Monday, October 12, 2009

Do You Live in Bracknell?


This Saturday, 17 October, the local electorate in Bracknell has a chance to choose their Conservative candidate for the next election. I am one of seven candidates who have been shorlisted and will be interviewed. The others are Ryan Robson, Katy Lindsay, Margaret Doyle, Rory Stewart, Philip Lee and Julia Manning.

I reckon there are several hundred of my blogreaders who live in Bracknell and the surrounding area (which includes Sandhurst, Finchampstead and Crowthorne).

If you are one of them, I hope you won't mind me urging you to register to attend the Open Primary on Saturday 17th at the Blue Mountain Golf Centre. Or, also, if you have friends or relatives there, please encourage them to attend.

To do so, you should ring 01344 868894 or email primary AT bracknellconservatives DOT com. The deadline for registering is 5pm TODAY. You must be on the electoral register. You do not have to be Conservative Party members to attend, or even Conservative voters.

I have a campaign website HERE.

UPDATE: When I posted this originally a few days ago one or two commenters thought it was unfair of me to do so, on the basis that the other candidates haven't got blogs. That fails to understand the point of open primaries. The whole point of the system, whether you agree with it or not, is to use every means available to mobilise support in the constituency. That's normally unheard of in Conservative selection contests, but we're all operating under the same rules. From my experience in Bracknell town centre talking to people in Saturday I know how much this is capturing people's imagination locally. I'm sure my six colleagues have found the same. I want as many people to come to the Open Primary as possible, regardless of whether they vote for me. It's going to be a great display of local democracy in action.


ken from glos said...

amtoo far away but best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Love to but apart from Kinder,Kuche & Kirche what do you and the 'modern' conservatives standing for.

The only sensible proposal so far has been 'The Plan' which has been rejected by Cameron

Scary Mary said...

Why have you deleted your integrity pledge? Does it no longer apply?

Iain Dale said...

What on earth are you talking about? It's on my website here

CommonSense said...

I live on the outskirts of Bracknell (Temple Park, ironically right next to the Blue Mountain Golf Course) but the boundary commission has put us in with Windsor. Great for reputation but doesn't make much sense logically - far closer to both Wokingham and Bracknell than Windsor. Not sure I can attend because of that.

However, good luck with your camapaign!

pallo said...

With your profile, contacts, name-recognition and blog benefits, if you don't win the nomination here, Iain, it will be an astonishing failure. Good luck, I hope you get selected, but when you do I hope you knuckle down a bit and stop being such a rent-a-gob like Dorries.

Scary Mary said...

It used to be available here: and a version of it is available here:

My point being that you have deleted your original integrity pledge and now no longer see if as important to pledge "9.)I will be a full time MP with no jos outside politics"

why is this?

Ivor Biggun said...

Iain D.: "Do You Live in Bracknell (And Would You Like to Support Me)?"

Do you live in Bracknell and would you like to help me, Me, ME swing the result of the selection courtesy of a platform unavailable to the other candidates?

I'm all for open primaries, but the ones where a few hundred people turning up to a meeting is enough to swing the result have to be a bad thing, subject to manipulation by specific interest groups, be they blog readers, religious, ethnic, gay, whatever.

Open primaries should be organised along the lines of the American system - i.e. with the publicity and organisation of proper elections (which is what they are, really, in places that vote solidly for one party or another).

Incumbents should also have to be reselected by open primaries - that way the sheep who populate the HoC might actually seek to represent their constituents rather than just their self-interested greasy pole-climbing party interests.

Meanwhile, I recommend ID's readers in Bracknell take a look at all of the candidates, including Rory Stewart, who look like he has a lot of talents to bring to Parliament.

Patrick said...

shame. I registered to vote in next door wokingham..... FYI The local free paper is moaning the lack of local candidates. Just one candidate has the slightest of slight links to Bracknell ....!

Iain Dale said...

Scary, at my selection I said I would not totally give up my involvement in Total Politics and Biteback Pub. 12 people rely on me for their jobs. I see no reason why I should give up on them or a company I have set up. I explained that my role would become that of chairman rather than chief exec and I would only spend a couple of hours a week - but there has to be a transition.

In 2005 I had already sold Politico's Publishing and the online bookstore was about to be sold, so the situation was different.

Times and circumstances change.

I have been totally open about all this.

Anonymous said...

You have not been open about why you are standing for Parliament, and this is the third time of asking.


Iain Dale said...

What on earth are you on about? I've talked about it here and on my Bracknell site. Do you have a madcap conspiracy theory you'd like to share with us then?

Anonymous said...

Have you been shorlisted (sic) because three of the other candidates are beaches.

I'll get me coat!

mark said...

I do not agree with a candidate with no local connections being parachuted into a consituency and then asking their freinds and acquaintances to pack a public meeting in an attempt to influence the result. Call me old-fashioned, but it reminds me of the Broad Left in my days at University. Shame on you Iain!

Anonymous said...

This appeal for supporters just shows how anti-democratic this 'open primaries' nonsense is.

Anonymous said...

Then your reasons for running have escaped me.

Frankly I'm disappointed.

Your value to the world lies in your independent blogging.

I can't see that independence surviving as an MP with the Tory whip, when you will have to act loyally whatever your views.


Martin S said...

I don't, but if I did, I almost certainly would offer you my support.

griff said...

Iain Dale says: "Do You Live in Bracknell (And Would You Like to Support Me)?"

Because of your very well known blog, you have an unfair advantage in advertising for people to come and support you.

Isn't this like buying votes?

I'm not happy about this at all.

You should have left out "And would you like to support me?"

John Rafferty said...

Stick to blogging Iain as you're a natural diarist. Unfortunately, you're also a shameless self-publicist with far TOO much to say.
You have been blatantly disingenuous about Rory Stewart who has the makings of a real parliamentarian.

Iain Dale said...

John, I have only said positive things about the other candidates in the selection, as you would see from local newspapers or my website. I even said that all seven would make good MPs and I genuinely mean it.

But thanks for that slur. Really appreciate it. Slag me off if you like but don't attribute things to me which are just not true.

Still, at least you put a name to the comment.

John Rafferty said...

Iain.. I'll leave the 'slurring' and 'slagging' to your good self. My comments were fair criticism.. in the Telegraph you reduced Rory Stewart's outstanding achievements as a writer, diplomat and academic to that of a rambler.

Should I add the link?

Iain Dale said...

John, you astonish me. He was included in the list, which the other 5 candidates were not. I will leave others to judge whether what we wrote (and actually, I didn't write his entry) was the insult you deem it to be...

"Stewart was fast-tracked into the Foreign Office after leaving university, quickly being posted to such diverse locations as Indonesia and Montenegro. He left the FCO to embark on a walking trip, spending the best part of 20 months alone as he crossed Iran and Afghanistan amongst other countries, with the journey becoming the basis for a critically acclaimed book. He even ended up as deputy-governor of a province in Iraq, and is now a Professor at Harvard. He is shortlisted to be Conservative Candidate for Bracknell"

I think you are way out of line in your interpretation. He is someone I have the highest regard for, as evidenced by his inclusion on the list in the first place.

Gazza's UsefulTips and Blog said...

People are quite astonishing with their sniding comments. Just one example, from a different perspective. Mr Dale has a blog. It is not an elitist blog ANYONE can make a blog. The others can write their own blogs if they think that will help them. Unlike a myriad of other, Mr dale has named the other candidates, I doubt that hardly anyone else would be so open. From what I have read it is not all me, me me -- but it is his blog and he can surely ask for support. By the way, people are NOT forced to tread the blog AND people can surely make their own minds up. I think these critics should get a grip. It is NOT unfair; this is the 21st Century. Hold on to all the democratic advantages that you have in the UK. We here in Hong Kong don't have quite the same freedoms...

Fitalass said...

Iain, best of luck in this seat. I think that you would make a great MP.

Sadly, being so media savvy and having a blog which is so popular in the political sphere, you are going to attract some pretty sour grapes.
Ignore them, and get on with your campaign to be a PPC in this seat. You broke the mould by being one of the first to start seriously blogging back in 2005. Thanks to you, I discovered the rest of the political blogsphere.

Big fan of, and it sounds like you were great the night of the Bedford primary. Still hope that one of the media outlets will give you your own politics slot as well.

If you could get up to Scotland to more often to see what its like to provide the basic public services out with the Centre belt, I know that we could win you over as well.

All the best.

Bunny Smedley said...

One of the many defects of this so-called primary system - aside from the fact that it seems purpose-built to undermine the relationship between a candidate and his or her local association - is the generosity with which it encourages public squabbling over the selection process. True, these squabbles have, traditionally, existed - but not in such a public arena, and possibly not with such lasting consequences.

Bracknell is lucky to have several very strong candidates on the short-list. Anyone who thinks that Iain has done something shockingly wrong by campaigning for selection really ought to blame this on the primary process itself - its novelty, its X-Factor superficiality, its susceptibility to smears, dirty tricks and so forth - rather than on any single candidate.

And as for Iain, it's sad that he has to put up with some of these comments. As someone who's been around the party for a very long time, he'll understand the damage this sort of spectacle does to the party's standing in general - making us look like a bunch of back-stabbing, name-calling freaks - but also, once it's time for the election, the harm it may well do to the actual Conservative candidate, who will have to deal with this legacy of rancour, innuendo and bad feeling.

Participatory democracy isn't the solution to absolutely everything, as Tories, of all peolple, really ought to have known already. Please, after the current set of selections, let's scrap this idiotic system and get back to focusing on the quality of the result of the selection process, not on the process itself.

Anonymous said...

also, many of the others do have blogs:

Johnny Norfolk said...

Very best of luck Iain, you deserve to win. You have never given up and nor should you ever.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Some of these questions are enougth to put anyone off standing. what stupid points some people make. I would ignore many of them they are just trouble makers trying to give you grief for no reason other than mischief.

Quietzapple said...

Run away! Run away!

david kendrick said...

There are too many professional already. You should not offer to sever your commercial links. Why should anybody commit to not having a job outside the HoC? Political correctness gone mad. At least you wouldn't be dependent on fiddling your expenses to increase your income.

Do 'open primaries' increase the probability of raising the standard of MPs? Probably not, though they may reduce the number of professional politicains.

Cath said...

@ Johnny Norfolk. Agree completely, reading this thread has reminded me why I'm no longer involved in politics. I know the purpose of open primaries is to reduce the fiefdoms but it seems to still be a bitch-fest sadly.

Cath said...

Iain, I'm over the Surrey border in Michael Gove's seat so can't vote for you, but best of luck with this. Bracknell needs a high profile MP who understands something of the real world. It's a very mixed area with all the associated problems.

The whole area also needs someone to sort out the dire public transport - I know not a direct passion for you BUT the roads suffer terribly as a result. If you take a train from Waterloo out to Martins Heron / Bracknell you'll know what I mean, it takes for ever!

True Belle said...

Iain ,

Doesn't the idea of being an Independent sound attractive?

Believe me , if and when you are in situ , some of the braying nasties with their very peculiar far right views will probably shock you to the core.

Your superb voice will be squashed by hairy testosterone loaded greasy haired Tory oiks. Some of the woman will defy the trade descriptions act by virtue of their baritone booms/sqeaky squawks.

Yes , I have a very fertile imagination, but then you are not Alan Duncan are you?

Praguetory said...

Never mind the sniping, Iain. There's no way you can please everyone. As for those who object to Iain using his personal blog to promote his personal cause. Get a clue and get a life.

True Belle said...

I am not so sure that being in Government is a glittering prize any longer/ it serves no purpose for the soul other than a buzz.The same fix that celebrity has.Is there such a thing as decision making machinery?

All we see on Parliament channel are empty seats / re debating v important issues. NO MPs care any more do they?

People like you are more valuable on the outside, commentating on how it really is. Your visit to Europe and your account of your days there was brilliant.

Sorry to be grumpy and negative-

Best of luck anyway.

Gary Elsby stoke said...

Iain, I'd like to offer my name to the primary list to be a good honest Tory representing hones Tory folk.

Unfortunately, I fall at the first Michal Kaminski fence and I believe him to be as close to Nick Griffin, as Nick Griffin is to Oswald Moseley, as he was to Adolph Hitler.

Yours in anticipation though,

Quietzapple said...

Time to recall the wonderful and apposite cartoon by Scarfe circa 1985 . . .

"Twas brillig and the slithey candidates
"Did gyre and gimble in the polls . . .

"All mimsey was the Kinnock
"And the Thatcher wrath outgrabe . . ."

You must hope Kipling is not invoked . . .
Bon chance.

Weygand said...

Notwithstanding my regard for Iain, I cannot see how anyone could argue that the contest will be equitable when one candidate is a nationally recognised figure and author of one of the most widely read blogs in the country through which he can round up his fans and so pack the vote, while the other candidates have no such opportunities.

This situation can hardly fail to produce an unrepresentative and partisan electorate.

The idea of reaching out to the public was to get a better balance to the selection process and to engage those who are not part of the political machine. It will not work when one candidate is a popular national treasure who can so easily rally his supporters.

I'm all for Iain being a candidate and all for there being some open primaries, but the present situation shows that they are not always appropriate and should be carefully manged.

I am sure Iain will disagree but how would he feel if he suddenly found Cheryl Cole on the list and heard her announcing on whatever programme she is on that her fans should enroll (sorry about the choice of example but she is the only person I could immediately think of who might be considered even more popular and with a wider following than him).

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whom the Tories select, I predict the next MP for Bracknell will be an independent

Patrick McGroin said...

stewart is also wanting to be candidate for penrith and the borders

Westminster Worker said...


All the best with the selection later this week. It sounds like you have been hard at work on the campaign aswell as mangaging to get to the party conferences (all 3!) and continue your work at Total Politics.

I fully accept you have been positive and optimistic about your opponents in Bracknell, but do slightly agree with another commenter who points out Rory Stewart is also standing in Penrith and the Border. You should probably find a subtle way of pointing that out, and saying you only ever apply for one seat at a time, depsite many other safe seats now falling vacant as we speak.

Surely there is a huge difference between Bracknell and Penrith, so it is interesting that one can be genuinely in the running for both at the same time despite the differing issues in each seat.

All good wishes and I hope you get through. I say that as a Lib Dem voter, but if I lived in Bracknell I would almost definitely turn up and vote for you.

davefromluton said...

I am not convinced about the argument that all candidates will get their friends , relatives etc to come along and vote for them.
I think you should look at the Bedford mayoral election where the Tory candidate seems to have won (if I interpret the various reports correctly)largely on the strength of the support of those relatives.
While he seems very popular with those relatives he may not be as popular with the wider electorate. Indeed according to Political Betting he is no longer favourite.
Somewhere in the process there does need to be a mechanism that enables a subjective decison to be made on the candidate that will have the greatest overall support - not juist the support of his family and friends

happiness said...

Bunny Smedley: The comments on here are extremely mild compared to what he will receive if chosen.