"...the deliberate obstinacy and recalcitrance of the Party Chairman"
But the most valuable questions the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister could ask today relate to the conduct of the Party co-Chairman in this matter, for Baroness Warsi has shown herself to be cantankerous, stroppy, duplicitous and disloyal to Party workers and those who have consistently voted for Mr Helmer to be elected. When an MEP or MP defects, citing the 'the deliberate obstinacy and recalcitrance of the Party Chairman' as a cause, one really must ask whether that chairman is up to the task of mediating, negotiating, reasoning or working behind the scenes diplomatically for the good of all.
It is not simply in the increasing disconnect between CCHQ and the Party's local associations that Sayeeda Warsi has failed, but in her determination to spout on about multiculturalism and Islam under a patronising veneer of Christianity. She appears to have little knowledge and less respect for the Party's history and structure, and appears to be quite ignorant of its philosophy and traditions.
If Baroness Warsi were to dedicate just one tenth of the effort she devotes to religious affairs to her job as Chairman of the Conservative Party, she might just arrest the inexorable decline in party membership.
His Grace won't re-rehearse the praise he has poured out on Sayeeda Warsi in the past: she is brave, articulate and forthright in her beliefs. She glides through the complexities of Pakistani politics, confronts ‘honour’ killings and forced marriage, exposes voter fraud and immerses herself in very relevant and pressing social issues which benefit more than her co-religionists: her eyes are not solely on the glorification of Allah and the wellbeing of the Ummah.
But she understands Pakistan's history more that Britain's, and is more attuned to the politics of the mosque than that of the Conservative Party. She often says she speaks 'as a proud British, Muslim, Conservative woman'. How many proud British, Christian, Conservative men is the Conservative Party embracing and promoting under her chairmanship? If you happen to believe that homosexuality is a sin and shouldn't be taught to primary school children, or you object to 'gay marriage' on sincere theological grounds, are we really to believe that such people would be selected as candidates and permitted to join the Approved List, of which Sayeeda Warsi is the present custodian?
His Grace is not frightened of these debates: politicians are, though they pretend ad nauseam to be having them. And as a result of this disjuncture, the level of political discourse in the Conservative Party is diminished. Contentious moral issues, no matter how worthy of scrutiny or debate, are swiftly closed down with threats of suspension, expulsion or dismissal. In this age of hyper-sensitivity to offending anyone on any matter, genuine debate is suppressed and liberties are thereby surrendered. Roger Helmer has paid the price not of his personal conviction, but of Sayeeda Warsi's intemperance and incompetence. The Party needs a chairman who can inspire and unify; not one who is divisive, obstinate and recalcitrant.