This whole expenses fiasco got me thinking about the selection process for prospective candidates and where the power really lies.
Let's get the obvious out the way first - people are pis*ed off (pardon the French). There is massive dissatisfaction and anger out there towards the political class be it MPs, AMs, MEPs or county councillors. These people now have the dubious honour of being the most reviled group in Britain, I bet that traffic wardens are feeling pretty smug now.
I’ve been wondering as to whether the local parties will listen to the collective cry from across the four nations of Britain calling almost in unison “get these cheating bast*rds out!” (again pardon the French - I think it was necessary to convey the right emotion.) Will local parties take the initiative and start de-selecting MPs who have been taking them for a ride over the past however many years?
The Labour party has prided itself historically on being a party of the people. Their policy-making process has a sizable input from grass-roots members: the national executive committee diluting the power of party leaders and often frustrating them with their left wing militancy. Traditionally Labour’s selection process for candidates (when not held to ransom by the trade unions) has been very bottom up in approach giving an important role to the local party - but what now?
What if the local members of Salford put their foot down and say “its time to deselect Hazel” or if the local Labour party in Dewsbury say “we’ve had enough of Shahid”? Where does the power lie? There is a lot of pressure to try and rekindle the public belief and respect for Parliament and many feel a new one would do the trick - so will we see the de-selection process used?
It’s not so tricky for the Tories, local members have only had a vote in their leadership elections for 12 years so the tradition of top-down decision making is not new to them, but in an attempt to be whiter than white (classic Cameron) they may de-select some MPs to teach them a lesson, which would be a nightmare for the upkeep of a certain moat.
I expect the top down approach will prevail and most members of the House of Commons will keep their nomination (if they still want it), otherwise it would be like the naughty kids in school running detention. But you never know, some plucky local parties may just cause a stir and give back to politics a little a bit of credibility (well, maybe).
P.S I think de-selection would earn some respect and support from the public.