LETTERS From Graham Nichols, Shanklin:
I WRITE as former chairman of the IW Conservative Association who led the team that, at the 2005 elections, helped to increase Andrew Turner’s majority from 2,826 to 12,978 and delivered the council from 20 years of LibDem rule by increasing the number of Conservative councillors from 13 to 35.
I believe Cllr Chris Whitehouse is right to highlight what is evidently a behind-closed-doors attempt to unseat our popular and hardworking Member of Parliament. He uses the term cabal which my dictionary defines as "a clique, plotting for a secret purpose". He is not far from the truth.
What the association should be doing by hard work and effective campaigning is seeking to maintain a Conservative majority at County Hall. Instead, the LibDems have been allowed back, although many of them, perhaps ashamed of their political past or apprehensive of their political future, have reinvented themselves as Independents, (shades of Island First).
Now, at a meeting of the association executive council, whose names are known only to a few, it seems a majority is to be sought in support of Andrew having to fight for his selection as the Conservative candidate at the 2015 election.
Andrew is well liked, known to thousands of Islanders who stop him for a chat, and maintains an efficient office at The Riverside, which has helped hundreds of local people of all political persuasions.
If we are not careful we will get a London-based MP, who is rarely seen here, or even worse, a local person of no proven political ability.
I urge the executive council to think very carefully before doing anything radical at their meeting today (Friday), and to remember 32,810 Islanders voted for Andrew in 201.
From Mark Patterson, Shorwell:
I HAVE been out of active politics for many years but still have close and regular contact with senior members of the Conservative Party.
I read the unedifying report (CP, 11-10-13) of the situation in the local Conservative Association as to the re-adoption of Andrew Turner as MP with a mixture of horror and despair.
Neither side realise the true position, which has been distorted by an extraordinary local farce to the disadvantage of the IW.
On a number of occasions over the last two years, Andrew Turner was interviewed to discuss his continued representation of this parliamentary division.
In my opinion, he should retire from the house but the central authorities have no power to insist, which is the price of democracy.
The solution is for the local association to take matters into their own hands and set in place the de-selection process.
Their internal squabbling only emphasises the chaos within their ranks and none of them enhances their own or their party’s reputation.
I then hope there will be a proper democratic process to offer different names to the electorate for selection as in America and so successfully followed in Totnes here in the choice of Sarah Woollaston as Tory candidate. The usual practice of shoeing in members of the local gentry is no longer appropriate.
I hope Andrew Turner sees sense and doesn’t invite further difficulties by listening to his assistant, Carole Dennett.