Wednesday 14 April 2010

The party man is in to Nottngham East...

So Chris Leslie has been selected as the Labour candidate for Nottingham East – an event about as surprising as a boiled potato.

The news came out this afternoon, but as ever I promise to bring something new to the table.

As Jim P at the FT correctly suggests this selection will be seen as an incident of parachuting.

There was of course an attempt to pay lip service to the local party by including three local candidates on a shortlist of nine.

Each of the nine were then given interviews by the “special selection panel”.

BUT, Lobbydog hears that the candidates were given five minutes each to make a mini-presentation and were then questioned for ten – 15 minutes each in total.

Given that the incumbent John Heppell has been in the seat for 18 years, as may his predecessor be, it seems an awfully short amount of time.

“But it’s so close to the election, we needed to do things quickly,” cry the Labour powers that be.

If that was the case then why didn’t they let the local party organise a hustings and selection on Monday, as they suggested doing, to finish the job two days earlier.

The reason is, of course, that the upper echelons of Labour wanted their man and got him.

It does not sound like there is an appetite for the local party to put up an independent in protest though, as has happened in Stoke Central.

That may be because the leading local candidate, Nottingham City Council Leader Jon Collins, is not everyone’s favourite bunny.

Collins apparently wanted the seat badly and had gone the extra mile in terms of lobbying for it.

But word has it that the unions effectively vetoed him from getting the seat during a meeting in Downing Street, because they had a vendetta to settle over a spat in Nottingham.

Never mind Jon – only another 18 years to wait. I’m sure the unions will have got over it by then.


Andy said...

Not sure it's just down to the unions. Collins has got shedloads of baggage just waiting to come out.

You can't help wondering if the control freakery was designed just to keep him out.

David Belbin said...

The excuse for no local selection was that there were fears about corruption in a swiftly taken poll, but Gordon Brown took an hour out of the campaign to attend the NEC last week and ensure that there was no local ballot, a vote that was only won 8-7. Why? Because Chris Leslie was his leadership campaign manager.
Labour should remember what happened last time they imposed a candidate in Nottingham East ('87, Aslam). They lost a safe seat. And they've lost my vote this time. Had one of the Sherwood councillors, who do a good job, been selected, I'd've found it hard not to vote for them, but this frees me to vote my conscience and not give a damn if Labour lose the seat as a result.

opsimath said...


Chris Paul said...

The idea that a selection decision or process gives anyone the right not to give a damn whether the Tories win here or nationally beggars belief. Don't suppose "David" is a Lib Dem?

David Belbin said...

No, Chris, I'm a former Labour party member and candidate who left because the party had become too right wing. And I certainly don't want to see the Tories win nationally, but won't be too upset if they win Nottingham East. I'd like to see the Lib Dems hold the balance of power, make a coalition govt more left wing and maybe trigger real electoral reform, but am most likely to vote Green if they put up a candidate in East - which is what I meant by voting my conscience, which any democratic system ought to encourage.

Anonymous said...

David, there is a Green Candidate in Nottingham East, as well as an Independent. Details here ~ http://notagainin2010.blogspot.com/2010/04/latest-candidates-list-for-nottingham.html

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