Parliamentary sketch – A Martyr to the Cause

Posted on: 14th June 2013

Westminster has witnessed another one of those unseemly scuffles for attention.  This time it’s for the desire to achieve canonisation by association; being seen to “take the lead” in the “celebration” of the death of Emily Davidson, a Suffragette who famously became a “martyr” when she stepped out in front of the King’s horse in the Epsom Derby on 8th June 1913.

Labelled, by who else than the Daily Mail, as “a notorious militant with a thirst for martyrdom” she is now sanctified for sacrificing herself in the cause of securing votes for women.

Whether the passage of time has been kind to her or not it is an opportunity to reflect on whether this apparent “sacrifice” is appreciated now.  It clearly is amongst the political classes of the Westminster village who all want to be associated with her memory, but, judging by the relative lack of engagement of young women in politics and their almost absence from the polling booths, Davidson would be justified for turning in her grave?

I don’t blame young people for being put off “party politics” – when all they see is red faced (usually) men shouting abuse at each other and trading impenetrable, selective statistics.  But just look at what politics has to deal with:

  • I’m working with wildlife charities and government agencies to secure a ban on ships which discharge polyisobutylene (PIBs) which caused the stranding and deaths of thousands of sea birds;
  • multibillion internet search companies who seem clever enough to avoid paying tax apparently cannot identify and eradicate the vile child pornography apparently used by paedophiles and other sex offenders.  More can and must be done to clamp down on this;
  • we still have unacceptable cases where victims are treated with less respect and support than perpetrators of crime;
  • the Government’s “bedroom tax” (which I strongly opposed) risks making families homeless;
  • some MPs and Lords have been caught red handed accepting bribes for undeclared political activity;
  • those more interested in acrimony than action scuppered Penzance’s chance of securing a £multimillion investment for its harbour.  It’s now time for those concerned with the good of Penzance to come together, en masse, to fight to secure the major development the town deserves;
  • the campaign for Helston resident, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, to be awarded a richly deserved honour for her bravery and presence of mind in dealing with the Woolwich terrorists is gathering pace.  She would be a very popular recipient.


All these matters and thousands more are what politics is really about and why all people should take an interest.  Politics is about the things that all people including young women care about and want action on.  That’s why we should celebrate our right to have our say through the ballot box.


Andrew George MP

Kernow a’n West ha Syllan

West Cornwall and the Scillies

Kwartron Porthia

Constituency of St Ives

Tel:  01736 360020

Fax:  01736 332866


11th June 2013