Sunday, 24 May 2009

on the 'modernisation' of the Conservative Party

In my last post, I suggested that David Cameron and The Telegraph were in cahoots over the entire expenses debacle.

I didn't realise until today how deep it possibly runs. Has Cameron used the whole expenses issue to complete one of his long running aims for when he becomes Prime Minister, the modernisation or some might argue, neutering of the Conservative Party.

Consider this, what is a party if it has no candidates who have a history of following that party's ideology? New Labour, a semi-vacuous grouping of people who serve at the pleasure of the person who got them there.

But that is obviously what Cameron wants, unquestioned power, almost Presidential? Well President's aren't usually that powerful, unless you throw in control of the legislature, which is what Cameron will have.

This is something quite popular in France, where a Presidential candidate may sometimes create a party for National Assembly elections to create a mandate for the President in the Assembly. This is illustrated by the "Union for the Presidential Majority" created to give Chirac a majority. Even the French were not so brazen and the party's title was quickly changed to Union for a Popular Movement, thus maintaining the same acronym.

Now while I am in no way suggesting David Cameron is Jacques Chirac (nor could he ever be as charismatic) he certainly seems to be quite keen to use this expenses issue to get rid of his old guard. Note how the main Tory MP's to be in the spotlight are all backbenchers, yet Jonathan Djanogly, Chris Grayling, Oliver Letwin, Michael Gove and Francis Maude et al. all still have their jobs and are all standing at the next election.

There is an interesting post over at Mark Reckons on the correlation of safe seats to being implicated in the 'scandal'. I'd be interested to see how many safe seats are Conservative over Labour, and how many of these safe Conservative seats will be  given the boot by David Cameron.

Maybe it's just my cynical nature, but be prepared for a mass exodus of the Thatcher old guard over the next few months as Conservative HQ 'instructs' local activists who to choose.

Also while we are on the subject of expenses, and I know I ranted in my last post about the whole thing being politicised, but hey-ho call me a hypocrite.

If Parliament is to avoid being turned from the mother of all parliaments into the eunuch of all parliaments, we need a proper overhaul of Westminster. That means a change in how we do business – family-friendly hours, a review of MPs' expenses, and reform to our over- generous pensions, for starters.

- Nick Clegg, November 2007

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