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I think the A List is supposed to indicate change by generating an artificial clash between Cameron and his party. There's nothing that suggests the electorate worry away their days on he issue of why there so few female Conservative MPs. There's plenty to suggest that the membership doesn't like these top down and discriminatory measures. So who's it really meant to send a message to?

The priority list is increasingly becoming a joke.

CCHQ are now talking about topping up the list as candidates are selected. This effectively means that there is no priority list, only 2 smaller lists, one for men and one for women.

This will do nothing to promote women candidates, all it will succeed in doing is giving central command much more control over selection.

Non-A list candidates will require special permission to stand. Forcing the best candidates out of the process all together.

These proposals are undemocratic and should be rejected. All women shortlists would have been better.

To the person who complained of getting no reply from DC's team (No 9 in list above), I say "Have patience". I, too, sent a somewhat critical letter to DC regarding the "A List" and other early actions; it took over a month, but I did get a reply (seemingly NOT a "standard" letter) from him.

Unfortunately, it offered me no reassurance about the direction in which he's taking us, but it did seem to indicate that he's not being completely shielded from those of us who (while NOT extreme Right-wing "Col Blimp" types) do have genuine worries. I urge everyone who feels that way to make their views known to the Leader.

Effectively the A-List is saying to many candidates on its pages, "look, you're only here because you're [insert gender/sexuality/ethnicity], otherwise, you might not be good enough."

It's positive discrimination, and I don't like it.

"It's positive discrimination, and I don't like it."

100% agreed with Chris.

"No preference, No prejudice"
Knock down the walls of prejudice for all, do not provide ladders for a favoured few.

I agree with Chris's comment, but not his means of getting to it, which is that he just doesn't like gay people.

What a bunch of moaners! Have you ever read a more self-indulgent set of responses?

There are hardly any female Tory MPs. Is that a problem? Yes, because it makes us look old fashioned and male dominated which, as various surveys have demonstrated, hurts the Party with ABs and younger women voters.

DC is addressing the issue. It's a matter of political commonsense. Unless you've got a better idea of how to make the Tory benches look less like a meeting of the Carlton Club circa 1950 and more like a modern cross section of society then please do stop whining.

Tory T,

"Unless you've got a better idea of how to make the Tory benches look less like a meeting of the Carlton Club circa 1950 and more like a modern cross section of society then please do stop whining."

Many senior women MP's across the world have clearly pointed out that selection lists with a fixed number of women undermine equality, not enhance it.

It reeks of the boys keeping control by "allowing" a few little ladies in.

My suggestion would be to appeal to those suitable women who are currently outside the party perhaps who fit the stated aims of the camcons and to make politics more appealling to women in general.

It is time to make politics fit into the lives of the candidates, not the other way around.

As I have noted before, selectively placing a few women as bait in an ugly men's club will not attract more women. You need to change the environment.

The only self-indulgence is the belief that positive discrimination is anything but ugly discrimination.

"I agree with Chris's comment, but not his means of getting to it, which is that he just doesn't like gay people." - Cllr Iain Lindley

Thanks for clarifying that for all to see, Iain.

Perhaps CCHQ should ask why the Party proportionately has many more women Cllrs than MPs and how they got there? Guess what - they didn't have to contend with being on a list or deal with CCHQ to get selected.

Central lists of any sort are restrictive and act as a barrier against entry - particularly when administration and construction of the list becomes problematic.

Perhaps the solution lies not in seizing more control but letting go?

Of course we need to retain quality control, but quite frankly that is not some thing that CCHQ is particularly good at doing. There are still a lot of poor candidates on the list and not every woman will make a good candidate.

Quality control and monitoring of performance may as easily or better handled by each Area Management Exec with a bit of training. Let the AME confirm acceptability of each finalist before conclusion of the selection process rather than rely on a list for verification.

Let's open up the competition for each seat as wide as possible, encourage more women and minority applicants and celebrate how open and accessible we are whilst selecting on merit, not quota.

I fear we are heading for a situation where many of our candidates will be viewed to have been selected for reasons other than merit. Not good for them or the Party.

Well said Old Hack.

As Cameron's core values statement today clearly notes:

"We want to see more local democracy, instead of more centralisation "

If the Party insists on centralised candidate selection lists, the above statement will be shown to be cynical spin and nothing more.

It is time for the CamCons to show that there is weight behind their words and to look for local solutions, whether open primaries or other fair means, to empower local communities to select the right candidates.

The actions must meet the stated aims, particularly if they are making us vote on them.

One thing I would take issue is calling the A List a positive discrimination issue when in fact it is sexual discrimination.

On one hand the Party says it wants the very best candidates but then says 50% of the A List have to be women. The only way this 50/50 gender split can be guaranteed in advance of finalising the A List, is if the Party are prepared to sexually discriminate against men.

If the List turned out to be 60% women, 40% men, who cares, so long as the list is constructed on merit. However, if 80 of the best candidates are men and 60 women, then the bottom 10 men will be cast into the political wilderness solely because of their gender. It will mean that 10 women who were judged as being less able than those 10 men will be promoted in their place.

This is sexual discrimination.

What sort of message is this to men who want to represent a constituency and do their best for Britain - ability now counts less than gender in the modern compassionate Conservative Party?

The problem is that there are not enough good female candidates coming forward. The women who were good were selected in seats in 2005 and some are now excellent MP's. Before Christmas, an assessment centre had only two women and six men trying to get on the Candidates List. More should be done to attract good women who then compete on their ability not because they were born female.

Positive discrimination is illegal.

The potential legal repercussions of the priority list could be incredibly damaging and far outweigh any positive PR generated.

I can see a lawsuit from a disgruntled ex-PPC or priority list reject trundling over the horizon...

DVA - sorry but
the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002 amended the SDA by adding s.42A which provides an exception for action taken by political parties in the selection of candidates for parliamentary, European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and local government elections, for the purpose of reducing inequality in the numbers of members of the body concerned.

Really...wow, this Labour Government made it easier for Cameron to screw the local associations!

It might well be illegal nevertheless under EU law on sex discrimination.

I stand corrected Ted. But I'm pretty sure a priority-list lawsuit of some kind is inevitable and if the House of Lords isn't interested, our old friends in the European Court of Human Rights aren't shy of intervening in matters like this and overturning legislation.

Cllr Iain, thank you for exposing Chad. His unpleasant and self-aggrandizing posts on the Goldlist pages, attacking candidates, led me and others to conclude he was a nasty piece of work, but your link offers very concrete proof. Comparisions of homosexual behaviour between consenting adults and bestiality are simply unacceptable in today's Conservative party. There is no place for hate screeds like Chad's in our party and I am glad David Cameron was personally involved in the deselection of the Welsh candidate who proudly proclaimed himself 'homophobic'.

Is that you Coulson?

It might be worth pointing out here that Chad and Chris Palmer are two very different people, and that my link above was to the latter's blog.

Um, you've got the wrong person.

What's that argument got to do with me? Iain was talking about Chris not me.

My creed is "no preference, no prejudice" in terms of sex, sexuality, race or religion.

A correction perhaps?

In which case I must apologize to Chad and the comments (minus those about attacking candidates on the Goldlist) must go to Chris.

I think an apology is more appropriate than a correction here. That pretty unfair.

Not necessary. I would suggest the lack of scrutiny to comments here by Suggestion also applied to Suggestions reading of my goldlist comments.

Disagreeing is not attacking and and I more than strong enough to cope wit insults for supporters of lame gold list candidates.


I see from the time stamp that we were all posting at the same time. I did indeed owe Chad an apology for not reading Iain's post carefully enough. Nonetheless, Chad's attacks on GL candidates are I think very unfair and symptomatic of all that's wrong with that blog. When the GL started out, it discussed candidate selection, had debate on the GL concept and so on. That was great. Then it turned into an Aunt Sally pillory competition with nothing but a paragraph snapshot of candidates which posters judge them on, complete with quotes that can and will be used by the opposition if they are selected "Even the Tories hate Candidate X, look what was written on ConservativeHome..." that will be in oppo leaflets I am sure. It possibly could lose the party seats.

I wish the owners of this blog would go back to discussing the Gold List and selection procedures, which interest me, instead of this inane judging of people based on a few lines in a blog post. Which Chad is guilty of.

One of the problems that local Conservative Associations have faced in the past was that CCO parachuted in their favoured candidate, irrespective of the local choice.

I have known good local candidates, well known and respected in their Constituencies, who were turned down, and smart City lawyers put forward by CCO, only for the electorate to give a thumbs down when it came to the General Election.

Positive discrimination is a no-no. It should be the best candidate for the seat, irrespective of gender, class, ethnicity etc.

Look at the female MPs Labour got! only about six are any good the rest induce a desire to smash my TV when I hear them, especially Patricia Hewitt. I am all in favour of more women MPs but only if they are selected on merit and up to the job. Just pick the best, preferably local, candidate.

I'm sorry to see, Chad, that you took the full brunt of that first attack by our mysterious and anonymous poster. Someone who cannot even read posts properly is unlikely to be able to assess blog articles properly either. Perhaps that person should take a closer look at what I actually wrote?

As for Mr Lindley, I’ll deal with him via email.

Has anyone seen the Channel 4 Political Slot piece with Caroline Spelman on the Conservative site? I get the feeling that there was an element of over-rehearsal by Spelman there.

:-) No worries Chris. At first I thought it was one of the madder ukippers after me again...

I don't believe in positive discrimination, but I find it hard to believe that there were not a number of correspondents who do.

Chris, here is your loathsome and unacceptable comparision of homosexuality to bestiality word for word:

"Not all that long ago sodomy was illegal in Britain and only practiced in private – where, in my opinion, it should belong. However, were for example, bestiality legalised tomorrow, just as homosexuality was in 1967, would that immediately make it socially acceptable, or in the future will the Guardian and BBC be running underground and subversive campaigns to “re-educate” the public? I would be very worried if anyone did not cringe at the thought of acts of bestiality, but at the current rate of liberalisation, how long will it be before what one man does with his own sheep in his own home is his business, and his business alone?"

Unacceptable in your opinion, and hardly loathsome. What is, however, "loathsome" in my opinion is people anonymously posting, randomly acting individuals without provocation. As I mentioned in that particular article (and you are a perfect example of it) - a person who squawks and chants insults at those having different views to themselves. If you don't like my blog, don't read it in future.

Also, big mistake by visiting my site again, because I now know your IP now, amongst other details.

Having worked as an activist and a candidate over the last 10 years. I know from the feedback on the doorstep that a big turn off for voters are candidates that are parachuted in from other areas.

Instead of A lists we should be concentrating on developing good local candidates who understand their area.

As a local business women I was approached to be fast attracked a couple of years ago and declined, it felt like I was only being approached because I was female.

Had I been offered the change to take part in a drive to develop local candidates I would have jumped at the chance.

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