Katie Bloom: ‘Enjoy your cushy time at Durham girls, real life will soon be staring you in the face’
On Friday controversial ex-UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom spoke at the Durham Union, now in an exclusive for The Tab his wife, KATIE BLOOM, voices her views on the debate, her husband and Durham University feminism …
A week ago my husband and I held a party in Yorkshire to celebrate his retirement from Women’s sport sponsorship – a twenty year involvement, mainly rugby, but others including equestrianism. The house and rugby club (Pocklington) the following day was heaving with women and their husbands and children. A wonderful convivial atmosphere with ‘old girls’ who are now surgeons, air force officers, GPs, lawyers and fund managers. Some acquaintances have passed the big 40. When they departed, with the usual hangover from hell there were presents, cards and letters of appreciation for the party and for twenty years of support not just financially.
Indeed it was quite moving. I have seen such letters before from female business colleagues whose careers have been supported and advanced by my husband, including incidentally my own.
At the Durham Union his speech was nearly drowned out by a baying mob of demonstrators outside. Who were they? To what end?
It was my husband’s 10th visit to the Union. The ever attentive Union committee had arranged some minders and a ‘back door’ entry. Bless them. How little they know my husband. They must have confused minders, egg throwing and back doors with Nigel Farage. Godfrey strode up to the mob and bade them a cheery good evening.
Now I have often seen Godfrey speak at institutions all over the world. As I have my own physiotherapy private practice, I have to miss many, but I particularly love Durham University its setting and its people. The last occasion I came up was to watch him debate with Tim Loughton, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Emily Benn. It was a debate with rapiers not sabres. Particularly between Rees-Mogg and my husband. The Motion was ‘This House believes Conservatism is the way forward.’ My husband defeated the motion against all the odds largely because Rees-Mogg agreed with Godfrey’s counter proposal that the way forward is classical liberalism. No, don’t ask me, I’m a physio, but I know good entertainment when I see it.
My husband proposed the motion, ‘It’s a woman’s world’. He gave a thumbnail sketch of women’s history of leadership particularly post war. He rattled off 15 major nations of the world led by females. Then another half a dozen appointments of global significance held by women. He finished by advocating meritocracy as the way forward for women. I settled back to hear the counter arguments. Oh dear oh dear. Against the motion a young lady [Tab columnist Flo Perry] gave a dissertation on her bikini wax and anecdotes as how she had been mocked or teased by men over recent years. It was liberally larded with the F and C words. I never thought to hear those words outside of the stable yard. Never mind at the Durham Union. This is debate? This was greeted by shrieks by the University Feminista. Is the collective perhaps ‘cacophony’? It would appear that the opposition thought the motion was ‘It’s a perfect world’.
A weak effort followed by a young chap whose name eludes me who seemed unsure of which side he was on. He started with a casual side swipe at my husband, less than helpful. We were then treated to a silent contribution by a young lady with a tee-shirt, ‘No page 3’. I say silent because nobody could hear a word she said. I wonder if she is so appalled by the Sun’s Page 3 what she makes of the great renaissance works of art which seems to consist largely of boobs and bums.
Of course my irritating husband as always thinks the whole thing an enormous joke. ‘They’re only children having fun’. It makes me seethe with rage. My father was a Polish immigrant who worked himself into an early death to get me to a good school and through college. I spend 3 years qualifying in a grotty bit of Manchester to join a physio team in the Hull Infirmary. When these pampered middle class undergraduates with no experience of life posture about, there was no shortage in the 70s either believe me, I was working in an NHS ward dealing with real life and death in a working class community. Frankly I came away thinking a lot of students need their bottoms smacking, although I must commend [DUS President] Rishi Goenka for exemplary chairmanship under difficult circumstances.
Take a tip from me girls. Lose the twisted anger, enjoy your cushy number in Durham, real life will soon be staring you in the face, lead by example. I am at the top of my profession and have lectured all over the world. I got there by hard work and professional application. Under no circumstances put Durham University Feminist Society on your CV, no employer will touch you with a barge pole.
You can read a full coverage of the protest and debate, as well as an interview with Godfrey Bloom, here