Monday, 12 October 2009

We need the best candidates, not the best-connected - comment on open primaries

There is a Progress event on the merits of open primaries tonight. I have blogged the following at Labourhome.

Open primaries would go some way to taking selections out of the hands of party apparatchiks, the unions and powerful backers such as No.10 or former ministers and as such, are an idea that should be explored and acted upon.

They would also encourage applicants to seek selection who were keen and able, but for whatever reason had not been willing or able to ingratiate themselves with local or national Labour Party politics. That isn’t to say that people who have worked for the party ought not become MPs, but that all too often such individuals have an unfair advantage due to their ‘contacts.’

Open selections would also minimise the advantages of those candidates with large amounts of money (or with backers willing to give it to them) to fund increasingly professional campaigns. Short, supervised, open primary campaigns might then allow for the focus of attention to be the ideas and abilities of the candidates in actual meetings or events, at which members of the public could attend and participate.

Anything we can do to level the playing field and simultaneously to engage with a wider audience than the 200 or so members of most CLPs must be a good idea. We need the best candidates for the job, not the best-connected.

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