Candidates and diversity

The Tories are claiming a partial success for their campaign to get more female and minority ethnic candidates. Since David Cameron became leader, 32% of newly selected candidates were female and 9% from minority ethnic communities. The Tories plan to go further by introducing 50/50 gender balanced shortlists and increasing the proportion of women on their ‘A’ list of candidates from 50% to 60%, in what they describe as “positive action”. However, what are the locals parties doing and what should they be doing to address the issue?In terms of the top positions, only 3 of the 18 MPs are women (2 Unionist and 1 Nationalist) and 16 out of the 108 MLA’s (4 Unionist, 2 Alliance and 10 Nationalist). There is no minority ethnic politician at a senior or council level (AFAIK).

  • Rebecca Black

    Ann Widdecombe wasn’t too pleased about Camerons efforts, she was interviewed about it and said that she reckons women should have to fight their way through the ranks and get to the top on merit alone as she and Thatcher did. She went as far as to say it was an insult to women. Have to say, she makes a valid point.

  • Rebecca Black
  • Bob Wilson

    Ann Widdecombe is coming over to support and address the Northern Ireland Tories in a few weeks and I look forward to her comments!

  • Bushmills

    William Ress-Mogg did quite a good article about this suggesting basically that the A-listers weren’t particularly A-grade material and were selected on the basis of sex/ethnicity.

  • Rebecca Black

    “Ann Widdecombe is coming over to support and address the Northern Ireland Tories in a few weeks and I look forward to her comments!”

    Cool, when is she coming over?

    What do you think about your leaders latest move then Bob? Do you think the representation problem can be solved by promoting women and discriminating over men in the process?

  • Bob Wilson

    Friday 15th September

    I like it about as much as I like 50:50 police recruitment in NI 😉 Not a lot. Ironically the Party is on record as opposing the 50:50 set up in the police!

    I think there are longer term solutions but if Cameron is a man in a hurry like all political leaders and if I was in his position…

    Women’s involvement in politics needs to be actively promoted ie more than platitudes about equality. And nowhere more than Northern Irealnd

  • Animus

    So because two women make it in politics, all women have the same, equal chances? Typical pulling the ladder up behind comments. I would say Widdicombe’s success is a good reason to introduce positive action measures.

    While I agree that merit should be the overriding criterion, if women don’t get the chance to shine at local level, how will they ever gain access to national politics?

  • This concept isn’t new to politics- after all, didn’t Labour controversially have something similar in place some years ago? My personal observation is that both men and women oppose this kind of positive dicrimination- men because they feel that they are being disadvantaged against on the basis of their gender, regardless of their ability; women because, if successful, their achievements are somewhat undermined by the fact that they got ‘extra help’ over their male colleagues, rather than being successful on merit alone.

    Efforts clearly need to be made to make positions of power and responsibility more accessable to telented women. The biggest problem is the changing of mindsets- there are far too many (usually old) men who see women as a threat and resist their right to move up the scale. These backward fools need to be sidelined, as greater diversity would help any political party flourish by making it more representative of the people from whom it requires electoral support.

  • Rebecca Black

    “I think there are longer term solutions but if Cameron is a man in a hurry like all political leaders and if I was in his position… ”

    Surely its better to take the time, find the right women and promote them through the party rather than grabbing a crowd of women and getting them to say cheese for the camera?

    Looks a little opportunistic and insincere.

  • Animus

    Couldn’t agree more Rebecca – look at what happened with Blair’s Babes, as they were called. A bunch of very talented women, but he was so pleased with himself that they all ended up only being known as women, and not for their individual political ambitions or positions.

    Name a politician who doesn’t take the opportunistic approach though. Some are just better than others at hiding it.

  • bertie

    This is pathetic and any woman with a bit of self respect wouldn’t want anything to do with it.

  • Rebecca
    A lot of sympathy with your view but it is a case of principle and pragmatism colluding – and pragmatism winning.
    In his defence he isnt ducking the issue – as I save dealing with it pragmatically.
    Hopefully it will send a strong signal.

    Not that I accusing you of this but to be honest how many other ‘professions’ actually turn the light on their employment practices with regard to women – precious few.