Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tonight the Carlton Must Do Its Duty

Louise Bagshawe has stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest on Centre Right by castigating the Carlton Club for its policy of not allowing women to be full members. She is, of course, totally right. The Carlton is, of course, good enough to allow women into the place, for which I am sure the ladies are very grateful indeed. Some argue that as a private club they should have whatever policy they like. On the face of it, this is an attractive argument. It is also simplistic. But imagine if they had a policy of not allowing jews to be full members - or gays, or, Asians. There would be a public outcry, and rightly so. As Louise argues.
The Carlton Club's raison d'etre is Conservatism, not masculinity. I trust it will take this new chance to put the situation right.
And tonight's the night. Apparently there will be a vote of the members, and hopefully this time they will get the necessary two thirds majority.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coming next from Louise Bagshawe - why Islamic women should be allowed to join the Freemasons...

If the Carlton Club don't want to admit women, why would any girl want to join ?

Time will Tell said...

Is there now to be no place where men can have a bit of peace and quiet?

Andy said...

Iain, I thought you were a libertarian! Why should the members not decide who is allowed into the club? We may consider them to be old fashioned, reactionary, perhaps even bigoted if their rules were to follow your examples. But what right have we to tell them who their friends should be?

I am all for mixed company, but if there are women-only clubs in London (and there are) then there is every reason to have men-only clubs too.

My grandfather had two places of sanctuary, his private member's club and his garden shed. They admitted women years ago, and now it is all discos and bingo nights. It seems that in the future, men will only have their shed.

haddock said...

Just why should there be an outcry? ordinary people don't give a toss. If people want to group together then why should they have to tolerate others ? Can white police join the Black Police Association can I join the Gay Police Association being neither gay nor even a police officer?

Albert M. Bankment said...

I used to be a member of the Carlton. I resigned because, quite simply, I couldn't be bothered with it any more. The failure to accommodate the JCC's snooker table, as had been promised, was - I suppose - a contributory, niggling factor. Truth be told, it was just too political!

That apart, I think a club should be allowed to accept and/or reject whoever it damned well likes. You might not like its prejudices, but those are the founding principles. I might agree that they are remorselessly C19, but that's my problem, not the Carlton's. If it wants to bar women, Asians, fairies, people with ginger hair, dyslexics, those whose surname begins with J, Audi drivers, Catholics or anyone with a speech impediment [which would, itself, disbar a disproportionate number of politicians!], for example, it has my full support. If you don't like it, stop whingeing Run along and form your own club. The point of a club is that it should be a home-from-home for like-minded people. In that, the Carlton fulfils its role supremely well. I simply stopped being like-minded.

I rather admire the Carlton's stand against bland homogenisation. I might even re-join, except for the small fact that they wouldn't have me any more!

mashie niblick said...

My golf club allowed women to be full members a few years ago.

It was a great idea; they can now pay full subs.

Simon Harley said...

Whatever happened to the Ladies' Carlton Club out of interest?

verity said...

Iain, Your post is outrageous and I cannot believe you believe in state control over private property. If they want to keep the Reform Club for men only, so what? It's their club and their business!

I reserve an opinion about not admitting Jews, say, first because that club wouldn't be much fun, but second, because the two do not equate. Men are more inhibited around women (or the polite ones are) and if they want to relax away from women, why not?

It has absolutely nothing to do with "equality" (that dreary, Thought SS word) and everything to do with freedom of association.

The Cricket Club in KL has a 'men only' bar. It doesn't mean I can't get a drink in the club. It just means I can't get a drink in that bar and that the members have voted it so. I've never thrown myself under a barstool in protest.

For God's sake, no more regulations!

Colin said...

I don't agree with discrimination on the grounds of gender, but at the same time, I fail to why she would be attracted to an institution like the Carlton given the views & values of a significant number of members.

If she's fighting to become a member just because she can't, then she should quite rightly be sent packing. If on the other hand she is passionate about becoming part of the institution because she embraces its values and agrees wholeheartedly with most if not all that it stands for, then she and other women should be granted the same rights as any prospective membership candidate. In my view, if she falls into the latter category, crack on - they probably deserve each other anyway...

Newmania said...

Louise Bagshawe is still a a member of the Labour Party as far as I am concerned and should be banned from all clubs on that basis and for comparing naked breasts to Torpedos in one of her silly books.

Mind you , I wouldn't throw her out of bed for eating crackers !!

Anonymous said...

I'm a member of the Carlton and attended the last GM called to discuss whether women should become full members fully prepared to vote 'yes'. However, the General Committee proposed such a complicated alternative whereby women become full members but some rooms where still men only, and others became women only I ended up voting 'no'. I'm sure there were many others in the same position. If the General Committee proposes a motion where both male and females are treated as equal members with equal access to all rooms, then I will vote in favour.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many male members the Women’s Institute has? Always wanted to bake some cakes.

Blue Eyes said...

The Carlton Club is a shadow of its former self. What this "campaign" seems to ignore is that soon all clubs will be forced to have equal membership status under EU legislation.

Tamburlaine said...

Iain has a point. What if I decide to open a private school for white children only? Would anyone defend that from a libertarian perspective?

Wallenstein said...

I guess the difference in this case is that the Carlton is the de facto club for the Conservative Party. Were it a non-political club then it wouldn't be an issue, but to claim to be the club of choice ("oldest, most elite and most important of all Conservative clubs") for the Tories and yet to refuse membership to women reflects badly on the Party as a whole.

Tristan said...

There may be public outcry in those cases you suggest, but I see no reason why that should not be allowed for private institutions.

I am rather glad that there would be an outcry, I disagree with such policies and would not join clubs which promote them. That's my choice though, and if people wish to support such clubs then why shouldn't they?

Let the marketplace sort such things out. If there's a demand let it be supplied, but feel free to try and peacefully persuade people of the error or their ways...

stuart said...

What about those women-only Oxbridge colleges? One rule for them, etc.

Richard Nabavi said...

albert m. bankment 3.25pm: "That apart, I think a club should be allowed to accept and/or reject whoever it damned well likes. You might not like its prejudices, but those are the founding principles."

I agree, but we have to face the fact that the nation as a whole doesn't. That battle has been lost, and we need, in the words of our unlamented previous prime minister, to 'draw a line under it and move on.' (This area is the only significant one where I think I would disagree with David Cameron, but I know I'm in a small minority on this, in the country as a whole).

In fact it seems that now it is illegal to offend anyone. See:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/may/20/1

A teenage faces prosecution for displaying a placard which called Scientology a 'cult'. Apparently the police thought this contravened Section 5 of the Public Order Act: "A person is guilty of an offence if he (a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting.."

Come to think of it, doesn't that mean that activists distributing or displaying Labour leaflets in Crewe are risking arrest?

Gman said...

We need to reassert freedom of association, not enforce such restrictions. A group of people should be able to ge together and organise themselves and set the criteria for membership.
That is what a free society is all about. If you dont agree with their terms and conditions, set up your own club.
You should know better, shame on you.

bergen said...

A few years ago the local Labour Club thought it ought to stagger into the 20th century and admit women.The fervent opposition came from an unexpected quarter-the wives of the members.They did not mind their other halves disappearing for the evening to an all male club but if there were other women present....

revinkevin said...

It's their club let them run it the way they seem fit.

If you don't like it don't join or forrm your own club with your own rules.

lola said...

Never really understood why a private club could not have whatever rules it wanted as regards membership, as long as it was within the law, that is not strangling chickens for sport or whatever. So why shouldn't the Carlton Club (about whom I know nothing) have a amen only policy? There seem to be loads of women only areas, so why not men only? F'rinstance why isn't there a 'mens hour' on R4?

Unsworth said...

Good Heavens! Is it not mandatory for all full members to be Jews or Gays or Asians? If not then I think I'll cancel my subscription and move back to the Reform or Whites.

verity said...

Tristan writes: "If there's a demand let it be supplied, but feel free to try and peacefully persuade people of the error or their ways...".

You arrogant fop. Who the hell are you to determine "the error" of other people's ways?

In addition, there seems to be a lack of ability to look facts in the face.

This has nothing to do with banning Jews, blacks, blah blah blah. Listen up, because this is a univeral fact: Most men across the races inhibit themselves around women. Most men - and this includes gay men - censor themselves when there are ladies present. It's gallant and charming and is appreciated by the ladies, but for God's sake, these men want to relax once in a while and crack stupid, crude jokes with other men so they can all go "Har har har har har!!!!"

Leave them alone! They're not hurting anyone by wanting to associate with other men exclusively sometimes.

mrsteed said...

I'm a member of the Carlton and attended the last GM called to discuss whether women should become full members fully prepared to vote 'yes'. However, the General Committee proposed such a complicated alternative whereby women become full members but some rooms where still men only, and others became women only I ended up voting 'no'. I'm sure there were many others in the same position. If the General Committee proposes a motion where both male and females are treated as equal members with equal access to all rooms, then I will vote in favour.

Anonymous...that is exactly what is being proposed.

haddock said...

Richard 4:13 PM
"we have to face the fact that the nation as a whole doesn't. That battle has been lost,"
The nation, as I have said, does not give a toss. If asked yes or no in a poll they will say what they think the interviewer wants to hear or say don't know... If polls had a box saying "don't give a toss one way or another, it just isn't important" that would be the first choice for the overwhelming majority who just want to get on with their lives.

Little Black Sambo said...

Are you even allowed to smoke in the Carlton Club whilst enjoying your permitted units? What a ghastly place this country is becoming.

Anonymous said...

If it is a mens club then it has the right not to be a womens club.

You'll be wanting the WI to open up to men next.

And why should there be a public outcry if Jews, Gays or Asians can't join? I wouldn't be eligible for most of their clubs and associations.

Anonymous said...

if the carlton club votes for letting women in i'll think about becoming a member. and i'm a bloke btw

Anonymous said...

hang on a sec, why exactly is the Carlton "duty" bound to do what you want. I've been a few times and it's up to the members what they do or don't allow- not the remote pontificating of people in the blogosphere.

I am a member of two clubs- one is fully mixed and the other has equal membership except for one bar- so I hope I can't be accused of sexism here. What you fail to grasp in your post is that the Carlton, whilst being a totemic part of Tory history, is in sympathy with the party rather than being a part of the party. As such, there is no more requirement for them to allow in women than there is for them to paint the front of the building in black and yellow stripes.

I would actually like them to allow women in, but your post, and that of Louise Bagshawe, has been enough to make me rather hope that they don't vote to do so tonight- if only so that you can't come over all smug tomorrow.

I am fully in sympathy with most of what you write Iain, when I sort my technological ineptitude out I hope not to be anonymous any longer (i have posted reasonably regualarly in the past months), but you have really overstepped the mark here. it is not up to you to pronounce on what others must or must not do (within the law, obviously).

Anyway, I'm just off to break down the doors of that bastion of sexism the University Womens' Club, and then maybe to try and get my nephew into the Girl Guides...

Jilted John said...

Anonymous Tamburlaine said...

Iain has a point. What if I decide to open a private school for white children only? Would anyone defend that from a libertarian perspective?


Yep, me. But unless you could come up with a good reason why colour was an important criterion of eligibility, I'd do it with the caveat that I thought you were a racist.

William said...

How would you keep out a woman who was unclubbable from demanding membership? There are plenty of insufferable insanitary humourless and arrogant women just like there are such men. What fun to be on the committee!

wrinkled weasel said...

Private member's clubs are just that. Why should they let in people that they do not want?

This is an erosion of the rights of white, straight males (oh yes, in case you forgot, we have them too) to go about our lawful business and choose who we want to drink with. The same goes for smoking and being spanked by women in Nazi uniforms should we want to. Rest of the world, it's not your fecking business, just as gay cruising bars are gays' business and just as St Hilda's College is for women and just as Muslim swimming sessions are for Muslims.

Do stop pandering to wet liberal ideology.

Anonymous said...

"But imagine if they had a policy of not allowing jews to be full members - or gays, or, Asians. There would be a public outcry"
I wouldn't bank on it matey! Most of us are sick to death of enforced political correctness.

Harry Haddock said...

'Iain has a point. What if I decide to open a private school for white children only? Would anyone defend that from a libertarian perspective?'

Provided you aren't using public funds,and this is an entierly private institution, then go for it. It's called the right of free association.

As an added bonus, the children graduating from such a school would have less of an ability to mix & network with any such group your school didn't admit, and thus less of a chance to succeed in life. This would have the added bonus of gradually eliminating them from the gene pool.

Everybody wins.

The right of free association, like the right to free speech, will throw up unpleasant situations ~ it's unavoidable, unless you think you can define 'reasonable' association and speech (which is what Western European governments think they can do), at which point we stop living in a free society, because one persons reasonable is another's affront to liberty.

harrumph said...

I agree.

If the Carlton Club want to ban women and administer a good kicking to any who try to enter the building, that is their business.

Good day to you, sir.

HM Stanley said...

I love it when Iain's core comes out--on this, Churches getting conscience opt-outs from sexuality equality legislation, etc. He might have a Thatcherite-libertarian-devil may care conservative facade, but deep inside, there is a paternalistic, nanny-state conservative waiting to burrow out :)

Desperate Dan said...

The Carlton, or any other club, should be allowed to decide who they want as members. If Louise Bagshawe is the sort of person who considers it acceptable to muscle in where she's not wanted, then she's the last person anyone would want in a club.
The same goes for multi-ethnic inclusiveness. Jews, gays, Asians and Africans already have exclusive clubs and groups of their own that no-one outside their groups would dream of wanting to join unless they were obnoxious and wanted to make a point.

Anonymous said...

Iain, Iain, Iain do property rights mean nothing to you? Why shouldn't a private club be free to exclude blacks, or gays, or christians or moslems or ginger haired folk, fat people or nazi's or theives or toffs or Sunderland supporters or whatever.

I thought the conservatives where about individual freedoms.

Anonymous said...

'The Carlton Club's raison d'etre is Conservatism, not masculinity. I trust it will take this new chance to put the situation right.'

Louise obviously doesn't have a very good grasp of Conservatism then does she? Conservatives believe in upholding tradition, in common sense over the imposition of abstract reason. Given that society is still dominated by patriarchy Conservitism is bound to upholding masculinity. They are inextricably linked. That she is unable to see this suggests she may be in the wrong party.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Can a white PC join the Black Police Officers Association.I think not. So there are plenty of areas of discrimination. Can I join the C Club if I cannot afford the subs. No so they are doing the same to poor people like me..

You get on and live with it.

no longer anonymous said...

"Iain has a point. What if I decide to open a private school for white children only? Would anyone defend that from a libertarian perspective?"

Yes. If people don't approve of such an institution they are entitled to boycott it. Similarly I would not object to black-only schools.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Woman, Jew, Asian or Gay. I vote Conservative.

Will the Carlton club accept me as a member? I have never tried to join but I KNOW the answer is NO because of my social circumstances and none of the above.

Greg said...

Why are people saying things along the lines of: "The Carlton Club should be allowed to admit who they want, there shouldn't be any legal compulsion"?

Neither Iain or Louise have suggested that there should be. They both agree with the principle that it should be up to a private members' club to decide who is allowed membership. They're merely expressing a desire for them to vote in a certain way.

Bishop Hill said...

Some people just don't like the idea of freedom of association.

Anonymous said...

It's quite understandable that some hold the opinion that the Carlton Club would be a more friendly, enjoyable place if it admitted women, while others hold that the Carlton Club would be better off preserving a haven for conservative gentlemen to relax in a male preserve. But we should fight the suggestion that anyone other than the members of the club itself should make this decision - not the Conservative Party, not the self-appointed political correct brigade, and most importantly not the state. If we are prepared to accept that the Government, however benign its intention, can tell us that we must associate with certain groups of people on the grounds of diversity, then is only a short step to accepting that a more malign Government could tell us who we can't associate with on the grounds that they are dangerous, subversive etc. This is a far more dangerous prospect - both for diversity and for the pursuit of democratic politics.

Caroline Hunt said...

I think some people are missing the point here. There is absolutely no reason on earth why private members clubs should be forced by law to admit any particular grouping since it is entirely up to them who to admit.

In a totally separate matter I would hope very much that the Carlton club will vote to allow female members. I have always very much enjoyed any events I've attended there and it seems to have a rich history of fostering a warm home for Conservatives. Since the Conservatives now encompass a large number of women within it's ranks I would say it was a sensible decision to admit women as full members.

Unfortunately everybody here seems to be confusing the issue of whether the government should compel private members clubs into having everybody be allowed to join, and whether the Carlton Club should admit female members. The former I am very much against - the latter I am very much in favour of.

Greg said...

Caroline Hunt (10.15pm): exactly. That's what I tried to say (albeit probably not as clearly as you've managed!).

Verity said...

8:55 - As they don't have a vote, who cares what Iain (with respect) and Wossname think? Perhaps I don't like the paint on the walls of the first floor corridors of Buckingham Palace. So what?

Caroline Hunt, I would not want you in any club of which I were a member because you have misunderstood your native language and having to talk to you at the bar would drive me crazy.

"any particular grouping". Does that mean "any group"?

God knows, I have no wish to be unkind, but "In a totally separate matter I would hope very much that the Carlton club will vote to allow female members. I have always very much enjoyed any events I've attended there and it seems to have a rich history of fostering a warm home for Conservatives. Since the Conservatives now encompass a large number of women within it's ranks I would say it was a sensible decision to admit women as full members."

What gobbledygook hell is this?

Adrian Yalland said...

What is it about (some) women? They constantly want to meddle and change things.

A woman marries a man thinking she can change him, and she gets frustrated when he won't change. A man marries a women hoping she won't change, and she does! Grrr.

What is it about the state that wants to meddle and interfere in every nook and cranny of the life of private people and private organisations.

If Carpet Bagger-Bagshaw doesn't like the the rules of the CC, then tell her to find another club to benefit from her doubtless magnificent presence.

A man needs his place of refuge. I used to have my garage, but now there is an office in it! Then I moved to my shed, but now the lawnmower and other stuff we cannot get in the garage live there.

I was hoping that one day I might join the CC. Shan't bother now!

Anonymous said...

There is a very good reason why women should not be let into all mens clubs.

A VERY GOOD REASON INDEED and this of course does not affect the likes of yourself Iain, so I do not expect you to understand for one second.

If they stared admitting women into my club my wife would not let me go. Or give me one hell of a head ache every time I did.

She may be right is suspecting I am a super good looking sex god and machine that would with anything that bleeds once a month. But she knows I don't go for men in any way shape or form.

Quite frankly if you had seen any of the brothers at my lodge yourself, neither would you, with any of them.

Not even drunk.

Newmania said...

Couldn’t we have compromise whereby women can join but in junior capacity ? Perhaps a well aired and sunny room could be set aside decked with posies and liberally supplied with magazines of fashion and cooking .Entrance to the inner sanctum would remain forbidden and everyone would be happy ?

Wouldn’t they ?

wrinkled weasel said...

Adrian Yalland (the voice of reason)

"A man needs his place of refuge". Quite right, Adrian. And a place to be miserable in. Alec Guinness, for all his wealth and resources, would sit alone, at a table at the Waldorf in the Aldwych, nursing a drink and his quiet desperation.

And then comes Caroline Hunt to spoil it all twittering, apparently, in esperanto.

Is there no refuge for the misanthropes of this world? Must we , in the interests of "equality" have to live cheek by jowl with screaming queens and women, when we are almost certainly not welcome in their places of worship?

Greg said...

Verity (11.10) - I don't see how your reply to my point is in any way related. All I said was that those who are banging on about how Iain and Louise are against freedom of association etc are misguided. They support freedom of association, they just wish that the Carlton members exercise this freedom in a particular way.

But yes, you could start your own blog and talk about the paint at Buckingham Palace, although that wouldn't be particularly riveting. By contrast, this business about the Carlton Club is reflective of a very interesting issue in current British politics: the direction in which Conservatism is currently heading.

verity said...

Newmania - Even in a pod with pansies and gentle waterfalls and recipes, these women would not be happy. There are some women who just cannot stand to leave men alone. They get little mental JCBs and start digging their way in.

I think the men at the Carlton Club have understood this in an alert, feral sense and would be wise to defend their redoubts.

Anonymous said...

The vote went through tonight - women are now allowed to become full members of the club.

Miller 2.0 said...

"Some argue that as a private club they should have whatever policy they like. On the face of it, this is an attractive argument. It is also simplistic. But imagine if they had a policy of not allowing jews to be full members - or gays, or, Asians. There would be a public outcry, and rightly so. As Louise argues.

The Carlton Club's raison d'etre is Conservatism, not masculinity. I trust it will take this new chance to put the situation right.

And tonight's the night. Apparently there will be a vote of the members, and hopefully this time they will get the necessary two thirds majority."

It's only the right to vote to keep women out that provides you with the reciprocal right to vote them in, if you do so wish.

You can't only claim ownership of something when you get the right outcome.

verity said...

12:54. Tragedy. Something else wrecked forever by the taxpayer - unwillingly - funded diversity industry. Obama's wife, rolling in taxpayer gravy for many years, should come over and give gift the Carlton with the new rules, according how the intruders want things run.

Greg - We have no argument and I thank God I had the forsight to cut and run. It is not going to get any better. Your freedoms, if you have any left, will be trimmed off you with manicure scissors.

Anonymous said...

Verity said...
"Caroline Hunt, I would not want you in any club of which I were a member because you have misunderstood your native language ....

What gobbledygook hell is this?"

Verity, you seem to have a comprehension problem. I don't suppose anyone else had trouble understanding Caroline Hunt's comments.

Or are you just nit-picking again?

Anonymous said...

what was the result?

mrsteed said...

Despite the rantings of several semi-detached members, the overwhelming feeling in the meeting was to support the motion and it was carried. Narrowly but a win is a win.

A good result and an excellent night for the Club.

Paul G said...

Verity, you really are are thoroughly unpleasant pompous arse aren't you? Actually Caroline was one of the few people who seem to have understood what this debate was about - ie nothing at all to do with state enforcement. Like her, I'm very glad the vote went through but would have been appalled if it had been forced by legislation.

verity said...

9:45 - No, no, darling! I understood what this woman was trying to convey in her pretentious over-writing and over-statements. It's just that it was written with a tin ear for what I assume is her native language. Pomposity always chills the blood and puts people off, although apparently not you.

Mr Steed, when you say "a few semi-detached members", I think we only had one, or was it two, members commenting and they seemed quite attached to me.

However, as it was members,and not the government, who changed the rules, the change was at least democratic.

not that Carlton said...

Verity,
nobody but you was suggesting that this was an argument about whether private clubs should be allowed to restrict their membership to men, women, gays or Asians. It was specifically about the Carlton Club whose main aim seems to be the bastion of conservatism. It is the reason that David Cameron was a member of (men only) Whites but not the Carlton.

In fact, despite what a number of people have implied the Black Police Association and Stonewall do not restrict their membership to Asians and/or gays. Which is entirely appropriate since they are essentially political organisations. All they require is that their members support their aims. The Carlton is clearly an organisation devoted to promoting Conservative Party political aims with the (now defunct) additional requirement that the members have actual as opposed to merely metaphorical balls.

As someone who is proudly unclubbable (once got asked to resign from my Cambridge drinking society for being too..err...drunk) I am nonetheless glad that the CP has a place to drink where having a pair of ovaries as opposed to testes is not the prime requirement of membership.

Anonymous said...

Haven't these girls got kitchens to go to?