Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All Women Shortlists: Not In My Name

I agreed with much of what David Cameron had to say about attracting a more diverse range of Conservative candidates. Much progress has been made in this direction, not just over the last three years, but over the last ten. The selection methods which were instituted under Iain Duncan Smith (while David Davis and Theresa May chaired the party) were crucial precursors to what has happened following David Cameron's election as party leader.

I was uncomfortable about aspects of the A List but I recognised that something needed to be done. It was successful in pushing women candidates and more women were selected. However, it did little to attract more women to come forward to apply to be on the approved list. Even now, I am told that only 30% of the approved list are female. It is this issue which needs addressing, not just the proportion who end up being selected. The fact is that there are 30% women on the list, and 30% selected candidates, I believe.

It was thought that Open Primaries would also enable more women to be chosen. That hasn't quite turned out to be the case. Of the last seven, only one (Totnes) has chosen a woman.

David Cameron has today raised the possibility of imposing all women shortlists on some selections which will take place after Christmas. He has no doubt said this knowing full well the outrage it will cause among party activists and male candidates on the approved list. But let's be open about it. This announcement will be seen as a sign of failure, not one of strength.

As a Conservative I believe in equality of opportunity. I believe in a meritocracy. I can just about stomach a final shortlist having to consist of three men and three women, but for me it is thus far and no further. Imposing all female shortlists is a fundamentally unconservative thing to do and one has to ask where it will lead. All black shortlists? All gay shortlists? All disabled shortlists? All christian shortlists? All muslim shortlists?

Not in my name.

I look forward to hearing the views of Women2Win. Will they think this is manna from heaven, or will they think like Conservatives?

So, what to do about it? Apart from deploying force of argument there is little than anyone can do. Futile gestures would be just that. Futile. I'd like to think female Conservative candidates would feel just as strongly on this issue as male ones, but to pretend that anyone can do anything to change David Cameron's mind would be to grandstand. And we have had enough of that in the past.

Even by writing this post, I suppose I will be accused of indulging in a bit of boat rocking. But you'd expect me to be honest in my views, and I have been.


Plato said...

Agreed and well said.

I'm sure Cameron didn't say it by accident, so I anticipate that he's leading the agenda in an area which will make *sense* in a day or two.

There's no need for him to have done this now unless he was shooting across someone's bow.

Norton Folgate said...

My voting indication swingometer just moved a little further away from Tory and more towards UKIP.

They really are showing signs of turning into Blue Labour

Wrinkled Weasel said...

In that case, why has my comment from the last thread (posted an hour ago), about this very issue, which also happens to mirror your sentiments word for word, disappeared?

Anonymous said...

I would want to be selected on my ability - not based upon my position of boobs or balls!

Conservative Vision said...

Precisely. An absurd suggestion which occupies itself with the aesthetic make up of parliament, valuing image over talent.

Ryan said...

A deeply unconservative idea from Mr Cameron? Say it isn't so.

It really does defeat the idea of open primaries, which are about as close as you are going to get towards fielding candidates that the public want to represent them if you are going to gerrymander the lists.

Classic Blue Labour.

Scott1946 said...

I completely agree with you. Well said. I fear David may have been the one doing the "grandstanding" today. Not necessary, in my view. I trust you will remain an honest and open voice, even if you become an MP.

kris said...

Dear Iain

Given the recent comments by that utter douche bag "Soho Politico" regarding you're "not being a gay enough" candidate for his approval. (as if he's Gay Man in chief of Old Compton Street HQ)...

I am amazed that you are suggesting that real conservatives will oppose the all women short-list idea.

I'm sorry, but don't tell me what does and does not qualify as being either gay or a conservative or a woman.

Don't fence me in - and don't pull this same crap as that idiot soho politico

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I have fallen victim to the proportion of women v men criteria in a final in a selection a couple of years ago. When I arrived for the final I was told that I was the only woman in the final five, I was shocked to hear that I had a place in the final three before I had even undertaken the morning activity that we were being assessed on. I told the association concerned that if I was not through to the final three on merit rather than because of being the final woman I would withdraw from the process. If I ever make it to Parliament I want to be able to look all of my colleagues in the eye and know I got there purely on my ability and not simply as a box ticking exercise.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

egg, face, on.

Anonymous said...

There would be more women in Parliament if they were democratically voted into Parliament. Whatever the reason is for them not being there, in this day and age it certainly isn't through lack of opportunity. Whatever colour your vote goes to wouldn't you be more inclined to vote against (or certainly not for) someone who'd been thrust upon you through anything other than their capabilities?

Dave H said...

I'm with you on this one. It's reasoning that belongs to the Labour Party. Are they suggesting the women candidates are so poor they would inevitably lose against male competition?

Do we want second rate MPs appointed because of their gender?

If not enough women are coming forward then look into the reasons why and address them. Don't introduce a system that effectively lowers the bar.

Alan Wicks said...

I totally agree with you Ian, this amounts to positive discrimination against any one not in the chosen category, whether the selection is of male/female gender. sexual inclination, religious beliefs, physical abilities, educational standards etc.etc.
Surely, the one and only reason for selecting a candidate for a constituency is and should be their ability to do the job and truly represent their constituents best interests.

gordon-bennett said...

The only context in which these points about gender and race proportions are raised is as a stick with which to beat the Conservatives.

I believe that if it should ever happen that the Conservatives have a larger proportion of these groups than the socialists then the matter will never be raised again.

People who believe that the representation of some groups should be manipulated are saying that such groups have characteristics which set them apart from white males (if they don't believe there are differences why are they bothering?).

But if you attempt to assign characteristics to these groups you will be accused of stereotyping or sexism or racism.

This whole area is an example of left-wing doublethink and a product of feeble intellects.

Wrinkled Weasel said...


I would want to be selected on my ability - not based upon my position of boobs or balls!

Or, which orifice, or what colour.

Unfortunately, none of us can hold out against all venal thieving bastard shortlists.

Anonymous said...

What the hell are they thinking of? This is utter nonsense and achieves what, exactly? Positive discrimination is still discrimination.

WV - meritie. Seems approriate somehow.

Non Runner said...

The Labour Party completely transformed their outward appearance in a very short period of time through the temporary use of women-only shortlists, vastly broadening their appeal.

The Tories could do the same. If they don't, they'll carry on looking like a bunch of white, middle-aged men.

Ultimately, its an electoral calculation.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right, Iain - the Conservative way is encouragement and opportunity, not proscription and discrimination.

Why not offer a bursary to elected women MPs - this would encourage more high quality candidates to apply? By far the best way of redressing an imbalance is to induce the under-represented, not do the opposite.

What happened to talent? said...

I'm not going to respect the opinion of somebody just because they tick all the PC boxes.

janestheone said...

there have been all male short lists since the year dot and no-one (much) minded. All female short lists are a sign of failure not success - so what would you do?

cornyborny said...

As others have said, discrimination is always bad, whether it is 'positive' or not.

Good luck winning the argument, Iain, but I fear you are fighting the tide. Ranged against you are decades of received wisdom and multitudes of entrenched 'progressive' activists. (How Orwellian the postmodern reversal of the word 'progressive' is, of course, for it describes an entirely retrograde attitude). And to think that we had nearly got there: to a point where people really were judged "by the content of their character" and by nothing else. But of course the liberals (another topsy-turvy word) of the world have smashed King's aspirations to pieces as his message was anathema to their agenda.

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

Haven't the last twelve years provided sufficient warning against the perils of appointing people because they are female, brown-skinned, etc.? A disproportionate number of them have turned out to be completely useless at their jobs. As have, it has to be said, a good number of the pale-skinned males.

Surely one of the great points about our parliamentary system is that those elected to serve are pledged to represent all their constituents. They are not elected to represent only those members of the electorate with, for example, only one leg.

Aston Read Limited said...

CCHQ had better start back paddling really quick on this.

JBW said...

Apply barrel to foot and pull trigger...

Liam Murray said...

Cameron's went out his way over the last few years to clarify what 'conservatism' means - that is, it's not about dogmatic adherence to the status quo at all costs but a pragmatic view on what works and what doesn't, informed - but not driven by - ideology & principles.

By that reading (one I support and suspect you do too Iain) then there's nothing inconsistent between conservatism and all women short-lists; previous efforts have failed so lets look at something else.

That's not to say I agree with the proposal - I too find it silly and condescending - but suggesting it's at odds with Conservatism itself is wrong.

Anonymous said...

On the otherside of the Coin - No women have been selected in Skipton and Ripon, Macclesfield, Sleaford and north Hykeham, Bracknell, Woking. If you go further back other safe seats such as Flyde, Hexham etc have all had Male candidates.

This means that a future Conservative defeat will mean mainly Male MPs being left and you get caught in a similar coldisac to the one the Conservatives had after 1997 with a freak show. Instead of the useless Golf Club set from then you have an overwelming Male Parliamentry party that is unlikely to appeal beyond 30% of voters.

Given the number of women shortlisted - there is something in the selection process biased against women IMO. I do not accept they are less talented - It is rather the membership in many seats will not select women for safe seats for what ever reason.

I dont like the idea of all women shortlists but the Conservatives have to take a long term view of things. Many of the Candidates selected in safe seats recently are bland, run of the mill males. With odd exception they will put off voters in the handful. Some of the Male candidates have no idea at all what the real world is like and they will become a liability.

Some Tories seem to think they have got the next election in the Bag - I would not be surprised at all if come the following day after the election the Conservatives are on about 300 MPs and well short of a majority. They may not even form the next government if the LD have enough MPs to support Labour. I think some of you confuse principle for self-interest and I speak as someone very disappointed that Iain Dale did not win in Bracknell as he was the best political candidate IMO.

Boo said...

What about political Blogs?
From what I can observe (and by scrolling down your favourites) there is a disproportionate number of male bloggers about. Looking at the commenters and aside from the numerous animals avatars there are a disproportionate number of male commenters.
Perhaps if we addressed this we might have an answer to the MP question

Anonymous said...

Iain I agree !! Why not try and preserve the 'status quo' for just as long as is humanly possible, eh ??

With the current way of doing things the party can be the preserve of the white middle-class male until at least sometime in the middle of next century.

Especially if we indulge the crusty old codgers who make up most of the constituency assocs - most of whom wouldn't recognise a modern forward-thinking liberal woman candidate for the Tories if she came up and bit them on the @r$e..

This way we can ensure that the cabinet is branded 'Modern Tories' but the rest of the party is stuck reassuringly in the twentieth century..

Onwards and upwards !!

Tony said...

As I have tried to write on ConHome, I am just about at the end of my tether. At a time when this country has huge problems to overcome what do we see from our party's leading lights? Let's have a quick re-cap...

Pledges to have a watchdog for fox hunting. How is this subject anywhere near the top 100 issues facing this country worthy of discussion?

Boris' daft attack on Goldman Sachs for paying out bonuses to its staff, instead of lending money to businesses. Since when has that been the role of investment banks?

Nick Boles' "revenge" text message to Boris over his views on the Lisbon Treaty. Is this kind of intolerance people will experience for having a view on a matter of great importance to this country?

Now this.

It is not just all women shortlists and the undermining of meritocracy that is unConservative. Increasingly it is our leadership. The team around Cameron is not just out of touch with most of the party grassroots, the polls are proving they are out of touch with the wishes of voters as well. Other than wanting to see Labour thrown out of office I can see no reason for me remaining a member of the party. I am a Conservative but the leadership has ceased to be.

Perhaps I should thank Nick Boles for owning up to his Godfather quote text to Boris, because it has reminded me of another quote that is increasingly summing up how I feel about the party under this leadership:

"Fredo, you're nothing to me now. You're not a brother, you're not a friend. I don't want to know you or what you do. I don't want to see you at the hotels, I don't want you near my house. When you see our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won't be there. You understand?"

Adrian said...

"It was thought that Open Primaries would also enable more women to be chosen." It was thought by what idiot? All-women shortlists are a better idea than open primaries. Why? Because at least the decision-making is retained within the party.

Anonymous said...

So why Mr Dale are there so few women? Are they inferior. Or are they, as some idiot said on CoffeeHouse, too 'authoritarian' ?

This last remark rather succinctly explains why the Conservatives do need to do something.

And Mr C is providing leadership.

So just what certainly in the short term is the alternative?

If you believe that in the main women are not suitable or are indeed inferior - then please say so all you people out there. Be brave come on out with it.
Otherwise come on out with an alternative - and an alternative that will work, not just be, in Ms Flint's words, 'window dressing'.

This Observer said...

Yup. As usual Iain I'm in complete agreement with what you're saying.

Candidates should be chosen by ability and nothing else. It doesn't matter whether you call it positive discrimination or positive action, excluding ANY group of people is wrong.

In fact I wrote as much on my own blog earlier.

Adrian said...


"As a Conservative I believe in equality of opportunity." And that's why you should also believe in the (temporary) necessity of all-women shortlists.

Weygand said...

Is not this the kind of manipulation that typifies the 'big government' that Dave and the rest of us abhor?

Of course get rid of all barriers, but positive discrimination means power from the top fixing the game, when Conservatives naturally believe in individual responsibility and personal freedom.

'Positive discrimination' is still discrimination - there is little virtue in removing one disadvantage by creating another.

I would never vote for any candidate who had been selected on a 'closed' list of any kind.

True Belle said...

Women shortlists? Wrong wrong wrong

Young Ewes following the Ram eh? More like haram(sic)

There will be no space for youngish pieces of mutton like me

Why? Because ageism like everything and everwhere else runs through Torydom too!

He will alienate everyone if he ends up with a bossy britches bench full.

What on earth is going on?

Roger Dodger said...

Only in the minds of the most deluded left will the number of people wishing to become MPs exactly mirror the demographics of the country.

In the minds of the rest of the left, this doesn't matter. The end results have to mirror the exact demographics.

Nobody does piffle like them.

Mark Fulford said...

Can anybody tell me the m/f ratios if you only count MPs that don't have (or plan to have) children?

It is a very worth ambition to get more women into Parliament but, until fathers are more like mothers, we are selecting from a much smaller pool. Cameron’s shortlists sacrifice quality to produce an illusion of change.

Elliot Kane said...

I completely agree with you, Iain, and I applaud you for saying it. This kind of rubbish makes me far less likely to vote Conservative and I suspect I am not alone in that.

All-anything imposed shortlists are completely two-faced for any party that talks about localism and returning power to the people the way the Tories have lately AND runs entirely counter to true equality of opportunity.

The best candidate should always get the post, without exception. That should be the absolute rule for every party with no deviation and absolutely no fiddling by central office. There is no better guarantee of true equality than that.

If Cameron is going to be completely two-faced about something this easy to get right, how far can we trust him on anything?

He's fumbled the ball on Europe, now on this. This is not good.

Alan Douglas said...

If 30 % of applicants AND 30 % of women candidates are in place, I would say this is success. That more females don't come forward (don't WANT to come forward) is not something that should lead to engineering.

Look at the rave success of Blair's babes. Hewitt, Smith, Flint, Chipmunk and countless other stellar ministers.

Let us NOT go down the same road. What a nonsense that only a gay/Jew/aetheist can represent gays/Jews/aetheists. What about the many Moonies in this country - WHO will represent them ?

Alan Douglas

English First said...

"I don't disagree with the principle - we need more women and ethnic minorities in Parliament."


I live in England and I should be represented in the first instance by the most talented individual available and secondly and exclusively by people of English ethnicity. Male or female makes no difference to me. Mrs Thatcher, who I met prior to certain operations, was a very fine leader, who actually had big "balls" and was highly respected by the military!

But there I emphatically draw the line!

English First said...

Ian, I must congratulate you on having the balls to stand by YOUR principals! Well done! I do not always agree with everything you say, but in this case I pretty much do!

In the words of our once great patriot, "I do not necessarily agree with everything you say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it!"

And I would. Good on you!

Anonymous said...

A further warning that a vote for Cameron's tories is a vote for Labour-lite.

All Cameron is doing is splitting the conservative vote which should be fully behind UKIP.

Can the people of Britain fall for another Blair?

Jason O'Mahony said...

And yet, despite all this talk of merit, few women are actually chosen to run by the party. Doesn't that logically mean that Tory women are just not very good?
Or that the party will not select a woman no matter how good she is?

Fenrir said...

Dave has by adopting a policy of "all women shortlists" drawn the sting of the socialists calling the Tories mysoginists. He will insist on it in a few constituencies where it matters not a jot in terms of the outcome and get the best candidates in place where things really do matter.

As for your career Iain, I shouldn't worry just yet. You still have your business and can continue to influence things from the sidelines even if you can't dip directly into the public purse yourself.

strapworld said...

Why cannot local associations be left to decide who they want to represent them?

I have written many times that, especially in Cornwall and Devon, local people have a far better chance of being elected.

The more I see of David Cameron I worry. This mornings performance was over confident and totally against his promise to allow local people have more democracy. I read that, now, to mean 'as long as it complies with Cameron's dictates'

If, as is suggested, Mandleson pulls the rug from under Brown, prior to a general election, and the Labour Party get a new invigorated leadership then, sadly, Cameron will not have a chance. People do not trust him over the EU, now this!

Just what does this man Cameron believe in?

Disgusted of Cheam said...

50% of the population are women, how many Tory female MPs do u have? How representative are you?
Looking at the comments on your post.women do not have a chance in hell of getting past the selection panels with people like this on them. All male and inward looking.
Of course people should be selected on their ability.But when you see gender or sexual preference before you see the person ,thats not equality of opportunity.
If I had decided to give my floating vote to the Tories.This prejudice has sorted that out

Anonymous said...

Has the party considered that it might be the the local party apparatchiks who are non-representative of the population/electorate. Are they selecting according to the make up of their own selection committee?


Anonymous said...

Dear Tony Sharp - of course the country has huge problems to overcome.

Perhaps you can suggest how we conservatives solve them from opposition?

In any even the huge problems and the other issues you cite or not mutually exclusive. The Tory government you hope for will have a host of issues to face. Do you seriously expect them to face the electorate with no policy?

No sane reasons yet listed to suggest how we get more women candidates selected.
Lets be honest - these comments and howls of self serving anguish just show that there is a bias against women candidates. Just be honest and admit it. Then maybe we can move on to discuss a meaningful solution.

jailhouselawyer said...

Isn't Margaret Thatcher a good example of why all women shortlists are a bad idea?

Savonarola said...

A large % of women believe in being in the home as mother and housewife and feel the role as head of household being more importanted than some neutered standard para politico posing as someone who can make a difference.

There will always be a structural deficit of female candidates.

Mp's act more like social workers than legislators. Reduce number to 400. Power lies in Brusssels and Westminster. Mp's are deluded if they think they can make a difference other than getting the odd pavement resurfaced.

Being an MP is not a job. It is just a rather soft career option.

Mirtha Tidville said...

and you all thought `Dismal Dave` was a Tory??? just showing his true `Heir to Bliar`colours I`m afraid.....

Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct, Iain. Well said.

PS - good luck in your future attempts at selection.

Animal Magic said...

@Non Runner 2:35pm

And look what they ended up with in the cabinet. Jackie, Harriet, Yvette.... need I go on!

@trevorsden 3:24pm

Have you considered that the female psyche might not be into politics to quite the same degree as males? For example many more men than woman are interested in football. Many more woman than men are avid viewers of "Strictly Come Dancing".

Anonymous said...

Iain - I'm afraid I disagree with you.

The fact of the matter is women are massively under-represented in Parliament. In a perfect world candidates would be choosen on meritocratic system and women would make up 50%. The problem is, it's not a perfect world, and however much I dislike the idea of all woman shortlists, it is a far lesser evil than having women woefully unrepresented in Parliament. If you can come up with a better system then I'm all ears, but for now I accept this necessary evil.

Lawro said...

I really don't think the problem is as simplistic as some of the contributors suggest. Yes, in principle we are against positive discrimination, but how else are we going to ensure a more balanced field of candidates? Even Iain seems to appreciate that need by a grudging acceptance of a 50/50 list. I think it would benefit the Conservatives to be seen to come from a wider audience, as I think that's the real weakness at the moment. When things get dirty next year GB & Co will be taking advantage of that weakness if it's not addressed.

Bookseller said...

The problem is worse than just 30% of the list being women; it is that although there are some brilliant candidates out there - also many of them are so utterly awful. There are quite a few names, who I have known over many years [and eight yrs on the list] that keep on cropping up in shortlists for good seats who frankly I would not want as my parish councillor.

There are enough men who are not up to it, we don't need token anyones to add to it. The list needs strengthening by weeding as well as new talent. The latter is why Cameron opened it back up last May.

chablis4me said...

I don't think there should be any tinkering with shortlists.

We have an economic crisis of gargantuan proportions to deal with, and experienced Tory MPs (for many reasons) have anounced their intention to resign from the party in droves.

I'm all in favour of fresh blood, but come the next election we will have have a tanker full of it with masses of inexperienced newbies sitting in parliament.

Too large an intake of first-time fumblers in my opinion.

But since there's no other option I want those newbies to be the very best the party can offer the country, whatever their gender, ethnicity, or personal lifestyle. All those factors should be irrelevant to their candidacy.

Raw talent should be the yardstick; not tokenism of any sort to make up numbers.

In this case it's insulting to women that sex manipulation rather than meritocratic factors should even be considered by the Tories, of all people.

As a long time moderate Conservative voter who loathes Labour with a vengeance (so maybe I'm not so moderate after all!) the more trendy utterances I hear from Cameron the more uneasy I become.

By the way, if the Tories do firm up on their suggestion that they may tear up the BBC Charter mid-term they'll lose my support for sure. A deal is a deal. A charter is a charter. When I last looked the Tories seemed to be an honourable party.

They should not underestimate the affection the vast majority of people have for the BBC, in spite of its occasional cock-ups... rather fewer cock-ups I might add than governments make in power.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say this, but if you've ever met typical local Tory party members or any members of selection committees, you'll see Cameron's problem. (Think back to Militant Tendency's infiltration of Labour and then flip that thought on its head and apply it to the Tories.)

Surely, though, primaries with members of a constituency (not a constituency committee) choosing their candidate is far more democratic.

Perhaps, though PLATO has summed it up in the first post.

rosie said...

More votes for UKIP and the BNP.
The lib/Lab/Con continues to self destruct from PC gone mad.

Garfield said...

I am a female politician and I am against all-woman shortlists; or indeed any shortlists for that matter that favour one gender, race, sexual orientation, age, etc.

Wifflebammer said...

" jailhouselawyer said...

Isn't Margaret Thatcher a good example of why all women shortlists are a bad "

No, she was never on one.

You want to see why all women lists are bad look no further than the dross Labour elects, two words,

Harriet Harman

Short fat ugly balding bloke said...

I think there should be 100% short, fat, ugly, balding blokes shortlists

Worse and worserer said...

This is a real problem area.

On the one hand Labour got a short-term boost when they had their all women shortlists making them look new and inclusive, but in the longer term it becomes clear that many of these women are not there on ability.

It gets even worse when you're trying to allocate women to cabinet positions. Inevitably, given the smaller pool, you're having to appoint women who are totally out of their depth, with disastrous results.

More generally, the quality of people entering public life today just isn't what it used to be and there are very few who are capable of running a great office of state, or even the cut-down offices of state we have today.

In many ways we need to go back to basics, in terms of choosing leaders and political representatives. It's not supposed to be easy. The whole point is that it's supposed to be in the struggle for political position your mettle and character are tested; that only those with the necessary skills will rise to the top. Otherwise you just end up with administrators, bureaucrats and box-tickers, and that's unfortunately the way our political class has gone. We don't need bureaucrats as politicians because the civil service already performs this function. Politicians are meant to be the human common sense interface with the machine, and that is what we've lost. Most of these careerists are incapable of standing up to the machine, and as a result of Labour's identity selection they pollute every aspect of public life, from councils through the public sector to quangoes and parliament itself.

It's for these reasons that the contry is so poorly run at all levels as it is.

Compare the following with how our careerists respond today:

One of the few home secretaries who dominated his department rather than be cowed by it was Lord Whitelaw in the 1980s. He boasted how after any security lapse, the police would come to beg for new and draconian powers. He laughed and sent them packing, saying only a bunch of softies would erode British liberty to give themselves an easier job. He said they laughed in return and remarked that "it was worth a try".


Anonymous said...

declare an interest!

Anonymous said...

"Have you considered that the female psyche might not be into politics to quite the same degree as males? For example many more men than woman are interested in football." ---

Dear Animal magic.
Many thanks for making my case for me. And I hope Mr Dale is taking note of comments like yours - y'never know it might change his mind.

If someone had said that about black people they would be branded racist. Indeed they did used to say that about black people - that they were no good at football.

What an oik - if your remarks do not change peoples views then nothing will.

PS - I find your faith in the brilliance of men at politics quite touching. Men like Blair, Brown, Prescott, Milliband Major, Milliband Minor, Hoon, Speaker Martin, Balls ....

david williams said...

Hi Ian
I have been concerned for some time about the lack of short candidates on our short lists,as someone who is short(5'4")bald and 53 what is to be done for us!!!
Cllr David Williams
ps just Google Labour Blaenau Gwent and all women short lists and learn the lesson for free

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right Mr Dale.
Surely it should be the best person suitable for the post, regardless of sex, creed, height, race, age, eye-colour, number of toes, their favorite reading matter, their Granny's middle name, or any other factor.

Anonymous said...

Perverse politics: I’ve voted Conservative since 1979 and until today never questioned this compulsion. I’m a democrat and parliamentarian, and will expect far more probity from those backbenchers elected to our future government. As with the Blair Babes, I suspect women are preferred by Cameron because they’re assumed to be malleable, will do what they are told, are much less likely to rock the boat ... The country needs to be driven by our best talent; we do not deserve another cohort of yes men (or women).

Bob the Knob said...

Mediocracy over merit strikes again. Another excuse to vote BNP! Well not really, but you know what I mean ...

bewick said...

That seals it for me. After dithering on the referendum question. ignoring the immigration question now Dave presents Harmanesque equality proposals which USED to be illegal.
As an educated,able, reasonably well off, heterosexual, white indigenous male I now find that I am in a minority in virtually every sphere and actively discriminated AGAINST with no legal recourse.
So sorry Dave but I reckon my vote will now go elsewhere when it had been yours for the taking.

Mike Law said...


I'm with you on this. Having seen the damage such shortlists can do from a Labour Party perspective (West Ham had an all women shortlist after Tony Banks stood down and a lot of really good candidates - men and women - just gave up).

It's wrong.

Anonymous said...

The answer is not all women shortlists. If the conservative party is going to be more representative of the population it needs to look at the awful attitudes that are found in the associations. I come across frequent racist comments and derogatory comments towards women.

Vedette said...

After the performance of Blair's Babes, Political partys should regard the imposition of any kind of biased short list as the equivalent of ignoring an awful warning.

Tony said...

Dear Trevor's Den - let me address your points in turn.

Perhaps you can suggest how we conservatives solve them from opposition?

We cannot solve the issues from opposition. But we should be certainly saying how we would solve the issues when in power. Of this there has been a notable absence on a number of key issues.

In any even the huge problems and the other issues you cite or not mutually exclusive. The Tory government you hope for will have a host of issues to face. Do you seriously expect them to face the electorate with no policy?

I think you're building a strawman here Trevor. Read again the points I cited as evidence of drift in the party's approach. I want policies articulated so people know what we stand for. Ask most people what the Conservatives are for and the responses will be vague because they simply do not know. Right now it seems enough for the leadership to be for a Conservative government and against a Labour one. It's not good enough.

No sane reasons yet listed to suggest how we get more women candidates selected.
Lets be honest - these comments and howls of self serving anguish just show that there is a bias against women candidates.

Perhaps the question should be to ask why more women are not interested in becoming political representatives in the first place. It is absolutely wrong to suggest I am against women candidates. In fact I find your comment both patronising and insulting. I want the best candidates - irrespective of gender, race, sexuality, age or physical impairment.

Imposing an all-anything shortlist means there is every chance that the best candidate for the job is excluded from consideration on the basis of something over which they have no control, such as gender or race. When you can justify the possible exclusion of the best candidate in order to make up an arbitrary quota, come back to me.

Just be honest and admit it. Then maybe we can move on to discuss a meaningful solution.

I am being brutally honest. I want all constituencies to be able to back the best person for the job. All anything shortlists are not the answer. Women such as Priti Patel have shown they can fight on an equal footing and win because they are the best. It would be insulting to suggest other women can only succeed by excluding men from consideration.

Steve Tierney said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

Vedette said...

After the performance of Blair's Babes Political parties should regasd the imposition of any kind of biased short list as the equivalent of ignoring an awful warning.

Weygand said...

The inescapable logic of an argument for any closed list is that
a) Members of the special set are not talented enough to succeed on their own merit
b) The people selecting from the list are too stupid or prejudiced against the special set to select one of its members, without being compelled to do so.

So if Dave believes in the strength of the female Conservative candidates, it shows he doesn't have much faith in local associations.

And, of course, that's the point - but not a good one to make when you are about to try to mobilise them to fight an election.

What are the odds on "Independent Conservatives" standing against official candidates if this scheme were followed through?

Anonymous said...

open primaries were they way to go, this is step backwards to "Blair's babes".

but what politicians of all parties forget is they have to be elected first, it is always through the ballot box that the most damage to a political party can be done.

so if you disagree with the policy, dont vote for any candidate that supports it.

Roger Thornhill said...

Better to solve the problem of too few male primary teachers before trying to solve this.

The obscene barriers to them and the impact and damage of their lack towers over any impact caused by too few women in the HoC.

To say men cannot represent women is sexist, btw.

Ian Thorpe said...

Aren't all women shortlists sexist? Aren't political parties supposed to be against sexism?

If Dave is serious about this he'll lose more votes than he will gain. UKIP / Lib Dem coalition to form the next government anyone?

Anonymous said...

join ukip - you know it makes sense - the Tories are desperate to ape NuLie NULAB. Come to the light.

Anonymous said...

Watching Parliament for some hours about the constitutional reform bill. For a lot of the time NOT ONE women present. (My wife's comment) They are at home making hubbies tea. She has the same comtempt for womens only list as well.


Joe Public said...

Get the best of both worlds.

Consider some nice "LadyBoy" candidates.

Causer said...

Here here great post. read my points here

Anonymous said...

"As a Conservative I believe in equality of opportunity. I believe in a meritocracy"


But what if there is a bias in those choosing the candidate which means that there is no effective meritocracy? That the second best or worse gets through simply because they are a man? How do you solve that problem?

Gordon Slocombe said...

If Dave thinks all-women shortlists are a good idea because women are under-represented, he is arguing strongly for proportional representation.

Which he is against.


Unknown said...

Cliche alert.



Anonymous said...

Qutas are socialist are they not.
EU socialism (christian democrats).

peter_dtm said...

Apartheid was positive discrimination.

All discrimination stinks.

If (as reported) only 30$ of applicants are women and the final tally is 30% of candidates are women I would have thought that even the most stupid socialist could be lead to understand that that indicates the selection is perfectly fair.

If there is a problem it is in persuading people to STAND for selection.

And there the problem. Some groups do 'getting involved' soem do 'charity' some groups do NOT do policing. And guess which group will never be represented in parliament ?

How disgusting; how dare you all discriminate so obviously against this totally un-represented group !

Yup; the unemployed; they can NEVER be an MP just how disgraceful is that ?

What stupid stupid idea; get rid of it; I for one will never vote for any organisation that practices such blatant sexual discrimination; its sick and morally evil

Tell Dave; he is supposed to be a conservative not a self serving ego tripping socialist pig

True Belle said...

Joanne Cash has missed the point. Politics will end up being like a ladies golf locker room (behind closed doors of course)or a prefects common room!

The Tory party are going rather soft in the head, some morphing going on I fear ! How aweful to end up with shrieking men and baritone women , ughhhhh.

I think a board of Zoologists should sit in on selections, and interview all candidates!

Anonymous said...

No point selecting anyone who don't then get elected and if they are not the best candidate...

Sorry Dave but it looks like your marginal in Stafford has one less vote than last time if you continue with this rubbish

Anonymous said...

Another day, another reason to vote UKIP.

Does Cameron want to win the general election or does he have some sort of death wish.

Surely he hasn't under-estimated the simmering anger out there, just waiting for an outlet?

The conservative-minded are well and truly in the Carswell/Hannan camp and if Cameron fails to notice this, he could get a nasty surprise at the GE, as voters flock to smaller parties and independents!

Magical_Mist said...

Stop whining. Most seats have already selected candidates, so those remaining will (attempt) to redress the balance between male and female.

It's a big problem in politics, and this particular solution will go some way to addressing that problem.
If elected, the Conservative party will more than likely have the most representative parliamentary party.
I'm sure you won't find that a problem in six months time will you?

John C said...

If you look at 'Blair's babes' from the 1997 intake you can see what all women short-lists produced. Not many of them were high flyers.

Don't forget - the Tories brought us the first female PM at a time when all the institutions that supported the Labour party were very male dominated.

I bet the Tories will bring us the first non-white PM also. The current high profile Labour non-white ministers and MPs don't inspire me much. Place-men to a man and woman.

Kate said...

I'm a young, female Conservative councillor and find the idea of all-women shortlists pretty offensive. A woman selected in such a way would never be viewed as truly deserving of the seat.

The current situation isn't ideal, but I'd rather women kept fighting to be treated equally than be the subject of positive discrimination.

St Bruno said...

I think all members and prospective members of the UK Parliament of both houses should be Tory, Scottish, and women, full stop, end of problem.

All other people namely mainly white, Christian or Jew, straight males who take alcohol and smoke should be left at home on paternity leave, or otherwise made to do as they are told at great expense or expenses, after CRB checks of course.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Magical Mist - stop whining.

As for the likes of 'Fausty' - you are not a Conservative - all you are interested in looking up your own backside. You are seriously saying this is a reason to vote for that ignorant pompous fart Farage??

Get a life - or risk spending the rest of your present one under Gordon Brown.

@ Tony Sharp -

I am not keen on any only short lists. but Tories are failing in any other methods. The reality of this plan is going to be very limited.

As for what ypou have said -
We have not seen the manifestos yet.
Indeed everyone has said how brave tories have been is saying what they have said already.
You are utterly insane in your, I have to say, miserable grumblings. There is no drift in the party's positions. What we do have is a terrible economic position which will men some terribly unpopular decisions to be taken. (Wake up to reality - things are going to be tough tough tough). There are very few clever things to promise.

'be honest' -- ever heard of 'politics' matey? Tories have to show they are open to all and doing everything to help not hinder.

Some of the comments coming out show how hugely blinkered the party still is. What a list will do in the few seats remaining is allow the good women candidate to get round the (what I now see as) obvious bigotry in the selection process.

I repeat wake up. Lets face it there is precious little evidence of 'talent' being selected under the old ways. A lot of absurd MPs have been exposed by the expenses scandal.

And where did this call come from? The Speaker’s Conference, set up to address the under-representation of women and minority groups in Parliament. get that? and mega political brains like you and your fellow travellers (listening Iain) expect Cameron just to shrug his shoulders??

We have a 17% lead - is that down to you or me or Iain or the berk with a moat or the other one with a duck pond??

No - its down to CAMERON. Wake up you total idiotic dopes.

Anonymous said...

Dave will be backed all the way-by Labour.
Tone did it so it must be right.

SHB said...

I hope David isn't turning into Harriet Harman.

It's quite simple, if you want to stand and you think you are good enough, stand and win or loose on your own merits and the force of your argument.

Providing you are lawfully able to stand in the first place then it doesn't matter what you are or where you have come from.

Meanwhile the country continues to burn to the ground.

Elliot Kane said...

To anyone wondering how to bypass the innate prejudices of the various party committees, I would have thought the method was obvious: open primaries, as espoused by Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell.

Give local people a voice in candidate selection and you will likely find the quality of candidates will improve significantly, too. No more appointments on a nod and a wink.

That's how you deal with inequality in the selection process. Because you can bet anyone who cares enough about their local politics to vote will want only the best possible candidate representing their interests.

tory boys never grow up said...

"As a Conservative I believe in equality of opportunity"

Unfortunately most of your party members don't - how else can you explain how they select such a low proportion of women candidates. Why haven't we heard you rail agaiunst this injustice before - and come up with any alternatives to all women shortlists in order to deal with it??

Unknown said...

In the Lib-Dems, Constitutional decisions like this are not made at the whim of the leader. They are made by Conference. A few years back when this proposal was made it was defeated, overwhelmingly due to the activism of the women members of the youth wing. Instead resources have been ploughed into selection and training of candidates who then apply to constituencies. This has not, it must be said, increased numbers to New Labour levels. But it is gradually working, even in target seats. Perhaps we might also move away from the idea that women candidates are the leader's "Babes".

Anonymous said...

lets have an elected second chamber and make parliament more democratic... Lets kick out some of the old Tory farts who sit there

Anonymous said...

lets have a revolution and scrap parliament for a more democratic system - power to the people an all.

Tony said...

Sorry Trevor, but you're talking utter nonsense, both on the voters' view of our position and on all women shortlists. Show me where everyone is saying how brave the Tories have been on pronouncements so far. And tell me how the Tories are 'failing'.

Where is it said that Parliament should comprise a 50% split between men and women? How patronising it is to presume that women want to enter parliament in the same numbers as men, and if they do not that special provision should be made to increase their numbers.

In any case, looking at recent selections and considering the number of women who seek to become candidates, women are already being selected in greater proportion than men.

Encouraging more women to get involved in representative politics is fine. But excluding candidates who may be better suited for the role, just because of an accident of birth, is folly. Selection should be on merit, not gender.

Spare me any further response unless you can do so without resorting to insult and advancing your opinions as facts.

Amanda McLean said...

You're absolutely right Iain.

The reason there are not more women being selected are because not enough are applying. Until we address the issues that discourage many women, the problem won't be solved.

And dare I say that women are simply making choices about their priorities when deciding not to apply?

The Grim Reaper said...

Agreed with all that, really.

Sorry to hear you're having trouble with some anonymous window-licker who wants to post abuse on the blog. The delete/reject buttons are your best friend sometimes.

Mr Angry said...

Iain, you are totally right and the point still remains that if Cameron discards all semblance of Conservatism then he will destroy the party just as Nu Lab have ultimately destroyed their party.

If the Cameroons are wondering why their poll lead isn't greater then perhaps they need to pause for a moment and consider what they are doing to their activist base, their membership and their core vote, as well as worrying so very much about being seen to be fully paid up members of the liberal consensus that is such anathema to all genuine conservatives (with a small c).

Lady Astor's son-in-law said...

BluLabour = NuLabour = BluLabour ...

CallMeDave : "heir to Blair"

word verification "shest"
which is close enough.

Anonymous said...


Oh, I'm a conservative alright. The trouble is the Conservatives no longer espouse conservative principles.

There are some, I'll grant you, but if you look at the whole, the Conservatives have become 'progressives'.

Compare the definitions of "progressive" and "conservative" and you'll see the discrepancy.

Then compare the vision that the electorate wants to what the Conservatives are offering (in muted tones), and the discrepancies between the Tory agenda and that of the electorate become all the more obvious.

You are Mr Tory Gullible and I claim my £5.

I am as likely to vote for the Conservatives who purport to be (but are not), as I am likely to vote for Labour purporting to be conservative.

Try as I might, I can't see Cameron as a true conservative.

I do not like the status quo and will vote to oust it.

Anonymous said...

Iain you're wrong on this one and you know it really.

All this "give it to the best candidate" is such simplistic pitiful, ignorance really- as if you can *really* tell, as if Moat Boy and the rest were the *best* candidates when they were chosen usually, on all white male shortlists- ironically missed by some here.

Recruitment & selection is an incredibly complex business. Candidates usually give you one thing but not another. You have to weigh up relative strengths and weaknesses.

In my experience anyway Tory selections usually descend into an exercise in voting against somebody. That's why DC has no choice here but to kick us into C21

I sense many of those who'd claim to be switching their vote over this may be *pretending*

Anonymous said...

Three polls last night all showed the Tories with a 17% lead. I'm not keen on all-women shortlists either but David Cameron deserves our loyalty because the outstanding job he's doing at leading the Conservatives back to government.

Angus Reid/pb.com
Con 40% Lab 23% LD 20%
Con 380 Lab 184 LD 55 Nat 10 Min 3
Con maj 110

Con 44% Lab 27% LD 18%
Con 395 Lab 192 LD 33 Nat 9 Min 3
Con maj 140

Con 43% Lab 26% LD 19%
Con 390 Lab 189 LD 41 Nat 9 Min 3
Con maj 130

Yorkshire Tory said...

So it turns out that Dave really is a Blair-clone, a politician who believes in imposing his ideology on the political process so that it comes up with the sort of results he wants. That's not Conservatism.

1. Countries where party leaders select candidates and the party constituencies do not tend to have weak democracies.

2. As other bloggers point out, doing this on one issue logically entails permitting it on others perceived to be of equal importance.

3. Could it be that Dave prefers a debate on this issue -- where he can turn the tables on his opponents by calling them blimps, misogynists, dinosaurs or whatever to having one on a referendum for the Lisbon Treaty?

4. The thought occurs to me, vote UKIP this time, have a hung parliament, and we just might get rid of Dave and then as Rees Mogg says have another general election.

If this is all unfair Dave, prove me wrong by acting as your party faithful want you to do. We are in a majority you know.

Lobelia Proudfood said...

Anonymous, Dave has done a good job, yes, but Labour and Brown are mainly responsible for the Conservative lead in the polls. Governments lose elections, remember?

The disgruntlement among Conservatives against Cameron has few parallels among earlier cases of opposition leaders between swept to victory on a rising tide as an incumbent party collapses. If he were savvier he would be paying more attention than he seems to be doing. The disillusion has started long before he has even won power.

Instead of a response from him, we find contributions here, presumably written by Conservative tyros, research assistants and the like which simply say "Shut up and trust him." That's a very bad sign for the future.

I'm all for more women --and whatever the electors want-- in Parliament and public life. But as several bloggers above have pointed out, the undemocratic principle of positive discrimination got us landed with fine high quality democratic specimens such as Jacqui, Yvette, Hariette and co.

Placemen and placewomen make for low standards and corruption, don't they?

The principle of "You can chose, but only what we think you should chose" also landed us with the second Irish referendum.

Good on you Iain for speaking up--and all the other Tory candidates and councillors, especially the women, who have also done so on this blog.

rosie said...

Lucky folk in Buckingham - able to vote for a Nigel Farage.
I suggest that conservative men get some balls and where there is an all woman shortlist they stand an independent Tory bloke as did a Labour hero, who won.
Watching Cameron on replay denounce all women shortlists which he has now imposed, brings home to even the thickest tory that he is indeed exactly what he claimed. ',Heir to Blair'.
Tories you have been scammed.

Vienna Woods said...

About a year ago I made several postings here about my doubts over Cameron’s leadership, in particular his “ideas man” approach to leadership. For a while he seemed to be getting his act together, but suddenly it’s revert to type and he’s off again with his sound-bites which are so off the mark as to be embarrassing. Iain is quite correct in his analysis of this quite idiotic announcement which has never been bounced off anyone with any common sense and rushed into the media before anyone has a chance to say, “Hold it, let’s think this one through”. I’m now very concerned that the current Conservative popularity has more to do with Labour’s mismanagement than an enthusiastic new band of followers. It’s wake-up time Dave! Time to connect with real people. Do the things expected of you like telling the populace exactly how you are going to tackle the EU problem and several other issues which you are deliberately avoiding. Leaving any of this for later is going to be too little, too late. So come off the fence dear chap and leave the silly side issues alone – they’re unimportant and unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

My heart sank when I heard this. I am a father of two strong women, both successful. They would be insulted to be patronised in this way. Cameron's problem is that he has never worked in the real world-alongside competent women. How many women were there in the Bullingdon Club? Exactly. His views on women are out of date. I feel as though I have suddenly lost anyone to vote for.

Anonymous said...

I think Dave is doing the right thing on all women lists.Following labour on this issue and others like keeping tax credits,minimum wage,winterfuel payments, surestart,NHS spending etc,and staying in europe shows good leadership.

Anonymous said...

Unlike people here, Dave does not have the luxury of being able to pretend that the status quo reflects any meritocracy at all and that it doesn't have massive inbuilt disadvantages for those who aren't white men.

Everybody has worked that out across the world apart from a few saloon bar Blimps populating this page.

Linking this issue to Lisbon, hoping that a hung parliament will somehow lead to a more right wing government, is laughable.

Dave is going moderate because to get 40% he has to. The nuts all left the ship in 97 with Goldsmith and it's no use whining now and pretending you're still on the team somehow.

Anonymous said...

What Dave is doing is connecting with real people.

It's exactly the hardcore backward regressive grousers on here who already are dead set in their ways that he doesn't need to reach.

Normal people are looking for the Conservatives to move into the twenty-first century

Vote UKIP, get Gordon.

Cath said...

Do we know what proportion of applicants for winnable seats are from women? Surely only then can we really judge whether there is real bias in the system.

My hunch is that there IS some bias against women in the selection process as well as some bias against anyone who isn't a white, straight, youngish, rich male but this has only been made worse by the introduction of primaries and this is why Cameron is now panicking. I applied for a few seats myself years ago and still believe that there is no more bias in the average conservative selection panel than there is across the population as a whole. The trouble is there are rather too many knuckle draggers across the whole population.

Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion on how this idea may have come about.... perhaps David Cameron is having an affair with Harriet Harperson.

Vienna Woods said...

Anonymous 10:32 wrote,

"Dave is going moderate because to get 40% he has to."

I'd much rather that he was honest, adhered to his promises and did what was correct, with a published agenda ratified by the party. We had all this all-things-to-all-men-nonsense with Blair and I for one am not going to vote for a clone of that monster

Anonymous said...

"I'd much rather that he was honest, adhered to his promises and did what was correct, with a published agenda ratified by the party. We had all this all-things-to-all-men-nonsense with Blair and I for one am not going to vote for a clone of that monster"

......and so you'd presumably also much rather that he lost.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Fascinating that almost all those who disagree with the post are anonymous or ad hoc IDs.

JS said...

You cannot afford to take anyone but the best for the job whoever that may be. To select a candidate using other criteria will always put a burden on everyone else who has to deal with them. After all, the job isn't over (I hope) just because they get elected.

Anonymous said...

"It was thought that Open Primaries would also enable more women to be chosen. That hasn't quite turned out to be the case. Of the last seven, only one (Totnes) has chosen a woman."

Odd that you didn't mention this when attempting to score a few points on the recent Radio 5 debate on open primaries.Ever the politician. Eh Iain?

Sean said...

WMMMs are a mass distraction. It really helps to be on a favoured list, whether you are male or female.

Anonymous said...

As one of the Anonymous crowd, I do it because I don't have a blog or an online id account.

To be honest I don't even know what one is or what you'd have to do. I'm not very interested in techie stuff. I just read and then type and then go.

If people used their real names here I might think it was de rigeur to do so but really what's the difference between calling yourself "anonymous" or something similarly meaningless e.g. "wrinkled weasel" ultimately?

Summer said...

My mother, a lifelong Conservative member until a couple of years ago, has just called me, to get the number for Conservative Head Office. She doesn't want all women shortlists, she is in fact totally against them, and she is going to give them a piece of her mind.

I agree with her: when I saw this yesterday I was furious. I'm a woman, I have my own business, I'm well educated, I could well stand as a PPC, people have asked me. But I do not want to. I am keen to make society a better place,but I don't want to get involved in the back stabbing, the negotiation and the double dealing that is politics.

Just because women are not MP's does not mean we do not have a role or indeed play our part in society. But we do it in different ways, ways we are happier with.

I want my MP to be THE BEST, I don't care what they do in bed, what sex they are, or even what race they are - as long as they love Britain, our history and want to the their best.

Cameron is an idiot on this. We need talent, and honesty, and cleaverness, and patriotism in parliament

Anonymous said...

the a list did not do you any favours in maidstone.

Elliot Kane said...

Douglas Carswell on all-women shortlists and the differences between open primaries and caucases (Which is what Bracknell was, apparently):


Wrinkled Weasel said...

Dear Idiot Anon

I have been posting as Wrinkled Weasel since 2005, and on this blog since 2006.

Regular bloggers know who I am and what I think. Anybody can find out my real name without too much difficulty.

The difference, since I have to point it out, is the importance of having an identity at all. You are merely Anonymous, which means nothing whatsoever, apart from the fact that your opinion counts for nothing.

People with IDs get known, and frankly, it is much easier to make sense of what they are saying and gauge what they say on past form. It also means they can be held to account.

People with their own blogs and their own IDs get far more credibility, since they are contributors and not bystanders.

If you cannot deal with the technology and take the few steps needed to establish an online identity, you had better go back to the care home.

Most Anons only appear to hurl abuse, just like you.

You can call me whatever you like, but don't try and pretend you have anything to contribute by being too lazy to get an ID

Anonymous said...

I simply came to a Conservative blog and defended the leader of the Conservative party;

I haven't hurled any abuse at Weasel or anyone else. S/He is hurling vile insults and abuse and then trying to accuse me of it. That's dishonest and nasty and s/he owes me an apology.

If Weasel believes that only bloggers are entitled to have an opinion that's possibly why that blog is unsuccessful. Iain Dale sets the rules here not Weasel however and presumably he wants normal people who don't go online much to drop in and comment from time to time. Iain Dale is owed an apology as well.

Anonymous said...

I have personal experienced this nonsense as an e xmember of the labour party.
Many mediocre women were selected some were be reasonable and competent But this simple hit and miss approach to candidate selection based on their gender is wrong as it discriminates against men.
When I joined, candidates were selected on ability reegardless of gender.
Therefore I shall not be supporting this labour party policy propsed for our party.

There are many other reasons for our pary not supporting this new labour party pary as we are not a pseudo labour party.

Mrs Clayton said...

If you read a job advertisement that was obviously one that you qualified for regardless of gender, race,sexuality or religion....How would you feel if you were discounted from applying or being considered because of any of those?

Are men excluded from the law?

I want the best to vote for. I don't care whether they are gay straight, female, male or whether they worship a boot in a carpark....it doesn't matter to me. I want an honest MP who will work for me and reflect my views

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Anon 7:28

You are so out of your depth here.

Here is Iain Dale exactly one year ago:

"If you do post anonymously, please use some sort of pen name or pseudonym. It's quite difficult to follow a debate if half the people are called Anonymous."

A lot of people use anonymity and ad hoc identities to

1. Make multiple posts under different names

2. Post abuse (trolling)

3. pretend to be grass roots Conservatives (astro-turfing)

A lot of discussion has been had about whether to allow anonymous posting. This is because it is open to abuse.

Comments about people, particularly if they are controversial, should generally be attributable You have no way of proving that anything you have posted belongs to you. I most certainly do, and stand by it. Anybody who emails me personally gets a reply. It means we are all part of an online community that actually has a stake in each other's well being. something proved quite forcefully over the last few days.

I cannot add anymore.

See the difference now?

Anonymous said...


Peter Thomas said...

Well, the Conservatives can't count on my vote anymore for more important reasons than all female shortlists, but it's this kind of nonsense that confirms that the decision to withold my vote from them is the correct one.

Mrs Clayton said...

Oh and by the way 'anonymous' you hope that we view you as an outspoken member who choose not to give a fakje name...let alone a real one....anonymous has, in this blog, authorised that ENGLND IS FOR THE ENGLISH!...WHITE ON WHITE, and that homosexuals should die....that is who you align yourself to when you chuse not to reveal yourself....and you are allowed that choice - don't expext me to respect it too.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful news. Soon hopefully we will also have the all LGBT shortlists. As a bisexual woman I'm bound to get a plum seat. Fantastic!

Actually I'm not on the candidates' list and although I have thought about applying this really puts me off. Whatever I do in life I want to be selected on my own merits and not because my gender and/or sexuality tick boxes. All women shortlists are patronising and counter-productive.

Quietzapple said...

You still do not agree that the situation where Lord Ashcroft has employees in Tory Central Office who will help decide short lists and how these will be disposed of is a more significant aspect of this statement than some opinion polls (for example)?

Those gone by who declared their independence from the whip will curse your name.

Anonymous said...

as a tory supporter and a woman i think all women short lists are a terrible idea, the labour 1997 influx are embarassingly bad and have done nothing to further the cause of women in parliament and beyond. they are so patronising and middle of the road, jacqi smith? christ

barbara castle, shirley williams, margaret thatcher awe inspiring women.

the whole thing is fast becoming a joke:
open primary
local GP
1000s of loyal local supporters---job done.

Where do these people think they are going to get decent GPs to replace them? whyshould they be good MPs/ stoate hasnt set the world alight.

I was really sorry you didnt get Bracknell Iain you are a star.
and if we get all female shortlists to be representative we should get a whole range of exclusive shortlists.

Adrian said...

My pro-all-women shortlists blogpost: http://ukelect.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/all-women-shortlists/