Selection

Selection

 

By today, we should know who the Labour Party has selected to contest theCrawleyparliamentary constituency in the General Election.  Understandably there has been a great deal of interest in this decision. Crawleyis an extremely marginal seat with just 37 votes separating the two main political parties.

The choice was fundamentally between a local candidate and somebody from outside.  I expect that a local choice would make more sense to many people than just parachuting somebody else in to the constituency.  This is all the more true given how incredibly close we are to the actual election date.

Selections can be fascinating processes.  I have been involved in several of these exercises and there might be say 100 applications.  The forms are analysed and sifted.  Some 20 applicants make it through to a Candidate Selection Committee for an interview.  Between four to six candidates go forward to the next stage which is an interview before the Executive Council.  Finally, two or three hopefuls appear before an SGM (Special General Meeting) of the Conservative Association.

Some applicants trawl constituencies all over the country seeking a seat.  You can sometimes tell from the content of the presentations which are not exactly bespoke.  They can go something like this.  “I have always been fascinated by (constituency name).  It is one of the most interesting areas in the country and a place which I would be honoured to represent.  (Constituency name) needs a new vision and I believe that I can contribute to this.”

Such statements can seem reasonable but appear slightly too generic.  They also lose some credibility if the aspiring candidate or parachutist is late finding the interview location.  An interviewee’s interest in a constituency cannot be that great if they fail to pinpoint the right location on the map and fail to allow enough time to get there. 

It gets even worse if a late candidate vents their frustration on people at the interview.  They might maintain their fixed smile and gentle demeanour for the election panel but show more of their real feelings to the back-room people helping to organise the day.  These helpers could provide an interesting reality check.

In all seriousness, selections have to be undertaken with great care.  Former Prime Minister John Major had a slim 21-seat majority and a noisy awkward squad to make life even more difficult.  These MPs risked bringing down their own government and highlighted how selection processes might be improved to give more weight to teamwork, emotional intelligence and avoiding too much self-indulgent behaviour.  I just hope that across the country these changes have worked.

 

Councillor Bob Lanzer, Leader of Crawley Borough Council

31st March 2010

 

 

Selection

 

 

By today, we should know who the Labour Party has selected to contest theCrawleyparliamentary constituency in the General Election.  Understandably there has been a great deal of interest in this decision. Crawleyis an extremely marginal seat with just 37 votes separating the two main political parties.

 

The choice was fundamentally between a local candidate and somebody from outside.  I expect that a local choice would make more sense to many people than just parachuting somebody else in to the constituency.  This is all the more true given how incredibly close we are to the actual election date.

 

Selections can be fascinating processes.  I have been involved in several of these exercises and there might be say 100 applications.  The forms are analysed and sifted.  Some 20 applicants make it through to a Candidate Selection Committee for an interview.  Between four to six candidates go forward to the next stage which is an interview before the Executive Council.  Finally, two or three hopefuls appear before an SGM (Special General Meeting) of the Conservative Association.

 

Some applicants trawl constituencies all over the country seeking a seat.  You can sometimes tell from the content of the presentations which are not exactly bespoke.  They can go something like this.  “I have always been fascinated by (constituency name).  It is one of the most interesting areas in the country and a place which I would be honoured to represent.  (Constituency name) needs a new vision and I believe that I can contribute to this.”

 

Such statements can seem reasonable but appear slightly too generic.  They also lose some credibility if the aspiring candidate or parachutist is late finding the interview location.  An interviewee’s interest in a constituency cannot be that great if they fail to pinpoint the right location on the map and fail to allow enough time to get there. 

 

It gets even worse if a late candidate vents their frustration on people at the interview.  They might maintain their fixed smile and gentle demeanour for the election panel but show more of their real feelings to the back-room people helping to organise the day.  These helpers could provide an interesting reality check.

 

In all seriousness, selections have to be undertaken with great care.  Former Prime Minister John Major had a slim 21-seat majority and a noisy awkward squad to make life even more difficult.  These MPs risked bringing down their own government and highlighted how selection processes might be improved to give more weight to teamwork, emotional intelligence and avoiding too much self-indulgent behaviour.  I just hope that across the country these changes have worked.

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Lanzer

31st March 2010