Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Discrimination to rig elections

Jane Hill, presenting the BBC’s coverage of the Labour Leadership election result (12 September 2015), asked Diane Abbott if it was a problem that the leader was a man, that the deputy leader was a man and that the London Mayoral candidate was a man.

Shame on her – she misses the point.

Labour had candidates of both genders in all those elections – candidates with recognition and with substantial political clout, but they were beaten by more popular candidates.  That is the will of the party’s electorate.

I hope that the electorate was more interested in what was between the candidates’ ears than what was between lower parts of their anatomies.

To rig the leadership electorate so that the leader and deputy are of different genders would deny the members the most popular candidate in one of those elections.

It would be “political correctness gone mad”. In times when we are becoming aware that for some the difference between genders is not as binary as we have always thought it could also be argued as “politically incorrect” in excluding those of indeterminate gender!

Trying to rig elections to ensure that a group “looks like” the electorate to which they wish to appeal is a hopeless task. By concentrating on the gender dimension we have to exclude the “obvious” dimension of race and the less obvious dimensions of religion, class, age, sexual orientation, introvert/extrovert, etc. Are these secondary dimensions any less worthy of support than the dimension of gender?

Political parties should look carefully at the range of people putting themselves forward for election, and if that range does not exhibit enough diversity they should ask why.

If they really want bodies like the House of Commons to reflect the diversity of the people of the United Kingdom, perhaps they should support a change in the electoral system? A change to a system that allows expression of preferences by voters, and that has multi-member constituencies would help to enable the voters’ wishes to be truly reflected.

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One thought on “Discrimination to rig elections

  1. Repost:
    Writing for the Guardian, Suzanne Moore notes that Labour’s new top team is all male – and she’s not impressed.

    The new brocialism cares deeply about women’s issues of course – just not enough to elect an actual woman. They don’t need to, because good lefties speak for all us. They don’t even notice gender. This can be the only explanation for that gobsmacking meeting today in which Jeremy Corbyn was anointed leader and not one woman’s voice was heard. Not even in that retro “Here’s my lovely assistant” way. No woman announced anything. Men announced the result – Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary, and Jim Kennedy, chair of Labour’s national executive committee – and that result was that men had won.”

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