Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Conservative Party Now Hiring

Situations Vacant
“If you believe in public service, if you want to help us clean up politics, if you share our values come and be a Conservative candidate.”

Conservative Party leader David Cameron, speaking on the BBC Sunday morning talk show, The Andrew Marr Show, called for American style primary elections as a reform measure in reaction to the public outcry over the abuse of expense allowances by MPs that rocked public support for elected representatives.

Mr. Cameron told Marr "We have had open primaries for many of our candidates for the forthcoming elections and they have been really successful. Opening up the hall and saying to anyone in the constituency – whichever party they belong to – come along and vote for the next Conservative candidate has worked fantastically well.” He said that he wanted to “open up the talent that is available to Parliament”.

“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away”

While this part of the interview was widely covered, another of Mr. Cameron's proposals got little attention. One other reforms advocated by Mr. Cameron was to reduce the number of MPs by 10%. This he said was in the party manifesto and if the Conservatives were elected, it would happen. This will be a case of turkeys voting for Christmas. It will be no small measure of David Cameron's leadership if he is able to achieve this reform.

At present Northern Ireland has 18 Members of the British Parliament. There has been no suggestion to date that Northern Ireland would be exempt from any such legislation. Any changes in representation would be determined by a boundary commission that would draw up new electoral boundaries.

They say that 24 hours is a long time in politics. In the current political climate who knows what a general election will bring. If elected by a small majority David Cameron could be left beholden to the 9 Democratic Unionist Party MPs, given that the 5 Sinn Fein members do not take their seats, the 3 SDLP seldom if ever vote with the Tories, and the single Ulster Unionist seat remains probable, with the party preference of the sitting member, Lady Hermon, likely to change.

There are lots of permutations to be considered; will the DUP throw in their lot with the Tories; will the SDLP align with the opposition; will Sinn Fein sacrifice one of their last 'sacred cows' and take their seats; will Sir Reg Empey get a seat in the Cabinet? Lots of grist for the mill in the months to come.

Here is the text of a notice on the Conservative Party website.

If you are interested in becoming a Conservative candidate and believe you would make a good Member of Parliament, please write to Gareth Fox at Conservative Campaign Headquarters (30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP) setting out why you would like to be a candidate, and enclose a copy of your CV. Please set out any work you have done in your local community, and achievements in your work or your personal life which you think would make you an effective MP.

Don't hold your breath.

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