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Pale and male? Representation and Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet

The new Labour shadow cabinet positions have been allocated, and I have been struggling (significantly more than usual) to deal with the fatuous and repetitive onslaught that the media has been making in the past week.

The general spiel that I am referring to, which is being broadly pumped out into the vast chasm of disappointment that is the British media, is that the new front bench is ‘pale and male’.

I’m not going to try and argue that this isn’t true, because for the most part, it is.

What I have an issue with is the way that this is even being talked about. Are we not all humans? If anyone can give me a convincing argument as to what difference one’s: gender, race, favourite cereal, or sexual preference makes to their ability to have a position in the shadow cabinet then I’m all ears – and I am desperate for your untold level of wisdom to grace my silly little brain.

My apparently misguided common sense tells me that to maximize efficiency and achieve the best results possible, we should be praying for the appointment of the best person for the position.

Positive discrimination is (to some degree) a necessary feature of a healthy society. If it means that a child is able to have access to an otherwise inaccessible facet of the vastly complex layers of opportunity, then who are we to deprive them? However, it does very little to promote equality within a society.

As soon as we start to deem particular individuals to be innately inferior, and in need of a bit of assistance, we are by definition diminishing equality. It is the exasperating conflict between equity and equality that is going to cause an indefinite and immense level of difficulty.

Whether or not you agree with the views of the newly elected Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, there really is no room to question his views on equality. He is one of the few mainstream politicians that is perfectly happy to put his views on fairness and non-discrimination firmly into the hands of the colourful media.

Even in last week’s edition of The Badger, Corbyn was talking about how he considered visa restrictions for international students to be ‘too stringent’, going on to mention the fact that many wish to remain here, and to actively contribute to our society. To suggest that he would insist on a male, Caucasian front bench for malicious reasons, or because of prejudices, is absolutely absurd.

Is the solution to this ‘issue’ to have a female Shadow Home Secretary – because she is female? To have a black Shadow Chancellor – because they are black? To have a Shredded Wheat loving Shadow Foreign Secretary – because of their quaint obsession with the disappointingly dull breakfast option?

Don’t forget that you should only have two pieces of Shredded Wheat, because as our beloved Prime Minister will tell you “three might just be too many” – cheers for the tip Dave.

This terribly ugly idea of choosing someone to fulfil a role based largely on their characteristics, as opposed to their ability, ought to be considered more rationally if we are going to have an effective opposition.

I truly hope that the information pipelines adopt a more mature attitude towards situations of this kind, and I truly hope that they choose to abandon the misleading headlines which cause a great deal of harm.

Then again, where would the press’ profits be if they were to be less moronic in their approach to attacking anybody who poses a threat to their own agenda?

I apologise to anyone who is offended by my ambivalence towards Shredded Wheat, and should probably point out that other brands are available.

 

Jack Elsdon

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2 Comments

  1. Unfortunately/fortunately, so many of the ‘top’ Labour women front-benchers (or potentials) relegated themselves in the days after his leadership success, counting themselves out. Representation in the shadow cabinet is the most gender-equal it has ever been now, so he’s done a blinkin’ good job, I reckon. The headlines are just there to discredit him, and we’re going to see more and more and more of those, so we all can do our part in making sure the real facts are out there, rather than the nonsense. If I see *one* more of those “Bin Laden’s death was a tragedy” misquotes, I’ll nut a Tory.

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