With the dust settling after the announcement of a new era of coalition politics Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a Cabinet that is notable for its absence of black people and women.
Other than Theresa May, who has been appointed Home Secretary, the Cabinet remains resolutely white and male.
Ironically despite a historic number of Black MP’s being elected 27 in all none seem to have been as yet considered for Cabinet post. The lack of women is also cause for concern.
For all the talk of a “new era” and a Cabinet that is both “strong and stable” it seems that none of the returned and new cohort of black and women MP’s seem to have been considered as suitable for a Cabinet whose declared priority is working together in the national interest. Cameron must ensure that this new Cabinet is at least a diverse as the previous Labour administration.
Of course not all the Cabinet positions have yet to be announced so there remains an opportunity to ensure that a Cabinet that reflects the national interest also reflects the racial and gender diversity of the country.
Whatever faults the previous Government had, great strides in ensuring that Black and women MP’s were reflected in the senior levels of Government.
At a time when the country will face huge public spending cuts it is important that the Prime Minister understands that an inclusive democracy for a diverse nation is in the national interest.
Ironically the Tory Party commitment to diversity is in advance of the Lib Dems. They have the unique opportunity to ensure that diversity in relation to race and gender are seen as an important priority and the Tories have a number of MPs that they could now choose from. The Lib Dems however failed to return any MP’s of colour and are in the unfortunate position of reducing the general availability of both black and women MP’s.
Britain is an increasingly diverse nation and representation at all levels of society including Government is critical to maintain social cohesion and providing much needed role models for under representative communities particular at a time when the nation faces grave economic conditions.
The PM still has an opportunity to ensure that a Cabinet designed to reflect a broader political make up and selected on the basis of the national interest also reflects the entire nation and not one section of it.