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New equality minister Lynne Featherstone says government not diverse enough

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  1. silly billy 14 May 2010, 4:23pm

    “male and pale”? What on earth can this mean? Have all the men got a dose of something nastier than already apparent? Or, God help us, is she, somewhat obtusely, referring to skin colour? I thought we had long got over the days when people referred to others in such delightful ways as “slightly tinted” etc.

  2. “None are openly gay, although gay Tory MPs Nick Herbert and Alan Duncan have been given junior ministerial positions.”

    Is this part of Pinknews observations – or did Lynne Featherstone herself comment on the lack of queers in the cabinet?

  3. vulpus_rex 14 May 2010, 5:12pm

    Ms Featherstone raises an interesting question, namely, is it better to overpromote substandard politicians such as Warsi, David Lamy and the odious Keith Vaz so that one gets the right mix of colours in parliament, or is it perhaps better to promote those who will actually be good at the job?

  4. Won’t be long until there is one less woman in the cabinet, as the furore over Caroline Cormack – erm, I mean Mrs Spelman, and here agri lobbying business increases. The left won’t rest until they have a scalp.

    Why don’t people like Lynne Featherstone shut up about diversity and equality? Just get there on your own merits rather than being some token “minority”. Overpromoted people like Lammy, Vaz, Harriett Harperson, Jacqui Smith and Dawn Butler damaged the government greatly by their incompetance and lack of honesty.

    I don’t remember the sisiterhood and fellow lefties praising Margaret Thatcher as the first woman – and longest ever serving – PM. Harperson even “forgot” to include her name to the list of great female political milestones (great way to spend public money). Of course we all remember the name of the first asian femal local councillor, but the name of the first female PM just escapes us all. Just goes to show how cildish and small minded these self opionated, self appointed guardians of the moral high ground are.

  5. Why is Featherstone surprised.

    The Tory Party is after all a party for rich, white, straight men.

  6. SimonM : “The Tory Party is after all a party for rich, white, straight men.”

    Like Vulpus said, who gives a toss about diversity? If it so happened that one-legged Jewish black lesbians could run the country better than anyone else, I’d give them all a job.

    Maybe rich, white straight men just do it better than anyone else.
    It was this diversity bullsh!t that Labour pushed for all those years, just to keep up the “street cred”, irrelevant of ability, they just wanted a nice even spread of colours to make them look good. Sod that. We need the BEST for our country.
    Better “Pale and Male” than “Diverse and fcking useless”.

  7. Pumpkin Pie 14 May 2010, 8:20pm

    It’s worrying how some people completely missed the point she was trying to make. Let me repeat the appropriate sections:-

    “I think that is an issue. But if I look at the five Liberal Democrats, including Nick Clegg, who have gone into the cabinet, they are, and this is one of the difficulties, extremely talented, extremely experienced and the heavy hitters in the Liberal Democrats.”

    “So the issue is how do you get women through the ranks of parliament to those positions where they are then in a position to be in the cabinet?”

    She’s not talking about tokenism, she’s worried at the lack of minorities who are qualified to take positions of power. She doesn’t want unqualified people doing important jobs, so she thinks it’s a shame that minorities have produced so few powerful politicians, because it leads to less representation for them. She wants to rectify this through positive means, such as encouraging more minorities to get into politics, not through parachuting unqualified people into power.

  8. theotherone 14 May 2010, 8:56pm

    She’s got a point you know…

    I suspect most of the problem is that they had to give positions away to Lib Dems which, as she herself observes, where mostly male.

    Perhaps she should start promoting Equality within the Government itself?

  9. vulpus_rex 14 May 2010, 9:18pm

    Fair point Pumkin Pie.

    Liebour had 13 years to do their best, but what they did instead was keep women, minorities, and the working class badly educated, poor and unhealthy, but comatose on Liebour largesse as they needed their votes.

  10. She wrote that she was “optimistic” about securing most of her party’s election equality promises.

    She added: “Will I get our whole agenda agreed? Well I might – but there are a few things I can see causing ructions – but I am optimistic about most of it.”

    GREAT! Go for it, Lynne. We are all behind you if you are going to try to honour your party’s commitment to marriage equality. It is the one major legislative hurdle left.

  11. Patrick James 15 May 2010, 1:53am

    Silly right wing Daily Mail readers always start going on about “merit” whenever selection procedures include measures to improve representation.

    However the hierarchy of the Conservative party is decided primarily by position and influence, it has surprisingly little to do with merit. Look, for example, at Chris Grayling, someone who was chosen to be shadow Home Secretary. Chris Grayling got that job because Rupert Murdoch decided he should have it, it was conditional on the support the Conservatives received from Murdoch’s newspaper empire.

    Nobody believes that George Osborne was given his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer on the basis of “merit”. That is laughable, George Osborne got to where he is today because he is very wealthy and hangs around with David Cameron, and most importantly says and does everything Rupert Murdoch wants.

    Nobody in the Cabinet today is there if Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like them. Murdoch’s likes and dislikes are not based on “merit”.

  12. BobbetStillTheSame 15 May 2010, 5:30am

    Exactly PJ. For some people minorities or the socially excluded don’t “merit” anything, that’s the sad truth about it.

  13. Sister Mary Clarance 15 May 2010, 9:03am

    You may be right Patrick (and even if you’re wrong I’m sure you wouldn’t accept it). On the other hand Gordon Brown is where he is because he was the worst Prime Minister in decades.

  14. silly billy 15 May 2010, 10:47am

    Errr…isn’t Caroline Cormack, whoops you mean Spelman…also a right wing religious dogmatist? And, word has it, that Gordon is actually back where he is happiest, amongst people that he gets on very well with and who appreciate him and don’t go on and on and on about him being Scottish, and where the media isn’t utterly dominated by right-wing dogmatists who wanted to get rid of him and were only able to do that by dint of the hijacking of the lib-dems by the right wing nutters like Cl-Egg.

  15. why don’t you lay off the attack SMC? People just want to see more people who’ll represent them and not just people perceived as rich immoral scum! merit would help as it means that the best are picked instead of based on media or allegiances like right-wingers

  16. David Cameron has appointed Theresa May as Home Secretary and Equalities Minister, Ian Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary and Philipa Stroud as his Special Advisor, Eric Pickles as Communities Secretary and Baroness Warsi as Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio in his first Cabinet.

    All of these people have records of voting against equal rights for gay and trans people. In some cases they have advocated and voted to reduce the rights of gay and trans people.

    Is it fair to entrust these people with responsibility for social policy? Can they be trusted to act fairly and provide equal opportunities for all, or will their religious beliefs prevent them from allowing gay people or people with different beliefs to live their lives with equal opportunities and without harassment?

    Personally, I doubt that Theresa May is committed to equality when she has repeatedly voted against gay rights except where the party whip has instructed her to vote along party lines.

    I also think it is undemocratic for Ian Duncan Smith to appoint Philipa Stroud as his personal advisor when she lost her election and has been discredited for saying that gay and transsexual teenagers were possessed by demons and attempting to exorcise them. Questions should be asked about the appropriateness of this appointment when Ian Duncan Smith and Philipa Stroud jointly run the Centre for Social Justice – is this nepotism? Will there be contracts for favoured religious organisations to deliver back to work schemes?

    It is looking suspiciously like ‘The Big Society’ is actually a plan to cut public services for vulnerable young and old people, homeless people, people in debt, people with addictions etc so that contracts can be given to religious voluntary organisations that will deliver services more cheaply but will actively proselytise and cast judgement (or damnation?) on service users.

    Personally, I am extremely pleased that there are Liberal Democrat MPs in the Cabinet to moderate the intolerant instincts of these right wing Tories. I am encouraged by the negotiating ability of the Lib Dem team in forming a coalition that gave significant concessions to the Liberal Democrats. However, it is clear that David Cameron and chief negotiator William Hague had to make concessions to the Conservative religious right in order to broker the coalition within their own party. I sincerely hope that the LGBT community has not been cast as the ‘sacrificial lamb’ in the interests of ‘the greater good’.

    A lot of responsibility rests on Lynne Featherstone’s shoulders as the Under Secretary for Equalities in Theresa May’s team. I know that Lynne has an unsurpassed understanding and commitment to equal rights for LGBT people and other minorities. She has my admiration and best wishes for her new role. I hope that she will have the full backing of Liberal Democrat Cabinet members when social policies are being decided.

    I thank goodness and the electorate that the Lib Dems are in this coalition Government rather than their being an unmoderated and immoderate Conservative Government.

  17. Sister Mary Clarance 17 May 2010, 10:06am

    Chester – but of a subjective posting there. The new government should be judged on the governance it provides us not on what people perceive might happen possibly, maybe, perhaps.

    Is it too much to ask that people actual wait before diving headlong in and slagging everybody in sight off, particularly when you throw in all this call war cr@p.

    Yeah, probably it is …..

  18. Sister Mary Clarance 17 May 2010, 12:14pm

    oops – ‘class war’

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