In early June, the SKWAWKBOX published an article concerning ‘nine old white men’ – Tory men – who had been allowed to dominate a BBC Question Time election special just before voters went to the polls. The article contained an image of the men that clearly struck a chord as it went viral, appearing in posts and articles all over social media:
Even comedian Joe Lycett picked up the image and had a little fun with it.
But the image’s serious message seemed to be what drove its virality – and, just possibly, it’s still resonating.
One CLP (constituency Labour party) in the north-west of England has caused consternation among its members by passing a resolution banning the phrase ‘old white-haired men‘ or similar after controversy over the appointment to the executive of the Council of twelve older men and one women
The CLP is organised on a branch/GC (general committee) structure, so that the majority of members attend their local branch and send delegates to the GC meeting. A member reported the motion on Facebook with disbelieving humour:
The reaction was a mix of more humour, some outrage – and a query whether the motion had in fact been proposed legally:
The frustration – as shown above in the case of the McDonnell Amendment – is born out of the fact that the CLP was using time, potentially outside the party’s rules, that could have been spent on far more important matters than protecting a council that appears to have ignored any idea of gender balance, triggering worries about institutional sexism. Concern was also raised about the plight faced by many local people and the way in which such a trivial matter has been prioritised above their needs.
The council’s and CLP’s sensitivity about the issue appears to be driven by a desire to cauterise criticism over the clearly-imbalanced selection of its executive – but there are serious questions to ask not only about its approach to council selections but also about the possibly-unlawful, 1984-style methods used to outlaw phrases that might be used to highlight it.
The SKWAWKBOX hopes that members will pursue this further.
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