Monday, 28 July 2014

What happened to MPs' hinterland?

Recent developments locally on the Labour parliamentary candidate selection front (Aberavon constituency after pressure from above by a narrow vote adopted the husband of the current Danish prime minister and Neath is to have an all-woman shortlist - implication: another outsider favoured by the top brass) caused me to look up a post on Peter Black's blog last year. Simon Danczuk represents a constituency not far from the constituency he was brought up in and had to work for a living in a menial job in order to finance his academic studies before gaining a place at Lancaster University where he studied economic sociology and politics as a mature student. But he is an increasingly rare specimen in a party where pedigree - or, at worst, who you know - seems to count for more than experience or local roots.

Because there are no safe Liberal Democrat seats, LibDem MPs have usually got there by working their constituencies over at least one electoral cycle, and cannot afford to give up the day job. So they are more likely even than Conservatives, who also tend to have constituency associations resistant to being bossed, to have local candidates. I fully expect that to be the case when we come to make our selections for Neath and Aberavon.

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