This article makes the obvious points about the mildly-circulating description of the Libdems as ‘a harlot’. A commenter tips me off that this is an allusion to a comment by Tory leader Stanley Baldwin in the 1930s that
“power without responsibility [is] the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”
This was meant to be a ‘dig at the media’. It seems a rather puzzling claim to make – or rather, one of those precise opposites of the truth that can appear roughly true from the effects of ideology. By and large, ‘throughout the ages’, prostitutes have had very little power, and suffered for it, while conversely the amount of blame and condemnation they’ve tended to receive must indicate that they were regarded as having great responsibility, not only for their own situation but for the ‘corruption’ of society. They have typically had (imputed) responsibility without power, which is a pretty miserable thing to have.
So that’s two layers of ideology: a rebuke which is pure ideology in its original link with what it appears to refer to (prostitutes) and which then is ideologically applied to criticise a group of (overwhelmingly male) politicians in a gendered way.
On that note, I saw a facebook group today called Nick Clegg has changed his Facebook relationship status to: ‘It’s Complicated.’ The ‘info’ section explains “He just has to decide whose Mistress he would rather be.”