Monday, February 23, 2009

Is Parliament ‘institutionally racist’?

As the police decide to abandon all ‘diversity’ targets which were designed to make them ‘more representative’ of the communities they serve, one has to wonder at the irony of Parliament moving towards embracing quotas for women, ethnic minority and gay MPs.

And politicians wonder why people are dismayed and disillusioned with the democratic process and their institutions of government.

Cranmer is of the opinion that any ‘diversity’ target which actively discriminates against white men is racist. And any that discriminates against straight men is heterophobic. But one does not hear much about these, for it is only minorities who are permitted to establish a –‘phobia’. ‘Positive discrimination’ is still manifestly negative towards the disadvantaged other, and the policy has most certainly seen lesser-qualified people from minority groups appointed to jobs at the expense of higher-qualified applicants from majority groups. It is patronising and divisive for a number of reasons, not least being the implicit assertion that minorities are not able to succeed on merit. There is also the stigma of never actually knowing if one is in Parliament because of one’s political ability or because one is a one-legged Asian lesbian.

There has been no Macpherson Report into parliamentary representation, but there is an increasing awareness of an unwritten Harmon Report which forms the backdrop to the first Speaker’s Conference in 30 years. Ms Harmon appears to have a clear grasp of what is wrong with democracy and intuitively gleaned why Parliament is failing.

It has nothing to do with governmental incompetence, policy failure or having abdicated authority to Brussels. And neither does it have anything to do with political duplicity, the lack of personal integrity or sleaze. Parliament is not working because there is a democratic deficit in its composition: it is not only ‘marred by institutional racism', but sexism and homophobia.

Thus Mr Speaker is to confer with sundry others on how best to address these deficiencies. His Conference shall consist of: Anne Begg (Vice-Chairman, Labour), Diane Abbott (Labour), John Bercow (Conservative), David Blunkett (Labour), Angela Browning (Conservative), Ronnie Campbell (Labour), Ann Cryer (Labour), Parmjit Dhanda (Labour), Andrew George (Liberal Democrat), Julie Kirkbride (Conservative), William McCrea (DUP), David Maclean (Conservative), Fiona Mactaggart (Labour), Anne Main (Conservative), Jo Swinson (Liberal Democrat) and Betty Williams (Labour).

This appears to be made up of 44% male to 56% female, 6% disabled, 6% lesbian (though this could be higher). There are no gay men (or gay men who are ‘out’ – should that be a separate category?).

Their objective is to formulate a strategy to recruit more ethnic minority MPs in direct proportion to the make-up of the country, and also more gay, lesbian and trans-gender MPs, not to mention the disabled – a few in wheelchairs, a few who are blind, maybe one who is deaf and a couple who are mute.

Cranmer would actually favour a disproportionate number of mutes.

But in order to achieve this, one must actively 'deselect' all the able-bodied white, heterosexual males. Or at least somehow advantage the one-legged Asian lesbians in the hope that, when it comes to government, one or two of them might know something about economics or defence.

White women shall not be discriminated against because of a separate policy aimed at encouraging women into Parliament. The disproportionate number of white women who make up this Conference will doubtless ensure this.

Cranmer has more than a few problems with this 'box-ticking’ culture which is fundamentally anti-meritocratic and a profoundly damaging manipulation of the legislature. Let us begin with the primary concerns of this Speaker’s Conference: ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

Ethnic minorities constitute around seven per cent of the population. With 646 MPs, one might expect to see 45 members with brown, black or yellow skin. Yet there are just 15.

The gender division is Parliament is 521 male as against 125 female. But there are 31 million women in the UK and 29.9 million men. With a 48:52 per cent division, one should expect Parliament to be composed of 336 women to 310 men.

Sexuality is unfathomable and not statistically verifiable. In terms of proportion of the population, Cranmer has frequently heard the 10% figure, though there are those who assert that it is much higher.

But how is Parliament going to redress any imbalance? Will it oblige all MPs to fill in a questionnaire about their sexuality or sexual behaviour? Might not those who wish to remain ‘in the closet’ somewhat distort the eventual representation? Should there be equal numbers of ‘in’ and ‘out’ homosexuals? And what is the proportion of bisexuals to be?

And what of the cross-dressing masochists or the hermaphrodite narcissists?

As if these issues do not raise enough problems, why should the Speaker’s Conference stop at gender, ethnicity, disability and sexuality? Should not diversity be... err... diversified?

What about selecting MPs by age, profession, income, or - dare one say - religion?

Has politics become so utterly superficial as to be more concerned with the colour of one’s skin than with one’s moral worldview? Which is more likely to determine the way one votes?

The average age of MPs is presently 50.6. This needs to be drastically amended to incorporate a fair proportion of teenagers. They are not all obsessed with making babies, and their idealism will be a welcome antidote to the prevailing negativity and cynicism. They would doubtless help to drag Parliament into the 21st century, supplanting ‘My Honourable Friend’ with ‘Yo Dude’ and ‘Black Rod’ could become the Dark Force. The teenagers would, of course, be recruited in proportion to ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability and those who favour X-Box over Wii.

In order to improve the social diversity of the House of Commons, it needs MPs who are dustbin men, road sweepers, charity workers, teachers and nurses. These people would not be able to afford the costs of being a parliamentary candidate, so Mr Speaker needs to look at subsiding their costs. And let us not forget those who are content to be mothers and home-makers. In order to make space for these, Parliament will need to dispense with its over-representation of lawyers, accountants and career politicians.

And on religion, there is no point having 42 Asian MPs in Parliament if they are all Muslim, for that would offend the Sikhs and Hindus. And what proportion of the Muslim representatives should be Sunni, Shi’a or Sufi? Indeed, are there any Shi’a or Sufi Muslims in Parliament? Why not? They have thousands of adherents in the UK, but only the Sunni perspective presently has a parliamentary platform. Cranmer has given up trying to work out if Roman Catholics outnumber the Anglicans, not least because most Anglicans in Parliament are indistinguishable from the abundance of relativist agnostics: they no longer strongly believe anything anymore. And he shall not delve into how many Jews there might be for fear of provoking the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists who insist that Jews run the British Government.

There is already one corner of the United Kingdom which insists on quotas of religious observers, and it has noted a fall in Protestant recruitment. The DUP have noted that ‘the proportion of new employees in the public sector from the Protestant community does not reflect the religious makeup of the working age population in Northern Ireland’. They are consequently questioning what plans the Government have to put in place affirmative action plans to ensure that a more equitable distribution of employment takes place in future years.

The answer is none which will be more equitable towards white male Protestants.

If one were to constitute the House of Commons in proportion to the religious make-up of the nation (excluding the agnostics, atheists and undeclared) it ought to contain 17 Muslims, 6 Hindus, 4 Sikhs, 3 Jews, 2 Buddhists, 465 Christians and 6 Jedi Knights.

But why stop there?

Why not select MPs by illness? Let us make the Department of Health more relevant by having a quota of AIDS sufferers and a proportion of cancer sufferers. Let us make the Education Secretary more ‘in touch’ by reducing the proportion of those educated in grammar or private schools in order to increase those from comprehensive and secondary modern schools.

So many groups are under-represented in the House of Commons that their concerns and priorities are chronically ignored. What of those who favour an English Parliament? Does not more than 70% of the electorate favour a referendum on our continuing membership of the EU? What proportion wish to severely curtail immigration? How many favour the reintroduction of capital punishment?

These people presently have no proportionate representation in Parliament.

But there is a further consideration.

In 2005, Labour secured 356 seats with just 35.3% of the vote.

It would seem wise to abolish political parties altogether and appoint a parliament solely in proportion to the multiple, diverse and disparate groups that make up our fractured society.

This would result in a majority white, female and Christian House of Commons. And since the majority of white Christian females really do prefer to focus on being good mothers, wives and home-makers whilst juggling a flexible career path, this would leave a House of Commons which would be predominantly white, male and Christian, which favours severely limiting immigration, establishing a Parliament for England and granting a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

But such a parliament would be racist, sexist and xenophobic.

And we can’t be having that, can we?


Blogger Britjute said...

Excellent as usual your Grace. However, how many in the Speakers Committee will understand ?

23 February 2009 at 08:01  
Anonymous Gnostic said...

I'd just as soon settle for honest people who could do the damn job. I notice, Your Grace, that these do not feature in your long list of possible candidates. Is it because, perhaps, honest and capable politicians are mythical beasts?

23 February 2009 at 08:04  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

It used to be called 'meritocracy'. Is "diversitocracy" a word yet?

23 February 2009 at 08:49  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

The eussr has already re-introduced the death penalty,we had better make sure that we commit no "upheaval".

23 February 2009 at 09:21  
Anonymous Stevie Ironside said...

Begg & Blunkett might both qualify as disabled, making 12.5% in that category. Who's the lesbian?

23 February 2009 at 09:57  
Anonymous Steve T said...

I've never understood the logic of saying that taking race into account is racist, but then insist that people can only really be represented by people of their own race?

A none racist society is colour blind not colour sensitive. All this type of thing does is create resentment where none existed to start with.

Isn't it job creation for the race relations workers. Ensure problems continue to keep their jobs.

23 February 2009 at 10:19  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I think labour supporters are also vastly over-represented.

23 February 2009 at 11:11  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

There is of course proportional representation which would ensure that the whole diverse range of political opinions are represented, Or of course, they could also try direct democracy. The means are now available for all of us to vote quite easily on every single piece of legislation. That way the whole diverse population is represented with a 1-to-1 correspondence.

23 February 2009 at 11:24  
Blogger Forlornehope said...

A fair representation of all groups could easily be achieved by replacing election to Parliament with selection by lot. Six hundred members would meant that minorities down to 1% of the population would be represented in reasonable proportion. This is a result of the binomial theorem, if anyone is interested. This also has the great advantage of getting professional politicians out of the system; the corresponding disadvantage is that it will never happen. It might then be appropriate to introduce a separately elected executive, a practice that has served our American cousins well for over 200 years.

23 February 2009 at 11:34  
Anonymous Nelson said...

Wonderfully well observed & written Your Grace. In a nutshell: politicians are simply there to raid the gravy train, the rest of us can go whistle & the porkers will only make room for animals of a similar ilk. Great (You haven't been speaking corporeally with a certain Mr Orwell have you?).

23 February 2009 at 11:40  
Anonymous BNP supporter said...

I'm laughing all the way to the next general election.

23 February 2009 at 11:42  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

Your Grace,

A very well put observation and it seems to me taking into account your last paragraph, the only party offering that view is the BNP.
Its a shame that it has come to this, that previously moderate people like myself, are now prepared to vote for a far right party as my faith in the main party's has evaporated. None of the big three represent me any longer. They seem to be completely out of touch with most people I talk to and do nothing but LIE through their teeth, feather their nests and pander to minorities.

23 February 2009 at 11:45  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Yes Your Grace - discrimination is a zero-sum game. What is positive discrimination to one man (or woman etc blah blah blah) is negative discrimination to his 'other' counterpart. In exact proportion.

I go with the lot option myself - far better than bal-lot.

23 February 2009 at 12:01  
Anonymous Gnostic said...

There was a time when MPs and ministers resigned when caught out. These days they shamelessly cling onto power regardless. Being a liar or a fraud no longer prevents someone returning to political office. Is it my imagination or has political corruption become acceptable under the auspices of the EU?

Maybe the real voice of the British people should be heard. We're being dragged into the EU whether we want it or not. Give us the referendum we were promised!!!!

Our MPs and MEPs are being cynically bribed or arm-twisted into ignoring the wishes of the British people. We are being sold down the river for considerably more than thirty pieces of Euro silver and we are the idiots whose pockets are being fleeced to pay for it.

Britain is being dismantled from the inside. We have it in our power to stop this if we really wanted to. Apathy is a luxury we can no longer afford.

23 February 2009 at 12:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps corruption is not only accepted & expected by the EU, it's compulsory!

23 February 2009 at 12:08  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

And if parliament is going to get "proportionate", then how about all MPs names going into a hat. Then whatever proportion of the electorate has to live on unemplyment benefits, that proportion of MPs names is drawn from the hat, and they too have to live on that amount of salary, and so on through the entire percentile range for salaries nationwide in, say, 5% bands.

Including Cabinet members of course. We'd soon see a rethink on how the economy is run.

All redrawn every - say - six months in line with changes in population income bands.

Expenses only on receipt production with penny for penny repayment.

Sounds perfectly fair to me.

23 February 2009 at 12:10  
Blogger Tommy 3 Lions said...

Cool item, I call it Balamoriyism, after the childrens show which is typical bbc, a remote Scottish fishing village seems to have the full quota of characters to make it truly diverse, except when visiting remote Scottish fishing villages I don't see it.

23 February 2009 at 12:32  
Blogger Rob Atkins said...

More to the point Cranmer, is Parliament institutionally corrupt ? Now that WOULD be an article worth reading.

23 February 2009 at 13:25  
Anonymous Undermine, Divide and Rule said...

Vladimir Bukovsky warns of EU Totalitarianism

23 February 2009 at 13:27  
Anonymous What about said...

Bald men, Blue eyed women, people over 5'8", people over 5'9".
People who have.....well you get the idea, where does it end.

23 February 2009 at 13:29  
Blogger Stefan said...

You've tried this tactic a few times in the past month, Your Grace: with respect, it's becoming a bit old.

23 February 2009 at 13:38  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Melanie Phillips - February 23, 2009
Political alienation and the rise of the BNP

At a more profound and altogether more explosive level, however, is the fact that all three parties not only refuse to address the issues that concern the public most deeply and emotionally, but also demonise those who express such anxieties as racists or fascists.

In particular, they have colluded in a refusal to acknowledge that nationalism — or attachment to one’s own country and its values — is a perfectly respectable, even admirable, sentiment.

Instead, anyone who maintains that British culture and identity are rooted in the history, language, literature, religion and laws of this country — and must be defended as such against erosion, undermining or outright attack — is vilified as a racist or xenophobe.

This effectively presents such people with a choice — between being demonised as racists and standing silently by as their culture evaporates.

Full Article HERE

23 February 2009 at 14:14  
Anonymous mckenzie said...


Lie down my old son and take a nap.

What kind of name is Stefan anyway? Sounds Polish!

23 February 2009 at 14:17  
Blogger Roy said...

Essentially they are diluting the role of democracy in our governance. We will not, in the future be able to vote for someone we think may best represent our views. It is conceivable under these plans that I may not be able to vote for a white, middle class, Anglo-Saxon male even though I may feel that that is the sort of person that may come closest to seeing my point of view. To who are they going to hand the power, the majority or sectional minority interests? Nothing will change then because from where I stand it is those minority interests which seem already over-represented.

23 February 2009 at 16:21  
Anonymous mouse said...

Well at least mp's making the right noises - today, anyway.

Ah, Englishman... re the death penalty. Which particular celeb-scandal distracted us from noticing that?

On today's post: Well the politicos have re-constructed everything that made it possible for them to get where they are - education, media, law, Christianity, etc. Now I suppose they need to destroy anything that will permit their removal from the trough.

Can they really do it in time for the next elect ... but wait. It's all cosmetic, isn't it? This is the euSSR - they might not even pretend to have elections by 2010!

Perhaps they'll re-name parliament - how about... The Elimination of Britain Agency;
or the Other Agency;
the So What Agency;
the Xenos Agency; ...???

Silly me! It won't be in English, will it?

23 February 2009 at 16:42  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"Essentially they are diluting the role of democracy in our governance. We will not, in the future be able to vote for someone we think may best represent our views. "

Bang on the money.

23 February 2009 at 18:35  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Diversity for its own sake is a foolish goal. You might as well establish quotas (though the item for ".05 short left-handed Samoan atheist lesbians" might be hard to fill).

Once established, all you need do is go through the London phone book, start with the "A"'s and fill the slots in order.

(That note just reminded me: Bill Buckley once said that "I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the 2000 members of the faculty of Harvard University".)

Gnostic: "Britain is being dismantled from the inside."
mckenzie (quoting Philips) "In particular, they have colluded in a refusal to acknowledge that nationalism ... is a perfectly respectable, even admirable, sentiment."

Voices crying in the wilderness. It may be too late. The English population has run down to the beach to see what the tsunami is all about.

23 February 2009 at 21:29  
Blogger John MacLeod said...

There has been some recent flap over the issue of whether or not a question on sexual orientation should be included in the 2011 Census; and an interesting piece of information that surfaced in this process is that Treasury actuaries calculate 6% of the adult British population is homosexual or bisexual. I suspect it could be as low as 3% and the 10% figure is certainly not credible; some lunatic-fringe gay activists have claimed 25%.

The wisest and least contentious solution to making Parliament more representative is to legislate for wholesale importation of the American-style 'open primary' to select a party's candidate for public office, as the Tories did with signal success in the London mayoral election.

Parliament is unrepresentative - and foundering in public esteem - because candidates are presently chosen from closed party lists, selected by the great and good and by risk-averse politically correct criteria. I grasped long ago I had the least hope of becoming a candidate for my own (Scottish National) Party because I believe in the Protestant succession, I hold to traditional Christian views on homosexual behaviour; and I will not engage in any political activity on Sundays (when just about every important SNP meeting is now held.) Sadly, my chances of becoming a Conservative candidate would be little better - indeed, Michael Howard personally ordered the deselection of one candidate (for Slough?) after reports he had publiclty defended the Act of Settlement, which The Queen herself is obliged to uphold by her Coronation oath.

The fact is that thousands of conscientious Christians are now effectively disenfranchised from active political candidacy and, while a cause of mild distress to some of them, it must be catastrophic for the country.

I might add that these positions do not amount to bigotry - I worked hard for the election of the (Roman Catholic) Angus MacNeil as our Western Isles MP and, voting today in the internal ballot for our candidates in the imminent European Parliament election, I had no difficulty giving my first-preference vote to Alyn Smith, a hard-working and highly respected MEP for Scotland who is openly gay.

23 February 2009 at 21:46  
Anonymous not a machine said...

i dont recall the question ever even arising !! my how things have changed in this country , not for the better in some cases

23 February 2009 at 21:49  
Anonymous Pat said...

I've a radical new idea- why not have the MPs selected by a body representing all the divers types that make up the British people- hey I know this is outlandish but how about letting every adult vote- and accept their decision. You never know, you might find people voting for MPs not of their own type if the country is indeed multiculltural, multireligeous, multi sexual enough.

23 February 2009 at 23:02  
Blogger Theresa said...

Your Grace,

In one way, I understand that the policy of 'positive discrimination' can not be carried out ad infinitum. However, I think your reductio ad absurdam argument is sweeping over the very real problems with discrimination that women, blacks, catholics, muslims and gays had in Britain and still do have and positive discrimination did provide an answer. Northern Ireland is the classic example of this. The government brought in the equal employment commission to ensure that Catholics were getting fair treatment. THey set up factories in Catholic areas and slowly but surely, they got Northern Ireland to the point of peace; by addressing the social injustices in Northern Ireland, they took the wind out of the sails of the paramilitary organisations and brought the moderates onside. Similarly, I think we have forgotten how misogynistic and homophobic we were in the 80's and 90's; watch some of the films like 'Nine to Five' which is all about women in the workplace, or 'Big Business' with the 'nudge nudge snigger snigger' gay couple in it, and you'll realise how far we have come.I do ultimately believe in a meritocracy, but sometimes a culture needs laws imposed on it to make it behave fairly to smaller groups within it. I belong to the first generation of Irish Catholics that has entered society at all levels in Britain and we came over here in 1843, and we were the same colour as our hosts.It's been a long wait.

24 February 2009 at 00:38  
Anonymous some bloke said...

A meritocracy or Diversitocracy ( ta Rebel Saint ) would be achieved very simply by appointing MPs at random from the list currently used for juries ( free data base ! ).

btw Your Grace, I felt compelled to report you for publishing the above photograph which " may be of use to terrorists " planning to attack The Houses Of Parliament .

24 February 2009 at 03:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not a military dictatorship? Britain was at its greatest when there were lots of soldiers about.
If there must be thought control let there be commisars but definelt no priests.
The youth of the day would have their minds powerfully concentrated by being available for any of the wars of righteousness in the world.

24 February 2009 at 03:53  
Anonymous Voyager said...

In 2005, Labour secured 356 seats with just 35.3% of the vote.

with a 61% turnout that suggests 22.5% electorate voted for the Marxists

24 February 2009 at 05:37  
Blogger Kippers Dickie said...

We must not forget that I, as a white, middle class, Anglo-Saxon male, have the right to stand for election to Parliament.
If Roy, and others,think I may best represent their views, they are free to vote for me.
It is therefore perfectly legal to elect a white, middle class, Anglo-Saxon male if you feel that this is the sort of person that may come closest to seeing your point of view.
These quotas are all about "Party Politics".

24 February 2009 at 09:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no lesbians on that list. (None that are open about it anyway!)

24 February 2009 at 14:30  
Blogger Dave said...

Excellent post.
It's obvious to me that the Government of "all the talents" is another NuLab fiasco. And the root of the problem?
Positive discrimination and quotas instead of selecting the best.
Robert LeFevre had some interesting ideas and some were incorporated into Robert Heinlein's 1966 novel "The Moon is a harsh mistress"
For instance- Anyone can stand for Parliament provided he can raise enough votes. Once elected, he represents the people who voted for him and those people only.
So why not abolish political parties and have 500 independent representatives?
That should stop Parliament doing any permanent damage

24 February 2009 at 14:36  

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