A Woman Leading the Labour Party?
Andy Burnham was asked if it would be great for Labour to have a woman leader and his response - "when the time is right" - has been noted as disappointing (shall we say?). On twitter, someone asked whether someone could come up with a better answer - they summarised the question and answer slightly differently so the attempt* below (by a white, queer, non-binary male who absolutely does not support Labour) bounced around in my head while considering the question "is Labour ready to have a female leader?":
Absolutely, the fact we have two women running in the election is a fantastic endorsement of that. Are there things we can do within Labour to remove blocks to participation from women, from LGBT people, from disabled people from black people? Absolutely. Are there changes needed in Parliament as well? Yes. But we are ready.
Furthermore, I take issue with the premise of the question. It reduces two candidates who have the confidence and support of a number of MPs and segments of the party. Candidates who have shown skills and leadership to get this far despite the additional hurdles we have put in their way. Candidates who have their own opinions on what priorities and direction the party should be taking. And your question reduces those candidates to a single facet of who they are and offers them up as tokens of diversity and political correctness who's "time" has come.
I am in this race, not because I don't think women can lead, but because I believe our shared values should be prioritised in a different way to the other candidates. I want to do different things to the other candidates. This election is about those differences.
The middle paragraph is perhaps the most frustrating thing for me following on Twitter - the only message that is really making it out of Yvette Cooper's camp is that she's a woman. For example, that's the reason that my MP gave when she announced her support for Cooper - and I still don't know what forms the platform of the candidate my MP is supporting. I want to know what her plans and priorities are but that isn't making it out to my Twitter stream.
(*The length and multi-issue response to the question may be an indication I'm not cut out for politics 8-)