Tuesday 7 October 2014

The transformative force of civilising women

I am in Glasgow, theoretically to hand over my crown as Lib Dem blogger of the year last year to this year's winner: the granddaddy of the Lib Dem bloggers, Jonathan Calder.  Unfortunately, being habitually late for everything, I missed the awards - but it is still much deserved and I wish I'd been there.

I also came here, partly, to speak in the debate on public services.  I have blogged in similar style about public service flexibility, and how it goes beyond narrow choice, many times before and I won't try anyone's patience by repeating it now.

The debate was two and a half hours long and, as I watched and listened, I realised that the party was about to change in a far-reaching way that I hadn't realised before.

Time after time, I found myself watching, highly effective, articulate and powerful women future candidates for parliamentary seats which the party either holds or could hold.

There was Helen Flynn (Harrogate), Jane Dodds (Montgomeryshire), Layla Moran (Oxford W), Kelly Marie Blundell (Guildford), Vikki Slade (Mid Dorset), Julie Porksen (Berwick), and of course Julia Goldsworthy (Camborne) who introduced the debate.  I could go on (these are just the ones who spoke in that debate).

If the party wins these seats, and they certainly could - they have all been Lib Dem seats within the past decade - it will transform an overwhelmingly male parliamentary party into something else.

Very quietly, and without a great deal of agonising about it in public, the party has gone about choosing women for many of their most winnable seats.

There are a number of cliches about the presence of women in politics which I don't entirely buy.  I tell myself that there is nothing intrinsically different about women once they are in Westminster.  The system takes over.  But there is another part of me that doesn't quite buy this either.

If these women are elected - the generation born in the 1970s and 80s - they will be a hugely impressive, articulate and civilising intake.  I don't know what they will do to the country, but they will transform the Lib Dems.

1 comment:

Kelly-Marie Blundell said...

Cheers David - we do try