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I do wonder about Moggie........years ago he wanted to stockpile gold for the coming collapse of civilisation as inflation swept us all from the board.

I wonder if Moggie Jr. went to Eton ?

The world that Moggie wants to live in has few takers nowadays since most voters would be in domestic service as 10% workforce was pre-1914.

Moggie is a relict of a golden age which existed in his own imagination long before the Secret Ballot Act 1872


Here we go... off the rails.


Why not allow each individual constituency association to decide if it wants an all woman short list? I'd be happy to vote for it providing we had enough candidates to make a good choice.

As we had only three candidates to choose from - two of them being men - it could have been a little tricky this year!


All women short-lists go against everything the Party stands for, meritocracy, equal opportunities for all, freedom of choice. DC has ruled them out and I believe he is a man of his word.

James Maskell

Agree with Derek, all-women shortlists are a bad idea. I know the two Davids had a bad time with the Women's Hour because they wouldnt propose all women's shortlists but I think they were right to do so. Its positive discrimination.

"mentoring"...what would that mean? We give more effort to women over men in campaigning? Why cant we allow men and women to campaign on a level playing field?

Michael Smith

Here we go... off the rails.

Well, you do have to wonder where Lord Rees-Mogg acquires his insights into women's thinking or, indeed, into the electoral benefits of selecting candidates primarily on the basis of gender.

From what I have seen of 'Women2Win', May & Co are offering all the usual deeply patronising, useless rubbish that e.g. gave New Labour the so-called Blair Babes. What's the point of doing that? Every bit of evidence I've seen suggests that most voters, male or female, prefer to elect representatives on the basis of criteria other than gender - criteria such as reputation, ability, track-record of achievement, commitment to the locality - as well as, obviously, candidates representing a political party that offers attractive and beneficial policies.

As for male MPs who go along with the 'Women2Win' agenda, though, I can never understand why they don't simply give up their seats so that some random woman can stand instead.

Unfortunately, since there is no evident electoral advantage to be gained through the introduction of all-women shortlists, the cynics amongst us are left wondering whether this isn't simply yet another Moderniser-issue scheme to take power away from the constituency associations, and to deliver to a small coterie in CCO the ability to select tame, acquiescent and, if the Blair Babes are anything to go by, almost unbelieveably talentless candidates who are too stupid to do anything but the leadership's bidding. I, for one, don't see how the interests of women anywhere are going to be advanced by that.

malcolm thomas

I don't think the Blair babes have exactly been much of a success. They are just seen as easy fodder for the Labour Party Machine to control. Apparently Paul Marsden is writing a book explaining how ruthlessly Labour MP's are in fact controlled, which will be published next year. This is not the Conservative way. We still have a quaint and correct belief in democracy. Cameron's ideas on this are good. Go for quality, not quantity.

Mark Fulford

While the party stands for equal opportunity, that hasn't been evident in some of the selection panels. Cameron talks about a mentor programme - I believe that should apply to panels as much as candidates.

Alex W

Presumably the adoption of all-women shortlists would be as successful as Labour's policy in Blaneau Gwent?

Seriously, the idea of all-women shortlist is extraordinarily patronising and from the women I've spoken to, most would find the very idea demeaning. The only published poll on the issue that I recall demonstrates that its net rating (positive - negative) was -10, i.e. a 10% fewer voters would consider voting Tory if this policy was adopted. Constituency parties would likely get into deep divisions or open revolt if a candidate was imposed upon them simply by virtue of her gender. The supposed magic bullet of candidate selection is a myth. Fewer women voted for us in May because our tone was negative and our platform perceived as reactionary. Changing those is the best way to woo back female voters.


Good point Mark. As someone who works all year round for my association - it amazes me when come Election time, 30 odd members appear at the selection meeting - people I've never ever seen before and elect the nice chap from London because he would look good on the front bench.

In a safe Labour seat - we need a local streetfighter. Someone who lives in the constituency and can spend every waking moment campaigning to reduce the Labour majority - man or woman.

This is less Party democarcy, more farce.

Guido Fawkes

Must be nerve wracking for Cameron to be endorsed by W R-M, a man who invariably gets it wrong...

Sean Fear

Candidate selection matters because you want candidates who fight well, and hopefully be able MPs and ministers in the future. But there is no hard evidence to suggest that voters are interested in the socio-economic profile of our (or any other party's)candidates. There is hard evidence from Blaenau Gwent that some voters will react strongly to having candidates foisted on them, in order to fit some predetermined profile.

All forms of positive discrimination tend to promote people beyond their capabilities - so that they perform below them. Their only real effect is to push more left-wing women into full-time political careers.

Sean Fear

Actually, Mark, training selection committees in interviewing techniques, and pre-interviewing techniques, would be a very good idea.


While I agree that having more women on our benches would make us look much more modern and in touch, I strongly believe that all women short lists are not the way to go. I'm not certain that there is anyone within the party's upper reaches who actually believes in this however, so it probably isn't really an issue.

We should be putting forward our most talented prospects regardless of sex, race or sexuality - maybe we should be encouraging people from these groups, but we shouldn't be demanding their selection.

Speaking as a white, married male I may be arguing against myself here but I do think it is important that the conservative benches more acurately mirror those whom we wish to represent.


Good to see such a united front from all the male activists above! I feel much the same way, but what do our female bloggers think?

Simon C

Interesting to note that, so far as I can tell, no women have commented on this thread so far.

Repeating the points I made to Brooks Newmark at the Platform discussion, we need to focus on all aspects of under-representation in the parliamentary party, not just one facet of it. Increasing the number of woman MPs is essential, but not enough.

We do need more able women as candidates and MPs, and we also require more people from minority ethnic backgrounds as well as more public and voluntary sector workers.

Particularly in marginal seats, and seats that we would like to turn into tightly-contested marginals, we need candidates with real roots in their community. We should rid ourselves of the all-too common attitude that sees Labour strongholds as opportunities for candidates to "cut their teeth", or to be parachuted in for a few months' low-level campaigning "experience". All such seats have potential Party members and councillors, whose commitment is likely to be fierce. We should be developing our presence in those areas year by year, and the choice of general election candidate should be embedded within the local strategy. If we genuinely aspire to serve all Britain and all Britons we need to show that we have a demonstrable long-term interest in and commitment to every constituency.

Mergers and alliances between associations at a local level may help generate some critical masss and energy to drive this. The party needs to build on the City Seats initiative, and make sure that it doesn't lose any gains that have come out of that.

Some other possible solutions:

Open primaries should produce candidates who can appeal to the broader electorate. It would test campaigning ability to some extent, as well as speech-making. Local candidates would have some advantage.

It is also worth considering a requirement that selection panels identify and then score candidates on the basis of the key attributes they are seeking in their candidate.


Ted: As the song goes -
Though we adore men individually,
We agree that as a group they're rather ... (just teasing)

Before I send in a proper reply tonight there are a couple of questions I'd like an answer to please;

(1) Did Cameron, Osborne, Vaisey and Rifkin compete for their current seats with women?
(2) If yes, have these women gone on to secure a safe seat nomination elsewhere, and were they elected?
(3) What are Conservative Association chairpersons looking for when selecting, what is the Person Specification of an ideal candidate?


chairpersons !!!!!

What pray is a "chairperson" ? We are speaking of Men and Women and you are focused on Intersex

Sean Fear

I don't think that anyone is likely to have the information you're seeking A-Tracy (it would have to come from far too many different sources).

Different panels will probably be looking for different things - but there are some interviewers who have no clear idea what they're looking for - which is why pre-interview discussions and training are so important.

Both of your final suggestions are excellent ones Simon C.


What pray is a "chairperson" ? We are speaking of Men and Women and you are focused on Intersex

Gosh Rick I've been accused of many things but having s*x over the internet isn't one of them! tee hee.


a-tracy, I have a partial answer on who they all competed against. The only one where I have found no information is Ed Vaizey, but it has only been a brief search so far.

Kensington & Chelsea shortlist was Malcolm Rifkind, Nick Hurd (now MP Ruislip-Northwood), Warwick Lightfoot (don't know if he stood this year, local cllr stood SE Cornwall in 1997), and Mary Weale (local cllr, can't find reference to a Parliamentary seat).

Witney shortlist was DC, Andrew Mitchell (MP Sutton Coldfield), and someone only described on the only reference I found to it as 'token female'.

Tatton shortlist - George Osborne, Chris Grayling (MP, Epsom & Ewell), Peter Fleet (stood in Southampton Itchen in 1997, can't find if he has stood elsewhere since), Richard Ashworth (MEP, South East).


Having re-read article I note he says "The winnable marginals will decide first, in the next few months. If close to half of them select women, it will be possible to retain the present open system of selection."

He's right in that if after the next round of eslection we find very few women selected we do need to review why (don't know if thats close to half or close to a third or...). I don't believe we only see outstanding men and average women.


All women shortlists are also potentially hugely damaging.

The most important thing (especially when fighting libdems) is having a LOCAL candidate. All women lists could/would mean turning away the best candidate just because they are male.

All women shortlists are typical of the metropolitan view of politics, that is they ignore the real world outside London. Its not just about what people would look like on the front bench but also what people would look like in the constituency.

Sean Fear

It's a question of numbers. As I understand it, about 80% of people on the approved list are men. It is wildly unikely that 50% of those chosen to fight marginal seats will be women.


Warwick Lightfoot ? Now there's a personage I recall.........what with him and Lance Price.......and James Clappison.......and Alan Duncan........Damian Green.........Geoff Norris.........

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