Loyalty to party line is one thing - but loyalty to people is better thing by far

Ultra-loyal Conservative and former councillor Ron Bradney appears to blame everybody else for the mess that the top brass of the SE Cambs Association got themselves into whilst selecting a candidate to succeed Sir James Paice.

Mr Bradney blames the neighbouring agent for not securing the ballot papers.

Mr Bradney blames ‘some people who were determined to get “their person” selected.’

Mr Bradney blames by implication the party members (now ex-party members) who revealed what they perceived to be the mess surrounding the ‘selection.’

Mr Bradney even blames me and I wasn’t present. I could have attended because the ‘selection’ was supposed to have been by means of an ‘open primary,’ a method which I have commended.

I decided not to attend the ‘open primary’ because I thought that my presence might have been a distraction. I now regret not attending for, had I done so, I am sure that I would have supported requests for the ballot papers to be double-checked and, if necessary, to be re-counted.

The outcome of this messy business is that the Conservatives have a candidate whose name will forever be associated with this messy business.

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Mr Bradney says that ‘it is by no means certain that there was a miscount’ [of the ballot papers]. Many significant former Conservative supporters seem now to be pretty certain that there was a miscount. In light of that, does not Mr Bradley think, even in hindsight, that there ought to have been a recount or a re-run of the whole process?

Mr Bradney also has a dig at me for being independent. I was a Conservative until I resigned officially in 1999.

I had become increasing disillusioned with the party well before that and was especially sickened in the early 1990s when I was sent from Cambridgeshire with two others to a high-level London meeting of the then Association of County Councils.

My colleagues and I were instructed by the then leader of the county council, the late John Horrell, to demand a better funding formula (yes, the old argument that still lives today) from the then government.

There was a Conservative group meeting before the main public meeting. We all argued our case in the group meeting but other Conservatives from elsewhere outvoted us.

However, and as instructed, I continued to argue for Cambridgeshire in the main public meeting.

My other two colleagues, the late Jane Brookes and the late Elaine Wheatley, altered their lines to toe the party line.

When I was standing and speaking for Cambridgeshire, the two ladies attempted physically to make me sit down and shut up. Needless to say, I resisted and continued to speak for Cambridgeshire.

It was such a dramatic example of the dangers of being ultra-loyal to a party line that it has stuck in my memory ever since.

Mr Bradney ought to know by now that loyalty to a party line is one thing but that loyalty to the people is a better thing by far.


St Andrew’s Park


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