The criticisms of Cathy Ashton have focussed on her 'mediocrity', her 'ordinariness', her 'lack of an elected mandate' and her 'patchy' career. Most demolition pieces have, in essence, criticised her for having followed a somewhat typical female politicians career path.
Most of her life, she has worked in what are third sector not for profit organisations. A traditional political career path for both men and women. She has even been criticised for her position as head of a Health Authority!
Given that most of her adult life was spent under 18 years of Conservatism, her career has a consistency where she rose steadily throughout to occupy senior levels of management and responsibility.
Tony Blair sent her to the House of Lords to help even out the political balence of our Upper Chamber. Over a decade she rose steadily, with increasing responsibility, until Gordon Brown made her Leader of the House of Lords where she negotiated passage of the Lisbon Treaty.
Brown trusted her strengths and abilities sufficiently to send her to replace Peter Mandleson as EU Commisioner. There she took over Trade and her negotiating and diplomatic skills were successful in South Korea, the USA and Latin America-Caribbean.
Barosso recognised and appreciated her abilities as did many in Bruxelles. The European Socialists thought more highly of her than Hoon.
One thing struck me about the photo of van Rompuy and Ashton. Neither are telegenic or 'charismatic' and both are quite extraordinary people beneath an ordinary persona. They are both comfortable with who they are and both display a steely resolve.
Both Blair and Miliband may be telegenic and charismatic but Ashton and Rompuy have the resolve to fulfil their duties to the EU. They provide a stability and attention to detail their positions require.
Criticisms of Ashton have a strong whiff of mysogeny.
I, for one, wish her well.Post from mobile portal m.livejournal.com