Posts Tagged ‘Tory backbenchers’

Cameron has blundered on the EU

31/05/2013, 04:09:46 PM

by Malcolm Clarke

There cannot possibly be a more endearing sight for the left of centre politician than the sight of Tory MPs rabidly attacking one another over the issue of Europe, their reaction to the word ‘Europe’ as predictable as the salivating dogs trained by Pavlov’s bell.

But I do not believe that the issue of Europe is solely about UKIP, although they have seen big gains as a result of this issue. Europe severs the right and UKIP could have expected better results having mopped up floating Tory voters who are Euro-sceptic, the standard protest voters who used to vote Lib Dem and also the mid-term ‘we hate politics’ voters who look to inflict damage on the main parties.

If you consider the positive climate for UKIP gains given the heightened public consciousness on issues surrounding EU membership, getting 25% of the vote is underwhelming and I question the extent of the success that the media are heralding for UKIP. They have filled a void in protest politics, nothing more. That is not to say their position will not develop in time to a more established position, but as we saw in Scotland two days ago, there is no Cleggmania-like wave for Nigel Farage at present.

At Westminster, the Tories are treading familiar ground with a virile battle raging over the issue of Europe once again. The Tories just cannot resist a good row over Europe but I believe they should be dealing with the difficult domestic situation we face like the ever-increasing cuts to public services, the ideological attack on councils and the flat-lining economy. They have reverted to type and it’s the same old Tories. They showed it over the NHS and they are showing it over Europe.

Many of their ills are self-inflicted by a strategic error by David Cameron. By declaring that he will defer an in-out referendum until after the next general election and after a renegotiation on our terms of membership within the European Union, he walked headlong into three big problems.

Firstly, whilst in opposition Cameron gave a ‘cast-iron guarantee’ for an in-out referendum. Now he has gone back on his word and people have noticed, particularly those in his own party who were previously appeased by this pledge. Cameron now faces distrust to the extent that a private members bill has been tabled by Conservative MP for Stockton South, James Wharton, to ensure the matter is cast out in binding legislation. As no party can legislate to bind their successors, Cameron is dangling a carrot to the electorate and to his disparate MPs saying, ‘stick with me and get your referendum’. Unfortunately for Dave, they electorate may well kick him out of Number 10 for not delivering an in-out referendum now.


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Conservative MPs will be more, not less, reliant on David Cameron after the gay marriage vote

05/02/2013, 12:24:15 PM

by Mark Stockwell

Tonight’s vote on same-sex marriage will deepen the divide between Cameron and his party but ultimately it will make Conservative MPs more, rather than less, dependent on their leader.

The “rebels” (inverted commas, as it is technically a free vote) believe Cameron’s failure to win an overall majority marks him out as a loser and that they would do better without him. They were wrong to start with, and their actions over Europe and now same-sex marriage will make them even more wrong.  Cameron may be a “posh boy who doesn’t know the price of milk” but on both these issues he’s more in tune with the electorate than those who seek to displace him.

If there is damage to the Conservative party, it will be a result of the right refusing to acknowledge that they are a busted flush electorally and grieving publicly for the lost causes they continue to espouse. The impression of disunity is far more damaging than the exaggerated fears of a small and dwindling section of the population around the validity of institutions, social or political, that they seem to think they have exclusive rights to define as they see fit.

That said, it is astonishing that so many of the supporters of same-sex marriage, both in the upper echelons of the Conservative party and their supporters in the media, have such a tin ear for the sensibilities of the Conservative party in parliament and at large, that they have chosen to frame their appeals to the traditionalists in terms of how their vote may be perceived in 10, 20, 50 years’ time.

This is straight out of the Whig version of history – a view which is just not shared by this section of the Conservative party. In fact, the traditionalists, almost by definition, see themselves as a bulwark against precisely this sort of progressive view of the world. The past (stuff that’s already happened) and the present (stuff that’s happening here and now and might get them re-elected) matter much more than the future (stuff that may or may not happen some time after the next election if these lefty johnnies get their way).

Telling them they are ‘on the wrong side of history’ is the equivalent of pointing out to Luis Suarez that taking a tumble in the box may get him a penalty, but it will look bad in the TV replay.


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We need a bang ‘em up motion on prisons next week

01/07/2010, 11:37:46 AM

Next Wednesday is an opposition day in the House of Commons.  This means that the opposition gets to choose the subjects for debate. Labour’s ‘usual channels’ have yet to determine what next week’s motions will be.

Uncut would like to venture a suggestion: the debate should be about prisons. The motion should be strongly worded, along the lines of Jack Straw’s article in the Daily Mail. The thesis can be summarised thus: prison works; bang ‘em up.

Our view is not based on the rehabilitative efficacy or otherwise of prison. It is tactical. (more…)

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