Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another blow for Cameron: Rickitt rejected

Adam Rickitt has failed to make the "long list" of 20 hopefuls to be Tory PPC and Folkestone and Hythe. He has also stirred things up by writing in the Daily Telegraph that:

" I fear that our younger voters, who already feel so disconnected from our party and the system of government itself, will only have had their doubts confirmed by recent comments."

Those "comments" may have included ones made by Jonathan Holborow, Chairman of Folkestone and Hythe constituency Conservative association, on June 1st, nine days before the announcement of Rickitt's failure, when he said:

"I think it is unlikely that Mr Rickett will advance much further in the selection process in Folkestone & Hythe, which is a very traditional Conservative seat."

Just think, Mr Holborrow was (presumably) about to preside over a supposedly fair selection process but was already writing off one of the applicants! This is hardly in the spirit of David Cameron's new Conservative party is it?

And, for that matter, if you couple the failure of Adam Rickitt to get onto the "long list" at Folkestone with the ditching of his fellow A-listers at Bromley and Chiselhurst in favour of Bob "Three Jobs" Neil (firmly white Anglo-Saxon middle aged male), then you have to conclude that Cameron's A list initiative is a dismal failure. After all, what Conservative hopeful seat isn't "very traditional"? There are very few I can think of. Brighton perhaps? The Tories were nine percent (Pavilion) or seven percent (Kempton) behind Labour there at the last election. Not exactly a shoe-in then. Any other ideas?

I fear that Cameron has been hoist by his own petard. He was the one who wrote the most right wing manifesto in recent election history in 2005, creating a stack of Tory hopeful seats in very "traditional" areas. In more broad-minded districts like Brighton, where you might expect the A listers, such as Rickitt, to have a vague chance of being selected by the Tory faithful, the Tories caught a cold at the last election. That means that they have a very shaky electoral footing in the very places where Cameron's A listers would be able to get selected. I expect a further string of crusty old chairmen insisting that their constituency is "very traditional".

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