Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rumblings in the ranks

According to the Top of the Cops blog, there is grumbling aplenty after ex-Birmingham councillor Matt Bennett (ejected by the voters this May) beat former police officer and current Solihull councillor Joe Tildesley to the Tory nomination for the person most likely to lose to the Labour candidate in this autumn's West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I have certainly heard through the grapevine that Joe does feel very unhappy at the outcome. 

Before the election, Matt Bennett crowed about Labour's selection of Bob Jones

The Labour Leader... calls for a high turnout when less than 2500 of his own members bothered to vote in the selection. Hardly a rallying cry!.... Labour's method of selection is in contrast to that of the Conservative Party, which will be holding open primaries around the West Midlands which any member of the public can attend. It is quite clear which party is committed to democracy in local policing, and it is not the Labour Party.
Which is surely a ringing endorsement of his party's chosen selection process - through four meetings in July in Erdington, Walsall, Solihull and Halesowen (not daring to head into Coventry, for some reason). Any registered elector in the force region was supposed to be able to attend these open primaries, review the candidates and then cast their vote for whichever they thought best fit to carry the Tory Torch into defeat. 

Top of the Cops reports that there were problems with:
  • some people being excluded from the public meetings
  • candidates seeking to fill the meetings with supporters
  • a lack of organisation at the meetings
  • a lack of clarity on whether attendees needed to be registered beforehand
  • a lack of clarity as to whether rules on who could attend and vote were applied consistently
  • the full results not put being put in the public domain straight away (maybe not at all), and consequently there has been a fair element of suspicion and speculation because of this vacuum created by the party.
Despite this Tory commitment to democracy, the actual results have not been released, as they are apparently now an 'internal party matter' - although the process was originally a public one (unlike Labour). The reason may be more to do with embarrassment, as rumour has it that Matt Bennett won by 10 votes with the total votes cast being of the order of 450. I do hope that we won't hear any 'rallying cries' for a high turnout from Mr Bennett, given that his party membership and the public have already shown their opinion of his electoral chances, with a turnout 80% lower than Labour's selection process. 

Thanks to the HT from the Chamberlain Files

No comments: