There’s never been anyone like Mhairi Black in UK politics, or anywhere else as a matter of fact. Here’s why everyone from Stornoway to St Ives should know who the hell she is.
1) No one puts baby in the corner
Mhairi is the youngest person to take a seat in Parliament since Christopher Monck (the 2nd Duke of Albemarle.. if that means anything to you?) He entered the Commons in 1667 at age 13. Currently holding the patronising title of ‘Baby of The House’, Mhairi’s definitely the youngest female to ever have a seat, opening an opportunity for other young people, and dare I say even young women, to be represented.
2) She’s gay and it’s OK
Mhairi and other LGBT MPs from the Scottish National Party supported same sex marriage before the Irish referendum in 2015. Asked about her decision to “come out”, she replied: “I’ve never been in.”
3) She takes no prisoners
Facing these lot in Parliament would be a little bit intimidating, right? But Mhairi treats debating in the House of Commons like an intellectual rap battle. In a good way. Debating about cuts in benefits to 18-21 year olds, she received a vague doublespeak response from Tory MP Caroline Nokes and was seen to mutter under her breath ‘You talk shite, hen.’
Unlike her working class predecessors who tried to modify their accents and behaviour in an attempt to win respect from the Eton set, she doesn’t seem to give a monkeys what they think.
4) She fearlessly calls out misogynistic abuse
In her speech about online abuse, Mhairi revealed the insults she regularly receives.
“I struggle to see any joke in being systematically called a dyke, a rug muncher, a slut, a whore, a scruffy bint,” she said. “I’ve been told, ‘You can’t put lipstick on a pig’, ‘Let the dirty bitch eat shit and die’.”
During this speech she was also the first person to ever use the C word in Parliament (well, loud enough for people to hear). Groundbreaking for the stuffy old boys club of Westminster. She’s literally jolting them into the present whether they like it or not.
Luckily she has thousands of ‘dykes’, ‘sluts’ and ‘whores’ around the UK who have her back. Haters gon’ hate *dramatically flips hair*.’
5) She’s a modern day Celtic hero
Her fire and spirit is like that of female Scottish warriors, Scáthach and Black Agnes. Scáthach is a legendary Scottish warrior and martial artist who takes her place in the Ulster cycle of Irish mythology.
When the English lay siege at Dunbar Castle, Black Agnes protected her castle against 20,000 English soldiers with just a few servants and guards to hand and refused to surrender. Both Scáthach and Black Agnes stood up for what they believed against all odds to protect their country and its people. Just like our gal Mhairi.
6) Her cool Gaelic name
English people (and some Scottish people tbf) have no idea how to say Mhairi. In Scots Gaelic it’s sometimes pronounced ‘Varry’, and as Black explained in an interview with Owen Jones she pronounces hers ‘Marry’.
7) She won’t bow down to poisonous patriarchal values
When former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond suggested she have a makeover, she was so not into it. Salmond told her he had had the same conversation with a young Nicola Sturgeon who replied “I am never going to be told how to dress, especially by a man.”
It’s clear from Mhairi’s straightforward style that she didn’t follow his advice either, setting new standards for women in professional jobs everywhere who feel they need to look a certain way to gain respect.
8) She’s socialist to the core
Mhairi refers to herself as a traditional socialist, citing Tony Benn as a major influence. A main aim of hers is to stand up for Scottish people against austerity caused by the UK Conservative government. If you’re not in Scotland, you may be thinking, ‘How is that good for us?’
She’s very critical of government schemes like Universal Credit. In Parliament, Black described the government as a ‘pious loan shark – except that instead of coming through your front door they are coming after your mental health, your physical well-being, your stability, your sense of security – that is what the experience is for all of our constituents’.
She added, ‘Plunging people into debt does not incentivise work, forcing people into hunger does not incentivise work, causing anxiety and distress and even evicting some families from their homes does not incentivise work.’
Mhairi Black’s spirit and determination is contagious. Seeing her stand up for the poorest people in her community makes us crave this in our own politicians. Hell yes. Let’s hope more in the House of Commons quit chatting shite, and get with this straight-talking babe’s programme. I’m already down.