Nik Butler: Will new candidate be prepared to sign Free Speech Charter?

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

The result of the selection process for the new Conservative candidate for Parliament could hardly have come as a surprise.

Does the idea that he is not a local resident bother me? Not in the least because Horsham can benefit, and occasionally be damaged by, fresh views.

Am I concerned that only months before the same candidate was a rejected finalist among a long list reviewed by the Fareham conservatives? Why should I be; when Horsham has a fantastic track record in accepting other towns’ second choices; clearly things worked out well for the Shelley Fountain.

What I am disappointed with is the overlooked opportunities presented by the other candidates. Both of whom had demonstrable experience in health care and the NHS with a professional background not mandated by the needs for economy but compassion and learning.

Additionally, and refreshingly so, they were not another collection of white men in suits. That none of the finalists were taken from the local pool of opportunities leaves me wondering just how shallow the Conservatives’ pool must be. Is this a feature of national party involvement in local level conversations? The national party influences, meetings, communications, and quite possibly whips, all ensuring that pressure can be brought to bear in a top down fashion; utterly at odds with people’s expectations of freedom and democracy.

Speaking of which, will Mr Quinn be prepared to embrace the Free Speech Charter and to take it to his own party? To that end why are we not seeing more candidates in other constituencies signing up to the charter? Is democracy limited only to local issues?

At this point a few will highlight that the ability to choose and select the candidates within a party is freely available to any member. Frankly I find this well-worn diatribe of ‘openness’ to be disingenuous. If such things were possible then would it not be a simple matter to ‘flash mob’ a political party and overload their membership with groups who will be voting according to the dictated direction of the organiser? I think not.

Were the meetings, votes, considerations, held in public open to scrutiny and validation; again I think not.

Personally I feel the Horsham Conservatives missed a grand opportunity to take a new lead against the continued apparent bias of rural interests which are reflected in the variety of white men in suits we see presented today.