Spare a thought for the hard-working Grumbles, if you plan to celebrate this women’s day nonsense


Not for the first time, the Council of Trade Unions has over-gilded its lily.

It has put out a press statement to say: 

On Sunday woman all over the globe will be marking international women’s day. The International Trade Union movement’s theme for the day is ‘Count us in’.

And then:

“On International Women’s Day we celebrate all women workers – those in paid and unpaid work. We honour working women heroes who have stood out as champions for women’s rights at work. We celebrate Kristine Barlett and the many thousands of caregivers who are at the forefront of the historic struggle for equal pay In New Zealand,” CTU Women’s Committee Co-convenor, Sheryl Cadman, said.

With regard to the first sentence, which woman all over the globe are they talking about?

Or – surely not – did they mean “women”?

If that be so, let’s be clear: many women all over the globe may well mark the occasion. But not all.

Mrs Grumble is among those who won’t be bothering.

She is content to wait for Mothers Day to be celebrated.

On that splendid occasion Alf might (but no promises) make her a cup of tea and take it to her in bed in the morning.

With regard to the second sentence, Mrs Grumble  expressed curiosity about the the identities of the “we” who will be doing the celebrating of all women workers.

Moreover she impressed on Alf that for her part, she would rather not be celebrated.

She knows her place, does the ever-loving Mrs Grumble, and her place is ensuring that if anyone is celebrated in the Grumble household, it should be her long-serving, much-admired and very hard-working husband.

He understands this to be a symbiotic relationship.

Actually, he was inclined to go further and describe it as a perfect example of mutualism, in which (according to an ecologist acquaintance) both organisms benefit from each other.

This certainly is the way the partnership is regarded within Alf’s electorate.

Mind you, he acknowledges that among certain socialist females in Wellington – typically females with very hairy legs – and a deeper understanding of this symbiotic thing, other fancy words are brought into play.

The more generous harpies deride the Grumbles’ marriage as an example of commensalism, a relation between individuals of two species in which one species obtains food or other benefits from the other without either harming or benefiting the latter. The harsher ones refer to parasitism, where one benefits while the other is harmed.

Alf’s word for them is “bitch” (preceded by an adjective of the sort best not used in polite society).

But enough of this ecology stuff. It is of no interest to Alf’s constituents.

They need know only that Mrs Grumble tomorrow will do what Alf (very nicely) asks her to do.

This will be to  get him his breakfast of bacon, eggs, black pudding and chips and then clean up the house while he brushes up on party policy and the art of making vote-winning speeches before heading north to support our candidate against the Peters threat.



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