Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Changing the Election Process

Occasionally we hear of far off lands of dubious democratic credibility where the constitution is changed to allow a president to stand again. Sometimes changes are made to the election process to disqualify candidates that are too popular with the electorate. Iran to pick one example has a totally "free and fair" election process, where all candidates likely to cause the Islamic Republic any problems are disqualified from running.

So it is with interest that we watch the Conservative Party work toward a change in the process that picks the party leader.

It is true that the process picked IDS, whom even his supporter’s would agree was a failure. But what the parliamentary party refuses to accept is that by offering Clarke as the only alternative, the party rank and file had no choice.

A party leader it is true, has to be able to work with his parliamentary colleagues. But seeing as they all owe their positions to the hard slog of the activists, it seems churlish on their behalf to want to deny them any say in choosing the leader for whom they will sweat blood at the next election.

Besides, the underlying cause of the change is not so much strategic, its more personal. So who is this Great White Hope, the Hero of Democracy, which the old guard in the Tory party want to exclude?
All this activity appears designed to impede David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary and the bookmakers’ favourite to win this election.
Isn’t that almost a good enough reason to back him?

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