18 December 2005

Why Cameron's drive for more women will fail.

Cameron will only succeed in getting a lot more female and ethnic candidates on the shortlist not actual parliamentary candidates and MPs.

When faced with the shortlist, most of the racist, sexist Tory selection panels will proclaim their liking for more women candidates etc and then will choose white men as their candidates. Their logic will be; it's fine in principle to have more women etc, but in our constituency the best candidate is so and so, who happens to be a white man.

This was the same problem the Labour Party had until it applied all women shortlists. All the best will in the world will not make that much difference until you do something practical that actually works. All women shortlists work, Cameron's approach will look good and improve the Tories image, but it won't make any difference in practise.

20 comments:

  1. racist, sexist Tory selection panels

    The Conservative Party entered the last election with its two most senior figures coming from an ethnic minority. I have yet to see any other party do that.

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  2. However many female or minority candidates the Tories trot out at election times (I believe they had the most ethnic minority candidates last May - although I may be wrong), will that change the fact their members remain elderly, middle class and white?

    Or that their policies are aimed at the perceived views of that very specific group, and despite Cameron's protestations will continue to be at least until this new raft of policy reviews are finished?

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  3. Tories may not discriminate against Jewish people, but you do all other ethnic minorities and females, if the evidence of your overwhelming number of white male MPs are anything to go by.

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  4. you [discriminate against] all other ethnic minorities and females

    Neil, I do not think politics should be a competition about how many ethnic minority or female candidates each party fields. But perhaps you might like to check out this article at Black Link describing how the Conservatives fielded more ethnic minority candidates than Labour at the last election. Note the former deputy leader of Merton council's accusation of "institutionalised racism" in the Labour Party. I don't actually believe that that is true - but it's a very easy accusation to throw about.

    Only on Wednesday I was talking to one of the 2005 ethnic minority Conservative parliamentary candidates, a young Asian man. He seems to spend an awful lot of his time campaigning for a party which, according to you, discriminates against him. Why would he do that? Are you actually interested in whether he feels discriminated against or not? Isn't he in a better position to judge?

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  5. "Note the former deputy leader of Merton council's accusation of "institutionalised racism" in the Labour Party. I don't actually believe that that is true"

    Why don't you believe it's true? Isn't he more likely to know?

    Did you ask this 'young Asian man' you refer to, what his experiences of racism in the Tory party have been like? I would be surprised if he hasn't experienced overt racism from what I know of your party members, and overt racism is just the tip of the iceberg to all the hidden racism that goes on.

    The fact you put nearly all your ethnic candidates (bar 2) in seats they couldn't win tells me everything about the Tories commitment to equality.

    Of course there is racism in the Labour party, but it pales into insignificance to your lot, who let the racists write their manifesto.

    You can't fix a problem until you have the honesty to admit there is a problem. Most of the people in the Tories won't even admit racism exists (unless of course it's allegedly against white people, in which case your lot shout it from the rooftops).

    Until you start properly criticising your racists and sexists, instead of tolerating and sometimes exulting them, I won't have any faith that your party are serious about addressing this problem.

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  6. And the only female prime minister this country has ever seen was a member of which party?

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  7. And there is probably more chance of the first black party leader being Tory as well.

    It's called triangulation, using image or rhetoric to overcome perceived weaknesses.

    Which is why Labour can get away with talking tougher on terrorism than the Tories (indeed it is a vote winner).

    Thatcher, was entirely superficial as far as advancing women's rights, indeed she was probably detrimental. Just as Howard would have been detrimental to asylum seekers, inspite of his dad being one.

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  8. Why don't you believe it's true? Isn't he more likely to know?

    I don't believe that the Labour Party is institutionally racist for fielding fewer ethnic minority comments than the Conservatives, which seemed to be what the comment was implying. Of course, the gentleman may have come across real racism in the party, and I am not in a position to know that.

    Did you ask this 'young Asian man' you refer to, what his experiences of racism in the Tory party have been like?

    No, I didn't, because the meeting was about an entirely different matter, because I'd only just met him, and because pouncing on his racial difference during the conversation would have been gauche and completely out of context. If I were an Asian candidate, I think I might feel patronised and less accepted if people slipped my race into every single conversation rather than treating me like everyone else.

    The fact you put nearly all your ethnic candidates (bar 2) in seats they couldn't win tells me everything about the Tories commitment to equality.

    This shows why sheer numbers are rarely a good indicator of discrimination, or the lack of. As you probably know, it is often a good idea during election time to field a candidate who is local - it can make a real difference. Conservative safe seats tend to be rural - and the areas with the greatest numbers of ethnic minorities are urban. The candidate I met, for example, stood in an (urban) area which he had a personal connection to. It is a bit of a presumption to automatically assume that racism - and not other causal factors - are at play.

    Of course there is racism in the Labour party, but it pales into insignificance to your lot, who let the racists write their manifesto.

    I think it is unconstructive to turn immigration into an issue which cannot even be discussed, because if you try, people automatically call you a racist. It is also peculiar to call the son of an immigrant racist for even acknowledging that immigration is an issue.

    Most of the people in the Tories won't even admit racism exists (unless of course it's allegedly against white people, in which case your lot shout it from the rooftops).

    I'm not in denial about the existence of racism - I can just see how it gets exaggerated and distorted and used as a weapon against us in a knee-jerk fashion. I think that is facile and self-serving and stifles debate. I don't think there is anything wrong with pointing out that sometimes there is also racism against white people - double standards are unhealthy and breed resentment. We should expect non-racist attitudes from all citizens - and from our public institutions.

    Until you start properly criticising your racists and sexists, instead of tolerating and sometimes exulting them, I won't have any faith that your party are serious about addressing this problem.

    Well, I would criticise the racists and sexists if I had actually come across any. Not really sure what you mean about "exulting". And I won't hold my breath for you to have any faith in our party about anything.

    Regarding sexism, incidentally, I did find it ironic that after all the hundreds of Conservative sympathisers who have visited my own blog, the first patronising comments I got were from a Labour supporter - your good self: "Try and keep an open mind and you will learn a lot". Thanks. You also implied that I had only been interested in a certain book as a "fashion accessory" rather than taking the time to read it. Perhaps you assumed that because I am a female and under thirty I am politically ignorant and have a vacuous mind? Or perhaps I am reading too much into the comments?

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  9. "I don't believe that the Labour Party is institutionally racist"

    Why not? I believe it is.

    Is it because you don't want to admit that the Tories are institutionally racist?

    "If I were an Asian candidate, I think I might feel patronised and less accepted if people slipped my race into every single conversation rather than treating me like everyone else."

    How would you know? You just assume. Avoiding a subject because you find it awkward can be even worse than talking about it. As you didn't ask this guy, you have no way of knowing what his experience is, so stop talking for him.

    "Conservative safe seats tend to be rural - and the areas with the greatest numbers of ethnic minorities are urban"

    This is undoubtedly true and is part of the reason but, have you ever asked yourself why the Tories can't win seats with large ethnic minority populations?

    "Well, I would criticise the racists and sexists if I had actually come across any."

    So you are seriously trying to tell me, you have never heard anything remotely racist or sexist said by any member of your party?

    "Perhaps you assumed that because I am a female and under thirty I am politically ignorant and have a vacuous mind?"

    It's comments like the following that make me think you were/are politically ignorant (I hope that doesn't sound too insulting).

    "What ACTUALLY made me join the Conservative Party? I felt that Labour....[negative, negative, etc.]"

    "Conservative policies which I actually like? Well, as you know we are going through something of a period of transition in giving shape to our policies, so I can't be overly specific - I don't exactly have a checklist in front of me."


    Can you understand why I think you are negative and ignorant of politics when you don't expound any positive policies?

    Just name one Tory policy you like please?

    You then go on to list why you hate public services and want them cut. We can all find fault with something. There are plenty of problems with public service efficiency, that does not lead to the conclusion that they are bad. Inefficiency is still only a small percentage of the total.

    There are plenty of things wrong with giving massive tax cuts that benefit the well off.

    People will spend their money extremely badly. If we want to ensure a decent level of expenditure on health and education and other essential public services, it has to come from taxation.

    I'd rather 10% wasted on bureaucracy if it ensures good public services, than 80% wasted on burgers, alcohol, second homes and yachts etc.

    The reason I rounded so heavily on 'No Logo' is I think it is a book that just scratches the surface of a subject. There are far far better books that really go in depth. I also found it tedious to read, (it is a good looking book though, with a nicely designed cover, which is why so many people flash it like a fashion accessory in my opinion).

    'Hard Work by Polly Toynbee' is a book I would highly recommend. It's concise, practical and really emphasises what social justice is about. It emphasises what problems are out there which are not obvious until you actually experience them. It also outlines clear practical solutions.

    I try to read John Redwood (awful) and Enoch Powell (even worse), to get your side of the argument. Have a go at reading Polly Toynbee's books and see what you think. At least you could then be negative about us from a informed position, if you so choose.

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  10. This is the 'vice chairman' of Conservative Future speaking on race issues.

    Notice his opening use of the "I'm not a racist [but]..." line.

    Also this gem;

    "I had always grown up believing that Britain was a White/Christian majority nation, but now, my thoughts are beginning to challenge this notion. Leicester has become the first city ever within Europe to hold a black majority, and political correctness has also sold out the British people."

    "What is wrong with saying "Im proud to be pure British"?"

    Notice how ethnic minorities don't count as proper British. This is a disgraceful view and it is the view of the vice chair of your party's youth.

    'Tory convert', don't tell me you haven't come across people like this is your party? I just don't believe it, your whole party is populated with them.

    Just because someone 'says' they are not racist doesn't mean it's true. Even BNP supporters claim not to be racist.

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  11. He might claim to be vice-Chairman of CF, but he isn't. See here:

    http://www.conservativefuture.com/insidecf/nationalteam.cfm

    Caroline Hunt is.

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  12. Neil, this is going to have to be my last post on this as I am about to go away for Christmas.

    Why not? I believe [the Labour Party] is [institutionally racist].

    OK, I was trying to be generous. If you want to argue that the Labour Party is institutionally racist, that is up to you.

    Is it because you don't want to admit that the Tories are institutionally racist?

    I would prefer to reserve my judgement until I have been a member of the party longer, seen more from the inside on how it works, and learnt the impressions of more ethnic minority Conservatives.

    How would you know? ,,, As you didn't ask this guy, you have no way of knowing what his experience is, so stop talking for him.

    I am trying to put myself in someone else's position ... it's called empathy. Notice the use of the words "I think I might", denoting uncertainty. I didn't avoid the subject, it just wasn't relevant at the time - he probably would have thought it strange if I had brought it up. I just find it hard to believe that an Asian man would be such an enthusiast for the party as he evidently is if it were as infested with racists as you imply.

    have you ever asked yourself why the Tories can't win seats with large ethnic minority populations

    (1) Because many of them are traditional Labour strongholds, such as Oldham; (2) because it is very useful to too many people - both in the media and amongst our political opponents - to scaremonger and exaggerate about the Conservative Party being racist.

    So you are seriously trying to tell me, you have never heard anything remotely racist or sexist said by any member of your party?

    I am seriously trying to tell you that I have not come across any racists or sexists in the party since I became a member. I have, on the other hand, come across far more women and ethnic minority Conservatives than those who perpetuate stereotypes would have you believe exist.

    It's comments like the following that make me think you were/are politically ignorant.

    I understand that the Labour Party does not much tolerate dissent, but I had not realised that having a different point of view is a formal definition of ignorance. Rather Orwellian.

    Just name one Tory policy you like please?

    Sorry, which part of "public service reform" and "lower taxes" is difficult to understand? I think it is ungenerous to criticise me for not giving you more examples of policies when we are in a major period of policy transition and re-examination. Isn't it a tad ignorant not to know that?

    You then go on to list why you hate public services and want them cut.

    I don't recall saying that I "hate" public services - just that I think they underperform because it is very difficult for them to process information about what the people who use them find effective. They need reforming - not scrapping. Polarising the issue along the "you're a Tory so you hate public services" line is not very productive.

    I try to read John Redwood (awful) and Enoch Powell (even worse), to get your side of the argument.

    I really fail to see the point of reading Enoch Powell to understand current Conservative thinking. I wouldn't reach for the speeches of Michael Foot if I wanted to read about Labour's position on anything.

    At least you could then be negative about us from a informed position, if you so choose.

    Pots and kettles? I don't believe that I have based any of my arguments on Labour policy on misinformation.

    I agree that the James Skinner post you have found is deeply unpleasant - I will try to find time to write a comment on it (note however, that he is deputy vice-chairman of Monmouthsire CF - not of the national CF). But you keep demanding that I must personally have met racists in the party - and I keep telling you - I haven't. I am sorry to disappoint you.

    The real reason why I responded to your initial post is because when you have spent your whole life believing that people of other ethnic backgrounds should be treated with the same respect as anyone else, when you come from a family which has always welcomed ethnic minority friends into its home (and even on holiday), when you have had tons of ethnic minority friends, some of them very dear, and when you spend all day sitting next to and working for an ethnic minority boss, for someone to make the blanket allegation that just because you are a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party you must be a racist is deeply offensive. You should not expect people to take such a serious accusation lying down.

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  13. "If you want to argue that the Labour Party is institutionally racist, that is up to you."

    The point is, many sectors of society are racist. You refuse to even acknowledge any racism in the Tory party, so that means nothing will be done about it.

    I accept there is racism in the Labour Party and I have shown you examples of racism in your party at quite a high level CF(Monmouthshire) - James Skinner. Don't think he is isolated, there is many more like him, check out Scottish Conservative - Devil's Kitchen's views on Muslims.

    "The desired lifestyle of many Muslims is, therefore, incompatible with the desired lifestyle of the indigenous people, i.e. us."

    Once again notice how black and Asian people are excluded by his use of 'indigenous'. He has a more despicable post than this, but I can't find it in a blog search at the moment.

    It's also worth remembering how recent overt racism was amongst your MP's. Of course it's a bit more subtle than that now, but I don't believe the Cheltenham factor has gone away.

    Tory, I never accused you of being personally racist, though surely you understand it is possible to be racist without even realising it.

    Surveys show around 32% of people in this country actually admitting to some racial prejudice.

    "Men were more likely than women to admit to racial prejudice. In the British Social Attitudes Survey of 2002, 73 per cent of women claimed to be ‘not prejudiced at all’, compared with only 61 per cent of men"

    I believe the figure is higher than this because prejudice is largely hidden, so forgive me if I find it hard to believe there is no racism in your particular branch. Even the national average would suggest a third of your party were prejudiced. Considering the Conservatives attitude on race both in the past and in the recent electon campaign and the average age of your members, I would expect it to be a lot higher than this.

    The fact you suggest there is no racism is the most worrying thing. This is precisely why the Tories have a long way to go on this issue. Until you start admitting your racism, you have no reason to do anything about it. That is why I have no faith in the Tories on this issue. Just look at the despicable campaign you ran at the last election with the insiduous 'are you thinking what we're thinking?'.

    "1) Because many of them are traditional Labour strongholds, such as Oldham; (2) because it is very useful to too many people - both in the media and amongst our political opponents - to scaremonger and exaggerate about the Conservative Party being racist."

    Yes, but why are ethnic areas traditional Labour strongholds and the 'white suburbs' tradional Tory ones?

    "I am seriously trying to tell you that I have not come across any racists or sexists in the party since I became a member."

    Do you ever talk about politics in the party?

    "I have, on the other hand, come across far more women and ethnic minority Conservatives than those who perpetuate stereotypes would have you believe exist."

    Surprise me. What percentage off the top of your head have been black or South Asian for example?

    "I understand that the Labour Party does not much tolerate dissent, but I had not realised that having a different point of view is a formal definition of ignorance. Rather Orwellian."

    I asked you what made you join the Tories. You couldn't even get FOUR words into your answer without mentioning Labour. All your reasons were just negatives about the Labour Party, you said NOTHING positive about the Conservatives. That is why you are politically ignorant.

    "Sorry, which part of "public service reform" and "lower taxes" is difficult to understand? I think it is ungenerous to criticise me for not giving you more examples of policies when we are in a major period of policy transition and re-examination. Isn't it a tad ignorant not to know that?"

    'Public service reform' and 'lower taxes' are vague aspirations NOT policies. You still fail to name ONE single policy of the Tories you like. What does that tell us?

    If somebody asked me for policies I liked about the Labour Party, I would name about a dozen off the top of my head.

    National Minimun Wage
    Banning Handguns
    Civil Partnerships
    ASBOs
    New Deal
    Sure Start
    Free School Milk for infants
    Free Fruit for infants
    4 Weeks Paid Holiday for everyone
    Free local bus travel for over 60s
    Free TV licences for over 75s
    Banned Fur farming and testing of cosmetics on animals.
    Winter Fuel Payments for pensioners
    Average waiting times on NHS reduced to 8 weeks from over 8 months.
    Infants in class sizes under 30
    Free Access to National Museums
    Overseas Aid Budget doubled and debt cancelled.
    Record spending on health, education and public transport
    Cleanest rivers, waters and air since industrial revolution
    Devolution
    Record Economic growth, low unemployment, etc. etc.

    I don't need to mention the Tories in any of that. Your answer tells me, you are not interested in learning anything. You've read the Daily Mail, Torygraph and tabloids slagging Labour off and that is all you are interested in.

    Well take a look at the motives of the owners of the press and their history, read 'the ragged trousered philanthropist'. Remember that the DAILY Mail ran headlines about Jewish asylum seekers bringing disease and flooding the country nearly a hundred years ago. Remember the Daily Mail supported the fascists in the 1930s, with headlines like 'hurrah for the blackshirts'. This paper is still owned by the same Rothermere family. This is the sort of people you are siding with when you join the Tories.

    If you really are trying to bring some sense to the Tories, I wish you the best of luck, but I won't hold my breath. I am not impressed by your attitude so far. It gives me no sense of hope you are interested in making the Tories more progressive, quite the opposite. I'm sorry to say that, but ask yourself why you are a Tory?

    Read Polly Toynbee 'Hard work' and see if you still want public service cuts.

    "Britain has the lowest social spending and the highest poverty in Europe"

    Of course, I'm probably wasting my time, because you would never read a book like that. All you are interested in (demonstrated by your obfuscation to my questions) is reading negative stuff about Labour to reinforce your prejudices.

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  14. It gives me no sense of hope you are interested in making the Tories more progressive, quite the opposite

    Neil: You use the word progressive an awful lot. What do you mean by it? If you mean people want a better future, well that's just motherhood and apple pie stuff, isn't it? If you're using it as a synonym for 'left-wing', then why would the Tories want to go down that road? You seem to think it is enough to describe a policy as 'progressive' in order to sell it.

    I ask because you seem to think that the intention behind a policy can justify it, even when the implementation fails, or is likely to fail. Do you honestly believe that right-wingers don't share similar good intentions to left-wingers?

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  15. 'Progressive' means redistribution and going forward. The whole Tory history is littered with obstructing progress and trying to preserve 'tradition' and the 'status quo'. Opposing votes for women, gay rights and redistribution is the natural Tory agenda. That is why you are called conservatives.

    It is heartening to hear Oliver Letwin talking about redistribution, but lets hear the policies. If it is just reagonomic/bushite/thatcherite 'trickle down' economics he is talking about then we all know what effect that had on social mobility.

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  16. 'Progressive' means redistribution and going forward.

    Going forward to what?

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  17. "Going forward to what?"

    We all know the Tories would take us back to Victorian levels of inequality if they could.

    Looking forward is about being optimistic about the future. All the Tories do is moan about the present and reminisce about the past and then want to take us back there.

    'Tory Convert' is a great example of this. All she does is moan about Labour. She can't name ONE single policy she likes about the Tories. That tells us everything about what sort of people join the Tories. It's always easy to criticise, but if you don't offer any better alternative it means nothing.

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  18. It's all a sham. The Tories are still standing the most obnoxious racists, loonies and grasping selfish creeps who are winning office. Checking on the internet I noticed that one particularly nasty individual has been elected to an east midlands council. His views on Catholics, ethnic minorities, animals and 'working class' people are about the most offensive you will ever hear.

    A clear indication that the Tories are still as repugnant as ever.

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  19. Anyone who is a car carrying Tory and has met other Tories will have encountered racists. I was in the Tories for years and met loads of racists. It's the default mode of a significant proportion of Tories. I can remember innumerable insulting references to 'pakis', 'wogs' and other offensive terms. When they're amongst other Tories they relax and their true beliefs are expressed. It's quite shocking to listen to.

    Either Tory convert has been to no party meetings and encountered no Tories in his or her everyday life, or he/she is being very economical with the truth.

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  20. Anon: I agree - I don't believe a word Tory Convert comes out with.

    Can you enlighten me to the name of the Tory councillor in the East Mids? - it is always good to gather a list of Tory loonies - we need to get their names out there - so people know what they get when they elect Tories. Cheers.

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