Consider the case of Sajjad Karim – a Conservative MEP who opposes leaving the EU and supports a second referendum. He is reported to be top of the Party’s list in the north-west region. So those who want to back the Tories have no choice, if they are supporters of Brexit, but to vote for him if the Euro-elections take place.
And here’s the thing: Party members have had no say in Karim’s place on the ticket. Indeed, they have had no say in his selection as a Conservative candidate at all. He has simply been imposed on Party members in the north-west by CCHQ, whether they like him or not.
Now let’s think more widely – and rebut any suggestion of pro-Brexit bias on this pro-Brexit site. Exactly the same consideration is set to apply in the South-East region, in relation to our columnist Daniel Hannan, if you are a Tory opponent of Brexit.
In some places, Conservative voters and members face both problems at once. In London, you might want to support pro-Brexit Syed Kamall but oppose anti-Brexit Charles Tannock. Or support anti-Brexit Charles Tannock and pro-Brexit Syed Kamall. You look to have no choice either way. Get one and get both. Even if you don’t want one of them (or either).
Perhaps CCHQ could get heavy, and deselect those who oppose the Party line. But think about the implications, were the principle to be applied to other elections. Would you really want Brandon Lewis – Theresa May, in effect – deciding who your local Conservative Parliamentary candidate is?
In any case, whose Party is it anyway? (As this site likes to ask.) The Conservative Party is essentially an alliance of local Associations that exist to support the Party in Parliament, and to represent the Tory cause in their local area.
It follows that they should select their candidates – be these for the local council, Parliament, or European Parliamentary elections forced on us all, inter alia, by the Prime Minister’s unwillingness to see Britain leave the EU on the date that she promised over a hundred times.
CCHQ will protest that there isn’t the time to arrange hustings for candidates. Maybe so. But there will none the less be a smack of rotten boroughs and Old Sarum about the imposition of Karim, if it happens – and of all the other potential candidates, too.
The peasants must patiently await the appointment of those that the barons have chosen to speak and vote on their behalf. The former should touch their caps, tug their forelocks – and be duly grateful.
This site has not yet offered a view on whether to participate at in the European elections. But having candidates forced on Party members without a say – and with whose views they may disagree – is certainly not an incentive to vote.