Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Disenfranchised

George Monbiot's Grauniad article today is entitled 'A Restraint of Liberty'. It turns out to be the usual bonkers stuff about global capitalism being responsible for the gas chambers. But when I first saw the title I assumed it was about his Dad's work on disenfranchising members of the Tory party.

Because of course George's Dad is Ray Monbiot CBE, Deputy Tory Party Chairman, and the man responsible for drawing up the proposed new Party constitution disbarring members from leadership elections.

Say what? Monbiot? Have I been asleep?

No. Our Monbiot is the one who writes for guest publication Meat and Poultry News.

According to an interview with the Torygraph:

'The existing rules - under which MPs whittle down candidates to a shortlist and then local Tories vote on the winner - created the "idiotic" situation in 2001 where the little-known Iain Duncan Smith was elected by the membership in autumn 2001, only for MPs to launch a putsch against him two years later.

"The guy is selected and the MPs find they can't work with him," said Mr Monbiot. "We have to do better than that.

"We must find a new balance which keeps the volunteers in the loop and the MPs in the loop so that people end up with a leader who everybody is happy with and can work with."

So here we are.

The guys who elected and then shafted Major, Hague, and IDS now have all the power.

Yes, I know, technically we members elected IDS, but the MPs only gave us a choice of two, one of whom spent his entire hustings campaign rubbing us up the wrong way on Europe. And as I recall, the idea was for the MPs to present members with two carefully selected candidates, either of whom they would be happy to work with. Just because all their internal blood feuds prevented that happening last time is no reason to disenfranchise us. It's them that need a few heads knocking together, and I assume DD has got his list ready.

Commenting on an earlier post, esbonio compares the Tory ruling class to the Bourbons. But at least the Bourbons gave us those rather scrummy chocolate cream biscuits.

Although of course eventually we peasants didn't just knock their heads together- we chopped them off.


Update: Good editorial in the Times which suggests a 50/50 electoral college:

'Any new system for the Conservative leadership must be simple enough to understand. It should avoid the ping pong being proposed at present, whereby the wishes of party members can be overruled by MPs. It should, as befits a great democratic party in a great democracy, give clarity and a voice to all party members. The Conservative Party could do a lot worse than follow new Labour in this respect, and institute an electoral college whereby MPs have 50 per cent of the votes, and the party membership the remaining 50 per cent. Wholly undesirable candidates could be ruled out by the imposition of a further rule that any candidate must have the support of a fifth — or, as currently proposed, a tenth — of MPs to stand in the first place.'
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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bourbons are rubbish biscuits. On this alone, you have no taste!

10:51 AM  

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