Tuesday, August 04, 2009

How to create a party in one’s own image

There is something more than a little objectionable, not to say sinister, about the Conservative Party’s intention to limit candidate selection in its ‘plum seats’ to just six good men and true, three of which must be women, at least one of which must preferably be a one-legged Asian lesbian who knows a thing or two about defence.

These six will be hand-picked for each Conservative Association by two of the most powerful people in CCHQ – John Maples MP and Baroness Shireen Ritchie, who hold the future of the party and the make-up of the next government in their hands: it is theirs to mould, in accordance with their own professional preferences and political proclivities. Out will go the ‘Right-wing troublemakers’, and in will come ‘a new breed of youthful and inexperienced “Chloë-bots”,’ as the telegenic, smooth-talking, compliant candidates are known, named after the 27-year-old Chloë Smith, who was recently elected MP for Norwich North. David Cameron said she is ‘exactly the sort of MP I want to see in the House of Commons for the Conservative Party’.

It should not be for the Leader to declare, but for the people to decide 'the sort of MP' they wish to elect.

But from the thousands who have applied to join the élite Approved List, about 30 others are also ‘exactly the sort’ and are about to have their path to power assured.

Many are called, but few are chosen.

And the many have passed hours of arduous psychometric tests, attended weekend suitability assessments, completed demanding real-life exercises, taken the trouble to acquire high-profile testimonials and references, dedicated months to being mentored by an obliging MP, spent cumulative weeks mind-numbingly researching constituencies and submitting bespoke CVs, and loyally paid their on-going ‘flat tax’ annual fees - fixed irrespective of income - for the privilege of remaining 'approved’.

But some are evidently more approved than others.

And these may not be the best, the most loyal, the most experienced, the most knowledgeable, or even the most inspirational.

They are those who, for one reason or another, have caught the eye of John Maples or Shireen Ritchie; those who ‘fit the mould’ of David Cameron’s Conservative Party.

“Which of you shall we say doth love us most,” he asks of the prospective candidates, like Lear dividing his kingdom.

And like Goneril and Regan, the candidates feel obliged to fawn and flatter, to caress and cultivate, to oblige and adulate in order that they might be awarded a plum portion of the kingdom in the home counties, with shadowy forests and with champains rich'd, with plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads.

What is it which makes the Conservative Party’s candidates’ department exempt itself from David Cameron’s commitment to localism, devolution, subsidiarity and democracy? While the Leader preaches the gospel of demos, the party practises kratos.

Surely the Leader is not a centralising control-freak. Surely he is not a hypocrite. Surely he would not talk of shifting power from the state to the citizens and from Whitehall to town halls while centralising his own bureaucracy. Surely he would not preach the liberating mantra of ‘let the people decide’ while actually empowering his party’s unaccountable technocrats to thwart the popular will.

If the flourishing, literate, mature, responsible and civil local Conservative associations are not ready for democracy, what makes Mr Cameron believe the town halls are?

It gives Cranmer no pleasure to make these observations. But how can one persuade the electorate that one stands for something out of conviction if one’s instinct is to practise the contrary. Is a man not best judged by what he does in secret?

Cranmer perfectly understands the need for a new ‘gene pool’ of candidates, appealing beyond what John Bercow once referred to as the base of ‘ageing, white, male, rural and southern supporters’.

But why does Mr Cameron not trust his local associations to deliver this?

Why does he seek to impose candidates through the old boys’ network or fawning sycophancy?

As he questions each candidate to assess their suitability, he will listen intently as they eloquently quantify their love. And in his omnipotence he will accordingly divide the kingdom between them in proportion to their allegiance. Goneril is awarded the glory of a ‘safe seat’ vacated by an aged bed-blocker; Regan is apportioned a ‘key marginal’; but poor Cordelia is banished to a ‘no hope’ seat or, indeed, to no seat at all.

Her only redemption would be to declare herself a lesbian.

It is puzzling in the extreme that the Conservative Party has learnt nothing from the electorate’s reaction to the controlling and centralising tendencies of New Labour. When the people of Wales wanted Rhodri Morgan, Labour imposed Alun Michael; when the people of London wanted Ken Livingstone, Labour imposed Frank Dobson; when the people of Blaenau Gwent wanted to select their own candidate, Labour imposed an all-women shortlist. It is the Socialist way.

Yet in each and every instance, through the simple, patient application of democracy, the people ultimately got what they wanted, with significant humiliation for New Labour in the process. It is not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that proud and independently-minded Conservative associations, increasingly exasperated by an autocratic centralised power antithetical to all that is being preached about localism, might eventually stick two fingers up to this ultra-Approved List, which is essentially the resurrected ‘A-List’, and begin to field their own ‘democratic’ or ‘independent’ Conservative candidates.

If this were to happen, CCHQ would be yearning for the days of mild irritation caused by UKIP.

Meritocracy is foundational to Conservatism. It beggars belief that the Conservative Party can simultaneously declare that they believe in freedom, or the devolution of powers to the lowest possible level, or that they eschew political correctness, when they are intent on running their own internal affairs precisely to the contrary. The Party that derides the social engineering implicit in New Labour’s ‘access targets’ for university admissions is now demanding those very targets for itself. If such a policy is so abhorrent in further education, how much more objectionable is it when applied to those who may one day govern us?

It is worth considering that had the Conservative Party had central control of its MPs throughout its history, it would doubtless have removed Churchill, Eden and Macmillan from its approved list. And it is highly likely that they would have become more than a little exasperated by a shrill candidate called Margaret Thatcher who complained numerous times to Central Office of her inability to get selected.

These would never have found a place in David Cameron’s Conservative Party.

What on earth is wrong with local associations having the freedom to select the candidate they wish to promote and for whom they will knock on a thousand doors? For all Tony Blair’s control freakery or presidential aspirations, even he never went as far as interfering in such a freedom or declaring that someone is ‘exactly the sort of candidate’ he wishes to see in Parliament. Clare Short was sacked from the Government, critical of party policy, contemptuous of her leader, outspoken and offensive in the media, and even allegedly breached the official secrets act. The magnitude of her transgressions make the alleged misdemeanour of Howard Flight look like a walk in the park. Yet, despite such conduct causing acute embarrassment to her leader and her party, even she was permitted to stand for the party she had served for decades.

Such independence should not only be maintained, it should be actively encouraged. And it is a cause to which the Conservative Party above all parties should commit itself. For when the King will one day need backbench support for the passage of legislation or the consensual abolition of numerous safe Conservative seats in order to diminish the number of MPs by 10 per cent, it is then that Goneril and Regan might display their true colours.

And Prime Minister Cameron will howl for his banished Cordelia.


Blogger Christian said...

"Meritocracy is foundational to Conservatism."

Dr Cranmer,

While I agree with the gist of the this article, primarily because I am a great supporter of independent voices in parliament, I am surprised at your ignorance of what conservatism actually IS. Meritocracy is foundational to what LIBERALISM is. Not conservatism. On the contrary, a respect for the natural hierarchy in society is integral to conservative thought. Furthermore, true conservatives reject the worship of meritocracy as it is an implicit denial of the fallen nature of man and as such is a denial of the reality of the world as it is and always shall be. If we truly believe that meritocracy exists or can exist in any true form then we are saying that one chosen "meritocratically" is, for sure, the best man for the job. This creates an insufferable and unchristian arrogance amongst those at the top of society who believe that they are there though their own skill and effort alone, rather than seeing the plain truth which is that they are there largely by luck and should be grateful for that. Such a realisation on the part of elites creates a fundamental humility and encourages a mindset where those at the top see helping those at the bottom as their duty. The horrors of the odious nineteenth-century liberal society are thus avoided. As they were for centuries before the fall of traditional Christendom in 1789.

4 August 2009 at 10:38  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Top post Master C. It is indeed very troubling.

4 August 2009 at 10:45  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

Your Grace

I apologise for my negative outlook that follows but alas negativity is all I see these days in regards to Britains future.I am really not surprised by these revelations as a growing number of us are realising that democracy is dead or at least going through its death throws in this once proud country. As I keep reading on various sites, there is hardly any difference between the big three parties and all they are interested in is power. Political correctness and uncontrolled immigration will continue unabated, even under a so called conservative government. we might as well all just get used to it because we are finished and we only have ourselves to blame because there are a few occasions in our recent history when we could have stood up and stopped this madness but we were so easily bribed and placated and now we only have the BNP pulling in a different direction, so its pretty bleak.

4 August 2009 at 10:46  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Christian,

His Grace ignorant?

Any society that creates an élite by suitable rewards based on accomplishments that distinguish some from others is a meritocracy. Rawls described it as a society characterised by 'careers open to talents'.

But there is such a thing as an aristocracy of merit. Conservatives are monarchists because of the natural esteem-worthy personal traits of the monarch. The Conservative Party, being a fusion of Whig and Tory philosophies, holds Liberalism in tension with Conservatism, but it can do so because they are not mutually exclusive.

When intelligence is joined with effort in a context of equal opportunity, the result is productivity. The Conservative Party embraced the Protestant work ethic a few centuries ago.

4 August 2009 at 11:08  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

What on earth is wrong with local associations having the freedom to select the candidate they wish to promote and for whom they will knock on a thousand doors?

This is far better than centrally approved patronage, but lacks the democratic purity of Open Primaries where the local electorate choose the candidate.

4 August 2009 at 11:32  
Blogger John M Ward said...

Hmm. I think I can see where this might have come from — again, after the original A-list exercise.

It is not that Constituency Associations are universally incapable of selecting a broad range of candidates, but that in practice they tend to do so, on the whole. I have seen this in action.

That is not an excuse for imposition of any kind from the centre; but it must have ben exasperating for a widespread return to the "old ways" once such impositions were removed.

I do not know what the best answer would be, thinking more of the country than of anything else (including the party), and in the present climate there might not be one — yet.

Here in the Medway area of Kent we have selected three youngish (mid-20s to late 30s) candidates under various or no impositions; but I suspect that we might have had an even better selection if no avoidable impositions had been placed upon the Associations at all.

I do realise, though, that this doesn't necessarily apply equally everywhere.

4 August 2009 at 11:43  
Blogger Christian said...

Dr Cranmer,

Here is the rub, you say that the elite is created as a reward for accomplishments. I say that it is largely there due to luck. The monarch, to take your example, is there because she was born too it. It is here right of inheritance. Your suggestion seems to be that we have some sort of presidency!

This is not to foreclose the idea that one should encourage equality of opportunity to apply for individual posts in companies or governments. That can often be a good way of doing things.

It is, however, folly to say that true meritocracy is possible. It clearly isn't. I think we can all agree that his country is not often run by officials who are the very best people for the job.

Conservatives understand that attempting to work against the grain of human nature rather than with it is a great mistake. A mistake which Liberalism and its child Socialism have at their cores.

I grant the Whig predominance in the contemporary Conservative Party. That is why I am not a member of that party.

4 August 2009 at 11:52  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

David Cameron said she is ‘exactly the sort of MP I want to see in the House of Commons for the Conservative Party’.

She fits the bill because she is just out of school, has little or no experience of the real world, will parrot the party line, and will never defy the Whips. Then again, with 85% of our laws imposed on us by Brussels, what does it matter who sits in the House of Commons?

Parliament has become little more than a hoax, an attempt to persuade us that we are a democracy when we are nothing of the sort. So, why not fill up the Commons with pretty young things? These are the depths to which Britain has sunk, and the Conservatives (my former party) are as much to blame as any.

It may have given Your Grace no pleasure to write as you have but your words carry all the more weight for it. Thank you.

•Johnny Rottenborough’s August blog•

4 August 2009 at 12:03  
Anonymous dr kildare said...

Your Grace,a fine piece of reasoning that is well argued.

I supported Michael Howard when he was leader, and the poor unfortunate charisma bypass patient they had before him-forget his name-.Howard was unelectable,but he was conservative.

Cameron is electable,but he isn't conservative.

I left the party when Cameron was elected.Having ensconced myself in UKIP,I find myself very happy indeed to be in a party that
a) has politicans who will vote themselves out of a job
b)does what it says on the tin.

4 August 2009 at 12:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel Hannan needs to be leading the Tories. They need radical rethinking (even back to- oops, ad fontes) to regenerate the stinking miasma that is Britsh public life. These are the policies this country needs:
1. Cancellation of the BBC licence fee (cut off the Gramscians at source), followed by privatisation.
2. The restoration of grammar schools throughout the country to restore hope and opportunity to the able poor.
3. Direct elections for police chiefs and mayors everywhere. Regional banning orders on anti-social types.
4. An end to open doors immigration. An end to Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigration. no cousin brides, no crazy mullahs.
5. A referendum on Lisbon.
6. A 10% reduction in the Civil Service (this may lead to concentrating on useful work).
7. Tax incentives favouring marriage.
8. Abolition of race relations/PC etc grievance mongers. Revival of Christian education. Repatriation of Rowan Williams.

Ah yes, I can dream...

For nearly 30 years I have watched this country deteriorate. I don't think Cameron can or will do much ot reverse it.

4 August 2009 at 12:33  
Anonymous philip walling said...

Your Grace thinks like a Whig and in my view Whiggery is incompatible with Toryism. It's sophistry to try to argue that the conservative party holds Whig and Tory views in creative tension.
And Tories are not monarchists because of the 'esteem-worthy' traits of any particular monarch, but because they believe in monarchy as an institution at the head of a hierarchy; it is ordained by God to be like that and we deviate from it at out peril.

4 August 2009 at 12:51  
Blogger Christian said...

Here! Here! Good man Mr Walling

4 August 2009 at 12:52  
Anonymous Laird said...

Spot on Anonymous 12.33 I vote for all these changes too.If an ordinary bloke can work out what needs to be done what's wrong with the politicians.Why does it have to be a dream?Surely the majority would want this.

4 August 2009 at 12:58  
Anonymous Ben Noah said...

It is a notion of, "There is no community, only the individual." Being told that humans can no longer act on their volition within their society, but are of their own volition and want in their individuality; it shouldn't surprise anyone that even a conservative party (from the top down) must parody a nation in their candidates.

Admittedly, as an American, I am unfamiliar with the subtlety of British politics; but I can assure you that we are seeing similar attempts here, with our own placating to the culture the other side is producing. All it is leading to is an encroaching state and a collectivist mindset that will leave only those in charge with any real power- and that is when they'll turn around and tell us that we are under their capricious volition. After all, some animals are more equal than others.

4 August 2009 at 12:59  
Anonymous philip walling said...

Dear Mr Christian,
Thank you for your kind comments.
Emboldened to go a little further, I also seriously question whether Whiggery is compatible with Christianity - but maybe that goes too far in undermining HG's profession of protestant faith, and I wouldn't want him to stop provoking us by losing enthusiasm for his provocative blog.

4 August 2009 at 12:59  
Anonymous philip walling said...

Mr B Noah'
'Unfamilar with the subtlety of British politics' and from your post, the subtlety of the English langauge. What on earth are you trying to say?

4 August 2009 at 13:01  
Blogger Don't Call Me Dave said...

One of the few remaining perks of being a member of the Conservative Party is that we are supposed to be allowed to decide the candidates for elections, but the selection process for the recent Euro elections was nothing short of a complete fix!

In London region, the vote was loaded so that the two serving MEPs would top the candidates list come what may. Of the remaining six candidates (four male, two female) we were told that we must rank them 1-6 and if we didn't, the whole ballot paper would be declared invalid. Why should we be forced to rank someone who we may not consider suitable at all?

Worst of all, was that one of the female candidates, who actually finished 5th out of 6th in the ballot (the other female finished 6th) was placed top of this secondary list behind the existing MEPs - i.e. she was promoted to third place. This was not democratic or fair. If I, as an employer, rigged a job interview in this way, I would be prosecuted.

A spokesman for David Cameron argued that the result of a democratic vote could be ignored simply because women were under-represented in the European Parliament. This was a supercilious argument and patronising to the female candidates. The solution to under representation is to encourage more capable women to participate in the process, not to move the goal posts.

Candidates should be selected on merit, and merit alone.

4 August 2009 at 13:19  
Anonymous Ben Noah said...

Mr. Walling,

I am saying that centralizing party power should be expected because that is how our respective societies are functioning due to a breakdown of provincial traditions, mores and customs.

We agree that imposing gender, religious, ethnic, sexual identity quotas is a strategy to pander to the general electorate, right? Well, I'd argue that is an outgrowth of the idea that there is absolute autonomy to the individual. When there is no overarching cultural lingua-franca, political ideology becomes secondary to those categories mentioned above- there are no whigs or liberal-democrats or monarchists or anarchists; there are male whigs and black anarchists and gay monarchists. As such,it can no longer be assumed that individual voters will pick candidates that reflect all the "acceptable and appropriate" categories that now define individuals attractive to the electorate which expects "their" representation.

So a more external, more centralized party/government establishes power to get everyone to "play" as they see fit; rendering the actual individual less engaged and necessary in choosing actual representation outside of what their leaders allow them- eventually making those leaders "more equal" like Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer in "Animal Farm."

4 August 2009 at 13:53  
Anonymous Morus said...

For the record, Your Grace, Chloe Smith was not (and did not apply to be) on the A-list. She was chosen the old fashioned way, by a constituency association.

4 August 2009 at 14:36  
Anonymous Voyager said...

This is the prelude to the Party List system of elections. The Forces of anti-Democracy have been marching for quite some time. First they breathed life into the corpse that was the Labour Party just as they now have brought the Conservatives back from the dead.

Is it not astounding that there are not two major parties, vibrant and bursting with drive and energy ? But that one is exhausted in 1997 and replaced by a new 'youthful' image group; and that in 2009, there is one greey exhausted party and another seeking to portray the 'image' of youthful vitality ?

Is it not remarkable that Hobson presents his choice and the shades and hues are not dissimilar ? this is The Hotelling Principle for economists; it is the positioning of similar products distinguished only by promotional effort much as they try to brand petrol or bleach.

This is an island, and island polities always have a capital located near a major port where money and power congregate with media and transport links. The other side of the island is usually poor and neglected. The oligarchy makes its home in the favoured part of the island but has to put up a performance to persuade the peons at the other side of the island to trade votes for favours and so it recruits marketing/PR men to push an image to harvest votes.

It is self-evident that Britain has reverted to an 18th Century Oligarchy and that the effects of two World Wars in opening up the system to outsiders with military service faded as the wartime generation died off.

The only outcome can be dissolution of the political structure as fringe parties carve out geographical chunks of England much as they have harvested the Celtic fringe....the North of England is unlikely to support David Cameron and the South of England may turn to UKIP as the North turns to BNP

4 August 2009 at 14:40  
Anonymous philip walling said...

Thanks v much Mr Noah, much clearer now. I largely agree.

4 August 2009 at 14:42  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Morus,

His Grace does not doubt.

Unfortunately for her, the perception of the rise of the 'Chloë-bot' is gaining traction. It is evidently not her fault, but David Cameron's 'exactly the sort of candidate' remark only serves to heighten the perception of an officially-approved Cameronian genre.

4 August 2009 at 14:47  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Anonymous 12.33pm I agree entirely, with the suggestion that the civil service (local and central government places) are reduced by 50%, and there is active removal of all illegal immigrants within a period of, say, 6 months.

4 August 2009 at 15:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The big problem is allowing in to the political cesspit any one who is under 35 years old, then you have too many perverted and feeble minded. Look at today’s head lines in some of the press. Time is ripe for a clean out but will it come, if it doesn't then you had better start practicing placing your prayer mat facing Mecca four times a day.

4 August 2009 at 16:00  
Blogger Dr.D said...

How perfectly vile to allow the molding of the party like this!

4 August 2009 at 16:20  
Blogger Dave said...

Two points- the first being that Cameron is indeed Blair's successor.

The second is this- we elect a member of parliament. Is he he our representative or our ruler?

4 August 2009 at 16:25  
Blogger Gnostic said...

So the Tories are about to draw their last gasping breath and become a second rate, populist, stand for everything and do bugger all brigade (aka Blue Labour).

RIP the Conservative Party.

4 August 2009 at 16:33  
Anonymous I Albion said...

I have been a Conservative a long while, and the only reason i will be voting for them in the election is to get these evil people out who have all but destroyed England,but i have no faith in Cameron or his chosen ones, that it should come to this.

4 August 2009 at 17:15  
Anonymous RobertTheDevil said...

Very good timeing your Grace, the results for the Conservative "open primary" for Totnes in Devon has just been announced.

From David Camerons chosen three, the selected candidate, Dr Sarah Wallaston, will stand at the next
GE in place of Anthony Steen, who had a majority of 1,947 (hardly a safe seat)
I am not a member of the Tory party, although I have always been a Tory voter.

YG said....what on earth is wrong with local associations having the freedom to select the candidate they wish to promote and for whom they will knock on a thousand doors?

Mr Knighthawk opined...This is far better than centrally approved patronage, but lacks the democratic purity of Open Primaries where the local electorate choose the candidate.

I don't see any difference when one has to choose between candidates who have already been chosen by centrally approved patronage, this is choosing the lesser of two,in this case three, evils.
It's no choice at all.

4 August 2009 at 17:17  
Anonymous not a machine said...

It is certainly causing some debate , some see it as a putting and end to the incestious nature of local party dealings , where power can be dealt out before you even hit the radar , but constituancey workers who have laboured away there time for the consideration at the next position feel a bit uneasy .

Quite if lack of political background will mean a few slips both from within and without , however the thought of an innocent person going to a chief civil servant and asking where all the education money is going , is rather pleasing .

certainly may signal some more efective behaviour from sir humphrey

4 August 2009 at 17:38  
Anonymous len said...

Image is everything nowadays, one must distance oneself from the old perceptions of 'the party'.
NuLAB did this and came to power to the strains of 'things can only get better' with a brand new shiny image, and a youthful smiling Blair.

What the Tory party seem to be selecting are a bland selection of people who are willing to comply with whatever is expected of them.
Anyone with character, and dare one say it, balls, will probably be crossed off the list.

4 August 2009 at 17:49  
Anonymous non mouse said...

"And Prime Minister Cameron will howl for his banished Cordelia"
Yes, YG. Let's hope she'll come home; things aren't much better outside the UK, so she might!

Though I hope she doesn't bring some foreign husband with her, who'll supercede her authority and impose frano-german vision upon us. Oh... I see.

4 August 2009 at 18:19  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Great post, YG; and good responses too. Clearly the advertising gurus don't know how transparent they are.

Clearly their market research is useless as well - either incompetent or corrupt: or both!
If it were any good, they'd have them a list like Anon's and have amended it according to John in Cheshire. Though I'm not so sure about Hannan for leader; I need to see more reason for trusting him.

So - in case we ever get rid of the euSSR and clear out its colonists: I agree with Robert the Devil on Knighthawk's comment. I don't know how the electorate can get to choose their candidates - or whether an older system ensured that we had more say in the selection. But I do think we need to address that problem, not compound it by giving absolute power to a european governor - Herod indeed!!!

Btw on merit: I say we WILL suffer the consequences whenever we assign credit to achievers rather to God: who gave them the wherewithal, the talent, and the work ethic. Achievers who assign that credit to themselves ... well, just look at what we have now! [And at the difference between them and the Monarch].

4 August 2009 at 18:52  
Blogger ZZMike said...

One is reminded of recent elections in Iran, where the candidates were carefully-chosen, and (based on a few reports) the vote count carefully-adjusted to bring about the mullah-desired result.

If the Conservative Party picks its own tested and loyal candidates, voters are faced with Tweedledum and Tweedeldee choices. Peas in a pod - it hardly seems worth the effort of voting.

4 August 2009 at 19:13  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

@RobertTheDevil 17:17 & no nonny 18:52

I envisage that all party members in a local association would choose the candidate list for an Open Primary. Not simply the Local Party Executive and certainly not the National Executive. That would defeat the whole idea of improving direct democracy at local level.

4 August 2009 at 19:39  
Blogger Oldrightie said...

A fascinating discussion. Sad none of this was around before Blair elbowed his way into Number 10. Though a staunch Conservative I swallowed my disappointment and gave Blair the benefit of the doubt. He turned out to be a dreadful Prime Minister whose aim was to go higher and become the first ever President of Europe.
Now David Cameron is hung drawn and quartered before having the slightest chance to prove his mettle. Anyone who believes a selection history that has brought us a Parliament of self-serving, expense claiming, wets, needs a re-think. Repeat this post in 4 years time and let us see where we stand.

4 August 2009 at 20:45  
Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

I am bracing myself as I type, but I think Oldrightie has the point. It's never going to be perfect, but it is time to put something into Parliament of some substance. Chloe maybe chalk to my cheese, but she gets my vote.

Dam good debate.

4 August 2009 at 21:32  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

There is hope in Totnes Devon. The peoples choice Dr Sarah Walleston. This is a start to proper democracy and the right way to choose candidates.

4 August 2009 at 22:58  
Anonymous Brian E. said...

As fast as John Redwood and Douglas Carswell convince me that there are some good ideas for action coming from within the Conservative Party, David Cameron manages to convince me that under him it will remain "Business as usual".
So unless the leadership makes up its collective mind, very soon, about exactly what they would do if the came to power, I will become firmly convinced that I have no option but to vote UKIP, even if this risks another Labour government.

4 August 2009 at 23:32  
Blogger prashant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5 August 2009 at 06:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Rightie-
"Now David Cameron is hung drawn and quartered before having the slightest chance to prove his mettle." - But doesn't he have every chance? If he'd promise and give and us a referendum on europe - he'd prove it. Surely that choice is his own?

5 August 2009 at 08:29  
Blogger Young Mr. Brown said...

"I have been a Conservative a long while, and the only reason i will be voting for them in the election is to get these evil people out who have all but destroyed England"

I Albion, there are moments when I think like that.

And then I think "No - I cannot stand New Labour. Why should I vote for a party which is virtually indistinguishable from the people I so detest?"

5 August 2009 at 09:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer, while your article was somewhat overstated it has the grain of truth. I think open primaries are fine but, and you touch on this, the nub of the issue is the centrally run approved list.

5 August 2009 at 09:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

I admit to voting Conservative all my life which will, no doubt, please you. However, I will not be voting Conservative at the next general election. As you observe in your blog, the ‘selection’ process is akin to Labour’s. The Conservatives, as I think has been mentioned elsewhere, have become Labour Lite as there is now no ‘clear blue water’ between the two parties on the major issues that concern the electorate such as Europe, the war in Afghanistan and immigration. I’m afraid that true democratic choice in Britain has now become an illusion. The reality is that our country has already been swallowed up by the European superstate without the electorate’s consent. The UK parliament is just an expensive rubber stamping machine and, as we’ve seen this year, those Quislings that do the stamping are rewarding themselves handsomely for their treachery. So, the question now for ex-Conservative voters like myself is which party to vote for. UKIP perhaps? No, my conclusion is that, although there are many sincere people in UKIP, the party is nothing more than an establishment hoax to siphon off disillusioned voters while allowing the old gang parties to see-saw from government to, so called, opposition ad infinitum.

5 August 2009 at 09:34  
Blogger prashant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5 August 2009 at 13:54  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

An excellent post, and one that highlights the way that Cameron looks like Blair Mk. 2. This is why he isn't trusted all that much.

Depressing, isn't it?

Remind me again why we abolished rotten boroughs? What was the point?

5 August 2009 at 19:41  
Anonymous Dave J. said...

Mr Christian, can I safely assume by your comments that you believe yourself to be the rightful subject of His Majesty King Francis, the Duke of Bavaria, as the divinely ordained monarch regardless of the acts of a purportedly sovereign parliament in claiming to legitimate the present line of usurpers? If you are not, then you are not following your own rhetoric to its logical conclusion. If you are, well, as romantic as I might personally find Jacobitism to be, it does tend to come across as somewhat...insane?

6 August 2009 at 02:24  

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