So Chris Huhne had to go. Well he didn’t have to go but he did have to go. You know what I mean. The next big question was who would replace him as the fifth Liberal Democrat in the cabinet. Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Michael Moore and Danny Alexander are already in. All white men. The clamour was clear amongst the grass roots. They wanted a woman. We are the party of diversity or so we proclaim. How can we live with the situation of not having a woman in the cabinet if we are allowed five members under the coalition agreement?
As a brief aside why do I never read about the lack of Lib Dem MPs from ethnic backgrounds in the party let alone in the cabinet?
Anyway I have read a plethora of reasoned posts on the subject from the very flffy elephant to the standard bearer for Liberal Democrat blogging to arguably the most vocal voice in Lib Dem blogging. They are all worth reading if you have a spare ten minutes or so.
In the interests of showing my colours and thoughts I wanted either Lynne Featherstone or Jo Swinson to get the promotion. People will probably not believe me as I have been pigeon-holed by many within the Lib Dem blogosphere as hating women. Therefore here is a screenshot from Facebook in the Essex Liberal Youth group on Friday morning.
You can also go back through my twitter history if you really want to. My position on this subject has been the same all the way through.
So whilst I was disappointed in the Ed Davey decision I also note that I’m not in the best place to judge. I don’t know these candidates personally. I know of their jobs and what they do and what they are trying to do but that is it. Nick Clegg knows them all personally. He also knows what they would all bring to the job. So he is clearly in the best position to judge.
So there are two pertinent questions. Firstly who is the best person for the job of Energy Secretary in Nick Clegg’s eyes and secondly if that person is a white male should they be overlooked just for diversity reasons? I can’t answer the first question because I don’t have enough insight and only Nick Clegg really does so I move straight on to the second part. Nick has decided Ed Davey is the right person for the job so should he be discriminated against because of his gender? The answer to that in my opinion is no. To discriminate against him for that reason is sexist and as a party we do not believe in sexism.
Of course there is one caveat to this. The above maybe a moot point is Nick Clegg himself is a sexist and is determined to keep women down. Does anyone truly believe that is the case? *surveys the landscape and sees a few hands but chooses to ignore them* No doubt some of you actually believe that. I can’t say he isn’t but really. I choose to believe that Nick Clegg is not a sexist and doesn’t think women are inferior. I would implore you all to follow my lead on that.
So here we are. A lot of us didn’t get what we wanted but we have to concede that we weren’t equipped with all the facts. I firmly believe that Nick chose the person he thought was the best fit for the job no matter of their creed or gender. That is what I believe. I don’t believe in positive discrimination. I just don’t therefore if Nick decided that Ed was the right person for the job then I’m happy to go with that.
There is no big conspiracy. I’ll back Ed Davey and hope he does a great job. The likes of Lynne Featherstone, Jenny Willott and Jo Swinson will have great futures within the party. As will many women who will be elected in the coming years. Just because their time isn’t now in the top jobs doesn’t mean that the hierarchy of the party is sexist and all wrong.
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