While we were out in Tower Hamlets yesterday, we met up with Helen Duffett. Of course we did. She's everywhere in London, these days, from Romford in the General Election to Westminster and Kentish Town by-elections, to Pizza and Politics in Islington to caseworking in Hornsey and Wood Green, everyone knows Helen and knows she is a popular and tireless campaigner.
So why's she not standing for the London Assembly list, we ask?
Well, if the first two places on the list are DEAD CERTS to be women then the RULES mean that a MAN has to come THIRD.
And the first two places on the list ARE dead certs to be women: there's Ms Caroline Pigeon who is already ON the Assembly, so she's bound to get FIRST place on the list, and then there's Ms Bridget Fox who was terribly, terribly good in Islington and will probably be SECOND on the list…
In fact, if I understand these rules right, it could be even worse because if the highest placed man is NOT Black or Asian or other Minority, then the new rules mean that a Black or Asian or other Minority person has to get the FOURTH place.
In other words even if everyone is telling you you are the at least THIRD best candidate for London (who just happens to be a woman) then the best you can hope to be is FIFTH on the list and we AIN'T going to get FIVE GLA members, are we.
As outcomes go, this to me appears WILFULLY PERVERSE.
We seem to be actively putting off one of our best campaigners from standing by making it impossible for her to win.
And anyway aren't we the party that from Ms Jo Winsome on down says "I'm as good as any white/straight/middle-aged/middle-class man so you can take your patronising affirmative action and stuff it up your quota!"