The Conservative Party is steadily loosing members at constituency level. Although they never announce their membership numbers, various media sources suggest that the membership has probably fallen to probably a tenth of what it was in Margaret Thatcher's days and is now at around the 100,000 level.
Today, we have Lord Howe, the traitor in Mrs Thatcher's cabinet, telling David Cameron that he has lost control of the party, a report that follows closely on one which suggests that a senior party member has referred to the ordinary members as being swivel-eyed loons.
Now I have always believed that it is the members of any organisation who appoint the organisation's leaders and decide its policies and it is for the appointed leaders to do their best to carry out those policies and not produce new policies without the approval of their members. If for some reason, the members are pressing for a policy which the leader is unwilling to pursue, the normal procedure would be for that leader to resign, or in the limit for the members to put forward a vote of no confidence and require his resignation at a special meeting. Indeed this has recently happened at a (non-political) organisation to which I belong where the chairman stood down because he disagreed with the policy required by members. All very democratic and as it should be.
But somehow with politics, the whole scenario is turned upside down. Once a leader is appointed, he takes it upon him self and his cronies to decide policy and expects the members to support him, even if they disagree. He is expected, in Lord Howe's words, to control the members, who, in the view of an unidentified party official are "swivel-eyed loons"
Now, I have never been a member of a political party, but were I a member, I would expect my views to be taken into account on a democratic basis when deciding party policy; I would certainly not pay my subscription in order to be told how to think, and to be just seen as an available pair of hands to stick leaflets through letter-boxes. Pay £25 to the Conservatives for that privilege - they must be joking.
So where is the Party going? We now have two right-wing parties, the Tories and UKIP. The Tories like to see themselves as "centre-right" and in general are little different from the Blair administration. With Labour moving steadily leftwards under Miliband, this centre-right position is also moving leftwards and now is probably more left wing than, say, the post-war Atlee administration. Meanwhile UKIP is picking up traditional right-wing Tory policies and is probably in the same position in the political spectrum as the Tories were immediately after WW2. According to a recent poll they are now attracting something in excess of 20% public support.
A lot will depend upon how UKIP performs in next year's elections for the European Parliament, but if they do well, there is no doubt that many more will support them at the next General Election. So unless those at the top of the Conservative Party come to their senses and start putting forward true Conservative policies, we could be looking forward to a long period with Labour in power, essentially as happened in Canada when the right wing split into two factions. There, the right only got back to power once there was agreement between the two factions and a leader appointed who returned to true Conservative values. This, as Nigel Farrage has made clear, won't happen here whilst Cameron is leader of the Tories.
The grass-roots, the paid-up members of the Conservative party, will soon have to decide what to do about Cameron and his out of touch old-Etonian clique. The sooner the better; I've no desire for a Labour government.
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