I am often outraged, more often than not for faux effect, but I am seldom angry.
There is one area, however, when I find it difficult not to be angry - and that is when I see people using the Conservative Party for personal preferment, often to the detriment of those who do the right thing and play by the rules.
Regular readers will know that we are facing a by-election. The selection process for this is open, fair and totally transparent. As always, we will follow the CCHQ Mandatory Selection Rules to the letter, they are clear and simple.
Today however, having advertised the vacancy and circulated the rules, I received two consecutive phone calls from incumbent councillors lobbying for friends and colleagues. But, if that wasn't bad enough...
1. Both councillors who phoned to lobby have had little or no contact with the Office since their election, neither have found the time to attend a single constituency-wide campaign event in the last 2.5 years.
2. Neither of the people whose candidacies they were promoting are members of the Party (despite both receiving membership letters in the last 3 months). Neither have supported the Association politically, attended campaigning events, participated in the open primary or expressed any interest in our work.
3. Despite the fact that both "wanabee" councillors received copies of our "Become a Local Councillor" recruitment leaflet, neither responded or showed any interest in our work or that of the Council.
Now forgive me for asking what many may consider rhetorical questions, but;
(a) if you were a councillor who has constantly and studiously over the last three years ignored every email or letter requesting help and support, would you really think it was appropriate to call the Agent on the eve of a selection and try to inveigle a position for someone you know?
(b) do you really think it is honourable that a local candidate with a history of membership, hard work and activity should be shafted, so your friend can be imposed by some unseemly and backroom stitch-up?
(c) do you not for one moment think that the people whose ambitions you are promoting should not have at least demonstrated the tiniest modicum of political interest beforehand, or in some way contributed to the Association's political goals?
(d) do you not think the local voters might just react unfavourably if they found out a local candidate, with 40 years residency and a strong history of community activity, was side-lined so the relation of another councillor, who isn't remotely local, can be parachuted-in like some modern day carpetbagger.
I have no issue whatsoever with newcomers, in fact we positively welcome them. I do, however, have a real problem with those who have eschewed opportunities to support the work of the Party at every opportunity, then expect us to dance with glee at some "Damascene-style" conversion on the eve of a selection contest.
Such a sense of entitlement really has no place in a modern and transparent political process.