Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Groaning Oozing Ebbing Lipsmackin' Bloodbath

'One MP said: "I have never seen a Conservative leader groaned at by the members before. You could feel Michael's authority oozing away."

Another said: "It was a bloodbath. It is safe to say there was an air of rebellion in the air. The chief whip can't take the whip away from all of us."

The atmosphere among Tory MPs was said to be "febrile" last night after the stormy hour-long meeting in a committee room off the medieval Westminster Hall, with MPs openly declaring the constitutional changes dead after the angry reaction of their colleagues.'

This morning Damian Green preferred ebbing to oozing, but we get the general idea.

And what are these MPs so pissed off about? The anti-democratic outrage of disenfranchising Party members?

Er, no.

No. What they don't like is the other bit of the Monbiot/Howard reform package- the establishment for the first time of job descriptions, objectives, and performance criteria for MPs. The sort of thing that most big companies have had for years.

You see they 'haven't been consulted.'

Haven't been consulted.

Well, we schmuck members out here haven't even been told anything is going on at all, let alone been 'consulted'. Look on the Party website, and there isn't even a hint of any reform package. All we know is what we read in the papers and on the blogs. We certainly don't know if we're going to be given any say in the proposed changes.

But we can all agree that another seven months of lameduck leadership is a disastrous prospect. We tear ourselves apart and Tony gets a free ride. Brilliant.

The talk among MPs is all about 'decoupling' (something several of them would do well to bear in mind after those late night sittings). Green says the leadership rules should be changed now- 'most people agree the predominant voice should be the MPs' (hmm...see here)- and the other changes should be considered at leisure.

I've got a better idea.

Let's have the leadership election now under the existing rules, and consider all of Monbiot's proposed reforms at leisure under DD.

Postscript In the final days of IDS, Peter Oborne pointed out Ray has wider responsibilities than drawing up reform plans:

'It should be borne in mind that Monbiot is one of the men in grey suits whose heavy duty might be to hand the party leader a bottle of whisky and a revolver in certain circumstances.'

I wonder who decides whether current circumstances qualify as 'certain'.


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