The Queen's Speech amendment is venal act of self indulgence. It could be the beginning of the end of the Tories in government for a very long time
13 May 2013 at 08:23
If you walk down to the basement of Conservative HQ you will be confronted by a locked door with the sign emboldened with a skull and crossbones warning, “Danger enter at your peril.” Those who have been brave enough to cross the threshold tell me that the room is empty save for a glass case which contains a large red button emblazoned with the words “Self Destruct.”
One by one the Parliamentary Party have been filing into the room as relatively normal people, pressing the button and then emerging like extras from Shaun of The Dead by staggering zombielike into the fresh air and infecting other colleagues.
The amendment to the Queen’s Speech could be the beginning of the end of the Conservatives in office. It is an act of venal self indulgence which will horrify those sentient members of the electorate who actually think and care and will antagonise those who fear for their jobs and families.
What is it meant to achieve? No parliament can bind another. But this amendment doesn’t even try to. It is just an expression of regret that the government’s legislative programme doesn’t mention a referendum. Most Labour MPs and all Lib Dems will vote against so it will be defeated.
What a thoroughly futile and pointless exercise. And according to some MPs this is just the beginning.
So apart from making them all look like incompetent fools more interested in a stunt to save their own miserable skins it is a gift to the Faragistas. How long will it be be before the cartoonists show Farage pint in hand, fag in mouth, sitting on the back seat of a second hand Jag giving directions to his chauffeur, David Cameron?
Personally, I don’t give a toss if celebrities like Jamie Oliver and Des Lynam bromance the kippers. It will give me endless hours of amusement when these bandwagoners suddenly realise that there is a very dark side to UKIP.
But what I find so unforgivable is the self preservation and vanity of ministers. What on earth does the normally sensible Michael Gove think he is playing at? What’s happened to collective responsibility? I suspect that one day he will realise that this is the biggest mistake of his political career. Which is a shame as I like and admire him. Of O’Patz and the charisma free zone that is Phillip Hammond I am not surprised. Little people with large ambitions.
However, watch out for Theresa May who is being both loyal and clever. This lady has come a very long way.
Most depressing of all is that voting for this irrelevance will be like a badge of honour. The pressure from local supporters will be mounting on backbenchers and ministers. This will be the time we will find out who are the sheep and who are the wolves.
I sometimes wonder whether Cameron and Osborne are the only members of the cabinet with any balls. They know that it would be an economic catastrophe to leave the EU. Their plan is sensible and realistic. It would be counterproductive to go to other leaders with a set of British demands. Far better to sell reforms as something that will help all member states. More transparency, more democracy. Power not just flowing to Brussels but back to member states.
The repatriation of powers shopping list that the usual suspects have drawn up is a trap that Cameron is too savvy to fall for. It will sour negotiations and fail.
And that is what they want.
But it would be rather nice if someone would have the courage to speak up for the EU. Not as a federal state, a central economic and fiscal policy nor mad delusions of foreign adventures. People want Cameron to protect our interests, in trade, jobs and the City of London as well as promoting growth as well as to claw back social and employment policy from Brussels for all member states.
For a man who has vetoed a treaty, reduced the budget and saved us from the horrors of the Euro bail out mechanism, he is just the man to put the case for reform not just for us but for all members.
Whether his party will let him is another matter. This freak show has got to stop. But it will get worse. This is a gift for Farage giving him a sense of importance that is totally unwarranted.
But this whole farce is just being to gain momentum. The Onanistic wing of the Tory Party are now pressing for a referendum on gay marriage. Completely nuts.
What is so frustrating is that at the weekend Peter Mandelson made a scathing attack on the power and influence the unions have on Labour. A hand grenade into Miliband’s inner sanctum. A gift for Cameron. The Tories should be exploiting this with vigour.
I have been shocked at the language that is privately deployed against Cameron and Osborne. The way some talk you would think that they are serial killers. For reasons beyond my comprehension many are genuinely keen to rid themselves of their only electoral asset before the election. One backbencher told me a few weeks ago that he could easily get seventy signatures on a letter to 1922 Chairman Brady. “The only thing that stops us is that we detest Afriyie even more”, he grinned.
And all this at time when the economy is beginning to move in the right direction. The Footsie is soaring and advertising revenues will be up 2.7% on last year and be predicted to hit a 5% increase next year. This is significant because advertising revenues don’t track GDP they drive it.
But apart from being a KIPPER this is not a good time to be leader of any party. A large section of Labour MPs despise Miliband and would oust him if their party machinery wasn’t so cumbersome and poor old Cleggy will find himself under a lot of perhaps mortal pressure at conference in September.
And that is the added attraction for parties like UKIP. They are fed up with the parlour games, the positioning, the intrigue and the stunts. They don’t like the piss being ripped out of them by the ruling elite.
And this totally daft, meaningless stunt over the Queen’s Speech will only fuel the already bloated ego of Farage’s ego to barrage balloon proportions.
What an absolute shower. This is the only time since 1997 that I wished I was back on those green benches.
I’d give them hell.