Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Poking the lions' den

Cameron's having a go at his own party again, with this threat to impose all women shortlists on constituencies. Quite how that marries up with their plans for open primaries hasn't been clarified, but it has certainly annoyed many grassroots Conservatives who value what they perceive to be a meritocracy.

Don Paskini tells a story of Irving Kristol, one of the leading lights of the American right.
The talk turned to Irving's son, William Kristol, then Dan Quayle’s chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon’s domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at the White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC [Republican National Committee] and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at Penn and the Kennedy School of Government.
With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of
affirmative action. 'I oppose it,’ Irving replied. ‘It subverts meritocracy.’

Cameron, of course, had the help of an unknown hand from Buckingham Palace, who rang Conservative Central Office to provide an unbidden, but highly influential reference.

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