Sunday, January 01, 2012

To elect, or not to elect ...

These days elections do seen rather popular. We elect our MPs, our Councillors and soon our Police Commissioners. If Mr Clegg gets his way, we'll also have the chance to elect the members of the House of Lords. We vote for the directors of my building society. We voted in the parent governor elections at the kids school.

So, why don't we have an elected Conservative Chairman? If the Golf Club can get round to having an election for their Presidents, doesn't it seem odd that the political party in government has a complete democratic void at its top?

This morning, ConHome ran a story about Baroness Warsi (click here) having a bit of a go about the LibDems and asking them ever so nicely to stop "slagging off" the coalition. Indeed, a while ago I wrote about the potential for the Tory Chairman to have more of a leadership role in a coalition (click here). I urged that whilst the LibDems have a President and a Deputy Leader who both sit outside of government and can articulate the views of the their party members, that luxury is not afforded to the Tories whose Chairman sits in the cabinet.

Now putting aside the absurdity of the Tory Chairman sitting in a coalition cabinet whilst the LibDem equivalent does not, is there not a real chance to tie up these two ends?

More democracy and a chance for the conservative voice to be heard through a "fighting Chairman". If we directly elected our chairmam, he or she could sit outside of the government and be a real media / party figure. If the LibDems can stand on the sidelines and hastle the coalition over some issues, why can't the Tories have somebody who articulates our views like this?

Of course, it'll never happen. It really would be Cameron voting for Christmas. God knows who he'll end up with! (Although with some certainty it wouldn't be Warsi). But that is the problem with democracy - the people (in this case, the membership - the people who stuff envelopes, pay subscriptions and deliver leaflets) will decide and they don't always produce "the right result." However it would give people a reason to re-join the party and make members, many of whom feel disengeged by the party leadership and CCHQ. It would be a painless way of allowing the member to vent some of their frustrations. Who should it be? I don't know - but I am sure others will have ideas.

So if there isn't one already, I want to start the "elect our Chairman" campaign. It may only ever have one member ....