Those who know me will attest to the fact that I have – perhaps unfairly – developed quite a dim view of some local councillors. I’m increasingly feeling the same way about some MPs too.
This is why I wasn’t altogether surprised to see this:
We all kind of knew that this attitude towards women MP existed in British politics. But until now, we hadn’t seen it so very clearly, in all its pathetic sexist schoolboy glory. That’s the good thing about Twitter. What in the past might have been sent in a private email, or just sniggered at on a phone screen at a party event, is now tweeted by the shall-we-say ‘less savvy’ for us all to see. I do note there has been an apology of sorts.
After much sighing, head-shaking and exasperated laughter, I have managed to collect the following thoughts:
1. Do we need all women short lists
Let’s look at some numbers :
- Men outnumber women 4 to 1 in parliament (Women make up 22% of MPs), of 22 Cabinet Ministers, just 4 are women.
- The UK is ranked 57th in the world with regards to the number of women in national parliaments.
- Currently 16% of Conservative MPs are women, 32% of Labour MPs and 12% of Liberal Democrats
- Women constitute 32% of elected councillors, but just 12.3% of council leaders in England.
If we want an equal parliament (which for love of all that is democratic, I know I do) and we don’t want it to take decades and decades, then yes. Frankly I think we do need all women shortlists. And if this happens to also mean rooting out a few dinosaurs along the way, well that’s just a bonus.
2. Are all women shortlists sexist?
That is debatable. And it’s an important question that warrants an intelligent discussion. Set in the context of the numbers above.
3. Is tweeting *that* glamour photo about the selection of a candidate sexist?
(Do excuse me, but that does warrant a swear I think)
And one final question from me:
4. Will Lucy Rigby beat Karl McCartney in the 2015 election?
My God, I hope so.