Saturday, 13 February 2010

Surrey East Conservatives in selection chaos.

Call me Dave has spent a lot of time over the last few years talking about re-empowering local people, councils etc. It seems this only works though if you're not a Conservative member. In the selection process for the new Woking candidate last year, local Tories were overridden and to my knowledge at least one long standing councillor didn't even get a rejection letter to his application. They were just ignored.

From Conservative Home
some local activists were annoyed at being told local candidates would not be considered under any circumstances if they hadn't already been through a parliamentary assessment board by April - only to now be asked to delay so that people with no record of involvement in the party whatsoever can put their names forward. 
And this from the comments
CCHQ are probably right to delay selection in the case of most safe Conservative seats that have come up for grabs. However in the case of Woking, this cannot be regarded as a solid safe Conservative seat.
Humfrey Malins' majority is laregly built around a personal vote and the Lib Dems are a real threat here. If a CCHQ favoured candidate is parachuted in late, the local Lib Dems will have a field day in proclaiming that an outsider has been imposed on the local Conservative Association and the citizens of Woking, in which case we will probably lose the seat.
CCHQ should let Woking Association resume their selection schedule asap, and accept that the PPC will need as much time as possible to get locally established and see off the Lib Dem threat.
So much for local accountabilty. And today in the Daily Mail we have a fabulous article about Surrey East and the shenanigans there.
there is uproar because David Cameron has personally decided the six people who will be interviewed for the post by the association in a local school hall.
This draconian  measure has incensed local party members up and down the country, triggering a wave of protests and resignations which is in danger of spilling over into a civil war with devastating implications for Mr Cameron.
Interestingly one of the complaints of local Tories is that there are no heterosexual white males on the list.

Richard Butcher, a retired solicitor who has been a local Tory councillor in Surrey for more than 50 years, is outraged.
‘We are all very, very disappointed. We have had only two MPs here in the past 35 years. It should have been a privilege for us to be able to choose our next one, but that right has now been taken away.
‘Why does Mr Cameron think he knows better than us what we want for our constituency? He doesn’t live here!
And gain from Conservative Home
So much for new politics. It looks like executive patronage and party control are here to stay. Peerages for dead men's shoes are the political equivalent of the long service company silver carriage clock and look very dodgy.
As long as things like this happen, voters will continue to see politicians as a club who carve up the top appointments among themselves.
Of course there have been other major internecine spats including many mentioned in this article. War in Westminster North where one of Dave's Etonian mate's wives is the candidate and she got the local, hard working chair sacked. Nice.

The farcical scenes at the smart Commander gastropub, close to David Cameron’s Notting Hill home, dramatically exposed the faults in the Tory leader’s modernising project.
Miss Cash, a libel barrister, educated at an Ulster state school and Oxford University, is the archetypal Cameroon candidate. Like so many A-listers, she has never served her time as a local councillor.
But she had gained the support of party chairman Eric Pickles as a move was made to oust her nemesis, Mrs Sayers, as chairman.
In an unprecedented move revealing the importance of Miss Cash’s candidacy as part of Cameron’s modernising plan, Pickles turned up to the meeting in person, as did some of the Tories’ most influential movers and shakers.
During an astonishing evening of internecine warfare, which represented a battle for the soul of the Tory Party, a chaotic and packed meeting heard Miss Cash declare: ‘I have an announcement to make. I am standing down immediately.’

Pandemonium followed and David Cameron’s office frantically tried to persuade Miss Cash (who has been described by Tatler magazine as ‘Tory totty’) to rescind her resignation.

Eventually, she agreed to remain the party’s candidate and sent a message to the social networking site Twitter saying: ‘I did resign. Assoc did not accept. CCHQ has resolved specific issue so I am not leaving. It’s official DC [David Cameron] has changed the party!!!!!!!! I love Twitter. Normal business has resumed and am back online. Lots of rumours flying around distracting from business of electing a new govt! Go go go people!! We have work to do.’

Well done Dave. Your belief in local democracy is par excellence. Perhaps one Etonian one vote might be a better slogan.

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