'You can't walk in my shoes': Listen to Julia's clash with anti-racism campaigner

Theresa May put diversity at the heart of her Cabinet reshuffle

Theresa May promoted a number of women and BME MPs to key roles in her Cabinet reshuffle

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Julia Hartley-Brewer clashed with an anti-racism campaigner this morning in a discussion about diversity in Government.

Our presenter asked Simon Woolley whether we need more blondes and fat people in the Cabinet, and the pair also disagreed over a recent racism storm involving clothing brand H&M.

Theresa May has finished her Cabinet reshuffle, having appointed a number of women and ethnic-minority MPs to key roles.

Julia asked Woolley, of Operation Black Vote, whether the diversity campaign really matters.

Woolley said that yes, it does matter, citing allegations of discrimination at the BBC as evidence that Britain remains a divided society.

However Julia responded that there is a limit to diversity and there is a danger of it being taken too far.

"If it's a largely Asian Muslim area," Julia asked, "should they have a white Christian MP?

"If you say we need to have a diverse government that represents us, does it mean we need 51% women? That we need a certain percentage of blondes? Short people, tall people, fat people, thin people?

"80-year-olds? There are a lot of 80-year-olds? Do we need 80-year-olds in the Cabinet?"

Woolley hit back: "You can't live in my shoes. You cannot feel the experiences that I have. 

"So unless my views are on the table, then the challenges that I and others face are not being addressed."

Julia also asked her guest: "Doesn't there come a point where you don't want to identify something you have no say over whatsoever [such as skin colour]?" But Woolley replied that it such identification is vital while divisions remain in British society.

Backing up his argument, Woolley cited the recent case of an H&M advert showing a black child wearing a t-shirt with the legend "the coollest monkey in the jungle" - prompting a heated response from Julia, who asked how on earth anyone could think H&M were associated black children with monkeys.

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