An interesting post from North Norfolk Councillor Nich Starling on the South Norfolk Conservatives quest to find local government candidates. Across the country parties find it difficult to get people to stand, but I wonder what you might think to a blanket leaflet drop asking all residents to consider coming forward?
Initially I was horrified by this thought and the damage it could do to both democracy and the party. Then I thought a lot more about the issue.
I believe every person has a right to vote for the candidate (or even party) of their choice. It is why I would make the nomination process quicker and easier, even if that meant more cranks standing. As a lifelong staunch Conservative I cannot bear the thought of NOT having a Conservative on the ballot paper. So what should associations do when gaps appear? I'd want my local Tories to fight tooth and nail to provide me with a candidate and therefore this approach could be warranted - if somebody comes forward. South Norfolk Conservatives should be congratulated for not leaving a stone unturned in their task of providing all residents with the chance to vote Tory on 3rd May.
Furthermore, as my cogs turned I thought about the recent national party advice on broadening the activist, candidate and councillor base by advertising as widely as possible. If CCHQ sanction, say, adverts in newspapers asking for candidates then why should this leaflet be any different?
After nearlly choking to death earlier I'd now say "well done" to South Norfolk Conservatives. Let's hope they get their full slate.
UPDATE: A poster on Nich's blog kindly points out that the LibDems have the worst record of the three main parties for putting up local government candidates.