Sunday, 14 March 2010

Barnsley East or How we get the wrong sort of politicians


The story of the selection for the safe labour seat of Barnsley East reminds me of sitting on the kitchen floor, head in my hands, distraught and wondering why I bothered. To be shoved aside by the local party you'd done so much for to suit another person's political ambitions is shattering.

Let's be clear this sorry selection could happen in a safe Conservative seat (and given the ease with which Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne sidled into the safest of Lib Dem seats they aren't any different). But that shouldn't change the concerns I have about the manner in which political parties run their selection processes.

It does seem though that Tim Cheetham has fallen foul of well-connected political ambitions*:

"Front runner Michael Dugher, the prime minister's chief political spokesman, is from Edlington but currently lives in Hertfordshire."

Political parties set up "open and transparent" selection processes that are designed to allow favoured sons and daughters a smooth transition from snug political sinecures to safe seats without having to go through the tough old route needed for the rest of us. Not for these chosen heirs the slog of fighting unwinnable council seats, attending endless boring branch meetings, getting onto the council by the slimmest of margins and dealing with a load of housing repair compaints, school appeals and complaints about potholes.

And doubtless Mr Dugher will - once elected - slide effortlessly into a front bench role and will leave the boring crap of being a MP (the potholes, benefits concerns, immigration issues and such) to a future chosen son or daughter in his office.

And people ask what's wrong with our political system! People like Mr Dugher are part of the problem - political masters of the universe rather than folk grounded in the tough old job of providing representation to ordinary people living ordinary lives in pretty tought times.


*I nearly suggested that Tim not getting selected was deserved for him using the term "third sector" in a blog headline. But have relented!


1 comment:

CllrTim said...

I take issue with this!!

I didn't use the term 'third sector', It was a question someone posted to me via

That is all.

*leaves without further comment*