The Mid-Atlantic Blog

December 13, 2005

The Comments On Candidate Selection Prove Cameron's Point

Cameron's proposals on candidates have set the fur flying on conservativehome.

I don't like the idea of preferences myself. However, Cameron is right that we need to take diversity seriously. Just like on environmentalism (see posts below), that doesn't mean some of the nonsenses that we've seen from the diversity lobby on the left. Instead we need to create a conservative approach to these issues. This proposal is a good first try. No doubt we'll see further versions over time.

The more amusing part of the reactions is the suggestion in these comments that the system we have in place today works, when it is patently clear that it doesn't. We all know good quality candidates, especially women, who have been bounced out of the system. On top of this, most of the best and brightest that we have are doing proper jobs, and having families. Maybe they spend part of their 20s or 30s working abroad. Certainly they are likely to have significant travel commitments. Unless they are very lucky these activities don't mesh very well with active involvement in the voluntary party, and that means that when they come to think about applying they are aware that their political CV is much weaker than their professional one.

The strongest part of the proposals, then, are the suggestions of using external headhunters, and going outside the current party. If we do that well then we can actively raise the quality of all on the candidates list, and increase diversity at the same time.

And please note: I say this as a married, white, male, heterosexual, public school and Oxbridge educated father, who works in the City and is a regular churchgoer. So I'm hardly talking my own book.

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