Tuesday, April 24, 2007

For Conservative Democracy

Those who read ConservativeHome regularly may have seen recent discussions and campaigns about the way a number of important (and, it must be admitted, several not so important) matters are handled in the party, culminating in the row over the way candidates for the European Parliament are to be selected.

ConservativeHome has launched a campaign "to find candidates for next year's Board elections that will always vote to protect members' voting rights." (ConservativeHome's ToryDiary: It's time for a new Party Board) But I think it will not be enough to merely promote and hopefully elect the right people to the board this time. As I have already commented on that thread, I think things must go much further.

The entire system by which the Conservative Party is structured is badly anti-democratic. Only some of the Board is elected. Those that are are elected by members of the National Convention. The Convention in turn is a mixture of ex officio members and various appointees (the way the Conservative Future places are allocated has long been a mess). None of this gives the ordinary party member a direct say in the way the party is run.

Some of this may seem like naval gazing. But a party that is responsive to its members' needs will generate better morale, make better decisions and win more.

So let's take a leaf out of the French Union pour un Mouvement Populaire's book and look to direct internet based elections. Let's have both the Board and Convention directly elected. Let's make this a proper Party structure for the twenty-first century.


Mustafa Arif said...

How does the Tory party's internal structures compare with the other main UK parties in this regard?

Praguetory said...

This is all good stuff. This is what I understand by modernisation. I've been out of the loop for the last few days. Please let me know if you do any more posts on this theme/develop a plan to deliver on these aspirations.


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