Hazel Blears

At an event organised by LSE Labour, I heard Hazel Blears speak last night on feminism as part of the LSE SU's Women's Week.

Anyone would think there's a deputy leadership election coming up - Hillary Benn on the Tuesday, Hazel Blears on the Wednesday.

I thought Hazel did well; for one thing, she actually spoke on the topic of women in politics and made the very valid point that the headline improvements for women in politics - Clinton in the US, Royale in France and Merkel in Germany - don't do anything to hide the fact that few women are councillors and that, although we are at parity in the Welsh Assembly, there are concerns that in Scotland where women have stood down, men are replacing them and we are moving away from parity; as soon as you take your eye of the ball, things worsen.

In answer to a question from yours truly, Hazel did say that legislation on equal pay audits should go into the next manifesto.

I was actually pretty impressed - she comes across as hardworking, knowledgable and as really caring about her area and the Labour party. However, I am not convinced that she would be the best person for the job. I have a feeling that there would be cosmetic changes and some more fundamental changes in party organisation, but I don't think there would be the root-and-branch look at Labour on the ground. There was, I felt, a lot of generality and identification of problems but no concrete means of solving those problems and moving forward.



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