CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

An unconscious bias and/or institutionalised elitism, sexism, and racism must be playing a part in candidate selection

17 May, 2018

• IN the aftermath of the local elections we need to reflect upon the demographics of our councillors elected and scrutinise the candidate selection processes of political parties.

Why do these fail to produce adequate numbers of female, ethnic minority, and working-class candidates in winnable seats? Camden is ethnically diverse, with 34 per cent of residents from ethnic minority groups and a further 22 per cent non-British white residents. Ethnic minorities, women, and the working class are vastly under-represented in positions public office. But why?

A working-class BAME woman is going to have a vastly different experience of life from that of an upper middle-class white man, but it’s the latter that is chosen again and again to represent us. The Conservatives have seven councillors in Camden, all of them white middle-class and mostly Oxbridge graduates.

Out of the seven, there is only one woman. The Lib Dems and Greens do not fare any better at ethnic minority representation; all their councillors in Camden are white, but two out of three Lib Dems are women, and the sole Green on the council is female.

We need to scrutinise the candidate selection process of political parties because an unconscious bias and/or institutionalised elitism, sexism and racism must be playing a part in the selection of candidates. Why else would women, ethnic minorities and the working class be so underrepresented in positions public office and indeed on Camden Council?

REBECCA SHIRAZI
Vice-Chair (Campaigns)
Hampstead & Kilburn Constituency Labour Party

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