The Conservative Party Leadership and a Wheelbarrow

The Conservative Party Leadership and a Wheelbarrow

There has been significant coverage of all the “fake” (definitely in good place for word of the year) memberships that have been discovered throughout the Conservative Party leadership race. Candidates accuse each other of rigging the vote or better yet “vote buying”

This scenario usually plays out in every political contest that requires a membership be purchased. I have seen it played out through leadership races to local nominations. Nothing new to see here.

What astounds me is why the practice continues at all. Every time I hear of it I shake my head and think of the “wheelbarrow theory”.

The “wheelbarrow theory”? This is my own whimsical theory as to the ineffectiveness of the “buying of memberships for others.” In this theory, wheelbarrow can be substituted with any object that has limited use. (I mean really, how many of you, unless you are in construction or landscaping, actually have used a wheelbarrow in the last 10 years?)

This is better explained as a story…

My uncle had an old rusted out wheelbarrow that had been sitting in the back corner of his yard for several years. One day he asked me if I wanted to buy his wheelbarrow for $20. I politely replied that as I had no use for a wheelbarrow I was not interested in buying it. As he was desperate to unload the wheelbarrow he then said to me “I will give you the wheelbarrow for free, all you have to do is come and pick it up.” Well you see, my uncle lives 100 km away so it would be quite a chore for me to go and get it. So, again I politely replied that I was not interested in the wheelbarrow even if it was free.

So, the wheelbarrow remained in the corner of my uncle’s yard. Still unused by anyone.

How does this relate to a Conservative Party of Canada membership you ask? Well, here’s the deal. Just as there is no way I am going to drive a 100km to pick up my “free” wheelbarrow, I am not going to drive to the designated polling station to cast a vote for someone I know nothing or care nothing about.

Thus, the approach of a campaign buying a party membership for someone who has little to no interest in using the vote that comes with it, remains as ineffectual and unproductive as the abandoned wheelbarrow. I am not sure why candidates think that artificially inflating your membership numbers is an advantageous strategy to them. Sadly, as usual, both the wheelbarrow and the “vote buying scandal” are soon forgotten but the mess caused by both remain.

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