The Tea Party - another argument against primaries
The mid-term elections in the US have reinforced my hostility to the idea being floated that Labour should select candidates via open primaries rather than selection by party members.
The rise of the Tea Party shows how in a primary system a well-organised, well-funded and hyper-energised extremist grouping can foist its candidates on a more mainstream host party. In this case the Tea Party ousting mainstream Republican candidates.
Because the general election has a higher turn-out than the primaries, extremist candidates who do well on the back of highly motivated but minority support at primary level then get beaten at the main election.
Hence the Republicans failed to take control of the Senate because the primary system meant they had Tea Party candidates who lost in Delaware and Nevada, seats moderate Republicans might have won.
Let's not put Labour in a position where a leftwing version of the Tea Party can use low turnout primaries to foist unelectable candidates on us.