I have been thinking, off an on, about a comment I heard Jacob Rees-Mogg (UK Conservative politician, pro-Brexit) make on Have I Got News For You (topical BBC “comedy” panel show) a few weeks ago.

He remarked, in an off-hand smiling way, “Nannies are indestructible.”

This provoked little from his fellow panelists other than some raised eyebrows and swiftly moving on to the next topic. I would dearly have loved to have seen someone call him out on it, however, because to me, it tidily encapsulates the kind of thinking that informs our more privileged elected officials.

“Nannies are indestructible.” Let’s pick that apart a little, shall we? You’re saying that people who choose a certain career are all of such physical and mental endurance that they are unbreakable. A career that is traditionally underpaid and underappreciated. A career that, in the past, many would not have chosen freely, but would have been forced into purely by necessity. A career that has traditionally - and still is - predominantly taken by women. A career that often required* one to endure physical and mental abuse not only from one’s charges, but from one’s employers.

So what you’re saying, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is that you think these people, these often young, habitually oppressed and usually female people, can endure anything. Any sort of mistreatment you throw at them, whether it be verbal insults or piss-poor pay, they can be assured of accepting and carrying on with their lives. Never mind that the only alternative, for them, is probably “starve to death on little or no income”.

This throwaway remark, by someone who thought he was paying a compliment, says a lot about the entitled thinking of imperialists. It is this kind of thinking that enables slavery.

* I really hope this can be entirely put in the past tense, but the cynical side of me is willing to bet otherwise.
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