NEC commits to taking sexuality, disability and social class into account for selections

30th September, 2012 11:06 am

The Labour NEC met this morning, and agreed on a rule change to include “Sexuality, disability and social class” in the clause of the party rule book concerning the representativeness of candidates.

Labour sources say this is Ed Miliband making good on his commitment to a more representatives PLP – especially in terms of getting more working class candidates elected to Parliament.

The proposed rule changes will go to a vote of conference on Wednesday – but it’s overwhelmingly likely they’ll pass.

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  • And how will delegates be able to vote on behalf of their CLPs, when they have had 3 days notice of this?

  • What about ethnicity and all black shortlists ? The party flirted with the idea and it was backed by Harriet Harman and Jack Straw.  Having asked Operation Black Vote to make the case the initiative was notably absent from the 2009 Equality Bill and seems to be absent from this new brainwave. 

  • I am all for diversity in candidates and representatives, but do wish we could start recognising what ‘representation’ is all about – that successful candidates should be representing their constituents foremost and not whatever special interest group they have been selected for being part of.

    On that note I struggle to see how who one chooses to share bodily fluids with is relevant to one’s suitability for office, and it’ll be interesting to see how this gets played out in selection processes [are candidates meant to prove their sexuality???]. This sort of thing is terribly unsatisfactory, offensive to some and silly to others, and also works to encourage insider manoeverings behind the scenes, as if we need more of that.

    On social class, certainly we need more diversity there, but as with all these things it depends on how these things are measured, the processes to measure them, and the identity of the people setting those processes. It is not unreasonable to expect that the people concerned will seek to choose criteria that suit whichever individuals their faction wants to promote, resulting in inevitable deals between the different groups to scratch each others’ backs.

    As Robbie Scott implies, there is no fundamental reason why we shouldn’t have ethnic-based shortlists if we have all-women ones. I’m guessing the trouble is, besides that the BAME lobby perhaps isn’t as strong and well-organised as the (hugely effective) Women’s lobby, that would create such a mess of contortions that any idea of democracy will be completely out of the window.

    It is really not very edifying on many levels, but not least that a party which is fundamentally committed to equality as a basic value decides to treat itself like this – as institutionally sexist, racist, anti-disability, homophobic and anti-working class people.

    Once more the solutions are always the same with Labour – namely to control and bring to heel. We just can’t stop fiddling; meanwhile Rome burns.

  • I am all for diversity in candidates and representatives, but do wish we could start recognising what ‘representation’ is all about – that successful candidates should be representing their constituents foremost and not whatever special interest group they have been selected for being part of.

    On that note I struggle to see how who one chooses to share bodily fluids with is relevant to one’s suitability for office, and it’ll be interesting to see how this gets played out in selection processes [are candidates meant to prove their sexuality???]. This sort of thing is terribly unsatisfactory, offensive to some and silly to others, and also works to encourage insider manoeverings behind the scenes, as if we need more of that.

    On social class, certainly we need more diversity there, but as with all these things it depends on how these things are measured, the processes to measure them, and the identity of the people setting those processes. It is not unreasonable to expect that the people concerned will seek to choose criteria that suit whichever individuals their faction wants to promote, resulting in inevitable deals between the different groups to scratch each others’ backs.

    As Robbie Scott implies, there is no fundamental reason why we shouldn’t have ethnic-based shortlists if we have all-women ones. I’m guessing the trouble is, besides that the BAME lobby perhaps isn’t as strong and well-organised as the (hugely effective) Women’s lobby, that would create such a mess of contortions that any idea of democracy will be completely out of the window.

    It is really not very edifying on many levels, but not least that a party which is fundamentally committed to equality as a basic value decides to treat itself like this – as institutionally sexist, racist, anti-disability, homophobic and anti-working class people.

    Once more the solutions are always the same with Labour – namely to control and bring to heel. We just can’t stop fiddling; meanwhile Rome burns.

    • Quite. And quite apart from the issue of how on earth you prove someone is “working class”, for heaven’s sake, which is part of this. Are we supposed to means test people to prove they are not middle-class interlopers? It’s madness, clearly no-one has thought this through.

      • I am guessing there will probably be some opaque and bureaucratic process you have to go through to be registered as working class, which would successfully deter independent potential applicants in favour of those with an inside track on things and a bit of organisational muscle to support them. Only guessing though.

      • “Are we supposed to means test people”

        As a preliminary why not have the Labour Party contract out social class assessments to Atos – with payment by results, so the more non-working class candidates they weed out the more they get paid? Nothing breeds aspiration and efficiency like incentive.

    • Quite. And quite apart from the issue of how on earth you prove someone is “working class”, for heaven’s sake, which is part of this. Are we supposed to means test people to prove they are not middle-class interlopers? It’s madness, clearly no-one has thought this through.

    • Quite. And quite apart from the issue of how on earth you prove someone is “working class”, for heaven’s sake, which is part of this. Are we supposed to means test people to prove they are not middle-class interlopers? It’s madness, clearly no-one has thought this through.

  • Is the ability to represent the constituency at all relevant here, or is it just an attempt to divide and rule? Alternatively, does a PPC represent the party to the voters?

  • Alexwilliamz

    Social class? And how the bloody hell will they measure that? Perhaps it will go down to the clothes they are wearing for the interview? I am genuinely baffled on this one. Not completely clear on the sexuality either, not sure how your sexuality determines your political positions or ability to represent?

  • Alexwilliamz

    Social class? And how the bloody hell will they measure that? Perhaps it will go down to the clothes they are wearing for the interview? I am genuinely baffled on this one. Not completely clear on the sexuality either, not sure how your sexuality determines your political positions or ability to represent?

  • Alexwilliamz

    Social class? And how the bloody hell will they measure that? Perhaps it will go down to the clothes they are wearing for the interview? I am genuinely baffled on this one. Not completely clear on the sexuality either, not sure how your sexuality determines your political positions or ability to represent?

  • PaulHalsall

    They should ban “parachuted in candidates” above all.

  • Pingback: ’25 working class MPs’: A media meme invented by class fetishists | Eric Joyce MP()

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