Open Selection

So the results are in for the Tory’s open selection experiment in Totnes – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8183907.stm

Personally I think this is a brilliant idea.

The BBC’s objections appear to be:

  • Some believe that the open primary process favours rich, bland candidates.
  • Only if there’s a major financial outlay to get onto the ballot. As long as all candidates are given the same oppurtunity to put forward their case then money shouldn’t be an issue. Yes there is the case that a local celebrity may have more clout through their name than the man on the street, but that’s a problem with the current system as well.

  • But, and it is quite a big but, this is an expensive experiment.
    It cost about £40,000 in postage and printing. That works out at £2.40 per vote.
  • £2.40 per vote every 4 years? That’s not really that much of a cost is it? And that cost is for a one off experiment organised on a small scale. I’d assume there’s some form savings to be made if this was run on a larger scale.

    The BBC does point out that the Internet could be used to reduce these costs as well. Quite possible a very good idea, at least for delivering each candidates information. But it would require a lot of effort to ensure all the reliability of the current paper based system for the actual voting to be done online.

  • And of course the process is open to abuse. Several Liberal Democrats have said they had been organising to back the candidate they believed was the weakest and thus easiest to beat in the general election.
  • If this was applied to all parties then this would cancel itself out.

  • political parties suffer too – what is the point of joining a party if you cannot choose your candidates?
  • This isn’t a a bad side effect, this is a great side effect. Allow everyone to get involved in politics, remove the culture of voting for whoever the party puts whoever they are. And if we’re lucky it’ll drop the party culture Parliament as well, let’s see MPs voting for their constituents rather than as the whips tell them.

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