Friday, January 15, 2010

Replacing John Maples - It continues

People are beginning to get very hot under the collar about the selection process for John Maples' seat in Stratford-Upon-Avon (home of this blog), and amongst an information vacuum I think that people are beginning to panic and just make things up.

The current situation as far as anyone knows is that the Association is waiting to hear from CCHQ with regards to the shortlist, effectively who will be on it and how many.  Once that has been decided the membership will then be involved in selecting a candidate from that list in an open manner as they would have been able to under normal circumstances. One thing that is guaranteed is that CCHQ won't be imposing a single candidate on the Association, and that there will be at least three prospective candidates on the short-list.

There has been a lot of talk about the so called "by-election" rules disenfranchising the local membership and disempowering them to be able to select a candidate themselves. However I think you have to look at them in a different light and consider how a candidate is traditionally selected.

Usually prospective candidates apply to CCHQ, who then pass CVs and applications to the local Association. The Association Executive then sifts them  and in most cases interviews these candidates to produce a shortlist. This shortlist which in some cases can be as few as two people is then presented to the entire membership to vote on.

So for the non executive members of the membership, what's changed? Well if anything the situation has improved, there is a guaranteed three people on the shortlist (not a potential two) giving the whole membership more say in the matter. The problem is that the executive lose their totalitarian powers over the process. They have been usurped by CCHQ, and if anything the democratic power has been given back to the membership itself and taken away from those who are locally at the top. The Stratford executive has a large membership, but only a small percentage of them are in the executive. In fact many of them are not overly engaged, just local members, but you can bet they will want to be involved in selecting a new parliamentary candidate. So are these new rules really a bad thing if they increase engagement and democracy in the process for all?

Related Posts:
Replacing John Maples - A Thought
Replacing John Maples - The Procedure
John Maples - The Morning After

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