Diane Abbott didn't do too brilliantly on the special Christmas series of University Challenge. She thought that Isaac Newton was active as a scientist in 1632 (ten years before he was born).
Diane, as you may remember, is the Labour MP for Hackney who spent over a thousand pounds on taxis home from Westminster and claimed it on expenses. On the Andrew Marr show, she justified the fact that she sent her child to a private school by saying that "West Indian Mums would go to the wall for their children". Never mind that it is against Labour party policy. She was accused of racism because she told another black woman that "white people love to divide and rule".
Her latest bid for attention is a speech saying that local authorities should have more powers to ban fast-food outlets because they make children fat. Is Diane really the person we would all go to for dietary advice? She is not exactly slim herself. And lastly, she has spoken up for the FAMILY. In a surprising recantation for a left-winger, she has said that society needs "some kind of stable family structure" - though not necessarily a heterosexual, mum-dad-and-kids kind. Most surprising of all, Diane has said that feminism was partly to blame for the breakdown of the family.
Steady on, Diane. You don't have to remind me that a long list of feminist writers from Betty Friedan to Germaine Greer gave a negative view of marriage and the family. (And did you know that you can now get study notes on the Feminine Mystique? I kid you not). Yes, there was a new emphasis on women wanting sex instead of love, marriage and babies. It was all about orgasms, not engagement rings. But why? Before Cosmopolitan, Spare Rib and Shere Hite there was already a sexual revolution. Alfred Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, Playboy and James Bond all came before feminism. The truth is that women changed because men had changed. There was already a sexual revolution and feminists just decided to go along with it rather than conflict with it.
Go back a bit further in history and you get to socialism. Yes, the classic Marxist theorists all denounced the family as an oppressive institution and looked forward to its abolition. Marriage was pathetically "bourgeois" and dated. Left-wing psychologists told us that nobody would fall in love if they were not conditioned to do so. Feminists were very strongly influenced by that too.
A very sad article in the Telegraph just over Christmas said that when British children were asked what they wanted from Santa Claus, one in ten of them wrote "a Dad" on their list. Quite a few wrote "a Mum" too. So it is true that the family seems to be heading for extinction, but honestly, Diane, it's not fair to blame it on feminism.