There is no such thing as ‘positive’ discrimination

On Wednesday, the Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats announced they would join the Labour Party in imposing all-women shortlists for the next General Election.

According to the Guardian, the right-on triumvirate will aim for a lower proportion of male MP’s during the next parliament by selecting constituencies in which only female candidates will be considered – an act that would see a private company up in court if they tried they same.

Now, this is pretty regrettable stuff. But it is with great pride that my party, the Tories, refused to cave in to the calls for ‘positive discrimination’; a ridiculous, oxymoronic and counterproductive left-wing hoax.

Let’s make one thing clear: discrimination is never ‘positive’. It is inherently negative. And what makes it so abhorrent is that people are judged on their involuntary characteristics, not individual merit. We cannot help being men, women, gay, straight, black, white or anything in between. It should not matter.

There are of course imbalances in our society, but we won’t defeat them by perpetuating our arbitrary and inconsequential differences. For example, black people are, on average, poorer than white people. But we shouldn’t be targeting black people: we should be targeting poor people. Likewise, women make up the majority of domestic violence victims. But we shouldn’t be targeting women: we should be targeting domestic violence victims. It is not your skin colour or sex that is important here, and the state aiding and abetting one group above the other, or saying that one form of prejudice is worse, only breeds contempt and division.

If the opposition parties are worried about female representation in parliament then perhaps they should democratise the selection process with open primaries. Instead, they have set a worrying and dangerous precedent. Shame on them.

The Great British Taxpayer is a political blogger 

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