Monday, 6 December 2010

Conservative candidate selection policy - Authoritarian?

At the General Election 2010 the Conservative Party stated, in their "Invitation to join the government of Britain", which was signed by David Cameron: "So my invitation today is this: join us, to form a new kind of government for Britain.". Indeed, the Foreward of their manifesto stated: "So we offer a new approach..........It is a change from one political philosophy to another." This same document continues: "Our fundamental tenet is that power should be devolved from politicians to people, from the central to the local." Discussing devolution of power, the Conservative manifesto states (p.63): "We will make politics more local, more transparent and more accountable".

Those statements are all the more hypocritical when considering the latest edict issued by Conservative Central Office on the review being carried out of those candidates which are presently on the 'A' list. That list, it will be recalled, is the list of candidates 'approved' by CCHQ who may be considered for selection by constituency branches. The act of imposing only approved candidates from which a constituency can choose is authoritarian and negates the free choice of those branch members. (To digress for one moment, three of the points on which selection panels should take note: Conviction/Manner & Attitude/Depth & Intellect would appear to be pointless in their inclusion as they show no evidence of having been very effective in the past. Very few Conservative MPs possess any conviction or principle; possess a servile manner to their party; and exhibit little intellect!)

So when Cameron promised a new political philosophy and a new form of government, he was not joking - was he? What has been introduced is, in fact, more of the same central control/central decision making followed by the last government, resulting in less choice for the electorate - one of the 'benefits' of communism, I seem to recall!

For any system of electing political representation to be considered fair, it must as a central tenet include free, unencumbered choice - not just in the election of a representative, but the choice of those candidates from which the final selection can be made. When considering the most dangerous element in our politics today, or the greatest menace to the democracy of our nation, the answer has to be: David William Donald Cameron!


Jules Williamson said...

You're wrong to describe the approved candidate's list as the A List - that was something entirely different that got shelved a couple of years ago.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to judge the current candidates by the same criteria, otherwise how can it be fair? All of them should have shown all of the criteria in the election campaign, so it shouldn't be a problem. It will, however, weed out the slackers from the committed.

Every party has an approved list - it would be a PR disaster waiting to happen if they didn't - plus it allows CCHQ to get to know their candidates, and more importantly, vice versa.

The system does not preclude local members from becoming an approved candidate and applying for their local seat. In addition it does not preclude current candidates that fail this assessment, for re-applying to the Parliamentary Assessment Board again, once it re-opens.

There will only be a few seats that the Conservative will be able to win at the next election, so surely we should have the most committed, best candidates in place in those seats.

There have been too many people who have stood for councillor, who find out it's harder than it looks - multiply that 1,000 times for a parliamentary candidate and you need someone who's trained and has experience in campaigning, fundraising, etc.

Witterings From Witney said...

Jules Williamson: First you need a Conservative party, which doesn't exist at the moment. Then you need candidates who realise that they are answerable to their electorate and not the Party whip.

Get those two items in place and then we can have a discussion about lists!