Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Open Primaries are picking some great Conservative candidates

Open Primaries to select candidates are the way ahead: I have been involved, in a very small way with candidate selection and candidate help for parliamentary seats for the 2015 election. I know many of the candidates very well, some only by reputation: Nusrat Gahni is a charismatic Muslim lady with great intelligence, and a great track record before getting involved in politics; last Thursday, she persuaded an open primary in the leafy sussex seat of The Wealden to choose her; she will not let them down.
The nature of an open primary is that ANYONE who lives locally in that constituency can come along - whatever their political views or persuasions and select the candidate. This means that local councillors from all persuasions can come along and question the candidate.

Or take Mid Worcestershire: Nigel Huddlestone, the chosen candidate to take over from Peter Luff is a breath of fresh air: his mum works for Asda and his dad in a factory, while he was the first graduate from his state school to get to Oxford. Similar comments apply to down to earth long term local councillor Ranil Jayawardena, the deputy leader of Basingstoke Council, who was selected in North East Hampshire two weeks ago. Also this last weekend Lucy Fraser was chosen in South East Cambridgeshire, to take over from Sir Jim Paice, and the Sussex health worker and local councillor, Maria Caulfield, was chosen in Lewes. In Northumberland  Anne Marie Trevelyan was chosen at an open primary earlier this year to fight Berwick on Tweed against Sir Alan Beith. Anne Marie fought Sir Alan in 2010, dramatically cutting his majority. He has now decided he has had enough, and I believe AM's 8 year campaign to win the seat will be successful in 2015. 
Quite rightly the papers are applauding the fact that this process is happening in the Conservative Party.
It is a far cry from the Labour process - whether it be the shenanigans in Falkirk [where does one start / finish?], or hilarious epsiodes in the past like Jack Dromey [Harriet Harmans husband] who was the first man to be selected from a proposed all woman shortlist for a seat in Birmingham in 2010. More details here: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100249778/well-done-mr-cameron-open-primaries-are-here-to-stay/