In nine days’ time I shall be giving a presentation at the Institute of Economic Affairs, occasioned by the response to an article I penned in April:
I happened to mention to a supporter recently the number of slides I planned to have in my presentation, and he advised me to reduce the number (for a half-hour presentation) to between 10 and 15. It proved to be sound advice. A trial ‘run through’ this morning took almost exactly 30 minutes. I thought I’d bring to your attention one element of the material that’s now been lost from the presentation, concerning merit. Labour MP Harriet Harman – surely the most influential militant feminist politician in the modern era – can usually be relied upon to supply a dismal left-wing view on most subjects, and I was delighted to find the following in her Foreword to a book published in 2003, Women With Attitude. The book itself was written by Professor Susan Vinnicombe (Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders) and John Bank. The extract from Harman’s Foreword:
Any campaign to get more women into top management positions is somehow seen to detract from the real needs of business, which is to have the best people in the top jobs. This raises the question of how you assess merit. Merit is not just about your qualities as an individual but also what you bring to a team.
What a remarkable definition of merit. But I must look on the bright side. I hope to persuade Manchester United to adopt this definition shortly, in order that I might play in their first team next season. I have no individual merit as a footballer, and at 54 I might be considered a little long in the tooth for Premier League football. But I believe I can bring something to the team, and look forward to being a key part of their success in the coming season and beyond.
A supporter recently asked me if I might upload the cover image from my 2010 book David and Goliatha: David Cameron – heir to Harman? This seems as good a place as any to put it. My thanks to one of my favourite British cartoonists, Martin Honeysett, for drawing the image of Harriet Harman and David Cameron. One day I may auction the original cartoon to raise funds. The book’s cover: