Sunday, September 14, 2008

Understanding diversity: why English Candidates Committee is different

Meanwhile, in another meeting room somewhere in the Marriott Hotel, the non-award winning half of this dynamic duo was to be found at English Candidates Committee discussing the impact of the Bones Commission on our work.

It's curious, because there are those who see us as part of the problem. And there is something of a dilemma here. We have spent many years, individually and collectively, striving to establish a level playing field. We really believe in creating a process that is 'colour-blind' in every sense of the word, and it matters deeply to us.

Bones talks about two-tier selection, and about cash bonuses for Local Parties who select BME candidates for good seats. We don't like it, we're simply not comfortable with it. In many ways, our fixation on process rather than outcome makes us ill-equipped to address the call for affirmative action. We mean well, we really do. We genuinely want everyone to come forward and get on.

So, the challenge for us is to find ways in which we can advance the diversity agenda and retain our principles. Suggestions, anyone?

1 comment:

Jennie said...

"Bones talks about two-tier selection, and about cash bonuses for Local Parties who select BME candidates for good seats."

Oh WTF? OK, so I'm not a minority, but I'm female, and I would REFUSE TO STAND in a seat which had all-women shortlists, I feel so strongly about it. Positive discrimination is still discrimination. We need to recruit and retain more women, BME, trans, Out, etc. candidates, yes, but we need to do it by getting rid of the discriminatory behaviours and mindsets, not perpetuating it.

If we say that BME candidates can't be selected on their own merits, but have to be given help to be as good as the white men, that's 1, patronising, and 2, counter productive.

GRARGH. All cross now.