Rene Kinzet, the excellent, vigilant guardian of the Tory flame in Swansea (where I work), explains so well why in this particular case, the ends do not necessarily justify the means, but they truly define them. All woman shortlists present no scary moral hazard once it is accepted that there's a far bigger picture here, especially when it comes to that tired conservative (not Tory) standard: meritocracy. That bigger picture is the real picture. And it's question of scale, especially when it comes to the long-abused meritocratic imperative. The notion of 'meritocracy' without the assumption of equality in terms of cultural, social and/or vocational expectations is an insult to the intelligence of every modern British subject.
As Mr Kinzet revealed to me in his response to one of my little comments:
Astonishing fact: 291 women and 4559 men elected to Commons since 1918.David Cameron gets it. Suffering the understandable gripes of the establishment, with their familiar habits and attitudes, is a price worth paying to correct the ridiculous gender imbalance that defines and shames our system of political representation. Cameron has my full support if he is genuinely planning to suffer those unenlightened gripes. I think he is.
That's progressive Conservatism. That's what it means to be real Tory.
Our generation of Conservatives, in a Nixon and China sense, has the opportunity finally - and literally - to fix the sociopolitical problem which is the systematic ostracisation of women from politics. I say 'sociopolitical' because that's exactly what it is: received societal expectations and "norms" constantly impacting on the political ambitions of that half of our population who happen to be women and generating devastating indifference among what would otherwise be thousands of potential Margaret Thatchers and, dare I say it, Shirley Williamses. (It works both ways!)
The short term gripes of anyone, especially male MPs and people who haven't thought things through properly, are insufficient. The gripists, like Iain Dale for example, must ask themselves why they are really griping. And, shortly after they've worked out how wrong they are, accede to David Cameron's visionary, just solution.
Speaking of that 'just solution', do you know what? I would go further, much further to fix this risible, archaic inequality currently being defended by powerful idiots everywhere. So my children won't have to fix it, I propose an even deeper quick-fix than shortlists.
I propose that all three main parties get together and co-ordinate their all women shortlists so that at least 200 constituencies in the next election are guaranteed to return MPs who happen to be female. It can be done.
It should be. Bring on the gripes...
While I'm waiting, however, I think we should all watch this:
Satire, eh? QED.