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Andrew Geddes, "The 'Logic' of Positive Action?: Ethnic Minority Representation in Britain After the 1992 General Election," Party Politics , 1 (April, 1995), 275-285.

First Paragraph:
A good starting point in the analysis of ethnic minority under-representation in Britain is a consideration of the selection methods employed by the parties when they choose their candidates for local and national elections. The paradigmatic prism through which these selection processes have tended to be viewed can broadly be characterized as liberal pluralist, in that it is supposed to be open to individuals of ability regardless of, for example, their ethnic origin or gender. In this article we see that this approach has been challenged by Labour's use of positive action to promote women's parliamentary candidacy.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Ethnic minority candidates and MPs 1970-92.
Table 2: Attitudes of Conservative and Labour party members toward the electoral appeal of candidates.

Last Paragraph:
The argument contained in this Report is clear. Underrepresentation of Britain's ethnic minorities is apparent at both local and national level. The existing electoral paradigm seems to have failed to tackle some of the structural causes of political inequality noted in the supply and demand model. Labour has decided to embark on a programme of positive action to promote women's parliamentary candidacy. This decision, though, does seem to have important implications. To put it simply: if one glaring example of inequality merits positive action to secure redress, then do not others? So, leaving aside arguments about the efficacy of positive action, there does seem to be a strong case for Labour taking positive steps to tackle ethnic minority under-representation. Not to do so could lead to the complaint that Labour's motives are clouded by the pragmatic electoral consideration that, whilst women are seen as vote winners and it is important for the party to be perceived as 'women friendly', the electoral dividend to be reaped from increased ethnic minority candidacy is seen as rather more uncertain and that Labour takes its support from the ethnic minorities for granted.