Seat choice for Boris is an admission of Tory weakness


In typical cowardly Conservative manner, Boris Johnson has decided to apply to be that party’s candidate in the stronghold seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip at next year’s general election.

The seat is currently held by Sir John Randall with a majority of 11,216. He will be retiring at the next election, making room for Johnson, who is currently Mayor of London.

Johnson will have to go through a selection procedure but there can be no doubt about the result. The decision encourages us to draw two conclusions:

  • Firstly, Boris is not as popular as the public is being led to believe. If he was, the Tories would be setting him up to take a seat from another party.
  • Secondly, the Conservatives believe the electorate of Uxbridge and South Ruislip are easily-manipulated ‘sheeple’ who will do whatever they ask. If you live in that constituency, don’t you find that assumption insulting?

It also means the next MP for that constituency will be decided, not by its electorate, but by a selection committee of around five or six Conservative Association grandees. Is that democracy?

According to a BBC News report, Johnson said he hoped to “make his case” that he was the best person to represent the constituency – to the Conservative selection committee, as the following comment clarifies.

He added: “I’m sure there will be plenty of excellent candidates, and I hope very much to make my case to the association.” [Italics mine]

To the association. Not to the constituency. It’s a mockery of democracy. A “demockery” – as a Vox Political correspondent in Mid Wales wrote in a letter recently.

If Johnson really wanted to prove himself, he’d go and fight Nigel Farage in Thanet South.

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  1. Editor August 27, 2014 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Let’s hope the voting patterns for Uxbridge have been affected by umpteen Brunel residents and attendants having to pay tripled university fees….

  2. Damien Willey August 27, 2014 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I wouldn’t describe it as a weakness, cowardice maybe. I’d describe it as someone becoming an MP for themselves, rather than for the purpose of serving the constituents. He didn’t care where he stood, as long as he got in. Its traditional toryness, like Cameron, he’s the epitome of it.
    Farage is virtually as bad, although at least his target seat is somewhat local to where he’s from! Pity we can’t deport Boris back to the US for the same reason!

    • Mike Sivier August 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      I like the idea that it’s a typical Tory trait to want to be an MP for themselves, rather than from any notion of serving their own community.

      But I’m sticking to the original claim of weakness because your idea supports it – even their highest-profile figures can’t be fielded anywhere other than Tory strongholds, because they might not win elsewhere.

      • tommaz jay August 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm - Reply

        That’s also true of rest of the tory dross, Smith, Osborne, McVey and someone who’s surname name eludes me….. think it Nick somebody or other.

  3. Gordon Powrie August 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    If Boris stood in Thanet South, surely that would be a denial of democracy as well? Two right -wing Tories whom you couldn’t pass a cigarette paper between, policies-wise.

    • Mike Sivier August 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      But both high-profile members of their respective parties, and we wouldn’t have to put up with both of them in the Commons for the next however-many-years.

      It would be a more even contest. And anyway, other candidates would be available too.

  4. Nick August 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    he will win the seat the majority people of Uxbridge and South Ruislip will vote only for anything blue even if it were a cat so Boris is in good hands to win

    • Mike Sivier August 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Quick, somebody!
      Cover a cat in blue dye and set it up as a candidate against him!

  5. Simon Minay August 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Clearly Boris does not want to have to fight for a seat…he just wants it easy…on a plate! It’s also another fine example of the presumptuousness of the conservative thinking…that they are in some way right above anyone elses point of view. “Demockery” is spot on. Another great article from you Mike :-)

  6. jaypot2012 August 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    The way that the tories have served any of their constituencies, or their constituents, should be enough to change voting traditions in them. The only people who will vote for them are the rich and the brainless. How people can even admit to being a tory is disturbing.
    The tories are the party for the rich and for themselves, no-one else matters.
    I agree with Mike that Dumb and Dumber should be against one another in Thanet South.

  7. Andy Robertson-Fox August 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    What a lot of twaddle this is!
    If the powers that be in the Conservative party see him – rightly or wrongly – as an asset to their pary in the House it defeats the object to have him contest a marginal seat when one with a good majority is falling vacant.. Pointless, too, therefore, for him to stand in, for example, Knowlsley or East Ham. To identıfy and go through the selection process by the Conservative Association in Uxbridge and South Ruislip – one presumes with HO backing – and, if chosen, become the party candidate is common sense.
    It will be for the electorate of the constituency, who may or may not vote for him, under the democratic election system that will decide who their next MP will be. That is democracy at work and to say that it will be five or six Conservative grandees who will decide who the next MP is an insult to the people of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.You could use that argument about any new candidate contesting a rock solid seat for each and everyone of the sitting parties.
    Of course, Johnson could not stand against Farage as the Conservative selection process in Thanet South has already appointed their candidate.
    The more I read this article the more the electıon history surrounding the appointment of Frank Cousins as Minister of Technology and his successs at a by election in Nuneaton or Patrick Gordon Walker when was parachuted iınto a by electıon ın Leyton (and lost) followıng Smethwıcks rejectıon of hım comes to mınd. At least Boris will not be ousting the sitting member like Wilson did for them. I am sure there are many others of varyıng shades who have benefıtted from such assistance ın fındıng a seat.

    • Mike Sivier August 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      You’re not getting the point, are you, Andy?
      If Boris is supposed to be such a popular, high-powered choice for the people of Britain, then obviously he’s going to win wherever he goes and it is a better move – both strategically and tactically – to use him to oust an MP from another party than it is to put him in a safe seat that any Tory could win.
      If he wins a seat from someone else then he is The Conquering Boris! If he takes over the task of keeping a safe Tory seat warm, then he is Another Tory Time-Server.
      Simple as that.
      Your mention of historical cases cuts no ice with me as I’m against people of any party being parachuted in to a constituency that isn’t their home.

      • Andy Robertson-Fox August 28, 2014 at 8:04 am - Reply

        Yes I am getting the point and saying that as far as the Conservative Party is concerned it is a question of percentages not a lottery. Why run the risk, whatever the odds, of possibly denying yourself the services of someone you want on the green benches when, by being prudent, that can be almost guaranteed?
        Boris can win (or lose) votes countrywide in the election campaign and may be seen in a broader light than just a marginal constituency candidate.
        I take it from your comment regarding parachuting into a constituency that isn’t the candidates home you opposed, when he failed to win in Bristol, the promise of being the candidate in the next Labour held seat to become vacant. This happened to be Chesterfıeld and, by your definition, you would have deprived the world of politics of someone regarded by all parties as a great parliamentarian – Tony Benn.
        Yes, I do get the point but I thınk am not sure you do on this one, Mike.

        • Mike Sivier August 28, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

          Your first paragraph is an agreement that the article is correct and the Tories are too weak to do anything else.
          As I said, I don’t agree with any candidate being parachuted into a constituency. I would rather have had Tony Benn representing Bristol again. Still, what’s done is done.
          I like the idea put forward by another commenter, that candidates should live in a constituency for five years before they may be considered as candidates.

  8. Andy Robertson-Fox August 28, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    My first paragraph is not an agreement that the Conservatives are weak at all…and you know it…..
    In fact it shows strength of purpose in taking the positive steps to ensure as far as they are able that the individual that they seem to want in parliament – as Labour did with Benn – is returned at the electıon. Sound party strategy and common practice whatever the political shade.
    I think the idea of living in the constituency has some merit – although I prefer to see the individual best suıted to the role being chosen as a candidate. With a five year residential qualification requirement an unseated MP or unsuccessful candidate at one election would be denied for fıve years the opportunity of contesting an election and thereby returning or entering the House for up to five years.
    Previous experience in industry and outside the political scene might be better.

    • Mike Sivier August 28, 2014 at 11:36 am - Reply

      Strength of purpose… that’s really funny!
      In seriousness, it is sound strategy – but only for someone who is admitting that they can’t get that result any other way. While I’ve made it clear that I don’t like the practice of ‘parachuting’ candidates in, I do acknowledge that Labour did it with Tony Benn – because the party wanted him in Parliament and reckoned this was the only way to achieve it at the time.
      Five years is probably too long for a residential qualification – three would be better. I agree that experience in – let’s say ‘work’, rather than industry; some form of employment that has provided experience – should also play a part in selection. I hate the proliferation of young men and women in suits who have never done anything except work for more senior politicians.

      • Andy Robertson-Fox August 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm - Reply

        So basically, Mike, you agree with me, thanks.
        As regards strength of purpose let me put it this way….
        You are standing on one side of a frozen lake. You want to join your friends on the other side and they are keen for you to join them. Do you take the safe secure route round the lake on the footpath or unecessarily risk so much by a walk on what mıght just be thin ice? Why would doing what is sensible and using the footpath be an admission that you can’t do it any other way?

        • Mike Sivier August 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm - Reply

          No – basically, Andy, you agree with me. Ta.
          As for your lake analogy – again, you are supporting my assertion that, rather than take the brave route and be a hero, Boris is taking the easy way and being just another seat-warmer. Ta. :-)

          • Andy Robertson-Fox August 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm

            There is nothing brave about attempting to walk across a frozen lake – just stupid, irresponsıble and certainly not heroic. There ıs nothıng cowardly about takıng the sensıble path around it.
            I have never said it was not the easier route but it also the logical one to the intended objective and, be honest, if this had been an individual of, shall we say, different political leanings it would not even have made the pages of Vox Political, would ıt?.
            No Mike I do not agree wıth you and it certainly is in no way “a mockery of democracy”.

          • Mike Sivier August 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm

            You already did agree with me, Andy. VP readers aren’t stupid.
            For your benefit, I’ll reiterate: There is absolutely no credit to be gained by taking the easy route to a Parliamentary seat. Boris would be back on the Green Benches – as a seat-warmer, no better than the quietest back-bencher. He would have done nothing significant to deserve his place.
            Actually taking up a challenge and winning – that’s a different matter! So – to use your frozen lake idea – if he braved the ice, and especially if he did it with a bit of showmanship – and made it to the other side, he would deserve applause and approval from his friends.
            It occurs to me that you are trying to prolong this conversation in an attempt to find a crack in my armour. I see no point in continuing to answer such comments so will not be entertaining any more correspondence from you on this subject.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox August 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

            I accept that VP readers aren’t stupid (and note that none have come forward to counter my postings) but I am not stupıd eıther, Mike. If you or any of the VP readers believe that I have agreed with you then let me make it quite clear – I have acknowledged the route chosen is easier but I do not agree that it is cowardly or undemocratic or, ındeed, that the artıcle is an accurate analysis of the selection process…OK?

          • Mike Sivier August 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

            I think they’ve made up their own minds, and your opinion is your own business. Right! Conversation over.

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