Sunday, December 05, 2004

An Early Appearance

A special prize for anyone who caught my appearance on GMTV this morning at 6.30am. Yawn yawn. I was on with Tony Banks - a sort of out with the old and in with the new interview. I like Tony. In fact I compiled a book about hima few years ago called The Wit & Wisdom of Tony Banks. he was Sports Minister at the time and was none too amused as he was trying to be taken seriously. I'm glad to say it never quite worked and he remained his mischievous self.I'm sorry he's decided to leave the Commons. No doubt they'll pick some New Labour robot to replace him.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's the "special prize"? A signed copy of the "The Wit & Wisdom of Tony Banks"?

Iain Dale said...

Oh, in your dreams!

Cruella said...

Hello Iain. As the MP who described my blog a few months back as "feminist claptrap", I wonder if you have any response to the well-substantiated claims here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4074877.stm

that parliament is a hot-bed of sexist abuse and that MPs are repeatedly disrespectful of female MPs? Further updates on those silly silly girly ideas of mine may be found in the usual place:

http://www.cruellablog.blogspot.com/

Yours, Cruella

Liam said...

I must write in to defend Iain in the most robust terms in response to Cruella's remarks.

Iain is not, and never has been, an MP.

There. I hope that clarifies matters.

Cruella said...

Good point, and long may this continue. Other members of his party, however, unfortunately are MPs. What is his party doing, and he doing within his party, to deal with these problems and give women a fair chance in the UK workplace?

Liam said...

I would be interested to hear from Iain what he is doing about it.

However I would, as a one off and never to be repeated goodwill gesture, offer a very quick defence of Iain's party. Sexism and indeed harassment are not a uniquely Tory vice - there is a very unsavoury story in the Guardian today from Oona King MP citing a (possibly former) Labour MEP who allegedly offered to pay her for sex when she was a young researcher. I am sure there are some fairly slimey Liberals too (not me o'course!)

I don't mean that to diminish it as an important though, just to say it is for all political parties to get their houses in order and none should be complacent.

Iain Dale said...

Just for the record I deprecate (sp?!) any behaviour of the type described in the Guardian article. Anyone who knows me will confirm that I would never indulge in such purile and offensive actions. James is right to say thatthis type of sexist rubbish is prevalent on all sides of the Commons. The Guardian may think it is OK to steroetype all male Tory MPs in this way. What they don't point out is the behaviour of some of the Old Labour MPs who can be equally obnoxious. And then there's the Labour/ LibDem turncoat Paul Marsden. Hmmm. Better not go there.

And of course The Guardian fail to point out that we have women candidates in two of our current seats (Theresa Villiers in Chipping Barnet and Maria Miller in Basingstoke) and 35 out of our top 100 target seats have female candidates. I believe that is far more than the LibDems and it has been done by encouragement rather than compulsion. Surely that is a good thing.

Frau Schlangenbaum said...

Have you ever heared about a city in Germany called Bad Wildungen? *justcurious...*

Liam said...

Woah, hang on there Iain! You are off again with your dodgy statistics. Of the candidates selected so far by the Conservatives, 60 out of 361 (just under 17%) are women by my count whereas for the Lib Dems it is 67 out of 227 (just under 30%). Not enough in either case, but it does not at all support your assertion that the Conservatives have done better than the Lib Dems in encouraging female candidates.

Also you cite two cases where retiring Conservative men are being replaced by female candidates, but these are exactly counterbalanced by two cases where retiring Conservative women have been replaced by male candidates (Virginia Bottomley in Surrey and Gillian Shepherd in Norfolk).

Fair play to Theresa Villiers in Chipping Barnet, though. I understand she beat off a strong challenge from your good self to get that prime Tory seat before you headed up to North Norfolk.

Stuart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stuart said...

But how many of these female LibDem candidates are in winnable seats, or indeed seats that the party is likely to successfully defend?

Liam said...

It depends how many you expect them to win but you would be looking at Aberdeen South, Birmingham Hodge Hill, Cardiff Central, Colne Valley, Dorset North, Dorset West, Dunbartonshire, Durham, Edinburgh South, Falmouth and Cambourne, Hartlepool, Hornsey and Wood Green, Islington South, Maidenhead, Solihull, Mid Sussex, Wells, and Woking as being eighteen seats which I think most Lib Dem strategists would agree are among the top fifty winnables. So there are actually disproportionately more women in the more promising seats than the less promising ones. I think only three Lib Dems are standing down, on of whom (Richmond Park) is a female candidate replacing a female MP (and Cheltenham has not chosen yet).

Iain would presumably dispute that the Lib Dems will win those seats (or indeed any extra seats) under foreseeable circumstances but he may agree that if they were to gain 50, those ones would likely be amongst them.

Cruella said...

Yeah I think by any reasonable measure you would have to say the Lib Dems are putting forward more female candidates and into more winnable seats. Thanks to everyone who backed me up on this one. I guess there are even guys out there who subscribe to a little bit of "feminist claptrap" once in a while!

I think as well as more female MPs we also need to address the culture that exists in politics (not to mention society as a whole), which makes it difficult for women to succeed. I thought the publication (link on my post above) might be a good opportunity for Iain to give us his views and suggestions on the subject as a whole.

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