Sunday, July 5, 2009

Charlotte Gore martyrs herself

Mark Valladares has responded sensibly to a post from Charlotte Gore about standing as a parliamentary candidate.

First of all, it is utter and complete cobblers to say that blogging freely, even freely to the extent that Charlotte blogs, precludes winning elections. You only have to look at Boris Johnson. Now he really went to town over years publishing his dodgy, eccentric views to millions of people, not just the thousands (or indeed tens) that read blogs. And the Labour party went through his columns with a fine tooth comb and repeated the dodgy bits ad nauseam in the London mayoral campaign. Johnson still won. So, let's stop this nonsense that says that expressing policy views freely precludes running for office.

Putting that aside for a second, if we assume that Charlotte Gore's blog outpourings preclude her from office then you have to ask yourself: Well, why did she start blogging (with attitude) then? If she didn't realise that what she would write could rebound on her and require subsequent defending, then perhaps she is just not cut out for standing for election in any case. Or if she doesn't want to defend her views on a public election platform - ditto.

There is a remarkable air of strawman self-matyrdom about Charlotte's post. Her letter to electors sounds like a barnstroming election platform to me, rather than the electoral suicide pill she says it is.

Let's face it. If you conclude yourself that your campaigning skills are "terrible" and your ability to "connect with 'normal people' is non-existent" then those reasons, if they are true (which I suspect they are not, by the way) alone are enough not to stand for election. But let's have none of this utter rubbish about blogging precluding one from running. If you want to stand for office and you're any good, you'll have sufficient desire to stand up and explain anything you've written in your blog of the likes (i.e logical liberal policy stances) mentioned by Charlotte. Of course, if you start insulting the electorate, for example, by blogging about meeting electors who all seem to be drunk (a la the Hartlepool by-election), then that is another matter.

So join the rest of us 65 million people in this country, Charlotte, who don't want to stand for political office and drop the disingenuous claptrap about blogging being an obstacle.

Who wants to be an MP anyway? It's a pants job. And being a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate is a fairly thankless task. Just read Paddy Ashdown's account of his desperate early days as a candidate - and he won eventually. Indeed, Charlotte herself recognises the key tasks for a candidate:

Then there’s standing for a party currently in 3rd place in a Tory target seat, in a town that’s pretty much in love with the BNP and has, according to Acorn data, about 500 people that would be classed as typical lib dem voters. Hmm. Then there’s the challenge of getting 20,000 people to vote for you in a year’s time. I did some rough maths and worked out I’d need to be pursuading something like 65 a day. I’d need to raise buckets of money and dazzle and beguile lots of people into delivering leaflets for me. I’d need to keep getting in the local paper, too.

Needing to get into the local paper? What an appalling imposition we put on our candidates! Starting from third place? Paddy never had to do that did he? (Well, he did, actually). Raising money? Persuading people to deliver leaflets? Heavens above! Whatever next! We really do put our candidates through the Twelve Labours of Hercules, don't we? It's a wonder we have any candidates at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment