CamdenNewJournal

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I was disappointed to see the letter making a baseless attack on elected councillors

24 May, 2018

• I WAS disappointed to see Rebecca Shirazi’s vitriolic and baseless attack on elected councillors in your letters pages, (An unconscious bias and/or institutionalised elitism, sexism, and racism must be playing a part in candidate selection, May 17).

Yes I am the only female Conservative councillor but I was elected equally alongside my colleagues on merit, not gender. She claimed that I’m middle-class, despite me coming from a working-class family in Warrington.

She then pointedly attacked me for attending Oxford – which apparently Labour think is something for a working-class woman to be ashamed of!

I note that she didn’t mention any of my more relevant qualifications; perhaps my work for the National Health Service, my being a governor at the Royal Free, or my volunteering at two local homeless shelters.

Instead, she pried into my and others’ personal background. I’m not sure stalking a woman online so you can criticise her for going to a good university is the act of a feminist. It’s also hardly kinder, gentler politics.

This attack is particularly frustrating because I am a proud and vocal feminist. Indeed I’m Hampstead & Kilburn Conservatives’ women’s officer and the local party and I are strongly dedicated to getting more women involved in politics.

I think all parties have a long way to go before any of us have fully made use of the talents available. However, if we’re talking about candidate selections, then you should also look at the Conservative candidates that were sadly defeated.

I was greatly disappointed to see the Conservatives lose councillors in Swiss Cottage and Belsize. Of the five Conservatives that were not elected in those wards, two are immigrants, three are black, three are women, and all five come from working-class families.

I believe Camden would be better represented with them on the council. They sadly didn’t win, but for Labour to try to score cheap political points because we didn’t win is a little ludicrous!

It also betrays that Rebecca Shirazi is trying to hijack a serious issue for personal gain, which is the opposite of what we want from people aspiring to public office.

If you are interested in seeking public office, regardless of gender, race or background, please don’t be deterred by such attacks. And get in touch at: maria.higson@camden.gov.uk, so we can support you to get involved.

CLLR MARIA HIGSON
Conservative,
Hampstead Town ward

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