Manifestos and mandates – not in my name ?


I feel like I am these days forever discovering the bloody obvious in politics, but until recently none of this was obvious at all to me. I guess it’s the result of having seen so much of the manoeuvrings of these young ambitious career politicians from close quarters now. Once you’re old enough to have seen the results of ambition all around you, and you can make a fair stab at anyone’s real motivation by looking into their eyes, things look different. Suddenly a house of people who were apparently wise and just, and beyond our questioning, become a house of suited and booted overgrown sixth formers who have the preposterous idea that they know how to run a country. Most of these people don’t even KNOW what propels them … they have never looked inside themselves to question their own actions at base level. They don’t want to look. They are enjoying being on that heady train ride. They feel the power in their loins and don’t want to look anyone in the eye who asks awkward questions.

So many of the people who are operating ‘The System’ in Parliament are sadly, lacking in the qualities that would make it work fairly and decently. But there are even deeper problems, that lie in the System itself.

We have seen the monstrously unfair effect of the ‘First Past the Post’ electoral system. But inside the House, there is something that doesn’t add up.

Liam Fox
‘We will have a British bill of rights’ says Dr Liam Fox

Liam Fox today [25 May] made a little speech expressing disappointment that some Conservative MPs had announced their intention NOT to vote for the destruction of the Human Rights Act (Hallelujah!) Now Mr Fox doesn’t fall into that category of young career politicians. He’s a senior and experienced pillar of Parliament. But he said, interestingly today, that these dissenting MPs didn’t understand that the very fact they’d all been elected to their seats proved that their constituents agreed with all the items in David Cameron’s manifesto. Therefore these MPs ought to feel obliged to vote according to what David Cameron tells them to – and of course the party whips will be brought in offering threats and rewards to try to make sure they do just that.

But this is clearly a misunderstanding on Liam Fox’s part, isn’t it ? The pieces of paper that came through my door from prospective MPs before the election were full of attestations of the candidates’ personal attributes, and promises about local matters which they promised to fix; in the case of the Tory chaps, the closest thing to a national manifesto was this small and rather childish section offering a thumbnail guide to the dangers to Britain if we didn’t vote Conservative.

Choice at General ElectionThis actually made me laugh … it was such a ridiculous caricature of the issues, but evidently a lot of people took it seriously. But whether they did or not, do you see any mention here of the abolition of Human Rights, or the return of blood sports ? Or the siphoning off of sections of the National Health Service to turn them into private moneymaking concerns ? No, I don’t think so. But with the Government in place for only a few hours, all these things, unmentioned in the little comic strip above, are already being prioritised. I don’t believe they have Britain behind them in doing this – thrusting these sinister plans into the Queen’s speech, and getting ready to bully them through Parliament.

All those MPs Liam Fox is expecting to toe the line technically and practically were voted in, not because of items in Cameron’s manifesto, but because their constituents thought they would be good for their neighbourhood. There is no reason to believe that all of even the smallish percentage that voted for the winning candidate (around 35 per cent, typically) agreed with everything in that manifesto. Most of them had probably never read it. All they saw was the leaflets, and incessant fearmongering propaganda from the newspapers.

So, to repeat: I don’t believe that most of the people in Britain want Cameron to fulfil all of his ‘promises’ in his wretched self-aggrandizing manifesto. On the contrary, they expect their MPs to act as guardians, acting according to their wishes that every new move by the Government is actually based on the good of the country, rather than the good of a small set of politicians and landowners.

I believe that if Cameron pursues a course of forcing unpopular bills through Parliament, he will come unstuck. These days more than ever, it’s easy to tell if your MP is acting in your interests or not.

I suggest we all write to our MPs right now, regardless of their colour – party affiliation – and remind them that they are in there to represent us. And we will not stand by and watch them sanction Cameron’s ‘reforms’ – such as the return of blood sports, the destruction of the Human Rights Act, or the selling off of the NHS.



Please also check out my new Brian Talks piece

(Why Joanna Lumley is not Barmy, ripping up the Human Rights Act and bringing back blood sports.)

Let’s do this !!