Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hundreds Apply to be Conservative Candidates

According to one report I heard yesterday, CCHQ has received more than 1,000 enquiries from people wanting to be Conservative candidates - another put the figure at 500. It's great that there has been such a huge response, but it has given party staff a major headache. If the initiative is to mean anything the applications will have to be processed quickly, and when the mad, the bad and the sad have been weeded out the party will have to hold a series of one day assessment boards, where candidates have to undergo various forms of psychological torture tests before they are admitted onto the approved list. It's not going to be an easy process to manage and extra staff are already having to be recruited to cope with the workload.

67 comments:

Mirtha Tidville said...

Good position to be in..makes a nice change...cant think Zanu liebour are having similar probs somehow...

DMC said...

When will you hand in your application Iain?

I like this idea of ordinary people to run, i think you get much better people into the political system.

Plenty said...

This is where I believe the parties have to be very careful about not jumping on the bandwagon on selecting candidates for the sake of it. There should be a process that is thorough, and not just swift just to please a certain crowd. Was very interesting watching Lord Hattersley tonight saying that he expected more from the labour Party and thought this was something typical of the Tories. I thought this had gone beyond party politics, but clearly he still has a chip on his shoulder about the Tories and class...?

And on another point, I think that the Tory who is now blaming the media and the fees office has lost touch with what is going on, and still doesn't quite get why there is so much public anger.

http://www.plenty2say.com

Iain Dale said...

I'm already on the list, for my sins...

Plato said...

Cue Simon Gardner, Canvas, Despairing Liberal...

Shelley Gittins said...

Are we supposed to believe this guff?

CCO would say this wouldn't they?

Is there any way this spin can be verified Iain?

Forgive me for not believing a word you or your Party say, won't you.

Iain Dale said...

Believe what the f*** you like. I'm tired of even reading idiotic comments like this. So I am making it up? Er, why would I do that?

Sue said...

We need to sack and replace all the "dishonourable" ones.

Forget the rules, think morals and ethics!

DMC said...

Of course any candidate would be vetted by Conservative HQ.

I wouldnt be surprised if alot of applicants came forward to run for two reasons
1) This is a new idea, Which i suspect the party has got from the Australian Liberals who have done this.

2) Alot of people are angry, so if they apply they might unseat some of the mor unsavory MPs.

If Labour/Lib Dems etc did this, they would get some good responses as well i would say.

It is easier to knock down a house than to build one and i will give credit to the tories (cant believe im saying that) for piloting this new scheme.

ukipwebmaster said...

Hundreds? They'll need more than that the way this is going:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5396199/MPs-expenses-Tory-MP-Sir-John-Butterfill-paid-no-tax-on-600000-house-profit.html

Anonymous said...

Because you are a Conservative puppet?

marksany said...

Shows that the salary and Cameron's new expense rules is still a sufficient package to attract candidates.

Simon Gardner said...

Oh come, come. Being mad never stopped Nadine Dorries.

denverthen said...

This is a good thing. I hope it has what we have been led to believe is the intended impact on the party: more independent, more powerful and more conscience-driven MPs capable of holding the leadership to account on behalf of their constituents, as they should.

Let's hope the vetting process doesn't just produce yet more Commons voting fodder, ala Labour of the past 12 years. If free-thinkers do slip through the vet net, let's hope they're not deselected and/or expelled the moment they say/do/write something deemed 'embarrassing' or even, heaven forbid, 'disloyal' to party and/or leadership.

I wish them luck with that. They'll damn well need it.

Anonymous said...

Translations

"Hundreds Apply to be Conservative Candidates"

Hundreds apply to join the gravy train.

"If the initiative is to mean anything .... the party will have to hold a series of one day assessment boards, where candidates have to undergo various forms of psychological torture tests before they are admitted onto the approved list."

It will have to be established that peospective candidates are are manipulable lobby fodder monkeys, just like the current bunch (and the last set of new candidates approved under CMD).

Sterence said...

This doesn't exactly suggest that MPs salaries are too low at the moment, does it?

johnny fellow-traveller said...

Sure, it's good money and if you get found out, there are always people prepared to relate the "other side" of the story.

Count me in.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good, but can I apply to be one of Butterfill's servants, I hear the accommodation is nice.

Dimoto said...

Labour would find it more difficult to follow this idea, given that a large share of their MPs are obedient apparatchiks, whom the chieftains depend on.
I doubt there will be many sackings by Labour.

Bluddax said...

To DMC:

A lot is two words.. there is also the word "allot" which has nothing to do with an amount of something..

Sorry.. one of my pet peeves concerning 'netlang.. along with "definately", "sentance", "dependant" et al..

Anonymous said...

As for the World Tonight, given that you're trying to defend the indefensible you did quite well.

I can only imagine how eloquent you'd be if you spoke from that same gut feeling most of us have...blue or red parliament is dead

ukipwebmaster said...

"When will you hand in your application Iain?

I like this idea of ordinary people to run......."


Are you saying Iain is ordinary?
:-0

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

Which group would you put yourself in Iain - mad, bad or sad?

Personally, I would say that you are an egotistical, arrogant, queer, bias, blinkered, hypocritical, brainwashed loser.

Iain Dale said...

I thought I'd let that one through moderation so you can see what kind of crap I have to put up with.

Anonymous said...

"and when the mad, the bad and the sad have been weeded out the party "

You mean when those MPs exposed with their noses in the trough have resigned?

Anonymous said...

Look, ethics has not one but two components - the rules, and the perception. You can't just abide by the rules, you have to judge how the thing looks to others.

A bunch of people have been caught in the ethics trap and will be getting off at the next stop.

This gives a bunch of other people a chance to step into their shoes and try not to get caught in the same trap.

This whole episode has also given us a once in two or three generations opportunity to actually have some influence on how our democracy works.

So, why do some people squander this in insulting strangers (see Disillusioned...post above)?

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

"...and when the mad, the bad and the sad have been weeded out..."

there'll be none left!

*badum tish*

Liam said...

I cannot believe you have to trawl through such rubbish, Iain, more power to you!

CCHQ may be considering whether or not this "call to all the talents" was such a good idea. If the figure is, say, 500 applicants, how many are even within bargepole-touching distance of Cameron's Conservatives? Just how wide is his umbrella?

Apostate Guardianista said...

My slight worry with all of this is that it plays to the anti-politics gallery and seems to sum up the 'post ideas' age we appear to be living in - from what I can make out, you don't even need to be a Conservative or particularly have any conservative principles! I can see what Cameron is trying to do but it just smacks of alienation, desperation and a lack of vision - we need more positive, political ideology and acumen not less, I'm not voting for someone just because they're not someone else..no more heroes any more

Andrew Cooper said...

Can't decide whether or not this mess is good or bad for the tories. On the one hand, we have Brown mired in indecision and failing to act on Labour's worst offenders. SNAFU, then, at No 10.

On the other we have three words which will stick in the consciousness of the electorate when it comes to the tories: moats, servants and ducks.

Meanwhile, the markets seem to have decided that the economy isn't a complete basket case (£ over $1.60, FTSE doing ok) and in this neck of the woods, if there's a recession no one seems to have told shoppers: most people are feeling very well off.

People vote with their pockets, not with their hearts. If only Brown had a competent communications director, millionaire Cameron, leader of the duck housing, servant attended moat protected tories might be toast. Lucky for you, he doesn't.

I can understand why you're playing the 'Under New Management' card, though, even though the 'management' doesn't appear to be changing at all.

Andrew Cooper said...

I guess my point is, your brand is looking fatally tarnished. Worst of all, it's becoming a joke. Moats, ducks and servants. It's a simple, and very funny, message for your opponents to exploit.

All the double dipping and flipping stuff is irrelevant - too complicated - moats, ducks and servants is much simpler and much more corrosive.

As someone who long ago gave up on the idea of 'party politics' (a brainless idea at the best of times) this is at the same time all very funny and pretty terrifying. I really don't want to see a Rantzen/Lumley/BNP/UKIP dominated Westminster.

Radical reform is needed, right now. Clegg is right to call for a ban on holidays. Let's see who squeals the loudest at that idea. Tuscany and the south of France beckon and sod the electorate.

Harri said...

Ian i liked this bit, "when the mad, the bad and the sad have been weeded out" ?

Precisely, i just hope they are as efficient at doing the same chore with all the current mob, by what we have witnessed so far it does not look too good, most of the mad, bad and the sad are staying put.

James said...

I actually thought you were very articulate on the radio last night. You got your point across about the Respect petitioner.Still, it's a good thing that you are so self critical as it demonstrates your passion for the work.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Good luck this time Iain. I can think of some interesting Northern marginals that would suit you.Or would you prefere the South !!

strapworld said...

Iain, you say "the party will have to hold a series of one day assessment boards, where candidates have to undergo various forms of psychological torture tests before they are admitted onto the approved list".

If Cameron is sincere in wanting power back with the people. Here is one way he can start, today!

Why not involve the local associations? Let them interview each applicant locally. They may know of them -good or bad-!

They can give local opinions on them- remembering that they would have to ensure that everything they say can be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act!

But why should the discredited listing system be allowed to continue? It stinks of central control and a particular mould the party wishes to promote!

That the discredited Maude will be involved in such procedure is another reason why this system should be dropped!

Cameron talks tough, but until he does something positive about those people in the shadow cabinet who have had their fill of taxpayers money, he will be seen as weak!

kerdstin said...

"It's great that there has been such a huge response [...]"

Well just look at the perks of the job ! Way beyond we peons' wildest dreams.

No bl**dy wonder people are queueing up.

They know nothing's going to change in the long run. Ways will be found.

It's the nature of the beast.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

The bad are easy enough to identify: do they behave like a sitting MP?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@Iain, which part of "disillusioned's" post do you disagree with? :o)

ppe said...

Cameron's very clever. He's like Gorbachev after that plane landed in Red Square - purge the old guard and replace them with new people who are amenable to reform and owe their positions to him. If he can get rid of enough nasties - Winterton et al - a Tory perestroika will be pretty radical. I like it.

Anonymous said...

do we believe it? NOPE!

Anonymous said...

Dave still backing Mrs Mackay.How do you spell kamakaze??????

wolfie said...

Iain,
I appreciate it's a lot of work for CCHQ but how brilliant is that.
1000 new party members ! No other party is signing up people at that rate.

If the Conservative Party had me in charge of new member recruitment they'd be signing that many up on a monthly basis !

justoneglass said...

o/t but why is the "fees office" referred to by that name? It sort of suggests an entitlement. Better would be the "Expenses Office". Better still would be the "Troughing office", abbreviated to "Troffice".

Cjamesk said...

I think it's a good idea to get rid of the dead wood and "old conservatism" as long as the vetting is thorough I fully support the idea.

I can't see Labour following suit, power at all costs and party over country, what makes me angry is the way in which those Labour ministers have just stuck their hands in the sand, and donned the Teflon suits and the main stream media *BBC* surprise surprise seem to jump on every Tory minister and allow the "Hoons" et al to get away scot free.

The Telegraph bottled it as the MSM

BrianSJ said...

Not being part of the Tory machine, I am ignorant on such matters, but why is this an issue for CCHQ rather than local branches?
Proper local primaries would be a better way of sorting out the candidates, without needing extra staff at CCHQ?

Botogol said...

suggests that MPs are not underpaid, then. Even with the prospect of MPs 'earnings' (snort) falling, still 1000s of candidates.

Newmania said...

I am a member of the Conservative Party and over the years have done a fair bit here and there. I must say I have no idea how you wouod apply to be a candidate

I was thinking of doing it

Chris Paul said...

Loads of problems here for Dave iof you ask me.

Remember Tony Lit? He didn't even join your party until after he was selected did he?

Anonymous said...

125k per year (inc pension) plus "reasonable" expenses for an unskilled job..mmm

I'll just get my Masonic pinny and be in like a shot!

Simon Gardner said...

BrianSJ - all parties these days operate a system of screening centrally candidates to be candidates - from which pool, it’s then up to local parties.

I make no judgement as to whether this is a good or a bad thing.

Local primaries may well be a good idea - as is STV which allows voters to choose between different candidates from their preferred party - without having to vote against.

Newmania said...

Well my name is on the list ( thrills/ snowball`s chance in Hades etc.).

Its pretty funny when you think about it , Papers publish the disgraceful news that the pay is more like £200,000 than £60,000 and 1000s of people apply.

You can`t buck the market

Anonymous said...

"When the mad, bad and the sad have been weeded out" - and why were these criteria never applied before?

Dimoto said...

If the Tories end up with Cameron's answer to the "Blair babes", we'll all be the losers. There needs to be a mix of broadly Con people, not identikit Cameroonians.
Local party machines will all have their favoured candidates (who probably look remarkably like the outgoing lot), so only central office (maybe), can freshen things up - but they will still have to convince constituency parties.
And of course, this is a central flaw to Cameron's 'power to the people'. The days of robust, independent-minded and capable local worthies, are long over, the culture (and demographics) have changed. Devolution would be a siren call to every provincial or suburban opportunist on the make. We have hundreds of thousands of these in modern Britain. Anyone listen to HBOS' antics at Reading on 'File on Four' ?

I really hope someone is carefully tracking this extraordinary expenses episode, to write it up later. I am convinced there will be a hidden history. Things like this don't just happen by happenstance in the New Labour state. McBride may (or may not) have gone, but Mandelson/Campbell/Balls/Brown the same team of sleazy manipulators who gave you the original "Tory sleaze" brand are all still in station, and have been uncannily quiet recently.

Grytpype-thynne said...

Dear Iain
Have I been blacklisted because I dared to be critical of Nadine Dorries yesterday?

Vijay said...

@ Simon Gardner STV is a brilliant idea*, but David Cameron has already come out against PR of any sort in the Guardian the other day: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/25/david-cameron-a-new-politics1

Indeed until I read that article I was seriously considering applying to the Tory list myself.

Mark Senior said...

Are these extras staff to be recruited at CCHQ the same ones who were made redundant not so long ago because of the dire state of Conservative Party finances ?

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

@Obnoxio: thanks, I thought it was fair comment also.....

talwin said...

One wonders; can the mad, bad and sad (Not you, of course, Iain) be madder, badder (?) and sadder than many of those presently in parliament? Several members of the cabinet most immediately spring to mind.

Simon Gardner said...

AFAIK Vince Cable was rejected the first time by the Lib Dem screening process because ‘he couldn’t write a press release’.

Mr TV studio.

You couldn’t make it up.

Dimoto said...

Simon Gardner - until Cable showed "his feminine side" on Come Dancing, and made some opportunist statements on the economy (nationalise the banks), he was a nonentity. He is 66/7 years old, apart from his two years in Shell, (which he manages to mention in every interview), do you have any idea what his other CV achievements are ?

Victor, NW Kent said...

i don't think I'll bother. I have been rejected when applying for the posts of England Team Manager at football, rugby union and cricket. I was totally crestfallen to learn that they preferred Sven Goran Eriksson to me. I could never face the humiliation of not being good enough to replace Sir Jeremy Buttercup. I would have to commit rasta fari.

Anonymous said...

Will those who are currebtly on the candidates list be subjected to extra scrutiny now. There are some very weak candidates I know of

Anonymous said...

Sir,

Presumably these would be "Chiltern Hundreds" of wannabe MPs - resignations in advance please.

Yours etc,

Defamatory Vilenes.

Anonymous said...

I have applied and it was not for money. Indeed I had to agree with my wife how we would tighten our belts if sucessful.

For me this is a unique opportunity to help fix the very serious economic problems this country faces without first spending ten years as a politico foot soldier. It is this usual entry path that deters many high quality candidates from the professions.

Is the offer sincere and genuine? I believe so and will tell you my experiences.

Hannibal said...

A list of those applying has been leaked:

http://donalblaney.blogspot.com/2009/05/exclusive-leaked-list-of-celeb.html

Stepney said...

Hannibal? From HoF?

The Grim Reaper said...

Eyebrows were raised when it emerged that 995 of these 1000 applications were sent in a Mr I. Dale. ;-)