Amazing. The Stratford on Avon Conservatives actually managed to get one of their chosen candidates onto the shortlist of six imposed on them by CCHQ for the selection of a replacement for John Maples.
Maples, the head of the party’s candidates’ department, shafted his own association by delaying his announcement of retirement until into the New Year when he, more than anyone, knew it would be too late for the locals to hold a proper selection process.
Instead of advertising the vacancy, sifting through the applications, and then inviting shortlisted candidates for one or more rounds of interview, the Stratford Conservatives were lumbered with a centrally-imposed shortlist.
Stratford has a patchy record in candidate selection. Previous incumbents include John Profumo and the turncoat Alan Howarth.
Still, at least Philip Seccombe has made the cut. He’s worked tirelessly for the party locally and it would be a fantastic achievement to get selected for the Stratford constituency. Nothing less than he deserves.
Of course, Philip won’t be CCHQ’s choice. They will doubtless want one of Cameron's cuties or some London lawyer who can’t actually place Shipston on Stour on a map, did once enjoy the RSC’s production of “Much Ado” (at the National) and assumes "Stratford" is somewhere in East London.
I notice that with over a week to go, one of the other candidates is already describing herself as “The Next Voice For Stratford On Avon”.
Surely the members in Stratford will do what they can to defend what’s left of democracy in their party and select someone who they know, trust and respect rather than yet another Notting Hill carpet-bagger.
Unfortunately Philip suffers from a handicap which, in the New Model Tory Party may be fatal: he is a white, middle-aged, heterosexual man.
I do hope the locals won’t hold that against him.