There were several interesting questions raised in response to my first on line selection surgery. Some of them were asked more than once, demonstrating that candidates often face the same problems – talking to each other is a big step towards resolving them.
Should I be truthful about my views? What if my chances may be harmed?
Handling questions about Heathrow expansion in a nearby constituency was one example. You should always be honest. If you make a promise to fight an important local campaign then betray it after you get selected, you are likely to have a very bad relationship with your volunteers, and probably get some bad publicity.
Another example was moving to the constituency. If you aren’t able to make the commitment you should be honest about it, or be prepared to be taken to task for your bad faith. Volunteers are unlikely to work with a dishonest candidate.
Having been straight with the selectors, you should go on to sweeten the pill by explaining your reasons, and how you plan to compensate for your decision.
Should I take my same sex partner to the selection?
Yes, if they will help you to win! The days when candidates felt they had to present their other half for inspection are long gone, however a confident partner – of either sex – can help you cover more ground if you have to go through a ‘death by canapes’ meet the members event. Obviously you shouldn’t inflict this on your partner if they are uncomfortable with the prospect, or if they are likely to pick arguments. And there is no point in parading them on stage for the formal interview session.