Are you local? I dont want to sound like someone out of the League of gentlemen but this is in fact just the right question to ask of Dr Mark Lloyd Davies the newly selected Conservative Candidate for the Bristol South constituency at the next general election ('Tory pair prepare for election bid', Bristol Evening Post, 9 Feb 2008). The answer to my question is a very big NO - the 32 yr old lives in south west London and works in Surrey!! As far as I can gather the nearest he gets to local knowledge and connection is the fact that he went to school in Somerset (according to the Evening Post at least). Even on the 'independent but supportive of the Conservative Party' website Conservative Home one person (Amand H) commented thus after the selection was announced:
Here we have another career politician being "shoehorned" into a seat. What does someone from Guildford know about Bristol?
I would have liked to see Dawn Parry take on Dawn Primarola - A New Dawn!
We need local people who understand local issues to represent Bristol at Westminster.
Why is it that people who work at Westminster or live in the SE have carte blanche to apply for seats anywhere in the country and yet local candidates can only apply in their area? This skews the system against local candidates and towards political types who have no understanding of the real world of work.
There is more that interests me about Dr Davies: his scientific background and interests; the importance of religion to his life and politics; how on Earth he squares his scientific training with his religion (there being no evidence that there is or ever has been a god); and his work for a major multi-national pharmaceuticals company and interest in climate change. How do I know these things? Helpfully, the Conservative Christian Fellowship website contains this biography (links to his PhD and employer added by me):
Mark Lloyd Davies is Government Affairs Manager for Europe’s largest pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis. Previously, Mark was the Conservative Research Department Health Policy Advisor (2004 to 2006). In addition to Health, Mark has interests in climate change (PhD Glacial Geology, Universiteit van Amsterdam), post-modernism and rugby where he serves as co-president of Egham Hollowegians RFC. Mark worships at St Stephen’s Church, Twickenham and in his spare time enjoys fine food and wine, rugby and the company of friends and family.
I wondered what the Conservative Christian Fellowship was all about, thinking that this would shed some light on Dr Davies views. The following phrases come direct from their website's About page:
The Conservative Christian Fellowship…exists to be a vibrant Christian witness within the Conservative Party… to follow Christ with our hearts, souls, strength and minds; playing our part in the redemption of culture and individual lives…to train, equip and support our members…a relational bridge with the Conservative Party…is a fellowship founded on prayer…when parliament is sitting…holds a prayer meeting to pray together for the Fellowship, parliament and the nation….denominational diversity…has been hosted within Conservative Campaign Headquarters…aim to be the best servants of Christ and the party.
I hope to get the chance to debate all sorts of issues with Dr Davies and the other Bristol South constituency candidates (Labour's Dawn Primarolo, the Greens Cath Slade, and the Lib Dems Dr Mark Wright, so far, all with strong local connections!) as we approach and go through the general election campaign. The role of mulitnational companies in causing and in solving climate change is one issue that springs to mind (his employer sanofi-aventis has a website on sustainable development which I'll look over). The role of evidence in what we believe to be the truth (whether it is climate change, or the effectiveness of various approaches to health, or indeed god...) also springs to mind!
More on the Conservative Christian Fellowship here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Christian_Fellowship
and on sanofi-aventis here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanofi-aventis.