“Jobs for the boys” got Barwell his seat, says challenger

Sarah Jones, one of the front-runners in Labour’s all-women process to select a candidate to contest the Croydon Central parliamentary seat at the next General Election, has claimed that the current Tory MP, Gavin Barwell, owes his position to the “jobs for the boys” attitude in national politics.

Sarah Jones: she asks what has Gavin Barwell done for Croydon

Sarah Jones: she asks what has Gavin Barwell done for Croydon

Jones, a long-standing Croydon resident and former volunteer at the Bethlem Hospital, said in an interview on Croydon Radio’s Press and Events Show that there is “tremendous talent around the constituency”, but that Barwell, a Cambridge graduate and previously a senior official within the Conservative party, got his position in parliament from being part of a male elite.

“He’s gone down the traditional Oxbridge, Conservative Central Office into Parliament job, job for the boys,” Jones said.

Jones admits to having had a similar background to Barwell, having grown up locally and attending what is now a Whitgift Foundation-run Old Palace independent girls’ before going to Durham University.

But she questions Barwell’s performance since he was elected MP in 2010. “I’m not entirely sure what you could say he’s actually done for the people of Croydon,” Jones said.

Asked about the endorsement that she had received from Labour’s council shadow cabinet member Timothy Godfrey, who had described Barwell as “an effective, energetic Tory MP”, Jones was more critical of the Croydon Central MP. “I think he’s a good campaigner,” she said. “I don’t think that makes you a good MP, necessarily.”

Jones said that her fellow Croydon Central Labour party members should look for a candidate “who can reach out to everybody in and every part of the constituency”.

“That’s something that I can do,” Jones said.

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10 Responses to “Jobs for the boys” got Barwell his seat, says challenger

  1. Jobs for the best (that is the correct spelling for best NOT boys) got Barwell the job. I would like my member of parliament to be selected on merit not because of gender or race.

    Labour has no chance of winning Croydon Central.

    Traditional Oxbridge?

    Gavin studied at Trinity Croydon on probably on a scholarship or his parents worked hard to pay for his education and then went on to Cambridge. That is what people from hard working families do. Get your facts right please.

    Are you trying to discourage students from entering good universities? Typical socialists who don’t want others to do well in life.

    I worked very hard to send my son to a private school. That doesn’t mean I am rich or posh as you suggest.

    Gavin has helped the Tamils in Croydon same as Andrew Pelling (former MP for Croydon Central.

    Can Sarah Jones support the Tamils (a community ignored by labour in Croydon) in Croydon ?

  2. Not sure, Patrick, whether you have simply failed to understand the underlying point being made by Sarah Jones in her interview, or whether you have willfully misrepresented her comments. Certainly, deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of the positions of others is a Barwell stock-in-trade, so maybe you have just been spending too much time in bad company?

    Anyone who tries to pretend that all elements of the British Establishment – including No10, the government generally, Whitehall, the media… – is not run by a self-perpetuating, often Oxbridge-educated, usually male, clique is frankly ignoring the facts. What is it now, six Old Etonians in the Cameron cabal in Downing Street?

    Even the Daily Wail reckons there’s something not quite right going on http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2322879/Cameron-clique-Old-Etonians-pushed-black-working-class-adviser-inner-circle.html

    Clearly, Mr and Mrs Barwell chose the wrong school for their little Gav. Otherwise he might have been promoted by now, even if he wasn’t any good.

    This is all so far removed from anything resembling a real meritocracy as to make your protest in defence of the system simply absurd. To pretend that Barwell was selected as Tory candidate “on merit”, and not hand-picked and installed on the basis of his work for party donor Lord Cashcroft is ridiculous.

    Jones clearly highlights that her upbringing and education (Old Palace and Durham) are very similar to Barwell’s. And therein lies the rub…

    There are some of the left who believe that candidates from what used to be called “working class backgrounds” simply do not stand a chance of being nominated for political office by the current party machines, including the Labour party.

    I do not believe that, had a woman managed to win the Labour nomination for Croydon North six months ago, that Labour would have resorted to an all-women shortlist for Croydon Central. As it was, the women who did seek nomination ultimately under-performed with the constituency members.

    It would be interesting to learn the reasons why Butler, or Jones, or Ogilvy did not put themselves forward for Croydon North.

    And one final note, Patrick: for all your bluster about, “I would like my member of parliament to be selected on merit not because of gender or race”, it is interesting to note how you resort to unenlightened self-interest when you declare at the end of your comment that you want Sarah Jones to help the Tamils.

    Shouldn’t any MP serve all their constituents and, unlike Barwell, not just those who vote for them?

  3. The point I am trying to make is that I am against the all female candidate list. If the Labour party wants to promote equality why not have all BME candidate list as well?

    Cameron and co may be Eton and Oxbridge educated. That does not mean that Gavin was selected simply because he is Cambridge educated male. Many applied and the members voted in the selection process ( I couldn’t attend). Just because one was Cambridge educated does not mean they are from rich family.

    The Millibandwagons went to Oxford didn’t they? So do you think they are in the wrong party?

    Perhaps your children may like to go to a private school too.So if they go to a private school OXbridge they should be Tories. Is that right?

    “there is “tremendous talent around the constituency”, but that Barwell, a Cambridge graduate and previously a senior official within the Conservative party, got his position in parliament from being part of a male elite.”

    Gavin comes from an ordinary family and is certainly not part of a male elite group as Sarah claims. His parents worked hard to educate Gavin at Trinity and he did well in his entrance exams to go on to Cambridge. Is there anything wrong with that.

    I only mentioned Tamils because the Labour group in Croydon have let them down (The Tamils) by not selecting more Tamil candidates for the local council election.

    So Labour decided to give the job for the boys and selected Steve Reed is that what Val would say? No she wouldn’t because Steve is a good MP.

    Socialism has some good points but not when the champagne socialist try to preach.

    • I know the point you’re making, Patrick. Just don’t think you’re doing it very well.

      Why don’t you ask your own political party why they don’t have BME-only selection lists? Or why they continue to be under-represented, on Croydon Council and at Westminster, by women?

      You also – conveniently? Because Gav told you to? Because you just don’t get it? – continue to avoid the underlying point about Barwell’s “selection”. So, for your benefit, I will repeat: as Sarah Jones’s comments originally highlighted she, like Barwell, was also educated at a local independent school and a top university. That is not the “jobs for the boys” point here. Barwell’s work at Tory Central Office and his relationship with Lord Cashcroft, the tax avoider and Conservative party donor, is what has seen him have no career outside politics, and is what ensured that he was “selected” – or hand-picked – as a candidate for Croydon Central. It is a Tory Establishment system that favours men.

      There is no comparison with the manner in which Steve Reed was selected by Labour to stand in Croydon North. There was a competitive selection procedure, in which all the Labour party members in Croydon North had the opportunity to participate, and in which three women also stood for selection. The local membership chose, democratically, that they preferred Reed to all other candidates.

      Yet while you argue against preferential treatment, you feel able to make an exception where it involves your own interest group, Tamils. And you don’t sense the innate hypocrisy?

      You are also harbouring a hefty misapprehension when you state that Labour has not selected “more Tamil candidates for the local council election”. The selection process for candidates for 2014 is barely underway. It selects candidates from those members who put themselves forward as potential candidates.

      How many Tamils are Conservative councillors in Croydon, Patrick?

    • mraemiller says:

      Patrick: I’m not sure I, or indeed anyone, is that mad keen on positive discrimination – if the men in parliament think having women in parliament is so important, why don’t some sitting male MPs resign?

      The late Malcolm Wicks was very funny on this issue of equality basically saying that it’s terrible there aren’t enough BMEs and women in the parliamentary Labour Party, but I won’t be standing down myself because I am part of the problem (I think that was the gist).

      Still it’s better than what the Conservative party has, which is no internal democracy at all – I’m sure I’ve said something about that on this site before. Unless you count the vote for the leader?

      The Labour party rules are something along the lines that if the NEC decrees a seat “winnable”, then it can decided on a regional basis if this should be or should not be a AWS seat. Croydon Central didn’t qualify for an AWS last time because it wasn’t deemed by the party as particularly winnable … I think.

      As to a BME shortlisting system… well, Cameron had an unofficial one with the A List (or “Ashcroft makes it up” List). It hasn’t made him very popular in Surrey. There were enough legal problems with all women shortlists. Ethnic shortlists would be a legal disaster for Labour and a huge gift to UKIP…

      However, the larger problem than positive discrimination for women or BMEs is getting enough getting people to stand. According to Anne Black of the NEC, men dont have to be asked to stand for nominations but many women have to be “nagged”.

      It’s the same with a lot of people from BME backgrounds too. Which raises the question if women aren’t interested in politics why are we trying to socially engineer them into being interested in it?

      The answer is I suppose that a society that’s entirely run by men may perhaps not be in the best interests of women. Also, from a cynical perspective, women don’t tend to like to vote for all-male parties.

      Anyway, if you’re so concerned why don’t you join then you can vote for leaders, deputy leaders, MEPs, MPs and councillors on a OMOV basis?

  4. It is not hypocrisy asking about the Tamils. I am not talking about discrimination or even positive discrimination. The Tamils were not selected as the sitting councillors and the Croydon Labour establishment felt that the Tamil candidates could deselect some sitting councillors. I don’t want the Tamils to be selected as candidates just because they are Tamils. I expected some good quality candidates (much better than some sitting councillors both Tory and Labour I should say) were not selected.

    If the Tory establishment does favour men than how did Mrs.T become the best PM Britain has ever had (according to the Tories). Labour has never had a woman PM nor a leader. Local Labour group has a leader who lost to the Tories in 2006 and can’t select a female leader locally. Let us not go into why there was a selection process in the first place.

    I am against positive discrimination and also hate it when people say that some people only made it because of their connections, gender or race.

    No one denies the fact that Gavin worked for Ashcroft in Central office. Does that mean he should not be selected ? If a local association of a party feel that a candidate is good enough they should be selected through a proper democratic process. Four candidates two male and two female were selected for voting including two Croydon councillors and one won. What is wrong with that?

    It is best to criticise a policy of a party or an MP rather than personal comments such as “he only made it because they favour male candidates).So should I say Sarah was only selected because of the all female candidate list?

    On one thing I agree with you though. I am not a journalist and English is not my first language to write well or explain my points clearly. I am a first generation immigrant who was educated in Tamil.

    All communities should be represented in the council only if the candidates are good enough and better than the others. There are some excellent candidates from all communities who are being ignored by both parties for various reasons including ignorance of other cultures, the threat that they will lose their only source of income or those who select candidates are not good enough to select good candidates. I may repeat this by saying that all political parties are guilty of this.

    Perhaps there should be a maximum term of 12 years(continuous) to be a local councillor so that we don’t have some one as a councillor for 33 years.

    A long time Labour voter said this morning to me ” Gavin is an excellent MP because he is always there to help”. Of course I didn’t say this nor was I paid to say this. I disagree with Gavin on immigration and other matters though I am an immigrant my self but the word on the street is that he is a good MP.

    Four points lead is not enough for Labour to win Croydon Central. Bring back David Milliband and there may be a chance.

    • You say: “It is not hypocrisy asking about the Tamils”. No Patrick. But it is hypocritical to condemn positive discrimination for one group while demanding it for another.

      You say: “I am against positive discrimination and also hate it when people say that some people only made it because of their connections, gender or race.” You are confusing two different issues. Preferential treatment, Masonic handshakes, jobs for the boys, are not the same as positive discrimination.

      You say: “No one denies the fact that Gavin worked for Ashcroft in Central office. Does that mean he should not be selected ?” Cashcroft the tax avoider was funding the Tories campaigns in marginal seats. Barwell was his gofer on this project. Barwell gets selected as the Tory candidate for Croydon Central. QED.

      You say: “All communities should be represented in the council only if the candidates are good enough and better than the others.” No one -surely – can disagree with that. But people can only be selected as candidates if they put themselves forward for consideration.

      Perhaps, Patrick, you can let us know how many Tamils, or other people from the BME community, are members of the Croydon Conservative Federation and how many have put themselves forward as potential candidates for next year’s council elections. And how many get selected to stand next May?

    • mraemiller says:

      David Milliband doesn’t want to come back he’s got a life …. Patrick I can understand someone not believing in positive discrimination – I’m not that sure I believe in it myself and many in the Labour party still outright dont believe in it at all …on the basis it creates too much resentment and those that deserve to win get unfairly branded as “token” candidates even if they’re really good candidates BUT at the end of the line you still do get a meaningful vote in the Labour party.

      You paint a view of us that we are all hard lefties with no money motivated by the politics of envy. Maybe we are, but from a purely business perspective ….I’m a member of the party partly to lobby for what I want that’s in my own business interests and as a businessman … I dont see as it’s a very good business deal to join a political party that, as I’ve said before, doesn’t really allow you to vote…. ? That’s like sending your kids to a public school where they’re not allowed to be taught.

      By the way I did ask my own BME but she said there were many more important things to do than stand for Parliament – like playing Neopets

  5. “I may repeat this by saying that all political parties are guilty of this.”

    Croydon Labour are not interested in Tamil Candidates as they feel that another sitting councillor may be lose the vote in the selection process. Again the only fact Tamils were not selected because of their race. That shows equality in certain parties. Surely an all female candidate list is discrimination against men like Mr.Pelling and Mr.Ryan.

    Good BME candidates do put themselves forward in BOTH major political parties, but they are not selected for certain reasons which I don’t understand.

    I am willing to criticise the party which I have been voting for as I believe in freedom of speech and also I am willing take criticism if I am wrong unlike some others who don’t like criticism.

    I did not say that Tamils should be selected because they are Tamils. All I am saying is some good Tamil candidates have not been selected for some reason in both parties and specially by a party which creates female candidates list for equality and claims to be representative of all communities yet fails to select good candidates from a certain community.

    The Conservative party did not select me as a candidate even for a Labour majority ward though I got the highest vote swing from Labour to Conservative in 2006 local elections (According to Raving loony website). Apparently I am not good enough.

    There is a problem with selection in all political parties. This does not mean Gavin was selected because he is part of the elite male group. A Croydon local resident from an ordinary hardworking family who happened to work for the Central office and also went to a good university because he is intelligent was selected through a democratic process where there was a vote between four candidates.

    Good luck to Sarah Jones with her campaign to get selected. Please debate party policy like child benefit cuts (Balls Ed of course).

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