Sons And Daughters



Theresa May

I was disappointed to see The Irish Times describe Theresa May as a “vicar’s daughter” in the headline “Tough and diligent vicar’s daughter with moral bent”. I have often seen Margaret Thatcher described as a “grocer’s daughter”. It seems female political leaders are always someone’s daughter. Never, however, have I seen David Cameron described as a “stockbroker’s son” or Tony Blair as a “barrister’s son”.

Grace Cuddihy,

Theresa May – ‘vicar’s daughter’ (Irish Times letters page)

Pic: The Boston Globe

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125 thoughts on “Sons And Daughters

  1. joj

    What is she babbling, people often reference parents occupation in politics when of note, male or female- GW bush, Trump etc

    1. Robert

      Isn’t it just that it’s interesting she’s a Vicar’s daughter? I think it is. Not at all interesting that Cameron was a stockbroker’s son … with Thatcher it spoke to her modest origins. I remember similar things of “Honest John” Major.

      1. classter

        Gordon Brown’s father was a minister in the Scottish Church & this is very often reference when discussing him

        1. classter

          The vicar/minister thing is often used to explain certain traits.

          ‘Tis the same with Merkel.

        2. Tony

          John Major was often pilloried for having run away from the circus to be an accountant. An obvious reference to his parents being carnie folk…

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Yes but Gordo was different because he was a Scot – also see any discussion of Gove where they repeatedly discuss his adoption. But still not to the same extent as the lady politicians.

      Guess it something about the “other” innit and a conservative press trying to work out and justify people’s occupation of space.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          “But still not to the same extent as the lady politicians.”

          As you were

          1. classter

            That is a very subjective verdict, DP.

            It is clear the original letter-writer is wrong.

          2. classter

            ‘Never, however, have I seen David Cameron described as a “stockbroker’s son”’

            This is clearly, patently false. Almost everybody reading this thread knows that his father was a stockbroker.

            Now, whether it is done more often in the case of female politicians than male politicians (as you claim) is a different matter. It is difficult to know how you would demonstrate this…

      1. rotide

        This is ridiculous. She’s new-ish to the ‘limelight’ and as a result writers are going to fill in the blanks as they would with anyone, male or female, black white or purple.

        You’re tilting at windmills that aren’t there.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          She isn’t new.

          I’m sorry you interpreted my sociological wonderings about political identity and representation as windmills. Specsavers?

        2. rotide

          She is new to a large portion of Irish people that don’t pay huge attention to the british political landscape.

          Hence the profile piece. Hence mentioning her background.

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Fair dues but my comment still stands in terms of wider discussion of politicians.

          2. classter

            She is still actually fairly ‘new’ in that she is remarkably low profile for somebody who has become PM.

            The media has been a bit stunned by it all & have already run out of insights to share about her – ’cause they have so little.

            We know that she is dogged, adept at in-fighting, once dressed down the police unions, once called the Tories the ‘Nasty Party’,has a fairly scant regard fro the privacy of citizens, had a vicar father, was educated in a comprehensive school & her long-term husband (whom she met in Oxford) works in the City. And that’s about it.

            We don’t really know whether she really believes this compassionate On-Nation Tory stuff or not. We don’t know how she really feels about the EU or the single market. Or climate change. Or foreign policy – is she an interventionist or a dove? We have a much better idea what the views and thinking are of much of her cabinet than we do of her herself.

        3. Caroline

          You don’t add “that aren’t there” to that phrase, as the expression is based on there being actual windmills there, and not the monstrous enemies they are perceived to be.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          You also completely miss my point. Yes, they would have as they reflect on his time as a politician, not in everyday discussion.

          1. newsjustin

            It’s funny how respondents to every comment you make miss the point. You are deeply misunderstood.

          2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Every comment? Meow!

            Maybe we just need more sociology in schools or maybe a little more pondering the world?

        2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní


  2. Yeah, Ok

    Cameron was/is constantly called out as being from privilege and wealth. That’s how the ‘rich boy’ side of the ‘ordinary upbringing’ coin was angled. It’s the exact same thing. Stop seeing sexism everywhere FFS.

    1. mauriac

      just recently his late father’s stockbroking career and inheritance strategies came under huge Cameron has always been described as the son of a wealthy stockbroker

    2. Nigel

      This seems more like a class thing. When they start talking about her clothes and appearance, that’ll be the sexism.

      1. mauriac

        True but she does boast about her massive collection of crazy shoes.maybe she should take a leaf out of Angela’s book and adopt a suit like uniform ?

        1. Nigel

          Well collecting crazy shoes is better than fornicating with a pig’s head any day. Or so I’ve heard.

    1. bisted

      …never understood that…if it had been a chartered accountant it would have explained a lot…

  3. On The Buses

    Boris Johnson’s was repeatedly spoken about in reference to his father during the pre-brexit discussion.

  4. Cian

    Cameron’s fathers occupation gets mentioned a fair bit. Majors was constantly – mainly because it was so odd.

  5. Iwerzon

    If Blair or Cameron’s da was a miner or a barman then we would never have heard the end of it.

  6. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

    I bet that in her first week she blows the entire UK budget on crazy shoes. Women!

  7. SusanTheSilent

    I think the vicar deserves a mention considering he self impregnated and gave birth.

  8. newsjustin

    Yeah. Gordon Brown was routinely referred to as a “son of the manse”.

    That’s probaby because it’s a nice turn of phrase. “Vicar’s daughter” has a similar tone to it. And “grocer’s daughter” was, presumably to emphasise working class/small business background.

    If Blair or Cameron’s father had been a butcher or a coal merchant from Hartlepool that would have been used to describe them.

    No romance in “barrister” or “banker”.

  9. martco

    there’s only one factoid I need to know about Thatcher….that she was a proper c _ _ t
    (the A1 variety where you make the effort to pronounce the c really hard like a K)

  10. MoyestWithExcitement

    Less talk of her dad and more talk of her wanting to repeal the human rights act, sending mobile ads around the country telling immigrants to go home, how she thinks immigration makes it “impossible to build a cohesive society.”

  11. Spaghetti Hoop

    To be honest, a lot of politicians overly and constantly allude to their parents in their speeches so it’s possible this is her own quote. In the UK particularly, humble backgrounds vs high achievements create role model figures which they use to try and justify their oppressive class structure.
    G’luck to her anyhow. Can’t stand the Tories but at least someone had the guts to tackle Article 50. Boris the Coward should be swiftly eliminated now from her government.

  12. Tony

    Its letters like this that make people snigger at feminism and right on thinking thereby negating the serious issues that feminism right on thinking address. Especially ones that begin with “I was disappointed…”

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      While this might not be sexism, you can’t blame someone who lives with sexism every day misinterpreting something as sexism once in a while.

      1. Tony

        Why can’t I? How do you know its once in a while? How do you know she lives with sexism very day?Seriously? How do you know these things?

    2. Nigel

      No. Sexism makes people snigger at feminism. Letters like this make people snigger at letters like this.

      1. Tony

        Nope. Sexism is saying things like all men are rapists. Letters like this expose some feminists for the loopers they are, and hence, people snigger at feminism. Its quite simple and tragic really.

        1. Nigel

          Saying feminists say things like all men are rapists expose people who snigger at feminism for the tragic, simple loopers they are.

      2. rotide

        In fairness, Letters like this makes people snigger at some “feminists” whose outrage radar is tuned at to 11.

        1. Tony

          Letters like this play into the hands of people who are just dying to snigger at SJW’s for their ability to see insult everywhere.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Like you two. That was either a stunning lack of self awareness on your part or your whole act is a pish take and I’ve misjudged you. Hmmmm.

          2. Tony

            Unfortunately that’s what happens when you second guess yourself Nigel. You tie yourself up in knots. You should try saying what you actually think sometime, and not what you think would look good to say. That way at least you will remember what you say and why. It’s just too difficult trying to be continuously perfect. And draining I’d say.

          3. Tony

            No Im pointing out to you the dangers of being incongruent. You will end up not knowing who you are and your own inner core of belief won’t have developed sufficiently to sustain you. Never mind what people think of you, just go with your own opinions. It will stand to you in the long run.

          4. Tony

            Just try being yourself. For one day. You might surprise yourself. You will definitely surprise others. the pretence cannot last and you know it.

          5. Tony

            At least they are my own issues :-). You on the other hand try and see which issue is most popular today, read the correct thinking on it, and then try and sort it out for everyone else. (Thats the SJW bit). The thing is Nigel, these issues will pass, and will be replaced by other more fashionable ones, but you won’t have developed a Self to cope with the emptiness that remains. So please, try and ask yourself- What do I actually think, not what would look good to think. Good man. It will feel strange at first, and then you will feel the real Nigel emerge and Im sure you will be beautiful in your own special way.

          6. Nigel

            You’re really committed to this tactic of indulging in unsolicited malicious amateur psycho-analysis in a half-assed effort to undermine someone you are incapable of holding up your end of a debate with, aren’t you? It’s… revolting behaviour, really. I hope you don’t pull this in real life.

          7. Tony

            Ah, is it getting to you? Like all those people you call homophobic, transphobic, mysoginist, sexist misandrist etc? It must get to them too when you diagnose and condemn them in the name of justice.
            Like I said, when you actually develop a self of your own, and stop borrowing from Facebook, you will have the resilience which brings compassion rather than weakness which brings judgement. You won’t feel the need to win all the time, you won’t feel the need to be superior, your meaning will not come from hurting others. It will come from inside. It will be flawed, but it will be real. Good luck.

          8. Nigel

            ‘Ah, is it getting to you?’

            Oh wow. I really got to you didn’t I? And now you need to get to me? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just argue the point? Or do you genuinely think this is how that works? I feel like I’ve accidentally tricked you into humiliating yourself with all this. I’m kinda sorry? I’ll stop inadvertently needling you now. Have the last word if you like.

        2. Nigel

          I suppose you could say it’s ammunition for that sort of thing, but anti-feminist types are perfectly prepared to completely make up their own ammunition, so as an unforced error it’s quite trivial. Theresa May will almost certainly be treated in a sexist fashion, unless we’re all in for a pleasant surprise, it’s just this isn’t an example of it.

          1. rotide

            Actually yeah, thats pretty spot on.

            It’s worrying when I agree with you Nigel and thats a couple of times this week.

            My fedora is slipping :(

          2. Tony

            Teresa May will be seen as a woman, because she is a woman. And although people judge men with sexist terms like “white male privilege”, “patriarchy” “old boys club” etc, her gender will certainly be referenced, but not necessarily in a sexist way. However, as Leadsom proved, some of her harshest sexist critics will be other women.

          3. Nigel

            rotide: strange days indeed.

            Tony: You’re hardly likely to see the first two not-particularly-sexist terms on the front pages of major national newspapers (lumping the third one in seems weird even for an anti-feminist) but nobody would be surprised to see comments about her appearance or dress or marital status or whatever she’s a mother or not on a front page. And of course women will criticise her, because there are plenty of policy grounds for other women to criticise her on.

          4. Tony

            Nigel, I live and work in the real world with actual women. Most of them agree that their harshest critics are other women. Its called being bitchy. This is why Madeleine Albright designated a special place in hell for them. It is natural for many women to comment on what other women wear, thats why there is a whole industry dedicated to it. Im sure Teresa has factored this in and is well ready for it, she seems to be made of stern stuff. I think you will find that she will advance the cause of women in many more ways than a Labour counterpart would.

          5. Nigel

            Since I don’t think women send other women rape or death threats just because they’re women as a matter of course, I doubt they’re women’s harshest critics. Given May’s policies thus far I doubt many women will see her as advancing any cause other than harsh corporate Toryism.

          6. Tony

            Her mere appointment and the grace and grit with which she has achieved it is a powerful signal to women. And taking the extreme and rare version of criticism as an example is useful to make a point, but to ignore the everyday undermining criticism to which women are subjected to by other women seems to imply it is not important.. It is the fact that these stem from “normal” women that makes them so undermining. Rape threats come from obvious mysoginist nutters and most sensible women treat them as such.

          7. Clampers Outside!

            “….but nobody would be surprised to see comments about her appearance or dress or marital status or whatever she’s a mother or not on a front page”

            Nor would anyone, with their head not in the clouds, be surprised if it were a man being commented on in that fashion either. Welcome to equality.

          8. Nigel

            Tony: ‘obvious misogynist nutters,’ of which there seem to be plenty, are still, y’know, harsher critics of women than other women, by definition. Extreme, yes, Rare? I wish. And perhaps that’s a function of where you work? I’ve worked in a number of majority-female work environments and didn’t encounter it that often. And men can be pretty vicious about each other, too, when it comes down to it. Yeesh.
            As for Theresa May, she’s been handed a poisoned chalice and no mistake. It’s a bit like Obama taking office after the crash and post-Iraq. Make a mess, have a woman or minority clean it up.Thing is, for all his failings, I believe in Obama’s good intentions. Going by Theresa May’s record, not so much. It’s about to get a lot harder to be poor in England.

          9. Nigel

            Clampers: ‘Is David Cameron getting bikini ready just in time for the next important round of intentional peace negotiations? Three pages of photos and analysis inside!’

          10. Clampers Outside!

            Nigel… I know it’s hard young lad, but stick to reality, and not imaginary offences please. You really do sound like a flakey SJW when you do that, please stop.

          11. Tony

            Great to Teresa May is planning to appoint women to the Cabinet. Im sure women will still btich about her, but you’ll have that.

          12. Tony

            What concept? Is it something you’re developing? Like a conceptual thought? Or a project? Or a piece of conceptual art?

            Aren’t you delighted about Teresa’s appointments though? No?

          13. Tony

            What are you on about Nigel? Are you not delighted about the appointments? Or what is wrong with you? Do you think she shouldn’t appoint women? Why not?

          14. Tony

            Wow. She is a woman about to appoint women and all you can do is criticise her. No wonder so few women try for senior positions when this is the way they are treated by men. Don will not be happy.

          15. Nigel

            Oh, man, you were building to that, weren’t you? So thoroughly invested in getting there nothing was going to stop you. Hope it was worth it.

  13. Spaghetti Hoop

    My folks ran a public house for a short period, to quell a burning ambition and take career breaks. The posh folk in my UK workplace thought it absolutely friggin hilarious that I was a (their words) ‘Publican’s Daughter’, what being a beer-swilling Paddy an all. What japes.

  14. rotide

    Right so I actually read the article and it turns out that not only was it written by a woman but the reason for the headline is because of the comparison she draws with Brown, also a child of a religious minister.

    Where’s clampers when you need him to point out the idiocy of people like this

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      What does it being written by a woman have to do with anything? You;re not saying that women can’t be be sexist are you?

      Clampers is in a tailspin of feminazi hate. He will reply to your comment in a clear and logical fashion in March 2019.

          1. rotide

            You really are more obsessed with that film than nearly every fedora wearing slapped orse out there. They’ve all moved onto the latest kotaku scandal, you should move along too.

            There’s trouble brewing on Dan’s column, go girl power, go!

          2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Its a lazy metaphor, like fedoras but Im happy with it thanks.

            I’ll give it pass thanks – I’m just visiting but you go ahead


    Thanks Grace,

    Its always important to know where posters are currently residing.
    As an expat in Moscow, you must be special, sure you don’t want to tell us the
    whole jackanory of how you came to be there and express a ‘forest for the trees’ view
    on the state of Ireland and or feminist bugbears.


    Joe Duffy.

  16. MoyestWithExcitement

    “Tough and diligent vicar’s daughter with moral bent”

    She”s tough but moral and this comes from her religious background.

    “I have often seen Margaret Thatcher described as a “grocer’s daughter”.”

    She’s done exceedingly well to rise past the Bullington club types and the inbred toffs to lead the conservative party and Britiain considering her humble beginnings.

  17. Mulder

    Yeah lets not get sexist or insulting, until see how she gets on.
    Then, the British press will be doing that if she slips up.

  18. Astra

    Sexism in irish media is something that baffles me daily.
    I’m new to Ireland, might I add. It feels like I got back to the 50’s at times.

    let the ad-hominem come

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