Saturday, August 19, 2006

More Changes on Candidate Selection to Come?

I have just been through the Sunday papers and the Mail on Sunday and Sunday Times both have stories saying that David Cameron will tomorrow announce changes to the Conservative Party selection procedures. It appears he intends to ensure that on second round shortlists of six, three women are included, and there must always be at least one woman in the final selection meeting. The Sunday Times also believes that 60% of the 'A' List are female. I guess it's best to wait to see the details before commenting properly, but if these stories are true it may well be a seminal moment. The reaction among constituency activists is hard to predict.

I have always taken the view that the best way to get more female candidates selected is to get a general candidates list of 600 or so people, half of whom are women. If we had women on the list in those numbers there wouldn't be a need for an 'A' List at all. That's what the Party should now be concentrating on - attracting more onto the list in the first place.

It also needs to make those who are not on the 'A' List feel that its worth actually staying on the wider list. I've lost count of the number of friends of mine who are seriously thinking about jacking the whole thing in because they don't feel they are being offered any kind of future. That must change - and change fast.


Span Ows said...

I agree it's best to wait and see what is actually annouced but I'm wary of any lists that are effectively quotas. However, having a long wider list doesn't ensure getting the best for the job...and why MUST there be at least one women in the final selection meeting if they aren't as good as the men? Not being a misogynist just thinking out loud! If he 's that desperate why not do all female selection in selected constituencies?

Anonymous said...

"there must always be at least one woman in the final selection meeting"

uhm, I don't think it would improve things. Since the A List has been introduced, I think almost all shortlists (apart Daventry) had at least a woman in it

ian said...

...half of whom are women.

Iain, you leftie!

Grouping people by their sex rather than how they think, feel or behave as individuals!

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

Just don't understand why this is an issue.
-how many of St.Tone's inner circle are female?

ps I've have just seen Brian "I've counted them all out, and counted them all back" Hanrahan on BBC News 24's "The reporters"

-whatever happened to him?, I've completely forgotten that he even still works for the BBC.

-why on earth isn't he out in the Lebanon? - a proper journo who told you the news, rather than that Irish lady?

Anonymous said...

David Camerons's suicide note on behalf of the Conservative Party.

Other than the very rare individual like Margaret Thatcher and Elizabeth I, women in general tend to diminish politics because they do not entertain big thoughts.

Where did "Blair's Babes" go,BTW? Did any of them ever succeed in catching the Speaker's eye? Tony squeezed all those incompetents and nannies into Parliament and the result is over 3,000 new laws,loyally voted for by these ghastly women.

The segment of the Tory Pary that Cameron hadn't lost so far has just dropped off with a dull thud.

What an arrogant fool

Johnny Norfolk said...

Why is the party leadership becomming so elite and dictatorial.If it carries on this way it will lose its local support. We are not the labour party who just blindly follow what the leadership wants.The leadership carries out what the party wants not the other way round.

Trevor Ivory said...

"Wouldn't it just be fairer and simpler to shake up the selection panel and ensure it is at least 50% female?"

In my experience most association's have a large quota of women on them - elderly women tend to be the backbone of the associations these days. From my own experience, it is these ladies (with their tradional view of the propoer roles of men and women) who are reluctant to select women candidates.

It is clear that we need to make the parliamentary party more representative of modern Britain (although I pray that Verity is never allowed near the party with such ridiculous opinions) but I have one concern with this latest proposal: association's hate being told what to do and I wonder whether forcing them to have a woman in the final three will encourage them to vote against her simply to prove that they will not be dictated to?

Anonymous said...

Hey Iain, did you see the BBC Breakfast news just now? You were presented rather bizarrely as the Tory Immigration spokesman.

Anonymous said...

Who will rid us of this turbulent fool?

Maybe it's a job for Guido. Come on Guido, dig up some scandal that will help free us from the Blair Lite Bycycling Berk.

Even UKIP would be better than this lot (AND we'd be freed from the malign control of Brussels).

Good thinking that man (imho that is).

Control Freaks 0 Conservatives 10

Well, there's no tax on dreaming (yet).

Anonymous said...

"Never mind the quality, feel the width."
The CP would do well to remember that 'posiitive discrimination' is still discrimination.

As the old saw has it: The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the CP is well on its way there thanks to a group of not very bright control-freak wannabes who think that by progressively rigging the selection process it will bring electoral bliss.
Instead, it just pisses off more and more of their natural supporters.

Anonymous said...

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...
Just don't understand why this is an issue.
-how many of St.Tone's inner circle are female?

Surely all the more reason to get more women into government?

Anonymous said...

I consistently argue the Tories case up here in Scotland's tundra but cannot see how much good these lists will do. I critiscised Labour lists for being unduly patronising and foresaw that very few of these women would make any impact. QED.

Unfortunately, I still find difficulty with the equality that women want and their acceptance of nepotism.

I do not have knowledge of the selection committees but if the other commentators are correct my initial reading is that there has to be a restructuring. If the committees are stuck in a 40s/50s mindset they will not present candidates with the necessary wisespread appeal.


Anonymous said...

trevor ivory says
"elderly women tend to be the backbone of the associations these days. From my own experience, it is these ladies (with their tradional view of the propoer roles of men and women) who are reluctant to select women candidates"
What a sexist, ageist, comment! All the elderly ladies I know don't care two hoots whether the candidate is male, female or anything in between they just want the best person for the job.
I'm with verity all the way on this.

Anonymous said...

If this is true it is not good. As Chairman of a seat that is meant to select from the a-list i really dont know what to do now. Im not convinced that i could chair selections under this system. We always go by the principle that everyone we put to the membership in the final round has to be good enough to be our next MP. This final shortlist is determined from the interviews that are held to whittle the applicants down to that last 2/3. Last time we had only one female applicant and many more male applicants. What happens if this is repeated and the female applicant is not very good? Are we really to be forced to allow her through to the final round? Do we bother interviewing her before hand at all?

Such direct and unfair discrimination conflicts sharply with the principles that led to my becoming an active Conservative in the first place. Whilst I will of course continue to work to get whoever is selected as our candidate elected, I will have to think long and hard about whether I can now play any role in that selection process. This is not a good position for a Chairman to be in.

Anonymous said...

Not only is this downright patronising to women it ought to be damned illegal.
Just turn this on its head and say that all list must include at least 50% males.Acceptable? I think not.Any constituency has the right to expect the best candidate. Not the best woman,ethnic,muslim or gay candidate. The best candidate full stop.
This was a NuLab headline grabber that Bliar used and just look what his 'babes' have done for us.
If Cameron goes ahead with this nonsense that's 2 votes he's just lost here.

Anonymous said...

I agee with you Ian and most of the comments made so far.The whole system is demotivating and even i am getting wearied with this A list saga.Thousands of loyal conservatives are going to walk away from active and voluntary support.This women to win clique in CCHQ are going to ensure that the Party remains a minority one.I am on the border of jacking my voluntary work in and all my support.I certainly do not like the method Cameron may introduce which is clearly going to be so so patronising.Beware the ides of a disaster.Perhaps there is also going to be a new wave of seats advertised to a select few women this week.I cant visualise the almighty ROW which is going to occur with its ramifications in the press as associations revolt wholesale- so much for diversity of Candidates.

The Hitch said...

Another blow to the Conservative party and as a conservative I am delighted.
This crap on top of Noriss'announcement that we need even higher fuel prices and taxes to save the planet just g to prove what an out of touch bunch of wankers the Conservatives have become.
I despise Cameron.

Anonymous said...

A unique KAMIKAZI policy if it is true. Roll on tommorow.
Ian you are doing a great job in the media --more prominent than any member of the shadow cabinet.

Anonymous said...

trevoe ivory - when you refer to the opinions of other posters here as having "ridiculous opinions" because they don't agree with your own, you would give your own kneww-jerk liberal/socialist opinions more credence if you employed the correct grammar of what I assume is your native language.

Your prayers that I not be "allowed near the party" - stopped by whom, pray? Dave's thought police? - are already answered. I would not go near this dog's breakfast with this ridiculous egomaniac in charge. He makes Tony Blair look like Tiny Tim. I will not, for the first time in my life, be voting Tory at the next election, unless he gets thrown out and replaced with a Tory.

I am opposed to quotas and opposed to positive discrimination. They are tools of the Left.

Anonymous said...

Despondent is how I feel about the ressurection of this WOMEN TO WIN AND A LIST business. I thought it had all been put to bed. I agree, disaster looms in one almighty bloody row with associations.I wish I was a fly on Daves wall.

Anonymous said...

By imposing targets and quotas for Women, Cameron must think that associations are chauvinistic pigs,sexists,racists, dishonest bigots and untrustworthy minionss or a mixture of any.I know Cameron does appreciate the qualities of the members and we should all be grateful.But watch out hell hath no fury.

With all this going on the serious side is that as a party we are not really making headway. so please Mr Cameron stop this WOMEN ISSUE.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for my own careless typing above. I'd just got up and was on my first cup of tea.

I hope this idea all ends in tears for Dave. God, we'll end up like Sweden, with women dictating every segment of our lives. Trust me, women do not think other women know best what is good for them and their families.

I repeat, women, in general, do not think in big ideas. Even aggressive, power-mad attack dogs like Hillary Clinton do not think in big ideas. They take little ideas and elevate them. As in the never-ending soap opera of Hillary's determination to wreck the free market in medical care in the US. Free medicine for all!

Margaret Thatcher was a prime minister of rare vision and rare courage. If you want to be governed by a bunch of bossy "Dave's Dames", at the cost of exing out competent men, vote Tory.

This notion that candidates should be "representative" of different segments of Britain is more divisive communism under another name. I don't care if my MP looks like me. I don't care if he's black or Chinese Just as long as he thinks like me.

Dave is a disaster from absolutely every point of view. BTW, if they want MPs who are "representative" of the electorate, why is the party headed up by a member of the most unrepresentative segment of our society - an OE? NuCons are nuts.

Anonymous said...

Heard you on radio 4 this morning.It was great to here a Conservative speaking sense for a change.As already said you are becoming more prominent as a commentator than Daves shadows.Who needs so many women when there is so much male political experience in activists of the likes of you and others.You are good on the radio though you sound like you are about to cook fish like the celebrity chef from Padstow in Cornwall.Talking about Cornwall I heard in the office that 4 or 5 of those seats are coming up and that they want Women to be selected downthere,(as everwhere else)but that you were interested.You would stand a bloody good chance as it is definitely a no go women area,but a days drive to get there.Also the locals are warlike and in no mood to be imposed on ,or messed about.At least if all fails you can stand in for the Padstow chef.

Anonymous said...

Two points: (a) the "A" list is a misbegotten exercise which should never have been resurrected from the decent obscurity in which it was languishing, and (b) concerning the general suitability of women in politics, Verity is right. Not fashionable, not politically correct (thank God) but right.

PS can't someone convince this ridiculous impostor Cameron that he's in the wrong job? There's a vacancy just crying out for a man of his talents. Yes, I know Ming's in it just for the moment.

Anonymous said...

Patsy: It's not a question of being inside people's heads. It's listening to the stuff they come out with (whether they're male of female) and evaluating whether they're thinking politically. Verity is perfectly correct; most women tend to amplify small ideas.

Now go and have a nice cup of tea, dear, and a nice lie down. You're getting all confused.

Anonymous said...

Great thread and totally illustrative of the fact that selections are biased against women. Want to see it in action? Read this thread.

Verity's a woman. She certainly has no big ideas. Perhaps the BNP will welcome her support?

Anonymous said...

patsy - I don't think all men deal in big ideas, any more than I think all women are shrieks just on the evidence of one poster on Iain's blog.

I do know, however, that all the magnificent ideas in history have been conceived and driven forward by men. I know that Hoover Dam,for example, was designed and executed by men. As were the Egyptian pyramids,the hanging gardens of Babylon and the architectural glories and literature of Greece and Rome. It was men who designed and built the Taj Mahal. It was men who recorded the movement of the stars, in an intelligent effort to make some sense of the universe.

It was men who started - and continued - the Industrial Revolution. Men who designed steamships and ships o'war and passenger liners. Men who conceived of and brought into being jet planes and manned flight to the moon.

Elizabeth I and Margaret Thatcher are the only two women I can think of off the top of my head who have had an elevated engagement with the world outside.

This in no way diminishes women. Each has his role. But women, by and large do not think in grandiose ideas. Mrs Thatcher was an outstanding leader, but most women are not.

I won't apologise for pointing out a fact about human nature, but most women do not deal in big ideas. Just look at the quality of the British cabinet or the Swedish cabinet. Jammed with bossy little nitpicks who think they know how to order everyone else's life for them.

I'm a woman with a realistic take on my own sex and a realistic take on the opposite sex. Obviously, they're equally valuable, but that doesn't mean they are equal to the same tasks. I think the feminisation of British politics has been disastrous.

Anonymous said...

Verity said, of the Cabinet:
"Jammed with bossy little nitpicks who think they know how to order everyone else's life for them."

That's the best description of David Millipede I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

I hear the members may no longer be allowed to vote in the final round and that only officers will make the final choice... this is going to get messy

Scipio said...

With permission from Iain, I would like to publish this blog from my own blogspot, as I am concerned about some of the comments this news story has generated - particularly those which seem to denegrate the ability of a women to by a great MP simply because some women politicians are poor representatives! Politics does need more women - not just to raise issues which affect or impact women more than men (such as child care, pension rights etc), but because women do have a civilising influence which we men seem to flounder without.

The point I am trying to make is that it shouldn't be a choice between 'gifted and able people selected on merit', and 'selecting women'. These are not mutually exclusive issues. We need more women candidates, and we need those women to be giften, talented, able and chosen on merit!

My Blog Reads: David Cameron is, according to the papers, set to announce more changes to the way the party selects prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs). This is, according to David Cameron, that despite the best efforts of the party machinery, a disturbingly large number of candidates are people like me – white, straight, married, male and middle class. In other words, not entirely representative of the population.

Whist I have always opposed tokenism, gestures and political correctness, and always believed that the person selected for the job should be selected on merit and ability alone, I also believe that there are gifted and able black people, gay people, women etc.

I have since 1997 been publicly saying – including published articles and letters in the press – that we need more candidates who are both able, but not white, middle class, and from legal of banking backgrounds! I do not believe that ability and being more representative of the population are mutually exclusive.

As a wanabe PPC, the trouble is that ,any Tory associations simply will not 'do what they are told', and guard their independence fiercely. Having sat on candidate selection committees, I know just how 'institutionally sexist' they can be – and in some cases, I suspect possibly (in the cases a few individual members), opposed to having black and openly gay candidates. But, what is for me more surprising is that the most sexist and anti-women candidates are other women.

All this is a party which gave this country the second greatest prime minister in history, a women called Margaret Thatcher!

Anonymous said...


who is 'your' MP? I thought you lived in Mexico. Even if you are registered to vote in the UK constituency wher you last lived, it's still a long way from Central America

Anonymous said...

just curious - You need to check your geography. Mexico is not in Central America. It's in N America. Look at a globe. Duh. The United States, Canada and Mexico comprise the North American Free Trade Association, a vast duty-free zone.

adrian yalland writes: "We need more women candidates,". Yeah. We heard you. But no one tells us why. Do you think that most of the male MPs do not discuss issues with their wives at home? Do you think they go to the House pumped up with testosterone looking round for some vulnerable group to obliterate, or do you think they discuss their work with their wives and a feminine perspective thus seeps into his thinking?

I repeat, how are the candidates who have slogged for years to get selected going to regard the Prom Princesses chauffered in on a cloud of happy?

I'm sorry, but women tend to diminish important ideas to the personal. They think small, which is an essential attribute for running a home and a community. They also tend to take things personally, whereas men don't. Men tend to shrug off mild affronts; women get on the phone and discuss them and dissect them with all their friends.

Anonymous said...

patsy - thanks for your sparkling post. Boadicca was a heroine and very brave, and was a natural leader. I don't know that she had much of a world view, outside the fortunes of the Iceni. That is why I didn't mention her. Her concerns were local.

I also, obviously, thought of Florence Nightingale. Again, she performed a woman's role of comfort and succour for the weak. But she was very brave.

I don't know enough about Cleopatera, although clearly, she was very clever. But did she raise armies? Did she conquer new territories? I honestly don't know.

Iain, is there any chance that god-awful, aggressive button attached to span ows' post at the top - can be disabled? It is almost impossible to concentrate on writing a post with that distracting moronic little button switching on and off.