28 April 2009
Labour Family Trees
When it comes to selecting candidates, I don't think you'll ever find me holding up the Conservative Party as a paragon of virtue, but compared to the Labour Party we approach perfection. Several recent contests involving all-women-shortlists have resulted in organisational chaos and worse. If you were looking for arguments for selecting on merit alone, the catalogue of chaos that follows makes a strong case.
The most obvious debacle is of course Erith and Thamesmead where the 22 year old daughter of Lord Gould was placed as favourite before the whole show was called off after some ballot box tampering back at Labour HQ. You'd have thought that Labour would have learnt from Crewe & Nantwich that nepotism is unappealing - but then again there are many unlearnt lessons from that campaign.
Speaking of 'it's not what you know' Tony Blair's mother-in-law recently won out in an acrimonious contest in the Calder Valley.
Not wishing to be upstaged, West Midlands Labour have organised an all-women-contest in the wake of the mysterious departure of Cllr Kim Brom from the inner city ward of Lozells & East Handsworth. Contest you say? Well not really. Despite interest from various quarters, only one name was put forward to the party membership - benefit claimant, Hendrina Quinnen, leaving Khalid Mahmood's former squeeze out in the cold.
But this time Elaina Cohen isn't taking things lying down. It appears that when she was canvassing for support she was told she was too white and jewish and has a witness to back her up. All this is before I give you the lowdown on how the 27 year old daughter of the Chairman of the Birmingham Labour Party managed to win selection for Clare Short's seat... That will have to be for another day.
Labour rules may prevent men from having a fair chance, but it's all relative. ;-)