Last week I pointed out that there was to be a selection meeting at Aldridge Brownhills Conservative Association last Saturday (13th December 2014) to pick the replacement Tory candidate for Parliament in 2015, following the standing down of Richard Shepherd, who’s retiring from his 36 year tenure at the next general election.
There appears to be something rotten in the State of Aldridge as I’m hearing that the selection meeting was cancelled ‘until the New Year’ due, apparently to ‘issues being raised’. What those issues are is somewhat opaque, and I’m wondering if anyone out there can help?
Fortunately a few bad pints around particular drinking haunts in Aldridge on Sunday yielded some information from the usual drunk bar-room foghorns, but I’d really appreciate a statement from the party to put our minds at rest that the next PPC is being selected in accordance with the wishes of the local party and is a fully democratic and transparent process.
At the time, I pointed out that the selected candidate – most likely to be our next MP due to the huge current Tory majority of over 15,000 – was a choice between three parachuted-in candidates from elsewhere, and local man and popular Walsall Councillor, Marco Longhi.
I am, as I stated at the time, very much at odds with the Councillor politically. He’s a Tory, after all; but I’d much rather, if we have to have a Tory, that it was a local man who cares about and understands our area than some unknown like Shepherd was, or many of the prospective candidates (Tory and Labour) who’re standing in local wards in 2015.
One only has to look at the arse Tory PPC Douglas Hansen-Luke keeps making of himself in Walsall North demonstrating his ignorance to see what I mean. I’m still not convinced the ex financial fat-cat isn’t a parody, to be honest.
From what I can tell, there seems to be some disquiet over one particular candidate, who seems to have an intriguing electoral history. Wendy Morton stood for the marginal seat of Tynemouth in the 2010 election, and in a year when possibly the most hated Prime Minster for decades was cut down, she actually managed to decrease the Tory share of the vote by 2.2%.
There seems to be an existing history of parachuting Wendy in against local wishes, as this article shows. Local voters and activists here don’t seem too happy either, as this comment on ConservativeHome indicates:
I’m not a party member but have always voted for Richard Shepherd and helped my friend who is an activist and executive member to deliver leaflets. You have your views I’ll stick to mine – I ACTUALLY live in the constituency do you?! I’m affected by the decision to replace Richard Shepherd and fundamentally believe that the best people to represent us are those who know the area and it’s needs. You talk of attempts to smear a good candidate yet I’m told that the local guy (who isn’t my own local councilor) is being smeared by those that run the party locally.
If this is true I will never ever vote conservative again and neither will my family – no wonder so many Tory voters are switching to ukip – increasingly out of touch, aloof, and not on the side of the vulnerable.
This seat is by no means safe any longer and that is why a local candudate is needed. Forget the majority vote last time – that was for Richard – next may will be very different with a ukip surge in a euro sceptic seat.
So, are we being stitched up for our next MP? Why would the central Conservative Party want this apparently mediocre candidate here? Who’s favour might be being sought, and why?
Richard Shepherd, already sweetened with a knighthood, may well be looking on with concern – or maybe not.
If you have anything to say, you can do so in confidence: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. A statement from the local party would be wonderful if they’d like to correct the rumour, sigh and gossip that’s circulating.
I shan’t hold my breath, because remember, this isn’t about us.