20 November 2006

Womens' issues?

Talking it over with some of those mystical beasts… women, it really is quite surprising how many issues they are interested in. As well as child care matters, many of them were even interested in the sequence elaborated upon by Booker in his column yesterday and illustrated here.

The first illustration shows a woman, Sharron Elliott. She happens to be a soldier but that is (or was) only her job. She is also, unmistakably a woman.

Unfortunately for Sharron Elliott, the soldier and the woman came in the same body, so issues that interested her as a soldier undoubtedly interested her as a woman. And one of those "woman's issues" was a boat - the transport she and her colleagues were allocated to take them between two riverside bases, the Basra Palace complex and the Shatt al-Arab Hotel, where she worked.

Also of great interest to the woman was another very unfeminine thing, a British-built pontoon bridge spanning the Shatt al-Arab waterway. This her "water-taxi" would have to negotiate when transferring her from one base to another. And so low over the water was the bridge that, at some times, there were only a few spans - close to the bank - under which her boat could pass.

And of absolutely enormous interest to both the soldier and the woman that Sharron Elliott was would have been the fact that, on the morning of 11 November when her boat passed through the span of the bridge, a bomb had been placed in a pontoon. In the mico-seconds that she was aware of it as it detonated, killing her and three of her colleagues - and severely injuring three more - it would have been the single most important thing left in her very, very short life.

Even as a soldier, though - much less a woman, Sharron Elliott would have been entirely uninterested in the wooden casket, tastefully draped with the Union Jack and carried by six good, strong men, performing an extremely difficult drill manoeuvre under the watchful eye of a Royal Marine officer. Had she been alive, she would have undoubtedly been interested. But she wasn't. Her mortal remains were in the casket.

What Sharron Elliott the woman had needed, of course, was the latest in feminine health-care products (illustrated right), available in a fetching sand colour - although other shades can be supplied on application. These, as we know, are fully capable of resisting a wide range of life-style altering events. The RG-31s, as they are known, are just the sort of thing any fashion-conscious woman would want to be seen in, as she passes through downtown Basra.

Strangely though, for all his interest in womens' issues, David Cameron, leader of the Girlies Party, has shown no interest in these beauty aids, the one assured means by which some of his potential voters can stay young and beautiful. Perhaps he prefers them messing about on the river?