Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Fragility of Conservative vote

One of the most significant lessons for the Conservative party from the European election is that it showed the Conservative baseline vote: 27%. This is woefully, woefully short of a majority or even the current level of minority. People did not 'lend' UKIP their vote: they voted UKIP because the Conservative policy on Europe is weak and they want out of Europe.

Our refusal to accept a referendum on membership of the EU is as poor as the Liberal Democrat's refusal to accept a referendum on Lisbon. We should offer a simultaneous referendum on both subjects, campaigning for a "yes" vote to stay in the EU, and a "no" vote on Lisbon. At a stroke, this would go a long way to eliminating the UKIP vote at the next election. It would also highlight that we are not anti-EU which campaigning purely on Lisbon would suggest.

This would not divide the Tory party. It could be presented as a free vote to all but the Conservative front bench. It would cross party lines just as other European votes have done. Announce it, announce it now. Do it quickly after the next election to heal any potential rifts it may cause. It is the single biggest thing my party could do to ensure victory at the next election.

Friday, 5 June 2009


I'm genuinely intrigued. What actually went through the mind of someone that turned out to vote Labour yesterday? "Oh well - a few national challenges - presentational issues with Brown sure - party of the working man though - basically sound - certainly want them in Government - done a good job on the economy - unemployment's the big killer that's what I care about...." oh, er scratch the last point.

It's not that Labour had a bad election that surprises me, it's that anyone, ANYONE, actually thought "yep, good guys, they're the ones for me."

Maybe there are just some really strong local Labour councillors around whose local effectiveness outweighs the utter car crash of the Labour government. I sort of hope so to restore my faith in the universal franchise.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

UKIP and General Election

It's occurred to me that UKIP must be really torn about wanting an early General Election.

If a General Election occurs before the Irish ratify the EU Constitution in the scandalous 'you got it wrong first time try again' re-referendum then the EU Constitution is dead. Assuming the Tories form the next Government then they will have a UK referendum, it will reject the constitution. But if UKIP stand in an early General Election then they will take votes from the Tories and risk a hung Parliament. An early General Election effectively forces UKIP - if they are principled about their convictions - to support the Tories strongly.

Of course, they may not be principled and may stand against the Tories in an early General Election. This will show them in their true colours: as politicians not principlians (to coin a word).

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Gordon Brown

The renewed leadership speculation about Gordon Brown is alarming. We need a save Gordon campaign. A new Labour leader will get some kind of a boost, go to the country because they'll have to, and the risk of a hung parliament will increase hugely. Gordon, don't do it. We need you.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

MPs' Expenses

Qlikview, a company I've just purchased dashboard technology from for my organisation, have put together a great web based demo application on MPs' expenses. Public institutions could learn from this in terms of providing transparency over how they spend out money.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Elections and Punishing Parties

It seems clear that many voters will punish the major parties by voting for minor parties such as UKIP, the Green Party and the BNP in the European elections. It is, of course, anyone's right to do this. However, I disagree with the principle of using votes negatively like this.

The major parties are bigger than their individual MPs. It appears that most MPs from most parties have not defrauded the taxpayer or sought to profit from the expenses system. It is also true that of people elected under the banner of the three main parties less than 0.1% have abused their expenses. Up and down the country, councillors from all parties are squeaky clean, as are, it seems, at least a substantial proportion of MPs.

Those MPs that have abused the expenses system should be drummed out of their parties immediately. However, we should not punish the majority of honest politicians who are standing on June 4th. It will be particularly harsh to turn out honest politicians through voting for a party whose MEPs are as bad as the worst Tory MPs on expenses (UKIP), or a party whose leader is an overt racist and which has some truly nasty policies (BNP).

Saturday, 16 May 2009

MPs' expenses

David Cameron has made good statements on the expenses scandal and demonstrated his skill as a politician. However, his statements do not go far enough because they do not punish individuals who, if they were elected councillors rather than MPs, would be prosecuted.

He needs to state that any Conservative MP who is found to have claimed expenses that were not wholly and exclusively incurred in the execution of their job as an MP is automatically deselected and unable to stand for the Conservative Party again. It doesn't matter who they are, their length of service, or their seniority.

Still, over a week into this scandal, not one MP has been deselected. I fear for the consequences for the Conservative Party at the June 4th elections.