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Patsy, Have just come in from french class. Its not that simple in Colne valley actually. a) There is a nulab woman incumbent. Kali Mountford. b) There is a Dimleb lady PPC. Elizabeth Wilson. Mountford originated in Crewe, and came to CV via Sheffield. I believe Ms Wilson comes from Todmorden, but dont quote me!. The dimlebs have a habit of sending up anyone that they consider from out of the area. Philip Davies had to put up with "The man from Hull" when he was our PPC in 2001.
Now then. Would you go for a local male candidate, up against two women?
Would you go for a good female candidate from, say the Midlands?
I have to say, I do not know the answer to that. It will be really INTERESTING to see who we end up getting to interview.

"The local association in that constituency is made up of him, his close friends, their parents and siblings."

Was it Tottenham?

Oh and I forgot to mention, there will be a big beefy BNP character standing as well I expect.

You're a naughty boy DVA!

"You're a naughty boy DVA!"

I don't know who he could be alluding to!

He sounds like a nightmare. Has he applied to get onto the A List?
He was on the approved candidates list last year, and boasted that he would have no problem getting on the A-List as he knew the right people to call at CCO. Although I doubt this is the case.

I'd be shocked if he was on the A-list though. He is so gaffe-prone it's unbelievable. He once said...
"I don't know if you'll be able to cope with putting through the leaflets... it's alright for me 'cos I'm Northern"

No Daniel, it wasn't Tottenham and I'd rather not say where it was either ;-)


"I'd be shocked if he was on the A-list though"

I'd think it was very funny if he got on the A List.

lol Daniel

Annabel - the French are now taking our beef again, so perhaps the 'big beefy' should be somehow sent to France when he arrives - to join M. le Penn, perhaps!

Andrew @ 16.39 = I think the shoes would give it away!

"No Daniel, it wasn't Tottenham and I'd rather not say where it was either ;-)"

Oops - I thought you lived in Tottenham because of your superb hatchet job on David Lammy on your blog. My mistake ;-)

"It seems that a lot in the party seem to have the opinion that they believe in change as long as nothing changes."

Or maybe we support some changes but not others?

AlexW - an excellent post that has just saved me frpm having to make those points. I would appreciate it if those favouring Cameron's plan could answer Alex W's points because they seem to be the most effective argument made against it so far.

Its sad and disappointing to see that another member has quit the Party and deprived it of a candidate for the election, though I totally sympathise, having quit the Party in disgust at the leaked memo about candidate selection from last week. Newly ex-party member, youve done the right thing, I assure you. This policy on candidate selection is sexual discrimination.

Those who argue that this is OK because of ther exemption on political parties isnt looking at it right. Its morally wrong to do this policy. If the Tories want the very best candidates to stand then throw this A-List in the trash and allow all people to be treated equally for selection, not creating artificial quotas which deprive great candidates from standing for the Conservatives.

The reform of the A-List is a "red-line" issue for me and until its reformed properly, I wont consider returning, regardless of the damage to my political career.

The reform of the A-List is a "red-line" issue for me and until its reformed properly, I wont consider returning, regardless of the damage to my political career.
You have to remember James, that you're the only person who cares about your political career. If you want to cut off your nose to spite your face, feel free to do so. There will be no mass weeping and gnashing of teeth at the loss.

The A-list may not be a good idea, but its a poor reason to give up without even trying. I've met so many women and ethnic minorities, who blame a system for their inability to get ahead - it is pathetic of them to do so when they never bothered to try.
It's nice to know that they are not the only demographic groups afflicted with collective self-pity and navel-gazing.

Tonight's Evening Standard reports (page 7, West End Final) that Cameron has threatened the use of all women shortlists if the A List doesn't work, with Michael Howard's Folkestone & Hythe seat the first to implement the all women shortlist if necessary.

"Tonight's Evening Standard reports (page 7, West End Final) that Cameron has threatened the use of all women shortlists if the A List doesn't work, with Michael Howard's Folkestone & Hythe seat the first to implement the all women shortlist if necessary."

Has he learnt nothing from Wales? Or from the latest local elections where the Tories were successful without such discriminatory devices. As someone said above, this has the potential to cause a huge rift within the party at a time when Cameron still has overwhelming support and Labour are on the back foot. Leave well alone.

Details are bound to leak out for various reasons, people who just can't keep quiet and people seeking to raise objections to teh policy and against specific candidates, I'm surprised they didn't just publish the lists and avoid the inevitable.

There's no doubt it will have an impact on the makeup of the Conservative Party wherever David Cameron's destiny is.

Come on Biodun, if Cameron wanted real diversity he would be delivering what he knows to be the right solution as he put in firmly and clearly in Built To Last; i.e. that equal opportunity comes from communities not central imposition.

Let's be honest, Cameron is seeking to protect himself by taking on a group of people who will be loyal Cameroon clones, whilst also throwing in a mix of their appearence to give the impression of change.

The A-List will achieve what Cameron wants. It will provide him with loyal foot soldiers who will think what they are told to think, but they will come in different shapes and sizes to give the meida impression of diversity.

Let's not kid ourselves. Of course there will be many people bleating later in the week that they are not on the list, but they are all keeping schtum right now so as not to endanger the faint hope that they might make it. This bunch of chancers deserves no sympathy.

The answer to create candidates who are representative of Britain is simply to allow communities (start with a vote of constituency members for those cautious about open primaries) to choose. That's it.

If communities get a simple choice of 4 or 5 candidates both local and from the A-list, then they will pick the right candidate for their constituency.

It seems surreal having to propose a solution that is enshrined in Built To Last, when the very person who wrote it has chosen to take the opposite path to the approach he will force members to vote on!

Truly bizarre. Well not bizarre, but cynical.

So we have self-interested chancers keeping their mouths shout on one side who will be bleating like sheep about the evils of positive discrimination if they are not picked, and a leader who knows the right way forward and has proposed it in his document that members must vote on, whilst actually taking the opposite course of action.


It's so obvious that the whole charade is a device to create a group of MPs who are courtiers. Maude et al don't give a damn about diversity. What they want is control.....while telling the gullible voter that they believe in localism. The Republican Party is a far more successful centre-right party than the Tories and has far better female and ethnic minority politicians: compare Condi Rice to the insipid Spelman, the hapless Theresa May or Theresa "Hate Crime" Villiers. Yet the Republicans select all their candidates by open primary. It can't be done, bleat the likes of Maude. Oh yes it can, Francis. It's just that the likes of you don't want it to be done because you wouldn't then have total control of the entry process to your cosy little Edwardian club.

Michael - I accept your main point, the only flaw being that US Cabinet Ministers (Condi Rice et al) are appointed by the President and not elected.

However, your main point is true - Cameron and Maude lecture the party on diversity, despite all being male, white, privately educated with safe seats.

The only way we will deal with this type of problem is to introduce term limits for MPs to prevent MPs in safe seats becoming out of touch, and force each MP to be reselected every time rather than being "nodded through".

This of course will never happen because the vested interests of the MPs themselves will NEVER allow it to happen.

Chad, I'm not coming out in support of Cameron or the A-list. My issue is with people (like yourself!) who feel that resigning from the party is a sensible way to protest. All you've done is make life easier for CCO by removing the roadblocks to their reforms. You also weaken the voice of the collective who choose to remain within the party.

Look at the attempt last year to take away the members' vote. Don't you think random resignations would have made it much easier for CCO to get away with? The way to deal with these problems is to fight from within. So many people have complained vociferously about the A-list. Why has there not been a petition started against it for example?

We are on here every day, talking about direct democracy, wisdom of crowds, yada yada but a simple petition is nowhere to be found.

I find those resigning from the party to be cowards pretending to be principled and brave. It is a lot easier to "forget to renew one's membership", or resign with a whimper from the party unnoticed. That way you can get short term kudos from ConservativeHome and still come back in a couple of months/years and it would be as if you never left. Much easier than flagging yourself up on the CCO radar as a potential troublemaker now isn't it? ;-)

@Michael Mcgowan, your comparison of Condi Rice to Villiers/Spellman is flawed, as she is appointed to her post and not elected. Republicans are still accused of tokenism as they don't have many women/minorities running for election.

Biodun,
I find those resigning from the party to be cowards pretending to be principled and brave.

What utter rubbish. If change is not possible within then resignation can be the only principled course of action, like Robin Cook over the Iraq war. What a nasty coward he was! He should have stayed and stopped the war. Oh hold on....

I am less pessimistic than you. In any case, it is up to people who see through the charade to say so firmly, politely and regularly. The Internet is a great medium for puncturing the cushion of deference on which too many useless, time-serving bedblocking Tory politicians have sat for far too long.

I take your point about Presidential appointees but the very fact that people of real stature like Condi Rice and Jeanne Kirkpatrick actually want to work for a Republican President tells its own story. Most of my able centre-rightish female friends regard the Tory Party as an embarrassment.....which needs them more than they need it.

"Tonight's Evening Standard reports (page 7, West End Final) that Cameron has threatened the use of all women shortlists if the A List doesn't work"

That would be legally problematic, I think. It's odd that Labour may be coming to the conclusion that all-women shortlists are not a good idea, while we seem determined to repeat their mistakes.

Biodun's point is a good one. We kept the right for members to vote on the leadership by arguing back, not by chucking in the towel.

Biodun's point is a good one. We kept the right for members to vote on the leadership by arguing back, not by chucking in the towel.

Hi Sean,

I agree if change is possible but there is a big difference on this issue; You can't change something that is already decided.

The letters are going out in the morning and there have been many discussions here up to now showing opposition to the a-list and it achieved nothing.

Those resigning now are only doing so upon realising that they cannot influence the party on this issue.

What utter rubbish. If change is not possible within then resignation can be the only principled course of action, like Robin Cook over the Iraq war. What a nasty coward he was! He should have stayed and stopped the war. Oh hold on....

Sorry Chad, but I hardly think you can compare Robin Cook's resignation from the cabinet with yours from the Conservative Party. That's just laughable!!
I'll bet that he actually tried to convince Blair to change his mind first. Robin Cook did not resign in a huff of self-importance.

What did you do to protest the A-list before your resigned? Leaving the Conservatives to form the Imagine Party should have been the last resort, not the first.

Fight from within? Ive heard that from MPs in the past week! If the opposition to party activities is on principle grounds then quitting is the right thing to do. As for CCO, I couldnt give a damn what CCO do with my name. I walked away from this party with my head held high, knowing I turned my back on a party bereft of principles and hypocritical in major issues. If Cameron thinks me important than, by all means he should contact me and set me straight, because right now, Im an exile from this party, with no option of returning to the tribe.

Coward??? Us lone wolves have more courage than those who stay in the Party under the belief that they will be OK if they stay within. If you dont like the Party due to serious concerns, then what the hell are you doing in the Party? I walked away VERY reluctantly, but I still walked. Its about princiuplkes...think about Camerons changes and what they REALLY mean. Is the A-List really fair and meritocratic? Hell no!

Sorry Chad, but I hardly think you can compare Robin Cook's resignation from the cabinet with yours from the Conservative Party.

:-)

Come on Biodun I wasn't talking about me but pointing out that you were talking rot that resigning is a cowardly act.

What did you do to protest the A-list before your resigned?

Like many others I joined in the discussions here that, on a forum that Maude confirms that he reads daily. Despite all the very vocal opposition hitting the top brass in the party, it achieved nothing!

Look, we are not going to agree on this, so it is pointless to carry on. For whatever reason you seek to support discrimination, whether for personal gain or some other reason, you will continue to do so.

Yes, I oppose discrimination. I won't apologise for that nor for resigning over the issue.

What we must do is wait and see what the associations have to say about the process. If they don't like it we will soon hear about it. The most unfair situation is where a PPC has fought a good campaign only to be dumped by the party, against the wishes of the association.

So you keep saying, James.
You claim it's all about principle, but I still think it's all about the fact you think the list discriminates against YOU.

If the A-List positively discriminated AGAINST women and ethnic minorities, I doubt all of you would have thrown away your membership cards.

The threat of losing the members' vote was a bigger affront to conservatism than this A-list. You take every opportunity to whinge and remind everyone once Francis Maude's name is mentioned,, yet you didn't think that was a good enough reason for you to resign.. after all it didn't affect your "Political Career".
GET REAL.

and Chad, I've waxed lyrical about how I DO NOT support positive discrimination. On this thread and in my blog.
It is sad that you feel it necessary to misrepresent me (and insinuate that I have something to gain) to make your point.

>>>>It can't be done, bleat the likes of Maude.<<<<
Some of the 2001 General Election candidates were picked that way, I seem to recall there being a great fanfare about candidates in Warrington and also somewhere in the Midlands if I recall correctly being the first in the UK to be picked by using an open Primary and then it never happened again, certainly it's possible - whether it's desirable or not is another matter.

My understanding is that local parties will be "expected" to choose from the priority list but there are references I've seen around to the normal candidates' list. If I recall correctly, however, they purged the old candidates list so although non-priority candidates can still in theory apply....they won't because there aren't any!

I DO NOT support positive discrimination.

With respect Biodun, if you can remain in a party that actively promotes positive discrimination then you do support it both with your money, and your vote.

If the A-List positively discriminated AGAINST women and ethnic minorities, I doubt all of you would have thrown away your membership cards.

I follow a very simple "No Preference, No Prejudice" approach in terms of sex, sexuality, age, race and religion.

Cameron tells racists they are in the "wrong party" but doesn't say the same to homophobes? Why?

Cameron is acting in a racist way too, as racial preference is the same as racial prejudice, and that is not my definition but that of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

You surely have to accept the collective responsbility of the party you belong to?

Chad,
If everybody resigned because they took issue with something in the party they didn't like there would be no party left.

If the idea of an A-list is offensive enough to cause you to leave in disgust, fine. I don't agree with the list, but I recognise an attempt by the leadership to change the face of the party, poor though it may be. I have no political ambitions in this country and will not benefit from it, but it is not enough to make me walk away. I like the Conservative Party party too much and there is still enough conservatism to keep me in it.

I resent your attempt to make yourself look better than the rest of us by stating that we support Positive Discrimination because we choose not to resign.

"With respect Biodun, if you can remain in a party that actively promotes positive discrimination then you do support it both with your money, and your vote."

With respect Chad, that's an absurd argument. People who aspire to actually engage in real politics cannot have their own little party with its own set of individual ideas. No one would ever be able to govern. A coalition of 300 MPs from 300 parties would be unworkable. The point of politics is that you accept that certain issues are more fundamental than others to your political identity, and choose to ally yourselves to those who share your fundamental values even if you differ in opinion on other issues. Biodun has quite clearly expressed the fact that s/he disagrees with positive discrimination, but it might not be a "red line" issue in the sense that it is for you.

Would you honestly expect everyone in your Imagine Party to agree on every issue?

It wouldnt matter to me who the discrimination was against. Its still wrong. I dont even want a Parliamentary seat right now, so I have no personal involvement in this system. Im 22 and have a long time to go before a Parliamentary career appears on my horizon. I am wanted in Thanet, not Westminster. I imagine Ive sacrificed my chances of a Parliamentary seat already, but that is the price I pay for my beliefs.

Biodun, please remember that the last thing the Conservative Party is is conservative. So if that's why you are staying, you are going to be bitterly disappointed.....

I have no grounds to ever make myself look better than anyone else.

I don't want to fall out with you as I'm a very big fan on your opposition to the tokenism of Cameron bringing Geldof on board, and your platform piece on the very subject.

I am just surprised you can't see that this a-list policy is a similar fluffy-looking policy that is actually quite ugly and misunderstands the real issues.

The day Cameron tells homophobes that they are in the "wrong party" and adopts a "no preference, no prejudice" approach would be a very welcome day, but I realise that no opposition nor petitions will make it happen.

Change? Racial discrimination and no attempt to weed out homphobes? That doesn't sound very 21st century to me.

I remain a fan of yours Biodun. :-)

Hi Alex,
Would you honestly expect everyone in your Imagine Party to agree on every issue?

Imagine has a very simple "No Preference, No Prejudice" approach to sex, sexuality, age, race and religion.

Of course you can't expect everyone to believe it deep in their hearts, but you can clearly state it is the belief of the party and the approach to policy you will adopt.

I have done that. I'd like the Tories too, but we have seen from previous discussions here that homosexuality is more sensitive to Europe.

People who aspire to actually engage in real politics cannot have their own little party with its own set of individual ideas.
Yes they can. It is called democracy. No-one needs vote from just the top 3 any more.

At 22 James you really may want to have a life before this "parliamentary career" you speak of.

Im not entirely sure I want a career in parliamentary politics. Im just talking about the possibility of being offered a chance of a seat. I dont expect one, nor do I want one from this Party.

Sorry Im confused - if you went for a seat (which you would have to go out and fight for) as opposed to being offered isnt that a sign you want a parliamentary career?

There are plenty of other ways to contribute to society.

Chad I appreciate your trying to sweeten me up with flattery, but still.... :-)

To be fair to Cameron, when he said that Joan Howarth (the woman who made the 'racist' comments)was in the wrong party, it was just after his UKIP-closet-racists palaver. Her comments directly undermined him and it was during the Spring conference where she got a lot of coverage.

Who are the specific homophobes that you think he should be denouncing and why single them out?

On a side note, Joan Howarth failed to win her council seat despite being the ONLY other candidate against the sitting labour councillor.
I wonder if her stupid comments had anything to do with it. She should have been out campaigning instead of shooting her mouth off.

As I have said, Im not entirely sure I want a career in parliamentary politics. If I tried, given my comments here, would I be allowed to stand? I doubt it. I post here regularly and more than often against the Leader. Why would he want me fighting under the Conservative Banner?

Indeed there are many ways in which I can contribute towards society, including standing as an Independent in the local elections next year, which I intend to. Yes, the maths dont add up, two Tory candidates and one Independent into a seat seat ward, but I doubt two good Tory local candidates can be found for the ward I plan on standing in, so Ill hedge my bets.

The first "seat" should read "two", thus two seat ward... Its so late!

Hi Biodun,

:-) Rough with the smooth! We shouldn't always be fighting.

Who are the specific homophobes that you think he should be denouncing and why single them out?
No, I do not want a witch hunt in any form nor do I wish to single out a single person but I would like Cameron to treat the issue fairly and state that those who are prejudiced against homosexuals are also in the wrong party.

All I am noting is that Cameron will not seek to remove such a prejudice against homosexuals, and state a clear policy of supporting homosexuals, as previous discussions here have shown that feeling runs deep, and some people oppose homosexuality based on some religious dogma.

Sure, the Tories will pussyfoot around the issue and let us know how 'modern' they are because they are now less prejudiced! Well done indeed!

If a party cannot adopt a clear No Preference, No Prejudice approach to policy, in terms of sex, sexuality, age, race or religion then the party itself is prejudiced. Of course indiviudals members may always be secretly or even openly prejudiced, but surely the party itself should make its opposition to prejudice clear?

Imagine is committed to this approach, and I wish the big parties were too.

For all the arguing though, regarding the a-list, theybest people to judge are the electorate themselves.

I pledge that Imagine will put up a small c conservative local candidate in every seat that Cameron, or any party imposes an all-women, all-whatever list to give the electorate a fair choice. Hopefully local candidates will join Imagine, but I'll happily help finance this to hopefully pressure the big parties to drop any plans to field such centrally-controlled candidate lists.

If you are pledging to put up candidates, Chad, then perhaps you could share with us the number of members you now have?

"All I am noting is that Cameron will not seek to remove such a prejudice against homosexuals, and state a clear policy of supporting homosexuals, as previous discussions here have shown that feeling runs deep, and some people oppose homosexuality based on some religious dogma."

It seems to me that you are prejudiced against religious people, Chad, breaking your own No Pref, No Prej, with regard to religion.

Any Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim would be discriminated against by the CP if Cameron were to tell those who believe same-sex acts to be morally wrong, to leave the party. Indeed, even the Dalai Lama holds to that position.

I write as a religious person myself, who is in a same-sex relationship. (certain people would reply as if I hated gays if I didn't put that in)

Christina, good try!

No, just because I disagree with someone's prejudice does not make me prejudiced against them!

In devising and implementating policy I'll treat everyone the same in terms of race, religion, age, sex and sexuality, but that in no way stops me from criticising them.

Another good try! Look at yourselves first.

If you are pledging to put up candidates, Chad, then perhaps you could share with us the number of members you now have?

I'll tell you what. Once every party is prepared to openly declare its current membership with independent scrutiny instead of opaque propaganda, I'll do the same. I'm in favour of this and have called for this. No-one else seems to want to give up the spin though do they?

We're getting off topic folks.

"No, just because I disagree with someone's prejudice does not make me prejudiced against them!"

That is your prejudice though, Chad. You assume you are right that same-sex relations are not sinful.

If you were not prejudiced against religious people, you would have written 'their beliefs' not 'their prejudices.'

To call someone prejudiced, is to judge them wrong. To name their beliefs that you disagree with, is neutral.

You are not neutral towards religious beliefs, you are prejudiced. I bet you cannot post why the Roman Catholic Church believes same-sex relations to be wrong, nor the Orthodox, nor the Church of England, nor Islam, nor Buddhism.

Tim,

I posted my last before your intervention was displayed.

Well, I see the irony in being lectured on prejudice by an ex-BNP member.

But please mail me if you want to continue this as Tim has asked us to stay on topic

Anyway back to the A-List topic:

Michael Howard's constituency, if it is indeed the first for Cameron to present an all-women candidate list will be an excellent focus for opposition to positive discrimination.

You knew I was an ex-BNP member when I was a member of ProgCon. At that time you accepted that decent people coulfd join the BNP because mainstream parties were not listening. I was a member of the BNP for about 2 months, and I have told you that part of the reason I was a member of the BNP was that I was a bit ill with Bipolar Disorder at the time.

You KNOW all these things. You defended me from others who used to bring the BNP up. Now you are doing what they did.

It shows you have lost the argument and can only use Ad Hominem now.

You told me at ProgCon that I was doing very important work and helping a great deal.

That's right, that is what Chad stated to Christina, knowing about her mistake, and now he is using it as a weapon against me.

What you have posted says a lot about you.

Tim, I'm sorry about this post, but I have to defend myself after that atrociously hypocritical post of Chad's and I hope this post shows why.

"Of course you can't expect everyone to believe it deep in their hearts, but you can clearly state it is the belief of the party and the approach to policy you will adopt."

Chad, I believe that you misunderstand me here. What I meant what whether you expected every member of Imagine to share your views on every issue. Presumably you do not. Instead, you seek to create a series of core values which you would expect them to share - "No Prejudice, No Preference" may be one of those, and it is a laudable one at that. However, with more peripheral issues, it would be impractical for everyone to agree on everything. It is possible to oppose the A-list, but regard it as essentially a secondary issue to economic policy, foreign policy, public service reform and the like.

"Yes they can. It is called democracy. No-one needs vote from just the top 3 any more."

Whilst I admire your enthusiasm, the simple fact is that only one party (Labour) has established itself as a new major party of government (that is, providing a Prime Minister) since 1721. The Tories and the Whigs/Liberals/Alliance/LibDems have been around since the dawn of democracy in Britain. Labour managed to edge out the Liberals at a time of extraordinary social, political and economic upheaval amidst the perhaps most rancorous party split in British political history, the introduction of universal suffrage and against the backdrop of a World War. No other party has established itself in the last 300 years. From Cobbett's Radicals and Acland's Common Wealth Party to the New Party (remember them?) and Veritas, no one has broken through. If you want to do that in times of peace, stability and prosperity, good luck to you.

Hi Alex,

Yes, I agree completely, I would not expect everyone to agree on everything. Voters may well be making a least-worst decision, but for those who seek to represent the party, all I would expect (or it would be pointless for them to join) is that they agree with the small set of core values than defines the purpose of the party.

There should then of course be much vigourous debate on how to deliver those values.

I am beginning to feel a comfortable position for Imagine as a working class party in between the Tories and Labour, that I think addresses both the concerns and aspirations of the working class.

I see this as:
Tories: A hand up not a hand out
Imagine: A hand out then a hand up
Labour: A hand out, then another hand out.

I just can't see the working classes trusting the Tories to support them better than Labour, and can't see Labour envouraging people to break free from state dependency as that seems a core reason that keeps them in power.

I think the range of small c-r parties are missing the point. I think Imagine as a moderate c-l, working class focussed small government (thus eurosceptic) party could actually give Labour a run for its money in areas that are no-go for the Tories by really being a voice of the working class, but one that understands that the working classes won't vote for a party that they cannot trust on both support and aspiration.

So you see, I think Imagine offers something unique, a focussed small government working class voice that sits between the Tories and Labour.

I want Imagine to extend the conservative voice into areas that the Tories have no chance of real progress which in itself can only increase the chance of an overall small c conservative government which contrasts sharpply with the c-r parties which seem to just split votes and reduce the chance of conservative government by being effectively anti-tory.

At 8:08 am Chad wrote this:

"I pledge that Imagine will put up a small c conservative local candidate in every seat that Cameron, or any party imposes an all-women, all-whatever list to give the electorate a fair choice. Hopefully local candidates will join Imagine, but I'll happily help finance this to hopefully pressure the big parties to drop any plans to field such centrally-controlled candidate lists."

So, the Conservative Party will be opposed in places where Cameron's aims to make the Party more woman-friendly and more ethnic-minority friendly are being used. Chad is claiming to be no pref, no prej, but he will only oppose women and ethnic minority candidates!

It beggars belief.

I guess it is very nice for Imagine to get all this free advertising too, he used to pay for it when he ran ProgCon.

but he will only oppose women and ethnic minority candidates!

Why misrepresent me? I said in my post that I oppose 'all-whatever' lists, ie a list comprised on only one kind of candidate no matter what the flavour is.

Christina, can we leave the personal attacks. Henry Whitmarsh did a good job of picking up your rather unpleasant posts about the evil of islam and Tim has clearly asked us to focus on the a-list.

This is a forum for all conservatives, so please can you focus on the issues rather than slating me, Henry or whoever?

I will not respond to another post from you. OK? Mail me if you want an argument, but please, let's discuss the A-list!

The leaked memo from last week shows how brutally unfair this system is going to be. Its said that this is fair because there arent enough women in Parliament, but I dont see the logic here. Does this party believe in equality of opportunity? I would hope it does. Equality of opportunity can marry with a meritocratic system as everyone, regardless of sex, religion, age etc have the same starting point and its up to them to compete with others for the chance to stand. I dislike the idea that because there arent enough women in Parliament, female candidates are to be sent to key marginals, by order of the Party. The key marginals should not be handed out with condition of having a particular demographic, whether it be sex or whatever.

The leaked memo also gave the impression that Associations which didnt agree with the A-List will be asked for a private meeting, which to me sounds like they are to be told they accept the candidate or else. Wheres the need for that? Why's it necessary? If the Party had consulted Associations prior to this maybe there wouldnt be the need for private meetings.

The argument that its fair because women have had it hard in the past doesnt wash either. Two wrongs dont made a right.

It is NOT a personal attack and it is NOT off topic, your advertising of Imagine seems off-topic to me, but that is for Tim's judgement.

Cameron's Conservatives want to redress the balance of women and ethnic minority candidates (inc Muslims) I am supporting Cameron on this, so your Ad Hominem about Islam is nonsense and you do not understand my position on Islam. Remember, I did study Theology and know something about all religions. I want more Muslim candidates, you will oppose them with your Imagine Party.

It's all very well saying 'whoever' but we know who 'whoever' is. Women and etnic minority candidates.

Your stance is okay in theory, but in practise you will not be standing against white men!

"The leaked memo also gave the impression that Associations which didnt agree with the A-List will be asked for a private meeting, which to me sounds like they are to be told they accept the candidate or else. Wheres the need for that? Why's it necessary? If the Party had consulted Associations prior to this maybe there wouldnt be the need for private meetings."

I have read statements by women candidates about how they were asked questions like 'who will look after your husband / children?'

There are some women in the Tory Party who frown upon women candidates, read the other Christina's post much earlier, she made a disparaging comment about who wanted to be MPs.

This isn't just a case of male sexism, it is a problem of women Tories who don't approve of women being MPs. This is why our culture must change.

The prejudices will remain, the discrimination will remain, if the problems are not addressed sufficiently. We do not have a level playing field.

'they are to be told they accept the candidate or else.'

Or else what ? The only way by which CCHQ can impose an unwanted candidate is by suspending the whole constituency association, as happened in Slough. I cannot believe that they would be willing to do this wholesale. I can only imagine that they think a bit of arm-twisting and cajoling of selected constituency officers will do the trick. But will it ? Whips Office tactics may not work or deserve to work in these circumstances.


People who are prejudiced are unlikely to become less prejudiced as a result of this measure, Christina.

Im curious, how much consultation with Associations was done prior to the announcements related to the A-List? Did Cameron ask the Associations what they felt? Would any Association Officers/Chairmen like to comment on what consultation there has been in their areas?

Way up towards the beginning of this thread Francis Maude was quoted as saying that "Constituencies will always be encouraged to interview a strong local candidate, whether or not he or she is on the Priority List."

The Guidelines for Selections in Target and Conservative Held Seats, however, state that “The Leader expects the list of priority candidates to be of sufficient size, sufficiently broad and comprising people of such talent that there will rarely be a need to add to the priority list.”

While local candidates may be considered along side the priority list, the presumption is clearly against their inclusion.

I have been arguing that a local candidate will often be the best choice both in terms of his or her ability to win the seat and of their ability to serve their electors and that therefore Local Associations should be actively encouraged to seek applications from suitable local candidates.

As we go through the process of selecting from the Priority List, I do hope the Candidates’ Committee will be flexible in allowing local candidates to be considered.

Put Mark Oaten at the top of the list. He's not too right wing and and has some minority interests !

"People who are prejudiced are unlikely to become less prejudiced as a result of this measure, Christina."

This may well be true Sean, it may also be true of course that employers and employees may be unlikely to be less prejudiced with anti-discrimination laws in place.

Could someone please explain to me why it is okay to allow discrimination to go on at local level and bad for central office to deal with it, when we all know that if the Conservative Party were a company, we would be breaking the law? Why should law makers be able to avoid anti-discrimation laws?

Honest question, not rhetorical. Is there some purpose served in letting political parties be less stringent than companies? Wouldn't we better off if anti-discrimination laws had to be obeyed by parties?

"Could someone please explain to me why it is okay to allow discrimination to go on at local level "

I'm not convinced it is okay. I want to see selection interviews (or primaries) conducted in the professional manner which one would expect from, say, a leading plc. I would expect that there would be thorough preparation for the selection committee, and an agreed list of questions, to be asked of all questions.

Unlike an ordinary interview, it is reasonable to ask candidates about their political opinions. What should be forbidden, and if necessary people removed who aske them, are questions like "Are you gay", or "What would your husband do for sex".

It ought to be the responsibility of both the Association Chairman and the ACD to ensure it is conducted along those lines.

"and bad for central office to deal with it,"

CCO isn't dealing with it. It is perpetuating it.

" when we all know that if the Conservative Party were a company, we would be breaking the law? Why should law makers be able to avoid anti-discrimation laws?"

Law-makers often exempt themselves from their own law. All-women shortlists and priority lists would certainly fall foul of anti-discrimination legislation if a company were to implement them.

However, I can see practical problems arising, if candidates were allowed to sue parties because they didn't get selected. Don't forget, it's for the accused to prove he didn't discriminate; it's not for the accuser to prove that discrimination didn't take place.

Thanks Sean, I liked what you posted. I've just read DCs latest speech and his approach seems to be 'trust, but if trust is broken, complain.' I guess he thinks there isn't enough time for exhortation now, as the exhortation may be ignored and the issue unresolved at the time of the next GE.

That's how I read it, and it isn't perfect, but I see the 'trusting people' thing as guidance not a rigid law that cannot be broken. A principle is a guide, not a rigid law, to me. Sometimes we have to accept second best to get something done quickly, and have a much better solution later.

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