Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Fall-Out, Part 1

With Westminster in an enjoyable turmoil, discussing what it most enjoys - its own affairs - there is still the hanging question of how on earth will the elections go. Not, of course, the distinctly pointless elections for the European Parliament, which will allow everyone to vote for a minority party without worrying about the consequences. No, the world of Westminster is worried about what might happen at the next General Election.

First, they might face challenges from celebrity independents, although if they remain of the calibre of Esther Rantzen most MPs will not need to worry. Roy Hattersley, an old Labour dinosaur, launched a broadside against celebrity candidates in his 'Times' column today. In fact, there was a section there which is ideal for AS students. Pointing out that Independent MPs are not able to achieve anything beyond the ousting of an MP, he defends the party system - Decisions are only made or changed when significant numbers of MPs come together in common cause. It is called the party system and enables voters to choose between rival programmes of government rather than which “personality” they prefer.

Meanwhile, one celebrity with some political achievement to her credit, the fabulous Joanna Lumley, has already announced that she has moved on to support the Green Party. So, after her victory, a quick retreat to the fringes of serious political activity. Never mind, the power was good while it lasted.

Finally, David Cameron and the Tory leadership are apparently concerned that for all their tough talk, the Tory constituency parties are not going to prove willing to deselect their MPs. If the local party of Andrew McKay isn't willing to drop him, what hope is there for the lesser offenders to be quietly removed? As ever, moderniser Cameron's task is made no easier by the relentlessly prehistoric nature of is determinedly out of touch party activists. These, after all, were the people who once thought Iain Duncan Smith might be a vote winner!

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