Friday, May 02, 2008

The Candidate Trap.........Crewe and Nantwich

The news that previous PPC for Crewe and Nantwich, Marc Godwin has quit the party after having failed to be shortlisted for the by election raises another thorny issue for the party in terms of candidates.

Clearly, Elizabeth Shenton is an excellent and formidable candidate. And of course it is not unusual for sitting PPC's to be ousted in the event of a byelection, that after all is how Simon Hughes became the candidate in Bermondsey. But, the process should be seen to be transparent and fair shouldn't it? When I was selected for Luton North there was no caveat that in the event of a byelection I may find myself ousted. Maybe Marc Godwin was also unaware and I am sure if any of us had found ourselves in that position we would have been equally miffed.

So, perhaps we need an equivalent of a list system. Anyone who has been through the approval process will know there is no distinction on the quality of candidates. You either pass, pass with a recommendation for further training, fail with the opportunity of doing training and trying again, or fail completely. This results in the kind of problem we now have. I don't buy Marc's complaint that he failed to be shortlisted because the party wanted an attractive woman, (heavens if that were the case why are our candidates still so predominantly white men - some far from attractive (!)?) but if, as in an interview for a job, he knew that he hadn't reached the standard expected for a target or byelection candidate, it would have been a less bitter pill for him to swallow.


Duncan Borrowman said...

I agree. If a sitting PPC is already of the highest approval level they should automatically be the byelection PPC (if they want to be!).

S said...

I always pressumed that if anything happened to the MP in my seat I would just be the candidate!

Need to read the small print!

crewegwyn said...

When Marc was selected as PPC it was clearly said that he was "candidate for the next General Election". If he didn't check that out it's hardly the fault of others!

Take it he won't be coming to help with the byelection then . . .

But the rest of you will be made very welcome !

Tim said...

Ever since the Darlington by election and our numpty candidate who propelled us from 1st in the polls to 3rd, after a series of erratic statements and performances during the campaign in 1983. How different politics would have been if the Alliance had won that one!
We have had automatic reselection of a candidate on there being a by-election in a constituency since that day.

The fact that Mr Godwin has left the party probably shows why he shouldn't have been our by- election candidate. The hurdle is deliberately set higher given the media interest and extra scrutiny on a candidate in any given by-election.

Linda Jack said...

Tim, the issue isn't him being replaced it is that it should be clear why, candidates should be told clearly (I wasn't and I have heard from a couple more who weren't) and also if we had a list system of some sort we would then be able to clearly identify the calibre of the candidate. Shouldn't we be setting the bar high for all candidates? After all, any one of them could get elected and be exposed to the media.

Ian Ridley said...

I would have thought that the experience of having Parmjit Gill wreck both the Lib Dems' Parliamentary and local government position in Leicester South would be enough make people extremely cautious about giving a preference to the "incumbent" PPC.

Leicester South had much better history of Lib Dem activity and local council success than Brent East. Yet the Lib Dems held Brent in 2005 and not Leicester South. I can only guess that the reason was because Gill could not unite the local party or do the work to dig in and hold the seat.

Gill contested the seat in 2001, the 2004 by-election and 2005. He has been reselected as the PPC for next time.