Would you believe that 1975 was international women’s year? I don’t recall any of these year of this, year of that malarky before the 1970s. Now there’s years and days for ruddy everything. Yesterday was World Oceans Day for goodness sakes. Any road, international women’s year was a ruddy good idea. Not that it made a lot of difference in our house, the division of labour in our house was the same as it always was, my Raymond made a mess of things, and I did my best to sort things out. This applied to health, life and relationships, just as much as it did to, carpets, crockery and the contents of underwear drawers. Ruddy men.
Any road, this international Women’s day was a serious thing. It was properly international. They even brought out stamps for it in some countries. We had to make do with Jane Austen stamps in Britain, because she would have been 200 years old that year if she had lived. But what we did have, championing the cause of women and common sense everywhere, was the best prime minister that the country never had. Barbara Castle!
Barbara did the launch of international women’s day with Princess Fanny Adams, the Queens Cousin. She was as much at home with royalty and politicians as she was with ordinary people that had to work for a living. And she did her best to make socialism ruddy well work. Harold Wilson had her in the cabinet regularly. Not in that sense, you filthy so and so, I mean he gave her top jobs like Minister of Overseas Development, Minister for Transport, and finally, when all the strikes were going off, Minister for Employment and Productivity. She would have got industrial relations sorted out if Roy Jenkins hadn’t been all in a rush to please the ruddy Mail readers. She had this “In Place of Strife” document all worked out, but it got stripped down until it was hardly use nor ornament.
But she got the equal pay bill through parliament in 1975′ and the sex discrimination act an’all. She was an example to all women, she showed that it was possible for a woman to get big things done in the world of politics. Emily Davison and her pals would have been proud of her. Unfortunately, when Harold Wilson resigned the next year, Jim Callaghan got the top job and he gave her the sack. As far as I can see, that was a ruddy colossal mistake. She had created an atmosphere in the country where people could see that it might be a good idea to have a woman as the Prime minister, and all ruddy Callaghan could do was block her chances. And who benefitted? Sodding Thatcher! That’s who. And what did she do? Well, I suppose I’ll get to that particular set of stories a bit later on, but suffice to say, by the time she had finished, she had managed to put enough people off the idea of having a woman prime minister to make sure that it wouldn’t happen again for ruddy ages. A quarter of a century and counting at the moment.
Auntie Doris’s top pop pick of 1975: “Whispering Grass” by Don Estelle and Windsor Davies” they were in “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” on the telly, and they sang songs by the inkspots. Windsor Davies, can often be found these days at his Theme Park in the North of England, Windsor’s World of Shoes”