Use of Open Primaries for Candidate Selection

Proposer
PaulJRobinson
State

Accepted

Vote Score

2

Age

2418 days


@PaulJRobinson edited democracy.md - over 6 years ago

Reduce the age of voting at Local Elections and to the Welsh Assemby (ie to non-legislative bodies) to those aged 15 to encourage youth participation in democracy prior to enjoying full voting right at 16.

Candidate Selection

Parties will be encouraged, through the provision of sufficient resources such as mailshots and local marketing, to use a system of open primary for the selection of their candidates. Open primaries allow all electors within a given constituency, regardless of party membership or affiliation, to vote on the selection of a candidate to represent that party at a forthcoming election. When held, open primaries have been proven to select candidates that appeal to a broad cross-section of the electorate and are often successful at subsequent elections. More importantly, MPs that have been selected by this method, tend to be more independent and favour constituency interests over the Party Whips.

Party Funding

Limit all donations and loans to political parties, campaign, lobbying and interest groups to a maximum of £5,000 from individuals and groups.

Limit the number of ministers, abolish Parliamentary Private Secretaries and further place a limit on the number or percentage of ruling party MPs that may serve in Government. Granting Government jobs to MPs has been used increasingly as a way to help ensure more MPs 'tow the party line' often in the face of staunch opposition from constituents. Limiting this tactic will help to ensure more MPs remain more accountable to their electorate, not the party.

Ban unelected Lords from serving in Government.

Ban unelected Lords from serving in Government.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

This pull request has been automatically generated by prose.io.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

Encouraged, or required? Presumably we could make it so this must be the case?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Well I think it's in party interests to do this: they end up with better candidates more likely to win; we end up with MPs who are more accountable to their constituents than their party. But if they'd rather not then I guess that's up to them and they will suffer at the polls. I suspect that if they knew they had resources available to do this, then more of them would happen. I don't think compulsion would be required.

with kind regards, Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 4 February 2014 13:43, James Smith [email protected] wrote:

Encouraged, or required? Presumably we could make it so this must be the case?

Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/96#issuecomment-34059902 .

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

Given most folks probably won't ever think about this, despite whatever encouragement is given, the parties will continue to select candidates how they please.

I mused earlier to myself about requiring political parties to use a proportional voting system internally, so I'd be more inclined to support requiring open primaries as part of a larger effort on democratic reform.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I think @philipjohn makes the right point there on requiring it. If it's an option, most people won't bother.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

👍 to this in general, but would also like to see the R word sneak it's way in :)

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - over 6 years ago

I like the idea of primaries, especially for significant posts like Mayor, however should the state really pay for resources to run these? Would the funding be open to all parties, or just the 'major' ones, defined in some way? And would we end up getting election fatigue, with numerous primaries prior to each general election?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

There is an argument for suggesting that parties should fund this themselves (and it's in their own interests to do so) which is essentially what happens now. Just trying to think of any other ways to encourage such a good practice. The Electoral Commission estimate the cost at £35,000 per open primary, per party (and there are 650 constituences). If we assume 5 candidates/parties per constituency that's over £100M each election just on the primaries! The general election itself costs another £100M on top of that as things currently stand. Are people happy for me to close this PR?

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

Would it be acceptable to provide financial incentives through state funding that parties receive?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

I agree elections are very expensive to administer. But I'm not sure the state funding Open Primaries (and doubling the cost of running elections) would be right. I think parties should fund Open Primaries themselves. Think this may be one area where the free market may actually work: ie once one local party does it, the others will follow. I don't see why the state should pay for something that is in their own interests.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I asked Douglas Carswell on Twitter what his thoughts were around funding open primaries (seeing as he was talking about it), and his idea was that they would piggyback on existing elections, thus reducing the cost. Not sure where he thinks the remaining cost would be covered from though, and I'm not sure we have enough elections to be able to piggyback primaries onto them.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

Looking back at this, I now think: 1. I agree with the principle of what's being suggested. 2. I would like to see it stronger, but agree that that would need details on financing. 3. But, I would also like to see a detailed PR on election and campaign financing reform anyway, so perhaps that's best done there.

That makes me a 👍 as this stands, with room for future improvement. Can we get a few other agreements based on the idea that this is a step in the right direction, if not necessarily what we think is the whole solution? Would be nice to get this merged and move on.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

Incidentally, it'll mean that if we put up candidates, we'll have to work out a way to hold open primaries :)

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

...we'd have to put our money where our mouths are ;)

Yep, general principle is sound and we shouldn't be concerning ourselves too much with detail. 👍

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

@frankieroberto are you happy with the wording here as this stands (more 'encouraged' than 'required')? We'll deal with funding separately.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - over 6 years ago

Sounds good to me.

One minor point: the Labour Party recently adopted Primaries, but rather than being fully open, you have to be a 'registered supporter' to take part. That seems within the spirit of the rules to me?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

It's a halfway house/fudge. The point of a primary being truly open is that all the electors are eligible to take part regardless of views or other party memberships. It means the eventual party candidate is far more likely to have broader public appeal than someone who only appeals to the party faithful. With 'registered supporters' you're still preaching to the converted.