Thursday, 10 November 2011
Over the last few months I’ve stuck up for Liz Jones left, right and centre. I even defended her in this blog back in June, saying “...she writes so well and with such disarming frankness that her diary is a must-read.”
But this week she’s gone a step too far. Even for me. She’s hit out at a whole generation of young women, castigating them for everything from taking maternity leave to not answering their BlackBerrys when they are off sick. She compares maternity leave to a “holiday” and clearly thinks no one should ever be ill. She rounds off her Daily Mail piece by raging: “Personally, I think you should crawl to work if you have to. No wonder the number of women who are unemployed is rocketing. If ever I employ a woman again, I’ll make jolly sure she’ll have already gone through the menopause.”
Liz Jones makes her living by being outrageous, but today’s rant is ridiculous. For a start, she reckons looking after a baby is a doddle, that you stick your infant in the pram, put your feet up and watch daytime TV. As all mothers know, the first few months are wall-to-wall hard graft. I went back to work at a magazine when my daughter was nine months old – and it was easy in comparison. I did endless phone interviews, wrote a couple of articles a day and even had time for a sandwich at my desk – all impossible (maybe I was just a hopeless mother) with a young baby.
But her criticism of “the lack of work ethic in young women today” is even more bizarre. At 19, my daughter and her friends are far more industrious than my generation ever were. They juggle university studies with jobs, start their own businesses and are 100 times more capable than their parents. With the recession starting to bite and employment hard to come by, they know they’ve got it tough and have to be equipped with the skills to succeed. The last thing they need is one of the best-known columnists in the country slating them so unfairly - and with so little cause.
PS: I’ve just discovered my new favourite clothes shop – Mint Velvet. Launched by three ex-Principles employees two years ago, it now has four stand-alone stores (Marlow, Tunbridge Wells, Chichester and Windsor – they should open one up north soon) and concessions in House of Fraser stores across the country. The designs range from soft leather biker jackets, flattering trousers and chic dresses to a gorgeous grey suede cross-body bag I fell in love with. I popped into the Marlow store (above) yesterday and it’s stunning. Best of all, the assistants were helpful, charming and knowledgeable. I’ll definitely be back.