The editorial dispute in The Guardian over which Party they should endorse in the General Election has apparently been heated and bitter – even though it is difficult to think that there is a single Guardian reader who will have been waiting to hear which way they opted in order to make up her or his mind.
Clearly, Jackie Ashley is not one of those bowled over by Clegg-mania. In a thoughtful article this morning she asks “Where are the women in Clegg’s top team?”
And the numbers are striking. The LibDems have fewer women candidates in 2010 than they did in 2005 – a mere 22% of the total. According to Jackie Ashley:
“At the root of the Lib Dems’ failure to deal with the gender deficit is their opposition to positive discrimination. At last year’s Speaker’s conference on making parliament more representative, Clegg suggested the problem was not the selection process as such, but the fact that not enough women were coming forward in the first place.”
And their record on race is equally dire: they have no black or minority ethnic MPs.