Friday, May 18, 2012

Is it worth the trouble?

People I know and like have told me that I was wasting my time on the 1922 Committee. Who really cares, said they, on the shenanigans within the party formerly known as Conservative? Nobody, of course, except the ever decreasing number of members. However, the structure of British politics, hollowed out by various agents, including the EU, is of importance. One day we shall want to use it again. Building from scratch is never easy as a number of post-Communist states have demonstrated.

On a far more important level, I have been following, together with his many supporters, Cranmer's battle with the ASA. Any reader who is unaware of the ASA's outrageous and dishonest behaviour and of His Grace's capable fight with them, ought to spend a little time catching up.

In his most recent posting Cranmer wrote:
It is a question of impartiality, which matters profoundly in political processes where force and influence compete with manipulation and facts: if an organisation with quasi-judicial authority professes to be objective in its investigations, then its senior staff and officers must not only be impartial, they must also be seen to be impartial. There cannot be even the merest hint of a political agenda subverting that professed neutrality or corrupting the overriding commitment to fairness and justice.
He then goes on to detail why the Chairman of the ASA, Lord Smith of Finsbury, formerly known as Chris Smith MP and Culture Minister, cannot be said to be impartial or objective.

Cranmer is absolutely right. These things are of importance. Some of the discussion on the blog is interesting though, I note the presence, comme d'habitude, of a ninny who advises the blog author to get over it and start writing about something else. He gets short shrift from the others, I am glad to say.

So, for the last time I hope, here is a little more about the 1922 Committee. The "modernisers" by which one means the people who ensured that the Conservatives did not manage to win against the least popular government in living memory, are rejoicing. Graham Brady, the Chairman, is calling on everyone to unite and stop the infighting, which would indicate that things are truly bad and the Committee's meetings may well start resembling those of Tower Hamlets Council.
Modernisers hope the group, which has traditionally acted as a “safety valve” for the party, will now form greater links with Tory HQ and its volunteers around the country.
They also hope meetings can be moved from Wednesday to Monday so MPs can unite around key events in the Parliamentary week, and want the 1922 to become an “umbrella” for other policy groups right across the party.
New executive member George Hollingbery said the election had shown an “appetite for change” but stressed the new MPs wanted to work with colleagues on the changes.
“This stuff will all take time, none of this will happen overnight,” he told the Standard. “The ’22 has been here a lot longer than I have and will be here for a long time after I’ve gone.”
So the plan is to use the Committee, which is supposed to be the voice of the backbenchers separate and, sometimes, against the leadership, to establish complete control of the Parliamentary party and local associations by the leadership. Time for a 2012 Committee, perhaps? After all, the 1922 was created at a time of a creaking coalition.

Not all is smooth sailing, though. It seems that the Treasurer of the "influential 1922 backbench committee" has criticized William Hague for "criticizing British firms", which is hardly the Foreign Secretary's job and neither is addressing the CBI Conference. Instead, Mr Binley thinks, Mr Hague should be doing more to free British business from EU red tape, though he does not actually explain how that can be done. Clearly, the intelligence level of the new Executive Committee is not spectacularly high.

A thought comes to one: does this mean that Conservative MPs will be allowed to attack Mr Hague to show their supposed independence of the leadership?


  1. Superb post, Helen. That Cameron can control his party and negate the voice of those that disagree with him does not bode well for him, his party, nor the standard of MP we sleepwalk into electing.

    1. Quite true. A political party based on control and disciple will never produce the intellectual ferment and new ideas necessary for regeneration.

  2. The more they tighten their grip, the more votes
    will slip through their fingers.