Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Clegg on Diversity - I will consider appointments process

At the bloggers interview yesterday Alex Wilcock and I both asked questions about diversity. Alex highlighting the urgency of the problem as those who flocked to us following Iraq now appear to be drifting away (well covered here). I pointed out to Nick that whilst I applauded his commitment to an academy to improve representation in the party, he had not addressed my concern that we already had a lot of talented BME members, many of whom are already being wooed by the other two parties as they begin to lose patience with us (in the middle of me trying to ask the question Nick cut across me, then commenting that this was a dangerous thing to do as people never usually got a word in edge ways when I was talking!). Nick repeated what he has said many times before that this was a serious issue that if we hadn't cracked in two parliaments we would need to bite the bullet of considering positive discrimination, however he was confident that there was a lot we could do. What he said, that I haven't heard him say before, was that he would consider his powers of appointment in making a difference now. Music to my ears! I trust this will include peers and that he will take a leaf out of the Tories book in bringing in new talent from the BME community - that would send a clear and immediate message that he is backing up his commitment with action. He also promised to bring in people with experience in from outside the party. He recognised the need for role models to be beacons to others.

I know it is a bit of a broken record for me, but if we want to represent we must be and look representative. If we don't see ourselves reflected in our party, whether that is because of our ethnicity, gender, sexuality or disability, we won't expect our party to understand our issues and actually, often, this is the case. This is fact, not fiction, however enlightened our current elite are.

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