay rise, or to work on a big project. We should also feel confident enough to say 'Take your hand off my arse', 'No, I'm not working unpaid overtime, it's exploitative' and 'your company encapsulates everything I despise on this earth' , but we don't, because we'd be out of a job.
Advice to Glamour readers: Ask for that pay rise, but not because Louise Mensch told you to.
4.) Working 9-5
'Know who gets rich? People who own things, not people who do things.'
Louise Mensch wants us all to start our own businesses, using all the capital that we've magically accumulated...how? Hear that, Glamour readers? Fuck your nine to five secretarial job, become an entrepreneur.
Advice to Glamour readers: Think hard about whether or not being rich is truly what you want. If it is, then consider the fact that Louise Mensch is talking to you from an ivory tower of privilege, and that quitting your job in the middle of a recession to start your own poncho company may not be the wisest of moves. Then accept the fact that this country is underpinned by an unequal class system and that the majority of the population will never be rich. No harm in trying, but it's one hell of a mountain you're about to climb. Having gone to Oxbridge helps.
5.) Work hard and you'll succeed
Not true, says Louise. Look at all those poor peasants, working really hard and not getting anywhere. What you do 'need not involve hard work'. 'When I started out as a Bestselling novelist, I used to goof off for ten months a year and then write my books in a frantic six weeks. It was awesome.'
Hear that, peeps? Louise does sweet fuck all for most of the time. Nauseating. By this point by gloves have melted to the extent that I have third degree burns on my hands and a sinking feeling in my heart. It's all just so easy for Louise, isn't it? I'd like to know what she'd say to the person who's working three low-paid jobs just to make ends meet and support their family. Probably 'just relax yeah? Success is like, a free flowing energy which will spontaneously be drawn to you while you sit on your arse doing nothing. Just quit your shitty jobs and sit on the dole. Success will come to you.'
Advice to Glamour readers: Only rich people get richer by doing nothing.
6.) Ladies should be seen and not heard
'I've been called 'ambitious' in the press and the word has often been used as an insult...'ambitious' for a man is a compliment. We need to make it the same for a woman.'
Read: Men have been conned by capitalism into thinking that money and power are everything. Now women should have a piece of the evil pie, too. Look, there's nothing wrong with being ambitious. We all have dreams. But there's no need to be as ruthlessly ambitious as women like Mensch. Fucking over your colleagues, exploiting poor people, ignoring your family or partner, and cancelling plans so that you can swim in your money pool are not nice things to do.
Advice to Glamour readers: Louise Mensch should be seen and not heard.
7.) Women can't have it all
'Why the hell not? Men can,' says Louise.
FOR THE FUCKING LAST TIME: Men do not have it all. There is no such thing as having it all. People muddle along the best they can. Even rich people don't have it all. Paying someone else to look after your kids is not 'having it all.' Having it all, much like Tory feminists, should be consigned to Never Never Land.
Advice to Glamour readers: You will never have it all. Deal with it.
8.) I work for XYZ
'You don't truly work for anyone but yourself'.
Oh reeeeeeallly? So when my crap boss rides my ass for being two minutes late, I don't actually have to listen to her? I can just say, 'screw this, I work for myself, you fucker! And I'm not fetching sushi for you ANYMORE, BECAUSE I HATE YOU'
No? I can't? Didn't think so.
Advice to Glamour readers: Yes, the bastards own your arse, but they can never own your soul. Comfort yourself with small, subtle acts of resistance, like using their company time to set up a successful blog.
9.) The grass is always greener
Louise agrees with this one. The grass is always greener, so try lots of grass.
Do you know where the grass is greenest? In my imagination. In my imagination, we all frolic hand in hand in the beautiful meadows of Albion, free from Tory propaganda, evil social policies, and rich people telling us what to do with our lives. In this imaginary Utopia, Louise Mensch has been reprogrammed through prolonged exposure to the culture section of the Guardian, and now devotes her time to setting up youth clubs in sink estates, counselling the unemployed, and delivering Meals on Wheels. Meanwhile, we all have equal pay and free tampons. Hurrah.
Advice to Glamour readers: There is no grass. We live in a festering mud pit of a country. But if you vote Labour, they will plant poppies and fresias and everyone will get a free Bonsai tree for their kitchens.
10.) If wishes were horses...
...they'd kick you in the teeth. Look, the Tories are never going to let beggars ride horses. There aren't even enough homeless shelters. But the least we could do is get over this bizarre aversion we have to horse meat and feed the destitute on delicious, succulent steaks *backs away sheepishly in the direction of France*
'You might not get wish number one, but you may get something just as good.' ARGHHH! THE HIVES! THE HIVES!
Okay, here goes:
Wish number one: Louise Mensch gives up politics and moves to the Antarctic, where she can't bother anyone.
Wish number two: Glamour goes under and is forced to relaunch as a leftist literary magazine
Wish number three: The coalition collapses under the weight of its own shitness
I'll take any of those. Let me know, Louise. I live in hope.