Letís hear what you really have to do if you want to stand on the Party TICKET from someone who has been through the mill and actually did stand.
We sent our Editor off to ask Ed, who stood for the Tories, just how he managed to get selected as a candidate.
Hereís what he had to say;
"I got involved with the mock elections at our school and found quite quickly that whilst everyone had different views on many things, a lot of my basic beliefs and principles were not a million miles away from the Tories (The Conservative Party). So to cut a long story short, I campaigned for them in out mock election and really enjoyed it. Soon after that I turned 18 and there was an election shortly after my birthday and I got a real kick out of being able to sneak some time off school on the excuse I had to go and vote. Then staying up with a group of friends and watching the count that night was great fun, especially as the person I voted for actually won!"
"After that it was University where I got really annoyed with the group of morons who were running the Students Union, I decided to join up with a gang of friends to stand. It got quite nasty, but in the end we won and had a year of trying to do better ourselves, before I decided to concentrate on my studies. It was still great fun though. After that it was into the real world and work, but I kept up my interest in politics and joined the youth wing in my party, the Conservatives. It was also a great place to meet new friends!"
"In what seemed like no time, I became Chairman of our little bit and managed to meet all of the real big party names and leaders. I even went to the party conference at Blackpool, which was really fun. The reason I explain all this is coz, loads of people actually apply to become candidates for the main political parties, so you do need to build up a bit of a CV first.
Once I decided I really wanted to stand for a Westminster Seat I filled in a formal application form which needed 2 sponsors, who had to be senior party officials or MPís plus I had to give loads of details about myself such as having no criminal record etc..."
"After this there was an interview at Tory Central Office by the Party Chairman and he gave me quite a grilling as to why I wanted to stand. From that he recommended I go on THE SELECTION WEEKEND. This is where about 30 aspiring wannabes have the delight of a weekend in the Holiday Inn in Slough! (or Edinburgh if you're running in Scotland). Here you join in a series of group discussions, debates and do some written exercises such as drafting press releases etc., There is also a series of interviews with various party officials and existing MPís and you have to give a speech. To finish you take part in a mock Parliamentary debate which gets really heated. If you pass this stage (and a great number donít!) you are then included on the OFFICAL PARTY CANDIDATES LIST."
"This list means you get notified when a constituency party is selecting a candidate and you (and any party members who live locally) can apply. This is when the hard part really begins, as there are loads of great people on the list. Any seat that is potentially winnable is applied for by up to a hundred people, so if you donít have a lot of friends locally or a great reputation or CV, to start, you donít really have much chance of getting nominated straight away. Itís back to building up that CV and years of slog for the party. The favorite route for this is to become a local councilor, party volunteer and/or do what I did, fight a really hopeless seat where you donít stand a chance of winning, but is great experience."
"I applied to fight an inner city seat, where very few others applied and was selected to go for an interview before the selection committee. This consists of a group of party members who ask you to explain why you want to be their candidate and what you can do to help them. Anyway, coz I was so keen and energetic I was selected as the PROSPECTIVE candidate. This meant that when the election was to be called they would nominate me on behalf of the official party. For the next few months I spent time getting involved with the party activity in the area and also went on loads of training days with other candidates. I also had to really get up to speed on all those policies etc. that you get asked about at elections and candidates look a bit silly if you donít know the answer."
"Finally, after months of frustration and delay, the election was called and I took a few weeks off work. I met loads of people and had a great time. I even became friends with some of my political opponents and will never forget the election night itself being up on the stage getting my result read out, even though I lost!"