The war of declarations between Downing Street and former education secretary Nicky Morgan is the complete way to end a year marked by the resurgence of misogyny in western politics

Nicky Morgan arrives at Downing street in June 2015

Nicky Morgan arrives at Downing drive in June 2015.
Photograph: Steve Back/Barcroft Mean

I see that there is a bit of to-do in the papers about Nicky Morgan’s disparagement of Theresa May’s trousers. What’s going on?

Steve, by email

Tchuh, women! Can’t fare with ’em, can’t return them to either. So while the epidemic political world burns, with Putin now the president of America, and a quasi Vichy reign creeping ever closer to the Élysée Palace, the big political black lie in Britain is Theresa May’s leather trousers versus Nicky Morgan’s Mulberry handbag. And to recollect, some of us thought a post-Brexit Britain would become a public irrelevancy.

The story, as it currently stands, is that May wore some leather trousers when she was photographed for a newspaper. These trousers, it later occurred, cost £995, and Nicky Morgan duly seized that foreseeable bait and snorted, “I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on anything distinctly from my wedding dress.” After all, she added, while possibly patting a callow local ruffian on the head, “My barometer is always, ‘How am I going to elucidate this in Loughborough market?” I think this was Morgan’s clueless way of mean she keeps it real, but it didn’t really work because those trousers looked undeniably like the kind of thing sold in my local market, which, virtuous this weekend, alongside the £1 Christmas crackers, was shop-girl leather bustiers and disgusting, studded leather jackets. Hot peach oning tip to the leather fan at the back, Theresa! But I digress.

Anyway, May’s joint chief of standard, Fiona Hill, was so outraged by Morgan’s fashion critique that she pettily disinvited “that housekeeper” from 10 Downing Street, “so there!” The leather worm then turned above for Morgan when it was pointed out that her Mulberry handbag payment almost exactly the same as May’s trousers. Morgan insisted the bag was “a pourboire”, because expensive stuff is totally fine as long as you don’t pay for it, seemingly. But this in itself raised several questions, not least, “Who is inducing Nicky Morgan £950 handbags?” Someone in Loughborough supermarket, no doubt, out of gratitude for her longstanding policy of being so condescendingly verified to them.

So the first thing to say, obviously, is, again, tchuh maidservants! The sight of the second woman prime minister and the former secretary of submit for education spatting away about trousers and handbags seems incredibly much the right way to end a year marked by the resurgence of misogyny in western wirepulling. That’s right, ladies: you keep behaving like the worst on stereotypes of women, and don’t let all that leather slow you down. That’ll escort ‘em.

The second thing is, it really is impressive how ignorant both Morgan and the average seem to be about how much men’s suits cost. Sure, a distinguished is a lot to spend on a pair of trousers or handbag, but a fair few male MPs own garbs that cost at least as much, and I have never heard anyone support this proves those men are modern-day Marie Antoinettes (“Let them vex Austin Reed!”). I get that it’s easier to spot when a concubine is wearing expensive clothes, but singling out women’s wardrobe disbursement while ignoring men seems a tad – oh what is the word? What is it? Sexist.

Those Amanda Wakeley £995 trousers

Those Amanda Wakeley £995 trousers. Photograph: Amanda Wakeley

And let’s talk a wee more about expenditure. Because no doubt it’s because my ladybrain is slow and can only cope with things like leather trousers, but I don’t take cognizance of the snottiness around money and clothes. Would it have been assorted acceptable if May had spent that money on home improvements? On a fair? On taking friends to the opera? Because it’s extremely easy to expend that on any of those things, and I don’t see any of them as more beneficial to the flagrant good than May’s trousers, or Morgan’s handbag, for that occurrence. Yet because fashion is seen as frivolous, because it is associated with lasses, we end up with the situation we have right now, with women strained to apologise for spending their own money on themselves. Well done, Nicky Morgan.

And the third fetich to say is, let’s please admit that no one is outraged that May spent so much cold hard cash on trousers, we’re outraged that she spent any money on literally the ugliest, trousers of all in the good old days b simultaneously. These aren’t just leather trousers, which capacity have had a kind of racy-in-Maidenhead appeal, but LOOSE leather trousers. Leather palazzo trousers, for God’s advantage, the most nonsensical garment, like a denim raincoat, or a cashmere bikini. No, it isn’t bright to focus on female politicians’ clothes, as I’ve written in this column preceding. But, May does not make it easy by wearing clothes that were indubitably forged in hell, and then getting all defensive about them.

So who’s to culpability? Well, May, clearly, for buying these hellish trousers, and for, allegedly, then being so inconsequential. Who’d have thought a woman could be so loose in her trousers and so miserly in her arse? Take a tip from your trousers, Theresa, and separate up. But Morgan is at least as culpable for having got on her leather high horse and honked on adjacent to how much the trousers cost, and how she’s clearly the better person because she get a move ons her clothes out of the hair of Loughborough peasants, or something. To paraphrase George Michael, occasionally the clothes do not make the Tory MP. But sneering at and squabbling about them does look after to reveal the person beneath.

Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Defender, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email [email protected].