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Send them out canvassing, especially if they are new to the area.

Candidates should be tested by CCHQ to ensure that they are capable and implementing 21st Century campaigns, intellectually analyse White Papers and legislation and develop original policy.

Quite frankly, if they cannot engage voters at supermarkets or school gates, they should not be allowed to even go to the Parliamentary Assessment Board.

Standards should be raised much higher than they are at present.

Quite ironic because, from what I know of Bernard Jenkin's selection in Colchester, I'm fairly sure that it was Anne and being a good looking couple that swung it for him.

Take them out canvassing you say. That would have worked in our case in Teignbridge, where the selection meeting consisted of Stanley Johnson getting up and saying "hi, I'm Boris' Dad" and winning the vote outright in the first round, and then proceeding to not knock on a single door between then and polling day, and looking ever so slightly surprised when a 3,000 LD majority turned into a 6,000 LD majority. Exposing candidates' aversion to canvassing and to ordinary people at an early stage is generally recommended.

Ability to chat to normal people. Man, this new Conservative Party has some new ideas! Is CCHQ trying to insult our intelligence here? When has talking to normal people not been important?

In Eastleigh in 2005 Conor Burns, our prospective MP, canvassed in tandem with a local council candidate. Conor presented very well and won many people over. Unfortunately the Tory Boy that followed 30 seconds later was so obnoxious that he undid all the good work. Bad canvassing is worse than no canvassing, but that’s no excuse for MPs – they’ve got to be good at it!

I think that a day out canvassing would be a very good way to asses candidates. Sending the candidates out in small teams with a local member would accomplish a number of things.

1. Filter the really committed applicants out from the others. If they are not willing to invest a day in the constituency should they be selected?.
2. Show how good the applicant was with “real” people.
3. Give each association at least one really good days canvassing.

This will make the selection a little slower, but I think that it is better to get the right person rather than create a speedy process.

I am always a little surprised that a potential job for life can be given to someone based on a total of 45 minutes of public speaking.

I've always recommended sending applicants details of campaigning events ahead of the selection process "so you can get to meet the association". You'd be surprised how many of them are too stupid to take the hint - it helps the first sift team fill up the wastepaper bin very quickly....

I think the James' idea of sending the applicants out canvessing for the day is a very good idea. This could be followed by an open primary, so any voters impressed, would have the chance to vote for the candidate who had made an impression.

I'm still of the opinion that changing the selection methods rather than the A list, is the only way to achieve a more representative parliamentary party.

FWIW Parliamentary candidates don't necessarilty need to be excellent at canvassing - it's a "once every five years" experience.

What they do need to be good at doing is dealing with a mixture of small talk and serious questions at semi-formal/semi-social functions held in the Constituency and elsewhere. Therefore "trial by sherry" (or "trial by orange juice" for those who prefer not to drink alcohol) needs to be assessed and rated more highly in the selection process than canvassing.

"Quite ironic because, from what I know of Bernard Jenkin's selection in Colchester, I'm fairly sure that it was Anne and being a good looking couple that swung it for him."

Isn't that the point? Lots of Tory MPs are bone idle when it comes to their constituents and to canvassing etc yet only to happy to make it much harder for others to get into parliament.

All of our candidates should be trained to respond to constituents. The leaders' office should send constituent enquiries direct to MPs and monitor how quickly they are dealt with as well as require every MP and Shadow Cabinet minister to engage in a pre-set degree of canvassing, making it clear that their job and prospects depend upon them meeting their targets, in their constituencies, marginal seat and local council elections as well as byelections

"What should replace trial by sherry?"

A farting contest.

Canvassing,yes. Sherry,no. It is far more important that a candidate should be able to relate to real people (whose opinions determine his election) than to the average attendee of Constituency social functions. And anyone who thinks that canvassing is a 'once every five years' obligation should be a non-starter.

I totally agree with the selection method of giving any prospective PPCs a good run around. Those who stick to killer stillettos and trip over the pavement show their credentials without a word being said. I only wish we had been able to pick Maggie Throup First time around. She changed into flat shoes, got stuck in, we selected her after TWO well publicised turkeys, AND she hit the gound running. Dropped Kaili Mountfords maj down to 1501. Not bad after only
6 months campaigning. Wish her all the best in Solihull next time. We wernt allowed to keep her!! So, canvassing, moving into a rental asap, doing all the events rounds, IN touchs - you all know the rest. They do all need some heavier grilling and checking out before selection, otherwise, your Constituency will be "Tory Bullies Forced Me Out!!" From the local lib dem press.When the Selectee proves to be allergic to hard work, and never on a Sunday, We have to go to Meadowhall for a few things. I may sound cynical, but Colne Valley should really be Tory now. Our fault, we will learn by our mistakes. So if you come North, First make sure you have Northern connections, Preferably West Yorkshire, Ovver 't tops at a pinch!!

"A farting contest."

LOL! I only hope I'm not around when Nicholas Soames goes up for reselection!

What were those stories about shorter skirts for the previous candidate all about Annabel?

"FWIW Parliamentary candidates don't necessarilty need to be excellent at canvassing - it's a "once every five years" experience"

There in lies the problem with too many people in our party, who think campaigning on the doorstep is something you do a few weeks before an election. If we are going to win the next general election, we have to learn from the Lib Dems and be campaiging on local issues week in and week. People need to see us taking an interesting in their community 24/7, not just when we want their votes. That was why we had some marvellous swings in our favour last May from those good local campaigners, and some terrible ones in virtually identical seats because they didn't put in the work.

And for the record on local candidates versus the Priority list argument, what we need aren't local candidates, but good local campaigners. You can be one without being the other. Good campaigners win elections, bad cmpaigners who live in the constituency don't.


I agree with the point you make about local candidates vs local campaigners. If we get too enamoured with the idea that winning means selecting someone who has lived in the consistency for years, we condemn all those candidates not lucky enough to live in winnable seats.

"LOL! I only hope I'm not around when Nicholas Soames goes up for reselection!"

Or Kenneth Clarke, particularly given his fondness for real ale.

I didnt mention shorter skirts Andrew. What came about was that a previous candidate chose to run to the libdem press, AND then JOIN the Libdems, citing all sorts of inaccurate excuses, such as her hairdo etc. All that had happened was that the Chair and deputy Chair(political) had asked her to work a bit harder. Once we got Maggie, SHE was the slave driver! Bloody Brilliant as Ron Weazley would say. Read Harry Potter?? There was no hint of negotiations from her, that was that. I also heard that if she felt under pressure at meetings, instead of fighting her corner, she would quietly text hubbie and he would come riding to the rescue. How much simpler just to say I am not up to this. Its a tough old game. At least anyone that chooses to come up to Colne Valley will know that there is only a few of us working. ie activists as opposed to members, so "the few" have their work cut out.Sadly, we are not getting any younger either., but I do try to act my shoe size, aches and creaks permitting!

I know from personal experience thatMike Flynn is ahard worker, Annabel. Are you going slander him?

Macchiavelli's Master Class, Lesson (1)

I know from personal experience thatMike Flynn is ahard worker, Annabel. Are you going slander him?

Signiores - Observe the skill with which the dagger is wielded here. No one has mentioned the name 'Flynn'. By introducing it himself, the assassin is able to claim the moral highground rushing to the defence of his friend, whilst simultaneously stabbing two people in the back at once.


Nonsense! Backstabbing is not my style.

She called him a well-publicised turkey! Total rubbish!

No, Selsdon Man, the local libdem press did all of that. Went hunting for interviews etc Headlines no less. None of that was necessary, but they have to sell newspapers, and discredit the local Tories. Great fun. It is not a crime to quote. I only mentioned by name, the totally brilliant Maggie Throup. I have never worked so hard, and glad to do it.Still, its good to know that Macchiavelli is alive and well. Not being a polititian, with the clever arguments and turn of phrase, I guess I am a sitting duck for all you lads. Keeps the grey cells going, and beats afternoon telly!

Take it from me, Annabel, reading your intelligent comments on what makes a good candidate in a seat with limited resources is of far more interest, and far more use, than the regular paranoid ramblings of Mr S. Man.

This is a question to the editor of this website, Tim Montgomerie -

are you on the approved list of parliamentary candidates?

if so, have you been asked to apply for the "priority list"?

I do not think a drinks party is any way to select a candidate or anyone really, except maybe a waiter/waitress, is this what we want from candidates? Unless he/she plans to invite all his/her constituents around for drinks then it's of no relation to the job.

A good candidate needs several qualities, we must decide these before considering the best ways of finding them, with a panel rating them and thus choosing between the applicants. For a quick idea lets say we need;
(a) A candidate who is affable and personable with the electorate. Charisma.
(b) Intelligent but not arrogant or pompous with it in any way.
(c) A good solid worker, capable of putting in the hours on multiple different and varied tasks, both individually and as a team.
(d) A person with integrity and no skeletons in cupboards.
(e) Leadership skills.
(f) Logic and reasoning.

So how to discover these. Perhaps a series of events, rating applicants out of 10, and selecting the best. For (a), the affability test, the doorstep/school-gate canvassing seems a good idea. For (b), intelligence without pompousness, a public speech to members on a topic of his/her own interest is a great idea. For (c), work ethics, a week as a constituency worker and (a) are good idea. For (d), integrity, applicants should consent to personal investigation and disclose everything before. Leadership skills (e) could be scored as perceived from other tests, such as canvassing, as could (f), logic and reasoning.

Obviously this is only a quick thought that could develop much more.

this is not on-topic,but its a big moment for me.

I have just joined the pary via the website.

If you are going to ask candidates to hang about in supermarkets and in front of school gates buttonholing people, or ask them to canvass you are a hop, skip and jump away from a primary.
Since previous primaries were not in seats we were likely to win the interest was a bit thin. But a primary in a winnable (perhaps new) seat might attract more media and attention.
Members might be given the chance to shortlist down to say, two or three for the primary and then actively campaign for their preferred candidate?

Congratulations and welcome Andrew!

"This is a question to the editor of this website, Tim Montgomerie -

are you on the approved list of parliamentary candidates?"

If not, why not?

He's been and gone without telling us.

Open primaries are too open for my liking, what's to stop Lib/Lab supporters voting for us to have a total fool as candidate? I also think it's too open to corruption and benefits the applicants with more financial backing, thus being able to build momentum, and not always the best. Looking at the US, that's what happens.

I agree that "trial by sherry" or what I prefer to describe as a horse fair where they inspect the wife's teeth, is out of the dark ages and has got to go. However the whole process of how we are selecting for the approved list and how associations are selecting, needs reform. The process should embody mentoring and a system of on the job marking leading upto candidates being provisionally adopted in more than one constituency whereupon they have to prove themselves before final adoption to a specific constituency. This would have the following very positive benefits:
1)get more people to help work a constituency
2) test real candidates who can do the job not smile and pass a beauty parade
3)get relevant local community candidates who can win and deliver
4)help more women, ethnic and diverse candidates.

Cllr Matt Wright

A process that includes canvassing and campaigning techniques is important, the most important thing is to make the process more open from both demand(primaries) and supply (candidates).

People with enough supporters should be able to run whether they are on the list or not.

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