A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kerron Cross: a one man argument for All Women Shortlists

I usually try to leave attacks on other Labour bloggers to http://idiots4labour.blogspot.com/ but one post today really does deserve a kicking.

Kerron Cross, aside from having worked for a Labour MP for 7 years is a man who has reached the dizzy heights of being the former Vice-Chair of Croxley Green Parish Council ...

This apparently entitles him to write, for no good reason, a highly personalised attack on Kitty Ussher MP for the thought crime of having said something vaguely supportive about our Labour Prime Minister.

His post really says more about how sad he is than it does about Kitty.

I presume it is not unconnected to his obsessive and entirely self-serving/self-pitying opposition to All Women Shortlists expressed here and in several other posts.

I hate to break it to Kerron but someone like Kitty would beat him in a selection without an All Women Shortlist. Her being an MP has rather more to do with her being Amicus-sponsored, having been the Special Adviser to a cabinet minister and having a good track record as a Lambeth councillor than it does to being a woman.

Personally I support All Women Shortlists - and will do until half of MPs are women. There is a legitimate argument to be made in opposition to AWS. But it is better made by people who are not men chasing parliamentary seats. Mr Cross ought to declare a prejudicial interest. I am sure he is not a misogynist as he often posts pictures of his girlfriend on his site. However he does seem to have an "issue" with women becoming MPs before he does - an odd attitude for a socialist.

Silly men like Kerron who think becoming an MP is a birthright they have been denied by AWS are a good argument for AWS in themselves.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the greatest moments I ever saw at Labour Party conference was Gavin Laird's 1994 speech on AWS. A moment of pure electricity, fantastic to watch.

I know this sounds OTT, but it is those little moments - a life time organiser of the old school in the male-dominate trade union movement backing a feminist cause - that re-affirm your belief in the fundamental justness of the cause of Labour.

As for Kerron Cross. Get a life.

5:40 pm, October 11, 2006

Blogger Kerron said...

What a load of old cobblers, Luke.

As you well know, I have campaigned for women to be more involved in the local party structure, as local councillors and MPs - in fact I am helping a female candidate planning to stand in my home seat right now. What I disagree with fundamentally is positive discrimination of any sort.

Of course you can argue I hold this view because I am a white "middle class" man as others have, but it doesn't necessarily make it true.

I note you don't mention I was a Parliamentary candidate last election, that I have been a district councillor for the last 5 years or any of my other community achievements. It is of course your right to portray me as you like...but really it may make you look like a bit of a prat.

Frankly, I couldn't care less what you think - but thanks for devoting a whole post to my views on Ussher. It's much appreciated.

6:11 pm, October 11, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

"Personally I support All Women Shortlists - and will do until half of MPs are women."

So do you support AWS just to reach a quota?
In my view one of the strongest arguments pro AWS was that there were many good women who failed to get selected for some reasons. AWS would allow those women to get in.
So it wouldn't mean "let's have 50% of women", but "let's allow strong female candidate to get it".

AWS have been often attacked for having produced some awful MPs....Helen Clark from Peterborough usually used as an example.
I think it's a bit unfair...because 1)there're also crap male MPs 2) there're many good female MPs who made it thanks to an AWS

6:53 pm, October 11, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I'd dump this research here, sorry it's not relevant, but it is topical:

attack lines on health from the internet 10/10/06

1. A surprisingly honest conservative party member in Aberystwyth, blogging on a site mentioned as one of Iain Dale’s top ‘100 Conservative Blogs’ says of Cameron’s speech:

“Okay, I did cringe at his speech in places - the NHS being a "great achievement", Al Gore's film being in any way less than ridiculous - but I must respect the obvious force of his conviction. Project Cameron, for what it is and what it claims to be, is working.”


2. (from NHS blog doctor: http://www.pkblogs.com/nhsblogdoc/2006/04/tory-mp-refuses-to-sign-petition.html)

David Davies, the MP for Monmouth, was recently contacted by ourpetition.org, an organisation which asks politicians to commit to using the NHS

He replied:

“Thank you for contacting me but I don’t agree with you at all.
Anyone using private health care is doing the NHS a favour by freeing up a space. I say this as someone with no private health cover except for dentistry and I don’t have a choice about that!
David Davies, MP”

So, Mr Davies advocates people to go privately so that “there is more room in the NHS”.

3. Tory Councillor and PPC for North Swindon, Justin Tomlinson seems to be happy to maintain spending commitments even if David Cameron is not:

A Conservative Government will not only match Labour’s spending plans, but we will also divert more of the funding to improving frontline health care. We will also give patients the freedom to choose where they are treated, which is currently only available to the rich under Labour.

From Swindon Conservatives site: http://www.swindonconservatives.com/news_detail.php?nid=278

8:20 pm, October 11, 2006

Blogger parburypolitica said...

Actually Kitty Ussher was not Amicus sponsored in her selection as the union backed one of its officials to get the seat.

9:22 pm, October 11, 2006

Blogger UK Daily Pundit said...

Good for you Mr Akehurst for having the courage to speak up. However, I think Kerron was speaking in a personal capacity, not as an employee of the stressed out, ungrateful tosspot Andy Reed.

Labour MP Lectures Ethiopians on Work-Life Balance »

10:08 pm, October 11, 2006

Anonymous Adele said...

Sorry but Kitty is a good MP not because she is a woman but just cause she is incredibly hardworking and does a good job. She doesn't give the Govnt unconditional support; but knows the value of a labour Government.

There are some terrible male MPs and they are not terrible due to their sex but usually because they are lazy.

Positive discrimination is right. Right because we should reflect the country that we live in. Anyone involved in local politics should know that we have fought so hard for AWS to be implemented and no one progressive or socialist should allow that to be rolled back.

When we have won the argument of ideas then we will no longer need AWS; but until then it is totally the right thing to do. How about going out into your constituencies and explainig this rather than just inflaming peoples ill held prejudices.

10:41 pm, October 11, 2006

Anonymous dt said...

Anyone who prides themselves of being labelled "Labour's answer to Iain Dale", clearly has a few problems.

10:49 pm, October 11, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I support AWS because the absurdly low numbers of women selected before it was introduced imply there was some degree of discrimination against women in our party as well as wider society which positive discrimination was needed to overcome.

I think most (couple of notable exceptions) of the women selected through AWS have been a great asset to Labour both in winning seats in the first place and in their performance as MPs.

The reason I thought Kitty had been Amicus sponsored was because she and I went on the same Amicus panel training in the run-up to 2005.

12:47 pm, October 12, 2006

Blogger Sham said...

Isn't democracy the right to criticise whoever you want, whenever you want, regardless of their gender, race or religion?

Criticising a female MP just for being a woman is clearly unacceptable, but criticising her for her views or her record must surely be allowed.

I can think of one female politician in particular - Mrs Thatcher - who's received an absolute slating, yet nobody said she should be immune from criticism merely for being a woman ...

12:57 pm, October 12, 2006

Anonymous Rob said...

I'm a reluctant support of AWS but if I loved them or loathed them, I would still say that Luke, your character assassination of Kerron is way over the top. Very snide and very unworthy.

I like to think that we Labour bloggers (indeed, any bloggers) can have discussions about issues like AWS without coming over all bitchy about who's gotten furthest in the Party and name-calling.

4:18 pm, October 12, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

There are some double standards going on here - why is it acceptable for Kerron to attack Kitty Ussher in fairly derogatory tones but somehow unacceptable for me to have a go back?

4:31 pm, October 12, 2006

Anonymous craig said...

Positive discrimination is right.
Discrimination is discriminination, whether you put positive or negative before it.

It's "The end justifies the means" bullshit

6:07 pm, October 12, 2006

Anonymous Adele said...

The ends do justify the means in this case.

12:35 am, October 13, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discrimination is any form of prejudice or preference based on something other than merit. If you believe that you should deserve special treatment, because you're a woman, you're as sexist as the chauvinist male.

9:09 am, October 13, 2006

Anonymous Adele said...

No, I'm not, we have spent years waiting for women to be selected and it hasn't happened because all the old prejudices still remain.

Finally the PLP is starting to look a bit more like the country it is meant to represent.

2:52 pm, October 13, 2006

Anonymous Sean said...

Finally the PLP is starting to look a bit more like the country it is meant to represent.

Representivity might seem nice at face value, but it is not the primary quality we need in parliamentarians. Effectiveness is what is needed from parliamentarians. I don't care what sex or race a parliamentarian is, but if it turns out that the best candidate for the job is a white middle class male then so be it. Minority and gender equality has long been fought for and defended by male MPs because they were doing their job properly.

6:45 pm, October 14, 2006


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