Posts Tagged ‘fixing’

The Rotherham selection is a case study in how not to manage a party

14/11/2012, 05:12:03 PM

by Kevin Meagher

The bad karma emanating from Denis MacShane’s resignation appears to have seeped into the process to select his successor, if last night’s shambles is anything to go by.

Reports that half the membership in Rotherham walked out of the selection meeting in protest over the shortlist of just two candidates they were presented with must qualify as the worst-ever start to a parliamentary by-election campaign.

In its defence, the party needed to act quickly if it was to move the writ to include Rotherham in the brace of by-elections in Croydon and Middlesbrough already scheduled to take place on November 29.

It made sense to do so. The reputation of politics is low enough without MPs being found to have “knowingly submitting 19 false invoices” by the House of Commons’ standards and privileges committee as MacShane was (oddly enough, the committee is chaired by MacShane’s neighbouring MP, Kevin Barron).

But the other festering issue in Rotherham is child abuse, particularly the lamentable, grotesque failure of the authorities in the town to stamp out the grooming of vulnerable young white girls by gangs of predominantly Pakistani men.

So the party was left with a dilemma. Move quickly, and a short campaign could prevent a head of steam building up, either about MacShane or child abuse. So far, so smart.

But then it started to unravel. Rather than allowing the local party to influence the selection shortlist a decision was taken to drop-in a “clean skin” candidate. Someone from outside the usual political haunts who wouldn’t draw quite so much heat from a jaundiced electorate, sick of all politicians.


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