>However much David Cameron’s Tories try to pretend that they’ve dragged themselves out of the Dark Ages and are now nice, fluffy, liberal minded tolerant folk, every so often the proof comes that they are still the same old nasty, judgemental neanderthals that they always have been.
First we had the chair of Gosport Conservatives saying that he’d be fine with a woman candidate as long as she was pretty.
Now we have the SW Norfolk Conservative Association in high dudgeon because their new female candidate, Elizabeth Truss, didn’t tell them that she’d had sex with someone who wasn’t her husband a few years ago. So pissed off are they that they want to deselect her – even though they only selected her at the weekend. It’s not exactly a secret, either. I typed her name into Google and I didn’t have to look very far down the page to find the Daily Fail article about the matter from three years ago.
Words fail me. I am certain that if she had been a man, there’s no way they would be taking such action. They certainly don’t seem to have expressed any concern that the man she had the affair with is in fact a Tory MP and has had no repercussions on his career. I don’t remember anyone calling for Boris Johnson to be deselected even though he also had a highly publicised extra marital affair. Nor can I imagine that anyone would have expected that he should have made a point of telling London Conservatives about it when he was selected as the Mayoral candidate.
To be clear, I don’t think that people’s personal lives are remotely relevant to their suitability to public office. This shouldn’t be an issue for Elizabeth Truss or Mark Field or Boris Johnson. The problem I have with the Tories is their disproportionate and utterly sexist treatment of a female candidate.
I can think of a gazillion reasons why the people of South West Norfolk might not want to vote for Elizabeth Truss, the Conservative logo next to her name on the ballot paper being the most obvious. Daddy Alex has a few more from his knowledge of her.
There doesn’t seem to be any sign of Tory Central Office intervening so we must assume that they think the conduct of their local branch is acceptable.
It’s clear to me that the Tories can’t be trusted to understand what equality means, in practice and that’s as good a reason as any to give them a very wide berth. They might talk the talk, but their deeds don’t pass muster. They say they don’t believe in discrimination against women but then allow their apparatchiks to do exactly that. They say they believe in gay rights and then they shack up with a nasty bunch of homophobes in Europe. In the not so distant past, Tory MPs have voted against extensions of maternity leave, against civil partnerships, and against the equalisation of the age of consent to name but a few crucial issues.
Update: House of Twits has published this post with a fantastically appropriate photograph:-)