Libdems could have no women MPs at election


11:10 am - April 25th 2011

by Sunder Katwala    


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A General Election in 2011 is no longer unthinkable, argues Jackie Ashley in The Guardian. Few LibDems would relish the prospect.

But how many realise that, if such an election took place, they would face a serious risk of ending up with no women MPs at all?

Even if the election takes place on the Coalition’s schedule in 2015, it is quite likely that the LibDems will find themselves with a more male dominated party than their 1930s predecessors, when one out of ten Liberal MPs was a woman.

The reasons why the LibDems are now likely to go backwards on gender, even if they recover some lost support in the polls, are reported in The Guardian by Allegra Stratton, based on Fabian Society and Fabian Women’s Network research by myself and Seema Malhotra.

So why do LibDem women specifically face such a dramatic meltdown threat, compared to the party’s male MPs? You can read our Fabian Review article below. This will appears in the gender equality special issue of the Fabian Review, published later this week.

The LibDems have only seven women MPs out of 57. Yet five of the LibDem women hold seats among the dozen most vulnerable for the party, while they hold none of the party’s 20 safest seats. And the party leadership has failed to realise that its decision to support a cull in the number of MPs has effectively cut off any chance of progress at the next election.

Women MPs in the dozen most vulnerable LibDem seats

1. Lorely Burt (Solihull) 0.3%, 175 votes
2. Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset) 0.6%, 269 votes
3. Norwich South 0.7%
4. Bradford East 0.9%
5. Tessa Munt (Wells), 1.4%, 800 votes
6. St Austell 2.8%
7 = Sarah Teather (Brent South) 3.0%, 1345 votes
7 = Somerton 3.0%
9 St Ives 3.7%
10 Manchester West 4.1%
11. Burnley 4.3%
12. Jo Swinson, 4.6% (East Dunfermline), 2184 votes

Other LibDem women MPs

Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green), 12.5%, 7875 votes
Jenny Willott (Cardiff Central), 12.7%, 4576 votes

In an early election held on current boundaries with current MPs where the party lost only 12 seats – a much stronger result than anybody would predict from the polls – the LibDems would (on a universal swing) return with a Parliamentary Party of 43 men and 2 women – a drop from 12 per cent to just 4.5 per cent of the party’s MPs.

In practice, it could even be worse. The two ‘safer’ seats held by LibDem women are both pretty vulnerable to political responses to the Tory-LibDem Coalition. Both were gained in 2005 from Labour, through appeals to students and voters disillusioned with Labour over Iraq and other left-of-centre issues. The LibDems expect to lose Cardiff Central in the Welsh Assembly election on May 5th.

But there is little sign that the party’s internal debate has acknowledged how likely a further sharp reduction in female representation has now become, nor has the leadership apparently understood how the Coalition’s policy of a smaller House has set their chances of progress back.


A longer version of this blog, with the full Fabian Review piece, is on Next Left

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About the author
Sunder Katwala is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is the director of British Future, a think-tank addressing identity and integration, migration and opportunity. He was formerly secretary-general of the Fabian Society.
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Reader comments


So the much vaunted “Progressive Alliance” would have an all-male, all-white Lib-Dem rump at its heart and calling the tune following a successful outcome of the AV referendum. This is the line peddled by Mandelson, Cable and Hain in the Sunday Papers.

More important discussion would be about how Labour can improve its leading position on more women and Black members of parliament. All Black shortliasts in 30 most winnable seats, perhaps.

Highly amusing.

You, affiliated with the Labour Party, take it upon yourselves to critique the internal selection procedures of not the Labour Party.

What next? Decrying the sorry lack of ethnic minorities among BNP councillors? The dire lack of federasts among UKIP candidates?

More specifically, about the Lib Dims. Could you explain to me more clearly what it is about gonadal arrangements that makes someone more or less suited to a seat in Parliament?

3. Danny Wallace's Left Nut

That’ll please their Islamic friends.

@2 Mainly the whole “representing the people” thing which is ostensibly what democracies are all about. A lack of female voices within the lib dems MP ranks might indicate that said party will end up being a tad shite on issues that mainly affect women. Like that whole “protect the identity of those accused of rape” thing that they thought was important not so long ago.

@2

The BNP represent racists. UKIP represent Eurosceptics. The Lib Dems pretend, at least, to represent a broader spectrum of society (ok, possibly excluding eurosceptics…). Women are still under-represented and society should be moving forwards in this respect, not allowing decent female MPs to lose their seats because they were chosen for shaky ones in the first place as seems to be the case with the Lib Dems.

“not allowing decent female MPs to lose their seats ”

MPs lose their seats because more people vote for other people than for them?

My word, whatever next?

“Women are still under-represented”

No, women have exactly the same number of representatives as any and everyone else.

They’re not the same number of representatives, this is true, but that’s not what “representative democracy” means. If it were, well, 20% of the country is functionally illiterate, where are their representatives now that John Prescott has been kicked upstairs? Some large portion of the country is irredeemably dim so should the Tories have a few more Tim Nice But Dims in there? Teh Gayers (as Iain Dale pointed out) are now over-represented in Parliament given prevalence in the population. Should that cease?

What next? Decrying the sorry lack of ethnic minorities among BNP councillors

Erm, I didn’t realise the Libdems had a specific policy of trying to exclude women. Even though you make some pretty mad drive-by comments, this has got to be one of the funniest Tim Worstall.

@6

C’mon Tim you know how this stuff works. There are safe seats and there are swing seats. Putting loads of your few women candidates in swing seats is a bit of a dumb strategy if you wanna increase the number of women MPs (granted something the LDs may not want to do).

On your second point, women make up the majority of a) the population b) primary care givers (formally known as “parents” 😉 ) and c) low-paid parttime workers. These three facts alone should give pause to thought when looking at the overly-male makeup of the H o C (and credit to Labour for attempting to do something about it…). Arguing against more female MPs makes you look silly.

“Arguing against more female MPs makes you look silly.”

But I’m not arguing against more female MPs. I’m asking rather what’s so important about having more female MPs?

If the Great British Public actually wants more female MPs they can jolly well vote for them, can’t they?

@9

If the Great British Public actually wants more female MPs they can jolly well vote for them, can’t they?

In theory…
Though it’s not like there aren’t a number of barriers toward getting yourself into a position where the public can vote for you now is there?

“Though it’s not like there aren’t a number of barriers toward getting yourself into a position where the public can vote for you now is there?”

If I can manage it it really can’t be all that hard.

All you actually need to stand for Parliament (which I haven’t, I stood for the EU one) is 10 signatures and £500.

” Jo Swinson, 4.6% (East Dunfermline), 2184 votes ”

Jo Swinson represents East Dunbartonshire not East Dunfermline.

13. Sunder Katwala

Tim Worstall,

‘So what? Who cares?’ is a possible response to evidence showing the LibDems are likely to be more than 90% male after the next election, taking them back to where they were in the 1930s.

1. It may be your response. But it would be a strange response from Nick Clegg or the LibDems. That is because the leader has made speeches, given evidence to the Speaker’s Conference in the last Parliament saying this matters – that his party’s record is in his owords “woeful”, that it matters they improve, and that he is committed to putting in place strategies to make rapid progress. (The piece identifies several different reasons why the outcomes are likely to go in the opposite direction: one important reason – shrinking the Commons – is a discretionary choice, the impact which goes against what Clegg says is an important priority). So the scrutiny assesses the party’s progress against a goal they say they are committed to.

2. The progress of different parties is linked. The Tories made some rapid progress after 2001 on selecting more women and more non-white candidates. This was in large part because they were so far behind what Labour had done, and believed that allowing this to remain a signficant point of differentiation between the major parties would not be in their interests – for example, in appealing to some voters, and demonstrating they were in touch with Britain as it now is. They might be right or wrong to have believed that, but it

3. My own view is that parties which achieve the meritocratic goal of “equal chances and no unfair barriers” for candidates of (for example) different genders – to which all are committed publicly – a good test of whether they have achieved this would be that outcomes of cohorts of selections (eg ‘the class of 2010’, etc) are often in the region of 50-50 over time, with plenty of random variations either side of 50-50 of course.

If there are systematic 90-10 male-female outcomes – which are never 60-40, 50-50, 40-60 or 10-90 this must logically signify either that women are
(i) less talented
(ii) less interested
(iii) that there are structural barriers to equal chances.

14. Charlieman

There are lots of reasons why there are so few women LibDem MPs and even under AV that proportion would be modest.

The majority of safe LibDem seats are occupied by MPs who initially won with a small majority and have built up personal support or the local party. You have to go a long way down the list of UK safe seats (Cambridge, by my reckoning) until you come across a new male LibDem MP taking over from a LibDem retiree.

Most LibDems would regard the idea of a LibDem safe seat in England as an oxymoron. LibDems who win have to campaign very hard, spending lots of hours with the electorate and party workers. I’m sure that we can all imagine why women might be less able than men to make such sacrifices.

There are few seats where Cowley Street might parachute a candidate endorsed by high-ups. And even fewer where the candidate will be accepted by the local party. Workers would just bugger off down the road to support a winnable candidate that they knew.

“(ii) less interested”

Bingo! Sunder wins the internet.

Not only are women less interested in being your average strutting peacock of a politician, they are also, on average, less interested in in any form of monomania that is needed to get to the top of any profession.

Women CEOs are few and far between for exactly the same reason. They’ve better things to do with their lives than work the necessary 80 hours a week for 30 years to become one.

And no, this isn’t rampant misogyny. Standard economics of the gender pay/promotion gap.

16. Sunder Katwala

A couple of counter-examples to Charlieman at 14

Nick Clegg, the MEP well connected with the party leadership, took over a LibDem seat in 2005 where his predecessor had a 24% majority at the 2001 general election.

David Laws, who worked in the City before doing economic policy work for party HQ, took over a LibDem seat in 2001 where his predecessor had a 21% majority at the 1997 general election.

Neither seemed to experience the reaction you describe.

The LibDems are now adopting an A-list style approach. My advice to the party – in my submission to the Speaker’s Conference, and elsewhere – was that it would be possible to devise an approach where the party grassroots to take ownership of the democratic creation of an A-list to address issues of under-representation (which is an issue members say they want to tackle). I felt this would assist in the profile of those candidates with constituencies, while perhaps avoiding the type of tension you mention.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/30/liberal-democrats-black-mps-strategy

Well Sunder, here’s an example of why “more women MPs” might not be all that good an idea.

Lisa Nandy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/25/ecgd-government-bill?commentpage=last#end-of-comments

Umm, it’s not a government department. It’s a government agency. There is a difference and I’d hope that an MP knew that.

“Caucuses”

Caucasus

The former is a method of selecting a candidate to run for office. The latter is an area of the world which is what you mean.

“Its clients tend to work in troubled areas of the world,”

Yes, because that’s where you need insurance you see. Insurance is protection against risk, “troubled” and “risk” tend to go together.

“While it is the British taxpayer who underwrites these projects in the short term, it is ultimately developing countries that end up footing the bill when projects go wrong. When the project buyer fails to pay up, the ECGD can turn this into “third world” debt. Today countries as diverse as Vietnam, Kenya, Indonesia and Egypt owe the ECGD £2bn for previous sales, regardless of whether the sale benefited the people of those countries.

There are virtually no safeguards. The ECGD has no “duty of care” towards people in developing countries who are affected by the projects it supports.”

Yes, because the local government has to sign off on such a guarantee.

What, you think the ECGD just says to me, “Well, you’re selling to some bloke in Indonesia, here’s your insurance and if he buggers off then we’ll stick the Indonesian Government with the bill?”

Don’t be silly, I’ve got to go and get the signature of the Indonesian Government, agreeing that they’ll pick up the bill if the bloke buggers off. If I don’t get that signature then it never does end up being the Indonesian taxpayers who have to cough up.

Tell you what Ms. MP with a year’s experience. You go do some research on this, you know, something more than your five years with a children’s charity, and then we’ll all come back and discuss it in more detail, shall we?

Blimey…..”

Well Sunder, here’s an example of why “more women MPs” might not be all that good an idea.

You should look at the people who stand for UKIP and then tell us why people should take you seriously given you used to PR for them.

People in glass houses etc..

19. Sunder Katwala

Mr Worstall,

I understand you were not a fan of Mr Gordon Brown. I was not a fan of Mr Norman Lamont or Mr George Galloway. But I bet neither of us have ever argued that they demonstrated the problem with having men in politics. It is rare to hear a critique of Harriet Harman which doesn’t then make that generalisation. I feel your attack on Ms Nandy falls into the same trap.

So thank you for exemplifying this point … which I have made previously.

http://www.nextleft.org/2009/10/can-we-talk-sense-about-shortlists.html

“[To argue that women are less talented] is simply prejudice. It may, however, be subconsciously more widely held than people realise.

Have you ever heard a vociferous critic of John Major, Norman Lamont or Gordon Brown generalise about what this reveals about the problem of having men in senior political roles? Yet those who disagree with Margaret Thatcher, Harriet Harman, Jacqui Smith or Theresa May very often tell us that this says something about women in politics. Under-representation and the novelty factor routinely legitimise this sexist response.

There are brilliant and useless MPs of both genders. Yet it seems to me fairly evident that that there are, overall, probably rather more mediocre men than women in the House of Commons right now, not least because, with five times as many men, we are digging rather further down the male ability range”

***

In case you want to argue that the problem is women elected on all women shortlists, almost nobody knows which women were elected on AWS and which weren’t. (of the 65 new women elected by Labour in 1997 it was 30 in one group and 35 in the other).

There are lots of examples of people saying things like ‘she would never have got in without AWS’ about people who didn’t get selected on an AWS. Here’s Amanda Platell making exactly that mistake
http://www.nextleft.org/2009/10/fact-check-for-amanda-platell.html

And it doesn’t cover the most prominent cases (Harriet Harman and Theresa May, for example)

20. Sunder Katwala

Richard W – yes, you’re right, thank you for spotting that mistake. The numbers are correct. She is the only Scottish LibDem woman MP (with the least secure seat of the 11 of them).

21. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 Sunder

“Have you ever heard a vociferous critic of John Major, Norman Lamont or Gordon Brown generalise about what this reveals about the problem of having men in senior political roles?”

In fairness, I think the prejudice swings both ways here. I regularly hear comments along the lines of “the reason the world’s such a mess is that men are in charge”. In fact, didn’t Harman say that men couldn’t be trusted to do things on their own, or something?

However, you’re right that individual woman politicians are taken to be representatives of their gender in a way that doesn’t happen to males, and while anti-male bias exists it certainly isn’t keeping men, en masse, out of politics.

“I understand you were not a fan of Mr Gordon Brown. I was not a fan of Mr Norman Lamont or Mr George Galloway. But I bet neither of us have ever argued that they demonstrated the problem with having men in politics.”

But I do, continually, argue exactly that.

In two ways:

1) The world is simply too complex for any one to be able to “manage” it in the manner that politicians claim to be able to do. Thus we should drop the pretence, remove most of life from the political shpere and have only the irreducible, necessary, minimum governned by politics and politicians. You know, like what’s the rota for the rubbish to be picked up. Call this the “Hayek” move.

2) I specifically and exactly argue that the fact that people like Gordon Brown (or John Major, The Boy Cameron) get to the top, that people like Stephen Byers or Michael Bloody Heseltine get to be Cabinet Ministers, that in this cess pool of life the really big chunks float to the top, means that we want as few politicians as possible, doing as little as possible. Call this the “O’Rourke” move.

I have a problem with “humans” having power over the rest of us. And I’ll use every possible example of rampant stupidity I can find, regardless of gonadal arrangements, to make that point.

I do note though that you don’t defend Ms. Nandy’ errors. Only complain that I’m using an example of a “mediocre” MP to blacken the name of all female MPs. but as I say, I use examples of MP idiocy all the time to blacken the name of all of the MPs.

Tim Worstall: but as I say, I use examples of MP idiocy all the time to blacken the name of all of the MPs.

But you worked for a political party, did you not? doing their press right? So its not that you dislike all MPs, just certain ones. They just happen to be women.

24. Charlieman

@16 Sunder Katwala: “David Laws, who worked in the City before doing economic policy work for party HQ, took over a LibDem seat in 2001 where his predecessor had a 21% majority at the 1997 general election.”

The David Laws example tends to support my argument rather than disprove it. Laws made a fortune as a relatively young man. He then worked, full time and without pay, for the LibDems in London. When Ashdown’s seat became vacant, it was far from safe; much of the vote was for Paddy and the local party required a candidate who would be able to work the constituency full time for two years prior to the general election. Laws was an obvious choice.

BTW, I like your suggestion that the wider party should draw up A Lists.

25. Sunder Katwala

Charlieman – Thanks. Laws, while I don’t share his politics, is clearly a talented individual who showed committment to his party. However, the example was simply that there are LD seats with strong majorities, and these have gone to men with good links to the centre (often those seen as potential leaders), though I agree a post-Paddy candidate had to work to maintain it.

It is a significant point that the LibDems do often burn out candidates, and do look for candidates of means. There are various things they could do here
– accept this as a barrier to meritocracy
– think creatively about challenging it. (This, for example, could be seen as a pragmatic case for doing more to assist candidates of particular types, such as women with children, or non-elite uni graduates and non-graduates, or those outside specific over-represented professions).
– think about different models of funding potential candidates. For example, the JRRT gave the party large sums of funding in the last election cycle. They could choose to use this to make it possible to support some candidates, selected on talent, who would not have that level of personal resource. Alternatively, they could look at the pros and cons of supporting state funding

More generally, each of the parties tends to be more male dominated in the behind the scenes/spaddery/media roles which are now so important in political recruitment – esp of eg future leaders – than in its public face. The explanation of which 2001/2005 MPs ran in the Labour leadership election had much more to do with what they were doing pre-2001/05 than their Parliamentary career. These networks are probably more closed/insular than they could be, compared even to other elite political networks (such as Parliament, think-tank/NGO, councillor/activist). The parties have tended to overlook these issues about party culture and patterns of power within them, and I have been arguing that this is as/more important as counting heads within cohorts. (It is a point about all parties, but the Cameron adviser inner circle is considerably narrower even that the Cabinet and the party’s MPs, yet is a primary route for future MPs).

26. Robot Overlord

I have a problem with “humans” having power over the rest of us.

Bzzt! Meatbag Worstall has show clear support for our policy of machine rule, glory to the deathbots!

Tim, your trolling is sputtering and failing like a knackered old car.

When Sunder talks about “more women MPs” this does not imply “more MPs” but rather “the same number of MPs of whom a higher proportion are women”.

Your “Hayek” and “O’Rourke moves” are totally and utterly irrelevant to that discussion. So how about you put them back in their box away for another day, eh?

Timmy Rand…….. “No, women have exactly the same number of representatives as any and everyone else.”

Once again Timmy, in a sentence, proves he has no idea what he is talking about.

29. Charlieman

@24 Sunder Katwala: “More generally, each of the parties tends to be more male dominated in the behind the scenes/spaddery/media roles which are now so important in political recruitment – esp of eg future leaders – than in its public face.”

The seven women MPs that you list as at risk are all relative newcomers, possibly contributing to their small majorities. Five achieved recognition through serving as a councillor, the traditional LibDem route to progress. Jo Swinson is possibly the only one who followed a “behind the scenes” route to a seat, but she was an East Dunbarton local and evidently got stuck in.

LibDem insiders, of course, do get some plum seats. David Penhooligan’s adviser Matthew Taylor became his successor.

“But you worked for a political party, did you not? doing their press right? So its not that you dislike all MPs, just certain ones.”

Ooooh, no. The only UKIP MP there’s been so far I hated with an absolute passion. Entirely and totally a shit.

But we can put this another way if you like. I dislike all people who are MPs. Happy now?

31. Sunder Katwala

Charlieman … as those 7 I list are all of the LibDem women MPs, doesn’t that explanation also exemplify a central point of the piece, that the LDs need to dig deeper into what is behind this consistent pattern. (In 2010, 1 in 3 women MPs standing again lost and 1 in 10 men – the defeated men who lost had larger majorities on average, so the cause was again the relative electoral vulnerability … another way to look it at the same data is that the LibDems last May came within less than 500 votes of being down to 5 women (and a pre-1930s proportion of women) before any of their post-Coalition difficulties, which contrasts with real confidence on the part of Clegg that they would make some reasonable progress to build on.

32. Charlieman

@31 Sunder Katwala: “as those 7 I list are all of the LibDem women MPs, doesn’t that explanation also exemplify a central point of the piece, that the LDs need to dig deeper into what is behind this consistent pattern.”

I am not in denial, Sunder. But the simple fact is that there are few (and realistically zero in England) safe LibDem seats. At each general election, half a dozen LibDem held seats become vacant; the capacity for change is very limited. And, yes, the central party may lack imagination in creating opportunities for non white male candidates in winnable seats. I hope that senior LibDems heed your words about distribution of funding and deliver a democratic A List.

33. Sunder Katwala

Charlieman@32

Thanks for your reasonable responses.

A further specific point is that the new selections for party held seats in 2015 will probably now be 2 to 3 rather than 6 to 7, because of the smaller Commons.

This arises from a deliberate choice of the Coalition – including the LibDem leadership, though I suspect the gender impact of this was overlooked. That, just as much as the electoral situation, informs the prediction that they will go backwards, since it cuts off the opportunity to mitigate the electoral and historic inheritance points. As a result, much party effort is going into initiatives that can’t really begin to mature on any scale until 2020.

Another long-term cultural point is for the Scottish party to fully share the issue, for Westminster seats, rather than to see it as a project primarily of and for southern English women. As you say, that is where some safe-ish seats are.

@4: “Mainly the whole “representing the people” thing which is ostensibly what democracies are all about. A lack of female voices within the lib dems MP ranks might indicate that said party will end up being a tad shite on issues that mainly affect women.”

If you want MPs to be demographically representative to the electorate, then they must be chosen at random from the electorate. Any other selection process is bound to favour some people and not others (even if women weren’t under-representated, many other demographic groups would be).

35. Mr S. Pill

@34

“If you want MPs to be demographically representative to the electorate, then they must be chosen at random from the electorate.”

All fine in itself, but they’re not chosen at random – the “choice” itself is decided by party elites of all colours putting up candidates.

36. patricia roche

women need to be represented in parliament and politics because the impact of political decisions makes a major difference to their lives.

“women need to be represented in parliament and politics because the impact of political decisions makes a major difference to their lives.”

On that logic so do children, the illiterate and gibbering loons.

@37 Isn’t that what UKIP’s for?

“@37 Isn’t that what UKIP’s for?”

If so then I look forward to Sunder’s analysis of how more UKIP peeps should and could be elected to the Commons.

Well, the Lib Dems don’t have any minority MPs either. The party is a bit like Britain was 40 years ago.

Hi Tim,

“I do note though that you don’t defend Ms. Nandy’ errors. Only complain that I’m using an example of a “mediocre” MP to blacken the name of all female MPs. but as I say, I use examples of MP idiocy all the time to blacken the name of all of the MPs.”

I do not think it is a positive development that you are now sharing with us your contributions to Comment is Free, and would encourage you to stop doing this in the future. I do note, however that the first point of your devastating demolition of Lisa Nandy’s article is to point out that she referred to the ECGD as a government department, rather than an agency.

This would be almost as powerful an argument as the subsequent one where you note that a word was spelled wrong (in the Guardian, of all places!) Except for the fact that the ECGD is called the Export Credits Guarantee Department, and under the mission and principles bit on its website, it says:

“The Export Credits Guarantee Department is the export credit agency of the United Kingdom and is a Government Department that operates under an Act of Parliament.”

http://www.ecgd.gov.uk/about-us/mission-and-principles

On the substantive, her article is based on extensive research by the Jubilee Debt campaign – http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/REPORT%3A%20The%20Department%20for%20Dodgy%20Deals+6700.twl

This is actually an example of exactly what MPs should be doing, building a cross-party alliance (the bill is supported by Tory, Lib Dem and Green MPs as well as Labour MPs) informed by evidence from anti-poverty campaigners in order to make a government department spend public money in a more accountable and effective way.

I have heard many pathetic arguments against women MPs, but “woman MP refers to a government department as a department” is absolutely and definitely the feeblest.

Timmy (I hate woman) Rand

“On that logic so do children, the illiterate and gibbering loons.”

So Timmy compares woman to gibbering loons. My, my Timmy really has lost it this time. Funny how his views tie in with that right wing fuck wit business man who came out last week and said “woman have better things to do like having babies.”

Tim …….”Women CEOs are few and far between for exactly the same reason. They’ve better things to do with their lives than work the necessary 80 hours a week for 30 years to become one.”

It is almost as if it was written by the same person. But it is the view of the right wing, free market morons everywhere. No wonder right wing newspapers pay Timmy for his weird views.

“So Timmy compares woman to gibbering loons”

He doesn’t but if he had done, then you might not be the best person to point it out.

It’s like when the Mafia set up a campaign against the stereotyping of Italian Americans as gangsters- the idea might be laudable but not really the right people to lead that campaign.

44. patricia roche

Tim I consider your remarks to be offensive on all counts. If this is the level of debate then I do not wish to partake in it.

45. anonyperson

“He doesn’t but if he had done, then you might not be the best person to point it out. ”

rofl

46. patricia roche

At least I am proud to give my name. I am marching on 11 May for people who are disabled. What is a gibbering loon Tim? It sounds like a disability hatred term. Please correct me if I am wrong as I may have misunderstood. If I have not shame on you.

47. patricia roche

PS Tim. Many people in this country are unable to read. This is not because they are at fault. This will get far worse with the cuts which impact upon literacy education. Once again shame on you for the level of your discourse.

48. Chaise Guevara

@ 44 patricia

If you’re talking about the “children, illiterates and gibbering loons” comment, I think you’re misreading him. He’s not saying that women are the political equivalent of any of the above groups.

“It sounds like a disability hatred term. ”

You might call it that. I regard it as simple vernacular English.

“He’s not saying that women are the political equivalent of any of the above groups.”

Indeed, I’m swaying that, given the statements being made about why we need more women MPs, they are the logical equivalent.

Start at the top. The claim is that because lots of people in this country are women then lots of women should be MPs.

I am then stating that lots of people in this country are illiterate, therefore, by the given logic, lots of illiterates should be MPs. The same with with children and gibbering loons…..although, perhaps to avoid offending Ms. Roche further, I should amend that, for we already have Green Party representation and thus further would be redundant.

51. patricia roche

Have I stumbled across a right wing hate blogg site by mistake. I thought this was a place to discuss left of centre politics. I can always read conservative home or sometimes the lib dem voice for that sort of thing!

@51 The political leanings of commenters varies here a fair bit. My favourite commenters are the full on libertarians who go into foaming rants about how we’re stealing off them. Always good for a chuckle them.

53. Chaise Guevara

@ 51

I think writing off the entire site as a right-wing hate blog because a single commenter used an unreconstructed term for the mentally ill is going a tad overboard.

Hi Rosemary,

Ignore Tim, he’s just working off some frustration after he discovered that he doesn’t know his government agencies from his government departments 🙂

If voters wanted more women in Parliament, they would elect them.

56. Chaise Guevara

@ 55 Andrew

“If voters wanted more women in Parliament, they would elect them.”

Not that simple, if fewer women get the chance to be elected due to party selection bias. Which itself is not that simple, if fewer women are interested in being MPs, or if parties put up male candidates because they’re genuinely more likely to win.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO

  2. Rosemary

    RT @libcon: Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO

  3. LJ

    RT @libcon: Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO

  4. Sophia

    TBF, they could well have no MPs at all… RT @libcon: Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO

  5. Aled™

    Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/hz6zzn

  6. Roger O'Donnell

    “@libcon: Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://t.co/FJJmTA1” Try NO MPs… They will be wiped out, why vote LD?

  7. The Election Blog

    TBF, they could well have no MPs at all… RT @libcon: Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO

  8. paulstpancras

    Libdems could have no women MPs at election | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/mrWxPdo via @libcon

  9. Bryn Lee

    RT @libcon: Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO

  10. Preethi Sundaram

    RT @libcon: Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO

  11. Daniel Pitt

    Libdems could be left with no women MPs at next election http://bit.ly/fIhXBO #ConDemNation





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