Mark Wallace has an interesting article appearing on Conservative Home, one that raises a most interesting, although unstated, question. His article is entitled: Does the ‘Right’ of the Conservative Party really exist, purely on the basis that the media appear to enjoy anti-Cameron rebellion stories, in so doing citing the ‘Right’ as the culprit. It is worth repeating one section of his article:
……there are at least five different schools of thought that could be thought of as some kind of right within the Conservative Party – and they are variously overlapping or contradictory:
- The eurosceptics – particularly the Better Off Out group of MPs, including Philip Davies, Philip Hollobone and Peter Bone.
- The Whigs – the philosophical radicals, such as Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan, who want fundamental reform in the structure and function of the state to increase freedom and reduce taxes
- The campaigners – people such as Rob Halfon, Jesse Norman and John Baron, who have turned their backbench fastness into a raiding base, using the press and social media to devastating effect in order to, respectively, cut fuel duty, save billions on PFI and cause endless worries about defence cuts
- The paternalists – MPs like Claire Perry and Sarah Wollaston are often assumed to be on the left of the party, but on social issues such as online pornography, smoking or unhealthy food they are top-down paternalists in a distinctly crusty tradition
- The rest – from those whose religion led them to oppose same sex marriage to those who, like Steve Baker, champion radical economics, there are a myriad of other facets which could be validly referred to as part of “the Right”
It will be apparent that as the Conservative Party supposedly has a ‘Right’ wing, so it can be said that the Labour Party supposedly has a ‘Left’ Wing; and the Liberal Democrats, being Liberal Democrats, supposedly has both a ‘Right’ wing and a ‘Left’ wing. If a political party is unable to corral all its MPs to support every single subject which may arise, what chance is there of any political party corralling a country of 60+ million people who, too, will have differing views on every single subject.
Yet is that not which every political party attempts, when it presents it’s manifesto come every general election? Leaving to one side the tribal voter who will continue to put his cross on a ballot paper for a particular party whatever policies it may propose, we are then left with what political parties like to call the ‘centre ground’ – or, as some would prefer, the ‘swing voter’.
When faced with the manifestos of political parties, invariably it stands to reason that the electorate is faced with a choice of selecting whichever manifesto he/she finds the most distasteful – in other words the electorate is forced to dine table d’hôte when he/she would, no doubt, prefer to to dine a la carte. There is of course the other point, namely that manifestos may well contain policies which are not implemented or, when finally enacted, are nothing like that which had originally been proposed – and that is leaving to one side policies which are enacted and which never appeared in any manifesto.
As political parties coerce their MPs to accept policies with which they may disagree; but support for various motives including furtherance of their political career, so the electorate is forced to accept policies with which it too disagrees – the only difference being that the electorate do not have the carrot of ‘side benefits’.
Is this the way in which a country’s future is to be decided? Is this democracy in action? If we are to be governed, should we not have a choice as to the manner in which we wish to be governed? Is it not time that a serious debate was held in this country in relation to our system of democracy?
On the day when observance of Christ’s resurrection is observed, one can but hope we will, one day, observe the day on which the minds of the people were resurrected from their current dead condition.