Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Oh ... quotas!

Harriet Harman says half of Labour shadow cabinet should be women. She wants this because 81 of the 258 Labour MPs are women which, to the non-mathematicians, means that 177 are men.

She doesn't want this because these 81 lady MPs have already proven themselves to be good at their job and she doesn't want this because of their experience in the world of work. She wants this because
"It's time for Labour women to step out of the shadows,"
and because
"The Labour men are great - but they are not twice as good as the women"
Hah! Mrs R rather likes the put-down, but it's neither Churchillian nor Wildean. It's demeaning, and it's sexist.

In a fair job market each of those MPs should be considered and each should be considered on merit and experience, not because of their lack of 'Edwards'.

Do we, indeed does anybody, want somebody doing a job just because - only because - of their genetic make-up?

Some of these MPs have been elected as a result of all-female shortlists. They might think it was a nice way of getting an important job, and maybe they think it was their 'right', and perhaps don't realise they have only been chosen because they can wear skirts to work without any raising of eyebrows. They were only chosen to fulfil a quota - that's it, nothing more.

And Mrs Rigby thinks that sort of non-equal and divisive quota should be illegal, and it should be as illegal as the not-jobs masquerading as a training programme, where applications are only open to
... candidates from black or ethnic minority backgrounds because the "normal recruitment process was not rectifying" under-representation.
Bristol claims that their two year 'training programme' with a wage of £18,000 is not a job, and claims that
"Race Relations Act 1976 allows for authorities to offer training to specific groups of people if they are under-represented"
It's a convenient loophole that may well have been closed by later legislation. Even if it wasn't, Mrs R believes that both Bristol Council and Harriet Harman are wrong and are abusing 'the system' in order to satisfy arbitrary, made-up, quotas that eventually satisfy nobody.

Here's why.

First of all, those MPs. We know some of them were elected via all-women shortlists - which prohibits fair competition - and now they're to be given even more preferential treatment. If the 81 names were put in a hat then each woman would stand more chance of getting a well-paid job than if the men were put through the same selection process.

Mrs R can see it's wrong and will, ultimately, cause resentment and divisions amongst both Labour MPs and their male supporters who, even though they are the 'faithful', are pretty sick of being pushed to the bottom of the pile because they're male. The only people who can't see it's wrong are those who don't seem to care about the quality and suitability for the job - and have little understanding of the damage caused when people are promoted way beyond their capabilities solely to satisfy an arbitrary quota.

They can't understand how difficult it might be for somebody to turn up to work knowing full well that they've only got a job because of either their gender or their race - no other reason.

And they can't seem to work out why ordinary people don't like this sort of selection. It might be because we have children who are both male and female, and because we want them to have equal chances on their way through life - and not have doors slammed in their faces because of their gender.

As for Bristols?

Well, the article says that
The authority has a total of 9,000 members of staff of which 8,370 are white and 630, or seven per cent, are from ethnic minorities.

Because 12 per cent of Bristol residents come from minority backgrounds the council has begun searching for more employees to redress this imbalance.
Sorry, it shouldn't work like that. In making the same quota-hunting mistake as Harriet by excluding 88% of the local population from applying for jobs well-paid 'training opportunities' the authority is being discriminatory.

And it doesn't make a jot of difference if Kerry McCarthy gives the scheme a verbal pat on the head by saying
"I would support schemes like this. It gives people an opportunity."
It is denying opportunity - and at what price?

It clearly doesn't matter to the quota-ists that 88% of the population of Bristol are excluded, and it clearly doesn't matter to Harriet that about 66% of Labour MPs could be excluded from the selection for ministerial posts.

All that matters is 'the quota'.


Anonymous said...

You'll like this Mrs R, it is coming here soon. The guild of employed will seek to discriminate without conscience. There is no more work.

Nonny Mouse said...

Perhaps I could get your support for my campaign to sack 269,158 nurses?

John R said...

So what Harridan Harm-Man is actually saying, potentially at least, is that it would be better to have a leadership team split 50/50 by gender even if the women on it were all less able than the men that were excluded.

Even reversing it makes no sense either, you can easily imagine a team where the men were all idiots but able women were excluded to ensure the 50/50 split was maintained....or isnt Harm-Man going to apply her bigotry in reverse? If not, why not?

The only possible way to get the best team is on merit. Supposedly that's how she got her job, but I am begining to wonder about that though.

Mrs Rigby said...

@ Anon - Good grief! That's not very welcoming is it!

@ Nonny - I doubt even Harriet would let you get away with that. But maybe they'll have to take the 'mate' out of 'matron'!

@ JohnR - Yes, that does indeed seem to be what she's saying, doesn't matter about ability, it's what's on your chest and between your legs!

It's a distraction though, as usual. Look at the stink it's caused. Who's talking about the Labour leadership etc whilst we're talking about this?