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« Your predictions for the first round... | Main | Who's backing who? (rolling update 3) »

Comments

Jonathan Sheppard

If we are arguing that primaries are likely to bring about more representative candidates where do we draw the line? Primaries for party leader, for parliamentary elections, for local elections?

And Ive still never had an answer as to whether the trials done at the last election in using a primaries to select certain PPCs had any discernable effect on the reslt whatsoever.

James Hellyer

"If we are arguing that primaries are likely to bring about more representative candidates where do we draw the line? Primaries for party leader, for parliamentary elections, for local elections?"

Why not? Although with things like councils the field is likely to be so small a primary isn't necessary - selection rarely is under the current system.

Jonathan Sheppard

Alternatively why dont we just encourage anyone who shares our views and wants to get involved to join the party - what a novel idea.

James Hellyer

... and a sadly out of date one.

Mass membership seems to be something from the past. We need to adapt to that...

Peter

Not to be too mean to Crispin Blunt, but what is his logic? "Support my man - and if he gets knocked out and only then consult my constituency party?" If he's this committed to democracy within his local party, why didn't he consult them before supporting Rifkind? Could it be he himself just doesn't care that much now which one wins?

Jonathan Sheppard

Getting people to join the party is out dated. Why did you join then?

I'd like to see you sell it to Associations that you want to take away their right to choose candidates and then see what happens to the funds they raise to pay for local campaigning and running CCHQ.

James Hellyer

Getting people to join the party is out dated.

No, mass membership is outdated. That's not the same thing at all.People will now support causes or movements, but support for parties seems to be declining.

I'd like to see you sell it to Associations that you want to take away their right to choose candidates and then see what happens to the funds they raise to pay for local campaigning and running CCHQ.

Local associations DO NOT choose candidates. Selection committees pick candidates from CCO approved applicants. Selection committees are not Associations.

Ronald Collinson

Crispin Blunt was very passionate in his support for Rifkind. His personal feelings probably overrode any love of internal democracy he might possess.

... because it's not about members' rights. It's about being representative of the population as a whole. The members are more representative than MPs, but they still aren't very representative.

But does that matter? The days when party members were expected to support the leadership unconditionally are long gone. If say that we value party democracy, we imply that we want the leader to reflect the views of the party.

I don't see that there's much point asking everybody in the constituency. We'd have to change our name to the 'Populist Party', or something of that sort. Then again, it could be argued that Dunne is just providing a service to his constituents, which I can hardly object to.

Owen Paterson has not declared support for a candidate, and he has not decided to consult his party. We're a pretty deferential lot over here, after all (although there is sometimes a feeling that the council interferes rather too much). Paterson is, however, a member of Cornerstone, and he links to Dr Fox's speech on his website.

It does not take a James Hellyer to guess who he's going to support.

Jonathan Sheppard

Having been in front of enough selection committees I know exactly how they are made up James. I still have not been given an example of why primaries would make us more electorally sensible.

The US have primaries and got Bush. Labour have no primaries and have won three elections in a row. I think the party needs to re-engae people through its policies by looking at areas suchh as energy, the environment, charities etc - Those areas where people think the Tories dont have policies- where we used to lead the debate in the 80's.

Selsdon Man

MPs should also consult neighbouring constituencies without a Tory MP. They have no influence over the MPs ballot at all.

James Maskell

I think the point of mass membership not being possible doesnt work. It is possible. People join single cause groups because they care about those areas...why cant the Conservative Party show a broad view of Britain by paying attention to and highlighting their policies on those areas? People will join if we offer them what they want.

One example, people join the RSPCA because they care about animal welfare. Why not highlight the work the Conservatives have been doing to highlight animal welfare issues and tell the people what their policies are? In my constituency we have an animal welfare group associated with the Conservatives.

Jonathan Sheppard

James - yes completely agree. Going into an election with an environmental policy which primarily (not wholly) focussed on not wanting on shore wind farms gave the impression (though untrue) that our party didnt really care about the environment - when in actual fact it is fertile Tory territory.

James Hellyer

Having been in front of enough selection committees I know exactly how they are made up James.

Then why do you keep conflating them with the membership in general?

The US have primaries and got Bush.

Bush won two Presidential elections in a row as well as gubnatorial elections...

Jonathan Sheppard

Primaries were used in a few seats at the last election.

Where is the evidence to show they produced differing results to the majority of seats that didn't use primaries? The simple fact is there is none.

Jonathan Sheppard

In fact James - you are so keen on their use - why don'y you write a polemic on the case for primaries for the "Your platform section" on this site.

Ronald Collinson

Bush won two Presidential elections in a row as well as gubnatorial elections...

Which just goes to show that the American electoral system is deeply flawed. Bush's administration has been characterised by a belief in American superiority, a blurring of the lines between church and state, fiscal irresponsibility, hostility to the environment and the creation of oppressive laws. He is the worst advert for conservatism.

MPs, of course, are not restricted from surveying constituents, as a service to them, if they so wish (which is what Dunne is doing). However, I see no reason why outside input should be part of the election process.

The times when the party was expected to follow the leadership blindly are long gone. Aa democratic system implies an acknowledgement that the leader should represent the views of the electorate – which, in this case, is the party. We are not the 'Populist Party' – there's no point letting any Tom, Dick or Harry in on it.

Richard Carey

"We are not the 'Populist Party' – there's no point letting any Tom, Dick or Harry in on it."

I hope I'm not going to be accused of "trashing out brand" if I point out that we were certainly not the Populist Party at the the last General on about 33% of the vote, which we've had for the last 10 years. In the interests of balance, I will of course note that some of us had some local successes in some of our target seats, but obviously in nowhere near enough of them.

Acting like some kind of exclusive club is not going to inspire the electorate to buy into a new Conservative vision of Britain.

Our supporters (as well as those people who have never thought of voting Conservative in their lives!) are not "every Tom, Dick or Harry" - they are the people who our Party seeks the privilege of serving in Government.

Ronald Collinson

But how, exactly, would one prove oneself to be a 'supporter', as opposed to some socialist intent on mischief?

My fear is that the leader of the party would reflect the general population, rather than the views of the party. This, you might say, is no bad thing. It does, however, make the idea of parties seem rather pointless.

Jonathan Sheppard

If people support the party - why dont we spend the effort to encourage them to join then?

Kippaxed

I was involved in a parl selection which used the 'Primary' model at the last GE. Despite newspaper adverts and some leafletting there wasn't a huge turn-out by non-members. Nevertheless, it sent out a good message about the party being interested in the wider community and I for one would support its wider usage next time around

Jonathan Sheppard

But are we saying the Labour party arent interested in the wider community due to their lack of use of primaries?

My much stated view is that its your policies which will engage people in politics - not HOW you select candidates.

Its like when people tell me "oh young people arent interested in politics" - oh really - so why do they march on Parliament on the issue of tuition fees?

The Lib Dems give the impression that they engage in the wider community by campaigning (so they say - though Im not convinced) all year round not just at election time. Thats how you show your interest in the wider community.

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