There is rich irony in simultaneous reports of Prime Minister David Cameron’s frustration over Tory constituency parties failing to select female candidates and of his favoured MP Anne McIntosh facing a second attempt by her local association to deselect her for not fulfilling her constituency duties.
That’s despite Cameron regarding her as “one of the party’s most assiduous MPs”. Different priorities, perhaps?
Ominously, Tory MP Sarah Woolaston has a solution: “If we can’t sort it out by 2015, we should shift to all-women shortlists.”
Apart from being fraught with difficulties, this would be thoroughly undemocratic.
Their ability to do so, being exempt from European law banning discrimination, is one of many ways in which politicians separate themselves from the rest of us.
Another exemption is from current austerity measures limiting public sector wages and staffing levels – think of the House of Lords.
Separate constituencies for male and female candidates make no sense unless applied to the whole country and to all parties, which would pave the way for the next logical step towards establishing a political ruling elite.
Having limited the electorate’s choice of candidates in this way, politicians would progress naturally towards central party selection, with candidates simply imposed on constituencies.