When it comes to campaigning for the EU referendum, David Cameron has advised Tory MPs to ignore the views of their constituency party and of their local constituents and make up their own minds. Implied in his 'advice' is that they need to consider their future career within the party. Clearly Cameron has already made up his own mind to stay in the EU, and if the referendum is in favour of staying, the implication is that MPs who campaigned in favour of leaving the EU will not see any promotion and could even be deselected for the next General Election when many constituency boundaries are to be changed.
I have never belonged to a political party, until Mrs Thatcher was deposed, I supported the Tories, since when I've become a supporter of UKIP. Looking at the way Cameron expects MPs to treat their constituents and their local party, what would be the point of joining? The local party has very little power or influence; it is allowed to select its prospective parliamentary candidate, but only from a list of prospective candidates put forward by Conservative Headquarters. Exactly what are the benefits of joining the Conservative Party if one doesn't have ambitions to be a politician?
Strange as it might seem, many of our Trade Unions are more democratic. I used to belong to a Union and went to its annual conference on a few occasions. On one occasion, our branch had tabled a motion criticising the National Executive on a particular issue concerning professional engineers. The motion was called to be debated and I was allowed my five minutes on the platform to put forward my branch's views. The matter was duly debated and although we lost, our grievances were fully aired.
Can you imagine that happening at a Conservative party's annual conference? I certainly can't. It is simply a show-piece where the higher-ups in the party tell everyone how well they are doing and why they are doing the right thing, regardless of what members think. Why on earth should anyone want to join an organisation like that? I've never been one for toeing a party line just because I'm told that's what I should do, I like to make my own decisions based on my own conclusions.
Time will tell how many Tory MPs decide to ignore Cameron's 'advice'.
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