Finding candidates of the right calibre, 1970s Belgian style


In the light of recent events, Labour supporters may be looking for ways of making sure that in future all of our parliamentary candidates are honest and principled advocates of Tigmoo, etc.

Perhaps we could copy the uber-strict eligibility criteria used by the Belgian Socialist Party in the 1970s?

All potential party candidates had to tick each of the following boxes:

  • Party member for at least 5 years.
  • A member of a trade union and the socialist health insurance fund for at least 5 years.
  • Make a minimum annual purchase from cooperative shops.
  • Have a subscription to the party newspaper.
  • Any offspring must be enrolled in state schools.
  • Any offspring must be members of the party’s youth organisations.
  • Spouse must be a member of the party.
  • Must attend a minimum number of meetings and campaigning events.
  • Insurance must be held in a socialist/cooperative insurance company.
  • Cannot be seated on the board of directors of a private enterprise.

Harsh but fair?

From what I gather this set of criteria had to be moderated not because it was difficult to find candidates but because the party newspaper eventually went bust (though this itself indicates a certain decline in party popularity).

The Belgian Socialist Party split in 1978 into separate francophone and Flemish organisations and I don’t think either grouping thought it was worth keeping these highly selective rules.


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9 Responses to “Finding candidates of the right calibre, 1970s Belgian style”

  1. mrs election Says:

    I shop at the Abu Dhabi Coop next to my work?

  2. captainjako Says:

    But are ALL your children in the youth wing?

  3. mrs election Says:

    Beddy Bear is in the bear wing?

  4. manofkent86 Says:

    I think these criteria could have a devastating impact on the political chances of many Paintbrushers!

  5. captainjako Says:

    Manofkent would have to give up all his directorships!

  6. manofkent86 Says:

    I would be quite safe dear boy, given that I’m likely to be seen as the corporate equivalent of the grim reaper quite soon, I’m unlikely to be offered any directorships. Don’t worry dear Captain, I won’t tell the world when you send your offspring to private school!

  7. Steve Whittaker Says:

    The Francophone Socialists are hardly a good example of a Socialist party, they have found themselves involved in an enormous amount of corruption and even, in the case of Andre Cools, a murder. And they always seem more keen on power than socialism (of course, I’m a Tory myself, but the PS are dreadful and not worth associating with).

    Does votegreengored still have the PS Federation de Liege shirt?

  8. captainjako Says:

    Belgian politics are hardly a good example of politics at all! Although I bow to your greater knowledge…

    So do you still have the socialist shirt, Votegogreenred?

  9. voteredgogreen Says:

    I have the socialist shirt, and I regularly wear it.

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