Tired of being in the red on the balance sheet of political fortunes, Britain’s pinkos are trying to get back in the pink. They’re doing it literally. On Wednesday in Stevenage near London, the Labour Party launched a touring campaign in which MPs will ride a pink bus to canvass for the votes of nine million women voters who did not exercise their franchise in the last election. The outreach programme, which will reach kitchen tables across the UK to discuss issues that concern women — equal pay, representation in government, social care, childcare and domestic violence — could tilt the balance in this year’s polls, but the progressive lot think it’s funny.
Shouldn’t specifically women’s issues have become extinct in a society like the UK? Shouldn’t childcare be seen as a parenting issue, for instance? What use is feminism with no men on board? And then there’s the bus, totally in your eye and shocking pink all over. Pinkness could be politically prudent. Given the prevalence of the colour in the women’s section in garment stores, perhaps the majority of women have accepted the hegemony of pink. But many are keenly aware that the colour was imposed upon the sex to make it look fairer, lighter and conveniently weaker.
Of course, the colour pink has acquired new shades of meaning since then. The pink shirt now signifies standing up against bullying, and it will have its day on February 25, which commemorates an incident in a Nova Scotia school where bullies were cowed down after attacking a child for wearing a pink T-shirt. But one does wonder why the internationalist, universalist, humanistic left is mucking around with this colour. Must it water down the hue that has served it, though not always well, for over a century — simply red?