More negatives of positive discrimination
I've said before that Bernard Jenkin's heart doesn't seem to be with the Tory Party's positive discrimination "Priority List" and today there's yet more evidence that's the case. In the Guardian he opines that
"When you compare it to what I went through, I was public school, Oxbridge, son of a cabinet minister [Patrick Jenkin] and the system almost deferred to me, in a rather embarrassing way.
"I would be equal to everyone else under the new system. A staff nurse from Hackney with three GCSEs could potentially do just as well as a starring barrister from a top London chambers."
There is, of course, no problem in principle with having an open meritocratic system. The problem comes with the underlying message here, which is surely gibberish, that ordinary measures for discriminating between who would be good candidates and who would be bad candidates will be thrown out of the window for the sake of it.
An ability to speak convincingly and fluently, an ability to develop authority yet still to appear as from amongst those who you seek to represent, to be intelligent yet still able to listen and to be able to engender some respect from amongst the community you seek to represent are surely vital skills. Now these are likely to reside in both staff nurses, pompous over-privileged public schoolboys and starring barristers, but it's surely perfectly sensible to use what people have achieved in their lives as indicators of what skills they are likely to have? By trumpeting the selection of people with three GCSEs the Party will hardly inspire its membership or the rest of the country with confidence that it is adequately identifying these skills on a genuine case-by-case basis rather than pandering to social engineering.
The sad truth is that the lack of wider scrutiny attached to the Priority List in no way suggests that those related to people on the current scene or who have done their (now apparently compulsory service as a party apparatchik professional politician in training) won't just get the same nod-and-wink that they've always had.
So much for ensuring the List contains the creme de la creme. If it does, from the taste in my mouth, it's been left out of the fridge for too long.