However there is a post on the Our Kingdom site which I found interesting, not because of its implications for London, but because of a move by the Conservative Party that might have implications on a wider scale.
OK asked supporters of four of the candidates to present a “democratic” case for their mayoral candidate. Amongst the claims made by the Tory's supporter was this claim:
Boris was selected to be the Conservative candidate by open primary. This means that every Londoner was able to help decide that he should be the Conservative candidate - and shows that Boris is more than merely the candidate for one party, but for all Londoners. The current U.S. presidential election campaign has demonstrated how open primaries can transform the democratic process. We believe that all those standing for public office should be selected in this way .
I understand that Glyn Davies was selected as the PPC for Montgomeryshire in a similar fashion.
This trend worries me. The number of people voting in British elections has declined as the influence of US election practices has increased on these shores. One of the worst examples has been for parties to decide policy based on the views of focus groups rather than on the views of party activists. This has resulted in the main parties having almost indistinguishable manifestos because all their policies are based on the views of focus groups constituted by the same social profiles. It has also devalued the roll of the party activist. If the activist no longer has a voice in party policy, s/he is no longer enthused to do the donkey work needed to get the paarty candidate elected – canvassing, leafleting, licking envelopes, postering, knocking up etc.
If party activists can't even select their own candidates, if candidates are selected by open to all meetings then there will be even less difference between candidates than there is now and even less reason for people to get involved in party politics, or even to vote in elections.
If I can vote in an open primary I'm going to vote for a conservative Welsh nationalist to stand for Plaid, Labour, Conservative, Green and even UKIP in this constituency! But if six political clones stand in a general election, is there any reason to go out and vote?
If focus groups and primaries decide who stands for my party, your party, his and her party - why on earth should we waste money on party membership, never mind waste time on party work?