Hat tip to redlightpolitics for this piece. From the article at The Telegraph:

Mr Hilton, the Prime Minister’s strategy director, reportedly suggested the radical ideas during discussions on scrapping red tape and bureaucracy to boost economic growth.

Mr Hilton also suggested to Mr Cameron that he simply ignore European labour regulations on temporary workers, to the alarm of the most senior civil servant in Downing Street.

“Steve asked why the PM had to obey the law,” said one Whitehall insider. “Jeremy [Heywood, Mr Cameron’s permanent secretary] had to explain that if David Cameron breaks the law he could be put in prison”.[…]

According to a report in the Financial Times, Mr Hilton also recommended sacking hundreds of Government press offices and replacing them with a blog for each Whitehall department.

The newspaper quoted a source close to Mr Hilton suggesting that he thought that maternity leave rights were “the biggest obstacle to woman finding work”.

redlightpolitics' comment: We already have retro fashion, retro design, retro music trends, etc. I don’t see why retro politics wouldn’t eventually make a come back. Next up: do women really need to vote? And other pressing matters.

Yeah really! But in all seriousness, what?! I can’t understand the coalition government’s perspective on women in the workforce at all. On the one hand, it seems to be keen on relegating women to the reserve taskforce again so that the main workforce can comprise of men (because they need to work more than women, don’t you know). It also seems to want to get as many women back into the home as possible so that (1) again, men can have the jobs and (2) society can re-establish a normative family structure – men at work, women at home with the children – and address what Cameron et al see as the degeneracy of youth (the fault of feminism, natch).

Now, however, it seems that the Tories may be suggesting that we abolish or lessen maternity leave so that women can stay in the workplace. So what gives? My first thoughts? The economy is not growing (in fact, it at best remained stagnant and at worst decreased in the last quarter) and when it comes to the economy all other bets are off. If we need women in the workplace to boost the economy and to contribute to fiscal growth, then it’s probably OK. If we need to lower maternity allowance to make that happen, then that’s OK too. If we can frame that in a “we’re doing it for the women and their careers, really” fashion, then that’s probably the best way to make it palatable and may even disguise that we’re actually just using women when it suits us. And if we keep the other plans quiet for now, then all the better. We can get them back into the home when we’re solvent again.

Or maybe I just really am too cynical…


  • hoverfrog

    August 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Why not resurrect that old fashioned idea of 100% employment again as a target. Hey, rather than shift the amount of work around so that more men and fewer women are employed why don’t we instead try to get everyone working. That might mean some real radical thinking like creating innovation in industry and manufacturing to back it up and then services to support them. That involves investing in the future and actually having a plan for the next 5, 10, 50 years rather than just this week.

    Wait. What am I thinking? I forgot that the government isn’t in the business of managing the economy of the nation and creating an environment that fosters real fiscal growth. They’re in the business of getting elected. Silly me.

    • feimineach

      August 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      This government seems, at the moment, to be mostly in the business of policing women and the choices they can and cannot make.

  • last year's girl

    July 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Came across that piece at work yesterday. Seems Hilton has a history of, shall we say, ‘eccentric’ policies…

    • feimineach

      July 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      Really? Well, he would do well to get this one through, I’d say!