Category Archives: Coalition Government

The Tory tantrum over Gay Marriage: Will David Cameron survive?

Well, tensions were high, speeches were emotional, and there were tears before bedtime. 2013 is still fairly fresh and new, but it has already been jam-packed with contentious issues, and one or two headaches for the Prime Minister. Last Tuesday night saw the success of the first stage of the Gay Marriage Bill despite many Conservative MPs voting against it. Nevertheless the majority was overwhelming and I was frankly delighted and relieved. It reaffirmed that we do live in a country which still retains a great deal of humility, even if we don’t always see it (and I STILL can’t see what all the fuss was about!). It also meant that I don’t have to resign my party membership, something I had secretly promised myself that I would do if the Bill had been defeated.

Since it has gone through, apparently it has sparked a deluge of resignations from the Tory party, there has been a great deal of grumbling from the grassroots, well from what I can gather, the older generation of the grassroots. These are generally more right-wing members, the die-hard true blues, the extensive volunteer network that the Party really can’t do without. They are the ones who sacrifice countless hours of their time to raise funds, deliver leaflets and go door to door drumming up votes, with the help of us much younger conservatives who are not retired and therefore don’t have the time to dedicate ourselves to the cause as much as they do. At the Party Conference, this group of people (party activists in their late 50s to late 90s) are constantly referred to as they backbone of the party, which indeed they are. Was David Cameron right therefore to push this highly controversial piece of legislation through? Too bloody right he was!!

As one contributor to a forum put it; members are like shareholders and the PM is like the CEO, yes, that’s absolutely true, shareholders don’t run the company the Chief Exec does. David Cameron, for whatever moral arguments about equality might also come into play, needed to remind his party and his grassroots base who runs the country. Cast your mind back a month to the stressful, albeit incredibly successful speech he delivered on Europe. Contentious due to all the waves it caused on the continent and further afield, that was not a speech the Prime Minister wanted to make. He was effectively backed into a corner by many within the party to do so. The speech was as strong as anyone sensible would dare, a clear message was sent to Europe.
 
Combined with the promised referendum on Europe, the grassroots have also had Chris Grayling’s tougher stance on intruders and the ban on Squatting to feel rather chuffed about. It is clear that policy makers have listened to their views and concerns, however they must understand that some things need to be done for the greater good and that they can’t have it all their own way. David Cameron had to reassert his authority, and since 400 MPs all voted in favour, it allowed the more intransigent dinosaurs within the party to do as their ‘conscience’ (or if I was a cynic, their fear of being deselected, allowed). The fact that the vast majority of the Commons voted for it shows that truly this was done in the national interest and not in the more minor party interest. Even if the Conservative Party lose a few members here and there his credibility as a Prime Minister who can take a moral stance in the face of opposition from his peers, will be much improved. If nothing else, at least the horsemeat scandal has taken the heat of this debate for now and has given the fuddy-duddies (and the rest of us) something else to grumble about!
 
As a slight aside, if you have not already done so, I would seriously recommend reading Alice Arnold’s charming, and absolutely spot on article on why she will marry Clare Balding. She puts things better than I can “Children are not born with prejudice, it is society that nurtures it”.

Gay marriage; will someone please tell me what all the fuss is about?!

My humble apologies, I realise it has been a year since I last posted anything, so it is time to make amends. The day when MPs are due to vote on Gay Marriage is coming up fast; next Monday in fact. This got me thinking, I really can’t personally see why it should be so controvertial, and I’ve had one of the most conventional upbringings I know! I attended the conservative party conference last October. It was the first time I had been and I was surprised by the spectrum of views held by the people there. I dutifully got my social action badge and my “I’m with DC” badge on Gay marriage. Maria Miller as newly appointed minister of the DCMS put it brilliantly; “The state should not stop two people from making the commitment to be married unless there’s a good reason. I don’t believe being gay is one of them”.

Maria Miller sent out a clear message last October

Maria Miller sent out a clear message last October

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Coalition is likely to split before the next general election – According to senior Tory MP

The Liberal Democrats and Conservative coalition government has had many difficulties to overcome since the 2010 General Election. The cracks are starting to show and a number of people, both in and outside of Westminster, have predicted that it will break down before the 2015 General Election.

Graham Brady, senior Tory MP and Chairman of the Conservative Backbench 1922 Committee has become the latest person to doubt the life expectancy of the coalition. Read the rest of this entry

Pasties, Caravans, Buzzards and Charitable Donations: A Week of Unfortunate U-Turns

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This year the word ‘budget’ struck fear into the hearts of members of the Conservative Party because of the increases they believe are necessary but foresaw the rest of the country resenting. For Conservatives, this week has been one of persistent confusion, ever since the 2012 budget people here have been discussing pasties and static caravans extensively (being from the West Country where tourism is a lifeline) and Mr Osborne’s announcements last week were gratefully received, but should we be concerned about the amount of U-turns the Conservative Party are having to make?

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For the sins of the Father

Nick Clegg has today claimed that voters are finally hearing his admittedly very timid message on what precisely the Lib Dems are doing for them, apart from indebting their children to an insane degree. Unfortunately, having only heard the enchanting whispers of his closest viziers inside the Westminster bubble, he is completely unaware of the utter betrayal felt by the majority of those that voted Lib Dem in the last election. The coven surrounding him has apparently ignored the fact that the Faustian pact he made with Cameron will cost perhaps hundreds of Lib Dem councillors their seats, and the political career of a thoroughly decent ex policeman standing for London Mayor.

It is a fact that most voters do not vote for the candidate, but for the party. In this case, Brian Paddick could promise to end poverty in the East End, cure all known disease, and silence Bill Cash, and he would still be tarred with a brush that says “Yes, your flagship, single-reason-I-will-vote-for-you policy is to massively improve education, but the last time your party said that over half  of those in a position to do anything about it actively voted not to, or abstained which is even worse”. If a brush can say all that of course.

Brian Paddick is in an unenviable position of being what is nominally the third party candidate. In the last mayoral election, where the top three candidates were the same and the Lib Dems hadn’t yet been in government, Paddick still only got 9.8%  of the vote. Assuming the decimation of the rest of the party spreads to him, he is in for an absolute drumming. The polls for the past month don’t look as cataclysmic as they might, putting him at somewhere between 5-10% vote share, which is up from the 2% YouGov had for him in early 2011, though pollsters tend to advise a four % swing either way is feasible so maybe he’ll get -2% of all votes cast.

The advice that poor policeman Paddick should take is the following: Pull out of the election tonight. If the Liberal Democrats come behind UKIP or, if the Bromley voters have their way, the BNP, it will be the end of an electable Lib Dem party for years. London shouldn’t be a bellweather for the rest of the country’s politics, but it is; it’s just the parties involved are different. In Scotland, the SNP can take up left wing issues in opposition to a once dominant Labour, in Wales Plaid Cymru are doing the same. Both have sound policies, albeit with an unpleasant aftertaste of nationalism, and neither need a liberal party. Northern Ireland has never really hosted the main political parties, and now in England there are so many minor parties that the Lib Dems aren’t even considered as a protest vote anymore.

Even if the assumption is wrong and Mr Paddick does spectacularly well, scoring 15-20% for example, this would be a major disaster for the party faithful. Nick Clegg and sons would take this to mean that people actually do agree with what they have done, and press on kowtowing to the tories for the next three years of this parliament, meaning many more defections . It is not a pleasant catch-22 for any paid up member of the party.

I realise Brian won’t pull out, as he has been called on by the party to be a sacrifice to Ken and Boris for a second time, and no doubt some small part of him thinks he can win. He can’t. Luckily in the London elections the voters are allowed to put down a second choice. We need that to be Ken.

Whilst he has been an inexcusable idiot on occasion, think of the alternative. Four more years of Boris. Four more years of nothing at all. Ken achieved things such as the congestion charge, the ill named Boris Bikes and he at least attempted to reduce poverty. Alexander Boris de Pfeffer Johnson, of the House of Hanover, cousin to David Cameron, has done nothing tangible, except show the rest of the world that in British democracy it isn’t your policies that get you elected, it’s your hair.

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