Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride?


2:05 pm - September 16th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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I pointed out not long ago that the TUC was not looking to ban high heels, only to stop employers forcing women to wear them. The medical evidence is clearly against employers. Now that the TUc conference is taking place, the motion is in the news agenda again.But you can’t even rely on left-wing newspapers to make this clear or call out Nadine Dorries.

Here’s the Tory MP again:

I applaud the society of Chiropodists for pointing out to me the dangers of this; however, having done so I now respectfully ask them to leave it me and every other high heel wearing woman in the land to decide whether or not we wear high heels in the workplace..

Of course this isn’t the first time Nadine Dorries MP has chosen to disregard medical evidence. Now, she wants women to have the choice to wear high heels, but apparently not to avoid wearing them.

The Independent today, while clarifying that the TUC motion is not to ban high heels, still lets her get away with the last word without asking her, who has actually demanded that high heels be banned?

It’s typical of right-wing politicians that when they don’t like a debate they simply change the way they frame it. It’s more annoying to see that left-wing newspapers can’t even bring themselves to call out those Tory MPs.

More reading
Left Outside: High Heels, Low Politics
John Innit: Et tu Konnie? The stilettos go in
Byrne’s Tofferings: TUC, High Heels, and Nadine Dorries

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Equality ,Trade Unions

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Reader comments


Dorries is a complete and utter clown. That she has succeeded in British politics is just a demonstration of what a mess we’re in. She’s way out of her depth and too dim to realise it.

Perhaps because the media perceive that the TUC really ought to have better things to be doing with its time, and that Nadine Dorries is simply articulating that sentiment.

Of perhaps the media perceive that the TUC really does not have anything better to do, because it stopped being relevent to serious politics sometime ago, and they treat the story with the respect it deserves.

Why don’t the media give a shit?

Maybe it’s because, apart from one blogger, the media isn’t obsessed with Dorries?

Perhaps because the media perceive that the TUC really ought to have better things to be doing with its time, and that Nadine Dorries is simply articulating that sentiment.

The aim of the TUC is to help people at work. It’s their aim here to help women who are being forced to wear high heels, despite medical evidence. So in fact it’s entirely within their remit.

and in fact it’s a TUc motion, and they’re allowed to discuss whatever the hell they want.

Maybe it’s because, apart from one blogger, the media isn’t obsessed with Dorries?

I suppose that’s why she’s quoted all over the press today. Nice try shatterface

Yes your argument was made clearly the first time, no need to repeat it.

After the worst financial crisis (possibly ever), rising unemployment, rising taxation, and an impending period of austerity (whoever wins the election) unlike anything seen in decades about to land on the public sector, the TUC seeks to grab the headlines and imagination of the nation with a rallying call to overcome the tyranny of the high-heel. The reaction to Nadine Dorries’s comments simply reflect the obvious irrelevence of the vote, and the organisation that voted to peoples house prices, jobs, living standards, public services and anything else that the populous actually cares about.

She is very very stupid.

Why is everyone giving Dorries an easy ride? For the same reason that everyone gave your lot an easy ride in 1997.

It’s much more rewarding to bash Labour. Who cares what a tory Back-Bencher thinks?

It’s not really annoying, it’s entirely predictable. The media are following a set narrative with regard to the Tories…

The actual quotes are hilariously Naddish.

“I’m 5ft 3in and need every inch of my Louboutin heels to look my male colleagues in the eye”

Trans: Doncha wish your MP was hot like me.

“Perhaps because the media perceive that the TUC really ought to have better things to be doing with its time, and that Nadine Dorries is simply articulating that sentiment.”

No, not perhaps – that is the thrust of all the media articles. And not only that it is a waste of time, but that it is dangerous, intrusive, big brother-esque etc etc.

This article (and the previous one), if you had bothered to read it (which I doubt very much) is that this perception is wrong, incorrect, absurd, factually void, bullshit (thought I would say it in a few different ways so that you wouldn’t miss it).

I suppose its not just a question of ‘why is the media going easy on Dorries’ but why does the media insist on making up ridiculous ‘elf and safety/PC gone mad rubbish and passing it off as truth.

Who, exactly, is trying to force women to wear high heels at work? If a woman wants to wear high heels at work, or anywhere else for that matter, what has it got to do with the TUC?

It’s worrying about this sort of ephemera that has got all you lefties in such a tale spin anyway. A little less interfering in peoples lives and a bit more dealing with reality might help.

Who, exactly, is trying to force women to wear high heels at work?

There are apparently many companies with dress codes which mandate high heels for female staff. That’s the whole frigging point.

“a bit more dealing with reality might help.”

Mr Tyke, congratulations on your promotion from idiot to complete fucking moron. Allow me to sum up the article that you can’t seem to understand:

*Right-wing columnists/politicians make ridiculous, untrue assumptions*

*Careful study on this blog shows these assumptions to be ridiculous and untrue*

*Mr Tyke, or Mr Tyke the complete fucking moron to give him his full title, responds to this carefully studied argument by repeating said ridiculous and untrue assumptions*

So, yes Mr Tyke, a little more dealing with reality might just help you out.

‘There are apparently many companies with dress codes which mandate high heels for female staff. That’s the whole frigging point.’

Well, we have rules banning high heals and female staff aren’t chuffed about that.

And it’s an office, not a factory, so health and safety aren’t the issue.

@14 but that’s not the point is it? Again, it’s missing the point.

Just because the women in your office are unhappy about not being allowed to wear heals does it follow they’d all be happy if they were forced to? No

You appear to agree with the point of the article. No one should be forced to wear footwear they don’t want to.

If a woman wants to wear heels her position position is utterly unchanged by this motion.

As to the idea that there are bigger things to tackle, I agree completely as do the TUC. The motion on heels is number 81 on the list of 85. I’m sure they’d rather discuss something else too.

Unions have a right to discuss this stuff, it’s a conference and all sorts of minutiae will be discussed. This is a minor issue which the right have very effectively used to split the right.

1) by lying

2) by appealing to “common sense”

3) by lying more and

4) by implying that they would do more for workers, when they clearly would not.

Churnalism. Dorries knows how to pitch a story to the press and the rules of churnalism do the rest. The story writes itself if you follow the way Dorries presents it, as it fits straight into a narrative about political correctness and the TUC being irrelevant. It would be too much hard work to actually check what the TUC had said, and it might be hard work for the readers if the actual motion was given prominence.

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

10. Gary

I fully understand the TUC motion and the point it makes about enforced dress codes and the consequences on inappropriate footcare etc. I did indeed read the story fully contrary to your prejudices.

The point I am trying to get you to understand is that in the big wide media world, the TUC making a song and dance about this issue, makes the TUC look irrelevent against the backgound of the recession, banking crisis, government debt crisis, personal debt crisis, Bankof England printing monies equal to more than 10% of GDP.

The fact is the TUC put forward a motion on an issue chosen to grab headlines. (it did not have to approve the motion for debate). It suceeded.

There is no point whinging when the headlines it grabbed made them look silly and naive for raising an issue that 1) is low priority at best and 2) allowed The Sun etc an easy in to put pictures of pretty women in high heels in the papers.

But in fact it was treated with the same reverance that Lib-Dem conference beard and sandals motions get given. That is none at all. Perhaps you should reflect on that comparison and consider whether the message (however misunderstood) was well a chosen one to advertise the benefits and relevence of the union movement

“The TUC put forward the motion to grab headlnes” Evidence, please!

“It’s typical of right-wing politicians that when they don’t like a debate they simply change the way they frame it.”

Of course left wing politicians never do that at all. Oh noes.

“You know Gordon, really, we shouldn’t be spending quite so much money right now. We’ve got a structural deficit after a 15 year boom”*

“You want to kill kiddies don’t you!”.

(Maybe that works better with Polly but….)

(* Even Richard Murphy agrees with this point now.)

18. Guano

It would appear to me self evident that the motions chosen to be debated serve 2 essential purposes;

1) to advance the cause of the union movement within the union movement.
2) to advance the cause of the union movement outside the union movement.

Which audience do you think a debate about high heels is primarily aimed at?

Well the chiropodists are correct that wearing high heels can cause health problems. But nobody here has posted a link to a company with a dress code that requires that women wear high heels (although I acknowledge that it is probably a requirement at lap dancing wank joints). I’ve never read a newspaper article about a trade union campaign or law action in defence of a woman who declines to wear high heels at work.

So is this a debate about a real problem or a hypothetical one? Given that it appears to be hypothetical, the TUC (and presumably the members who select motions) should have ignored the proposal rather than creating a debate that so obviously sets itself up for a hijacking.

There are enough real problems relating to personal choice in the workplace, without looking for new ones. Any woman who feels that a dress code requires them to wear high heels against their will has my support in opposing the code — but I’d be very surprised if such a code could be enforced by an employer. Trade unions and employment tribunals aren’t *that* useless.

I’m not interested in shoes anymore, more in Sunny’s subject title “Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride?”

There are a couple of obvious reasons, such as the fact that we are still in the silly season and that the topic gives newspapers good photo opportunities. I may be a lefty liberal, but my head is always turned by a fine fettled ankle.

Why assume that Dorries is being given an easy ride? All rent-a-gob MPs receive uncritical comment space — and I mean MPs from all parties — because they generate debate and sell advertising space. Dorries is an unpleasant rent-a-gob, but history is full of them. And she is being given the normal ride for a rent-a-gob. One day, one of the papers will work out that more income can be earned by criticising her words than printing them uncritically. Sunny is in a position to do kick the criticism off elsewhere, but I suggest that it is not based on the high heel topic.

On a different philosophical level, what reporting standards can a reader impose on a newspaper? Newspapers aren’t scientific journals containing peer reviewed studies; they are advertisements packaged between news and comment articles. If The Times, for example, was ever a journal of record, it has long passed. When Dorries spouts drivel to The Independent, expect it to be reported in toto; the Indy is a dying newspaper with few editors, but other papers may have higher standards. Or they may act expediently.

Alix – lol! The best comment on this thread by far.

the TUC seeks to grab the headlines and imagination of the nation with a rallying call to overcome the tyranny of the high-heel.

Erm no, that’s the media – which likes stories where they can publish pictures of women in high heels. As pointed out already, there are plenty of other motions being discussed.

Sunny H

This is oh so reminisent of the days before and after 97. Tories would wail and gnash their teeth, complaining bitterly that the media were wilfully misrepresenting their case, and if only they were given a fair hearing, people would understand the esential truth of the tory story. How come labour get such an easy ride.? He’s a Bambi, he says nothing, what and where are his policies, labour have not changed, they are old fashioned tax and spenders but the media fall for their lies all the time. wail, gnash,sob sob.

Of course what it took a long time for the tories to realise, was the media were not the problem. It was the corrosive effect of years of power that had hollowed out the party. It was spent and exhausted.

You’ll come to understand that yourself eventually. But I imagine you will write a good few more articles bemoaning the unfairness of it all before then. It will be fun commenting on them too.

Can’t stand Dorries or the TUC.

25. Richard: I can stand the lass but not the organisation.

Of course what it took a long time for the tories to realise, was the media were not the problem. It was the corrosive effect of years of power that had hollowed out the party. It was spent and exhausted.

I’m not shilling for any party… just the point. That doesn’t make it any less worth making.

Yes I remember making the self same argument. I used to argue ferociously that the Labour party would slide back into tax and spend in time, and we would all pay the price.

Turns out I was right all along, but no one wanted to listen back then.

Sometimes it is better to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Opposing them just makes the wounds worse. You will need your strength to survive fight amongst yourselves to come.

But nobody here has posted a link to a company with a dress code that requires that women wear high heels …

Ever been on a plane? Most airlines require high heels as part of the uniform for female cabin crew.

“Most airlines require high heels as part of the uniform for female cabin crew.”

Eh? You sure?

I try not to laugh when the safety announcements on aeroplanes tell you to take off your high heels before sliding down the emergency chute. The only people on the ‘plane with high heels are usually the female cabin attendants, who are supposed to be there for the passengers’ safety. If a plane ever has to have an evacuation down the chutes it’s the cabin attendants who will be on the ground with no shoes.

To answer a couple of points… The main workplaces where this is relevant are fashion retail (lots of standing up all day in posh shops) and a number of city finance/law firms. i think (not sure if applies to all) whilst air hostesses have mandatory heels, they do carry flats and at least get to change for breaks.

The TUC didn’t choose to promote it, as they don’t actually choose the motions. Every union puts in motions that interest them. often at least one is relevant to their sector – hence this one is from the chiropodists’ union.

As Sunny points out. this is one of very many motions on all topics. this year more motions than usual were about the state of the economy, so that is exactly what the unions were trying to give most time to. the only people giving heels highest priority were the press.

I think this particular MP ( Nadine Dorries ) needs help. She is now utterly obsessed with giving interviews ( would even give them to a monkey I think )
Does she phone up and ask ? because it is rather weird that The Mail give her all this attention don’t you think ?
However she suddenly is not obtainable when she is found out in certain things.
Even all the fibs she has told she has “got away with” mm !!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Article:: Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride? http://bit.ly/4tPirD

  2. Mark Taylor

    Shared item: Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride?: I pointed out not long ago that the TUC w.. http://tinyurl.com/o5pto4

  3. Christine Quigley

    Totally agree she’s missing the point! RT @libcon Liberal Conspiracy » Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride? http://bit.ly/4tPirD

  4. Stephen Newton

    Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride? http://bit.ly/2TPfwd

  5. Liberal Conspiracy

    Article:: Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride? http://bit.ly/4tPirD

  6. Mark Taylor

    Shared item: Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride?: I pointed out not long ago that the TUC w.. http://tinyurl.com/o5pto4

  7. Christine Quigley

    Totally agree she’s missing the point! RT @libcon Liberal Conspiracy » Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride? http://bit.ly/4tPirD

  8. Stephen Newton

    Why’s the media giving Dorries an easy ride? http://bit.ly/2TPfwd

  9. High Heels, Low Politics « Left Outside

    […] lefties now see this basic, boring incremental increase in the well being of working people as the […]

  10. sunny hundal

    @michaelsavage Hi Michael, would have liked you to be a bit more questioning of Nadine Dorries http://bit.ly/4tPirD

  11. Pickled Politics » Shame on these partisan left-wing journalists!

    […] made the same point to Michael Savage (political journalist, Independent) this week, who let Tory MP Nadine Dorries off the hook on the TUC high-heels saga. He replied: it’s up to reader to make mind up on dorries from the […]





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