Tuesday, 22 September 2009

How's Dave going to deal with this?

Is this like Labour's all women short-lists?
The controversial selection of the Tory mayoral candidate for the next month's by election continues to make waves and could have a wider significance. I am returning to the subject as well because one poster on PB1 has been trying to cast doubts on my reporting of this matter.

So the bulk of this post is my words but from an email to David Cameron from the borough's Tory leader and current deputy mayor, Nicky Attenborough. This has figured prominently the local press.
She wrote:"....It was very obvious that the meeting had been hijacked and quite clearly, from where I was sitting, I could see the Liberal Democrats on the front row, Labour on the back row and a sea of faces who couldn't even understand what the candidates were saying.

So how could you say that this was a Conservative selection procedure? It was a joke and the backlash has been very severe. Especially since the members were written and told they would have a private meeting in the end to endorse the candidate.Despite several angry protestations from the floor, this was ignored, and people with a green band were told to put their hands up. Quite frankly, it just seemed the icing on a very bad cake.

You have treated loyal members of this Party with utter contempt, people who fundraise for you, support you financially, go out in the good years and the bad, in all weathers to deliver and canvass for you, sit in polling stations for you, and up to now, were proud to stand for the Conservative Party..."
The Ladbrokes prices are at CON 8/15: LD 5/4: LAB 14/1.

Mike Smithson


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Dave isnt going to try and deal with it, nor does he need to. The email is typical reaction by the kind of people who populate a lot of local politics and who are used to holding vote after vote where the outcome is a formality only. Primaries threaten their cosy committee world where every member is pre-selected to ensure the right answer. Most council candidate selections are wholly undemocratic in all main parties because so few people are involved.
I am sure some modifications will have to be made to these caucuses but the principle is right. Accusations of unfairness were a predictable outcome from those who lost.

Anonymous said...

Many members of the Conservative Party, like me, are fed up with the leadership of the party. We are treated like dirt. Perhaps it is time for us to leave the party and join a party which more closely reflects what we, not the leadrship, believe. We do hold conservative beleifs, Cameron beleives anything to get him intio No. 10. Other parties are closer to what we actually belive. Time to say good-bye. Even Cameron will find he needs some activists.

Bob said...

Good on her, the party can't treat it's members like leaflet fodder for ever. I don't think anyone questions the fact that the meeting was rigged.

LondonStatto said...

Sore loser.

A seriously, seriously bad loser.

She needs to shut up.

LondonStatto said...

Bob, even OGH conceded that the best candidate won.

Anonymous said...

So Ms Attenborough believes that if you have a brown face you don't understand English? The true face of the Tories appears in Bedford.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that the meeting was packed with supporters of one of the candidates. So the candidtes who have the backing of a community that can organise its supporters is going to win. If that happens party activists should refuse to give any help as a protest against such blatant unfairness.

Anonymous said...

Ms Attenborough may be correct in saying that some of the Asians at the meeting did not understand English.

Anonymous said...

Well, one of the ladies sat behind me was reading a candidates' blurb upside down :-). But to be serious Ms Attenborough is a very experienced local Cllr with quite a wide ethnic mix of voters in her ward and is quite adept at keeping them onside - not an obvious racist!
She may be a sore loser, but the great majority of local Tory members feel quite angry at being "taken over" by Head Office.

Richard Nabavi said...

Surely the answer to the question depends on whether Cameron needs to deal with the 'problem', at least as regards the Bedford election itself. Clearly there is a lot of bad feeling in the local party, but will that carry over into the wider public, and will it affect the result? It seems to me that it could go either way, but maybe people with local knowledge could provide more insight into that.

As regards the internal party issue, I suspect that Cameron will be able to smooth this over, effectively by saying that these primaries are still a bit of an experiment, and that this particular approach has been shown to have drawbacks. It may need a bit of a charm offensive, but he's good at that - if he want to be.

MrJones said...

Packing meetings is nothing new.

Normally it's considered a "bad" thing.

If this had been done by some ideological faction like Countryside Alliance or closet UKIPers then it would be treated as a bad thing.

This is an example of the Zanu politics - something that would be considered bad if white people did it is either ignored or declared good when non-white people do it.

It's the double standard that will eventually poison everything. It's what's destroying Labour and now the Tories are following suit.

Robert Barnes said...

Some of the comments surrounding this issue remind me of the John Taylor furore in 1992. He was selected as Tory candidate for the safe Tory seat of Cheltenham. The trouble was, he was black, so the local Tories voted Lib Dem instead. Could something similar happen in Bedford?