A few thoughts on open primaries

August 5, 2009 3:05 pm

Author:

Share this Article

By Don Paskini

It’s very impressive that over 16,000 people in Totnes voted to choose the Tory candidate for the next election in an “open primary”. Normally, about 100-300 people are involved in these kinds of selections. Couple of thoughts:

* Open primaries give a huge advantage to people who have “proper jobs”. For example, in this case the candidate who was a doctor beat two people who were involved in local government. I think this is broadly a good thing, but it is worth having another look at how much campaigning candidates are allowed to do. If local people are basically making their minds up on the basis of one leaflet per candidate, then parties might end up getting stuck with people who would, in fact, be pretty hopeless candidates and/or MPs.

* Apparently the cost of the whole thing was £40,000. That’s OK for a one-off, but not a good use of resources for parties to adopt as the main way of selecting their candidates (for that amount of money, you could get a full time campaign organiser, office, phone line, risograph etc.) It becomes more feasible if the cost per constituency can be got down to about £3-5,000.

* One way to do this could be for local parties to agree to hold their primaries on the same day and send out the information together and let people choose which primaries to vote in. It would require a culture shift for local parties to work together in this way – but isn’t changing the culture and doing things differently what this is all meant to be about?

This post was first published on Don Paskini’s blog.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • News Blair says the West must be prepared to work with Putin and the Egyptian military

    Blair says the West must be prepared to work with Putin and the Egyptian military

    Tony Blair may not have been Prime Minister for nearly seven years now, but his views – particularly on foreign policy – are always newsworthy. This morning he gave a wide-ranging and controversial speech at Bloomberg’s London HQ on the Middle East, urging the West not to pull back from the Middle East as an unsolvable problem, but to engage. Although despite the billing, this was as much a speech about faith as it was about geo-politics. At the roots of Blair’s […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour set up rapid rebuttal unit for election campaign

    Labour set up rapid rebuttal unit for election campaign

    Labour plan to step up their media monitoring process in the run up to the 2015 general election, according to The Independent. A team will be in charge of rebutting negative media to avoid a re-run of the 1992 election, where an onslaught of attacks from the press played their part in a unexpected Conservative victory. Michael Dugher, the MP in charge of Labour’s communications, is this week in the US discussing strategy with new appointment David Axelrod and other political […]

    Read more →
  • Featured UKIP, England and St George

    UKIP, England and St George

    Labour tends to view UKIP like Nelson viewed the signal at the Battle of Copenhagen. He held the telescope to his blind eye and said, ‘I really do not see the signal’.  Our image of  UKIP is a protest vehicle for disaffected, older, right wing Tories in the South. But UKIP represents more significant trends than this caricature suggests. UKIP is a symptom of the deep social and economic changes that have taken place over the last thirty years. Its […]

    Read more →
  • News Why are the Lib Dems so shy?

    Why are the Lib Dems so shy?

    Regular readers will know that we’re always keeping an eye on Lib Dems leaflets. Their local propaganda sheets are always good for a questionable bar chart, or forgetting the name of the generic place their text is for – but they can also be quite shy about their party affiliation too. For example, take the “Islington Chronicle”. Sounds like a local paper, and there’s no Lib Dem logo and barely a splash of their trademark yellow. But it is, in […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Seats and Selections Have the Tories given up on Scotland?

    Have the Tories given up on Scotland?

    This morning we noted that the Tories haven’t selected candidates in nearly half of the most marginal Labour and Lib Dem seats. But what’s particularly telling is that in over 60% of target seats in the Midlands and the North they have so far failed to select a candidate, while the Independent claims that in Scotland there are no Tory parliamentary candidates at all. However, Mark Wallace over at ConHome notes that the Tories have in fact selected a total of two […]

    Read more →