Sunday, February 14, 2010

How CCHQ stamps out dissent

Amid the rows over centrally-imposed candidates lists for safe Conservative seats, here’s another question many activists would like an answer to: Why does CCHQ never bother to answer their letters?

I know of several long-standing members of the party, councillors, fund-raisers and knockers-on-doors who have written to Eric Pickles and his crew over the past few weeks.

Their letters tend to be questioning the selection process and the high-handed approach adopted by the Cameroons.

Nobody wants to rock the boat too violently with a General Election in the offing. But they would like answers to their modest and carefully written questions.

Yet no reply is ever forthcoming. Not a dicky-bird.

Would the party tolerate this off-hand attitude among its MPs or candidates? It would not.

So why is CCHQ so rude to its own most loyal supporters? This arrogance is extraordinary and will, in the long run, rebound on the party to its detriment.

Disillusion at behaviour of Pickles and his officials is now so widespread it wouldn’t be surprising if many of the most willing and generous supporters simply gave up and walked away.

Maybe not now, maybe not for this election, but soon. Soon enough to create the Polo-mint effect – that the party is sugary sweet on the outside but has lost its centre.

This has done infinite damage to the Labour Party over the past 13 years. It will do exactly the same to the Conservatives unless Cameron’s cronies wake up to the fact that there is more to the party, and more to politics, than their heavy-handed, centralised control.

The least they could do to stop the core of the party melting away is answer people’s letters. But even that seems to be too much trouble. Or are they paying their “political advisers” so much money now that CCHQ can’t afford the cost of a second class stamp?

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