Monday, 26 October 2009

Thoughts on Iain Dales Thoughts on Candidate Selection from Bracknell

Iain Dale has posted an article on his Blog here about his thoughts on candidate selection after his experience at Bracknell’s primary. Katy Lindsay also applied for Woking and Sleaford (conservative Majority over 6000). Rory Stewart applied and won selection for PPC in Penrith (a very safe seat with a majority of over 10,000).

The discussion on a local or non local candidate is just one of the issues. I prefer a local candidate but I do understand that this is not always possible and if the quality of candidates is not there locally then not always the best option. I believe most electorates prefer a local candidate however.

Can you really concentrate on more than one constituency at a time? A number of the Bracknell candidates put a lot of hard work into learning about Bracknell and not just doing the arranged meetings but also have done their own work to find out about the local issues. But if your trying to win in consecutive seats without any break in-between, how can you do the work needed to understand an area when those constituencies are as far apart as say Bracknell and Penrith are.

But the real problem is in parachuting candidates into safe seats. Granted an open primary gives the electorate a chance to select their candidate. But unless this is a postal vote how many of the electorate actually turn up to a Primary. Bracknell’s was less than half a percent of registered voters these candidates for the most part are still selected for what is essentially a safe seat. The actual election almost becomes a rubber stamp on the PPC already chosen in the Primary. Is this really good for our democracy or is this hiding the real problem of safe seats.

We all know that with a majority of over 10,000 in Penrith, Rory Stewart will almost certainly win in the upcoming general election unless something amazing happens. I have no doubt that Rory Stewart could be a good MP and he could be cabinet material. I just worry that we are kidding ourselves that this is democracy, when what we really need is full reform of our whole electoral system so that seats are no longer so safe. I wish the incoming conservatives would consider the Single Transferable Voting system as it is fairer then First Past the Post. It gives voters more choice and puts power in the hands of the voters rather than the party.


  1. From what I have read Bracknell has got itself a candidate and almost certainly an MP who will focus well on local issues. I worry though about his general politics and have written an article here which expresses my concerns:

  2. Thanks Paddy, a very interesting point you raise.

  3. Iwas one of the less than half a percent of registered voters who went to the Open Primary and found myself asking the question "Do I want a local MP?" or "Do I want some one who will be an asset to the Government of this country?" after hearing Rory Stewart speak. I have to say that I had not rated him having read his leaflet, but after hearing him speak was very impressed - so easy to listen to and he made some valid points and did not toe the party line. I am very pleased he was selected in Penrith - I think he will be an asset in any future Government.