Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said that while he thought having an all-woman shortlist was an honourable thing, Labour "got it wrong".So what exactly would have been "getting it right"? A shortlist in a different constituency? If Labour genuinely now thought that shortlists were wrong, they would not make noises. If they genuinely wished to apologise to the people of Blaenau Gwent they would have done so before Peter Law's death when they decided not to impose a shortlist on the Constituency Labour Party.
Peter Hain's statement is nothing more than a transparent attempt to try and bounce Blaenau Gwent into voting Labour once more, rather than offering real reasons to vote Labour. Let's hope Blaenau Gwent gives Not So Very New Labour the single didget it deserves.
By the way do the Labour bloggers I'm linked to agree with Peter Hain's latest statement? Does Antonia still believe "Peter bloody Law... you're a fucking disgrace." What about Jo's comments:
But shame on the local party members and activists who supported Peter Law, breaking with sensible, effective, progressive party policy, in order to side with the reactionary elements in the Welsh Labour Party and in Welsh politics more generally, the kind of elements which made women-only shortlists a necessary tool in the first place.Are we to assume also shame on the voters for voting for Law?
A lot talk about wanting equality for women amongst MPs. But are we talking about equality of numbers, equality of opportunity or equality of respect? Surely what is needed is a level playing field in which women have just as much chance of winning open selections as men? Is that really going to be achieved by using shortlists as a quick fix solution when they provoke so much uproar and can leave question marks over the calibre of the candidate? Are local parties that don't have the shortlists more likely to select female candidates or are they going to try to "balance things out" by giving more weighting to candidates who can't apply for every seat?
Let's not deny that there is inequality of opportunity in the selection process at the moment. There is also inequality of respect - and I'm increasingly less convinced that candidates selected by the shortlists are generating such respect.
Ironically one of the strongest contenders for the nomination to stand in Peter Law's stead in one of the by-elections is a woman...