‘Monster doffs its stingy-brimmed fedora to Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikström, for restraint and decorum today.
She invited fellow MEPs to a Valentine’s Day performance of The Vagina Monologues, a play seized upon by women’s rights activists as a masterful contemporary narrative of female identity and empowerment. The production today is with the collaboration of the playright herself, and is intended to give elan to a parliamentary ‘call to action to end violence against women and girls.’
UKIP MEP Gerard Batten, however, couldn’t resist the schoolboy tittery that has surrounded the work since it first rose to prominence in the mid-nineties.
In a ‘reply-to-all’ that found itself in ‘Monster’s inbox too, Batten writes:
“Dear Cecilian [sic],
Thank you for the kind invitation.
It looks interesting. It is some kind of ventriloquist act?”
What a card.
Far be it for BM to come over all right-on about this all, but really?
Wikström’s response, flooding the parliament’s inboxes only a couple of hours later, was simply the following:
“Mr Batten just thinks of ventriloquists
Such a brilliant rhyme for old chauvinists
Suits this kind of chap
Whose views are old hat
He can´t bear the presence of feminists
It´s a challenge when those with vaginas
No longer put up with – in silence
This kind of old tripe
From him and his type
But speak up loud and clear against violence”
Someone with less composure may have pointed to Mr Batten’s voting record in the EU parliament, which saw him only two weeks ago vote against a parliament call for more policy action to combat violence against women.
Someone less charitable again may have replied:
“If you want to see the kind of ventriloquist act Mr Batten has in mind, please click on the video link on his own website to view a series of his interventions in parliament.”