Wednesday, 14 November 2012

By The By

Whether or not that Independent (or other party) candidate ever entered the race, setting up the website of such a putative rival, acting as his agent, or what have you, would secure expulsion from any serious political party. The Conservative Party, manifestly, is no longer serious.

Furthermore, and no less manifestly, it now harbours a separate party, extending all the way up to the office, not to say the person, of George Osborne. That separate party, like any other, has its own membership, its own policy programme, its own underlying philosophy, and, no doubt, its own structures, its own discipline and its own funding.

Against a Conservative candidate other than one of its own, it might organise an Independent, or it might, as it now does at Corby, actively support UKIP. None of this is deemed incompatible with Conservative Party membership at the very highest levels. The formal coup might have been expected after the next General Election. But if the Corby result is quite as bad as is now expected, then might that coup happen even within the present calendar year? If not, why not?

James Delingpole claims to be the most successful non-candidate ever for his alleged role in securing the Government's alleged change of mind on windfarms, of which there are in any case none in the Corby constituency. But here in North West Durham, even the imposition of an all-women shortlist on a rock solid Labour seat has still ended in the selection and election our our entirely local MP, until that point a Lanchester Parish Councillor, who is a practising Catholic, in breach of Labour's own rules on all-women shortlists from which Catholics are specifically banned, and who could have written most, if not all, of Confessions of an Old Labour High Tory. It is amazing what one can achieve from a hospital bed.

Pat Glass is rightly on course for great things under the next Labour Prime Minister, who has brought classic Labour back into the fold without necessarily subscribing to it, as surely as Barack Obama has done the same with the economically populist, socially conservative historical norm of the Democratic Party. Ed Miliband's mostly sciving brother is now as finished as that brother's wretched cougar across the Atlantic.

Speaking of by-elections, half of the General Committee of Rotherham Constituency Labour Party walked out last night, after the National Executive Committee had failed to shortlist any local candidate, including the hugely popular Councillor Mahroof Hussain MBE, Nick Clegg's opponent at Sheffield Hallam in 2010. As a Muslim of South Asian extraction, the NEC considers Councillor Hussain suspect following a recent grooming scandal. Which NEC members, exactly, are responsible for this? Blairism lives, it seems. Although not, one trusts, after the next round of NEC elections.

There is talk of an Independent candidacy there, too, if only to keep the seat in the hands of a mainstream Labour figure rather than either a member of Respect or, even worse, an imposed apparatchik sharing the views of Denis MacShane, except perhaps on the sex industry and on indecency in the media.

Both of these stories have important implications for tomorrow's elections of Police and Crime Commissioners. As an Independent, let me assure you that there is not, nor ought there to be, nor ever could there be, anything "non-political" about being an Independent. If a position is political, then it is political. Being a Parish Councillor is political. Being a Member of Parliament is political. Being a Police and Crime Commissioner is political. It just is.


  1. "I like Pat, and her husband. But welcome to politics. I have wanted into the parliamentary process this time round, and specifically I have wanted this seat this time round, for half my lifetime. I have earned it, and I could have done so much more besides. So I am going to have it."

  2. God had other ideas.

    And He was right.

  3. They used to mock you as unqualified to be an MP because you were only a parish councillor. Then they gave a seat to someone whose only qualification apart from her sex was that she had been a member of the same parish council for far less time than you had. But as you say, water under the bridge and she is good. You would still have been better though, you are one of those people in each generation that Parliament is wrong without. You would be one of the best known politicians in the country if you were in. If you had been Labour you would easily have been in the Shadow Cabinet, people younger are and one of them is as good as you but none of them are better.

  4. I would never have made it past the media-industrial complex.

    I remember once hearing a Question Time producer celebrate that programme's championing, first of the young Tony Blair, and then of the young George Osborne. As if that were somehow the BBC's job!

    The New Statesman gave acres of coverage to Dennis MacShane, while at one point The Spectator gave a Contributing Editorship to the then Louise Bagshawe.

    But the really interesting MPs, most people are never allowed to hear of, never mind from.

  5. 'But here in North West Durham, even the imposition of an all-women shortlist...still ended in the selection and election our our entirely local MP...who is a practising Catholic, in breach of Labour's own rules on all-women shortlists from which Catholics are specifically banned.'

    That's outrageous! And if it's really true, shouldn't this be a point of scandal?

  6. It's a shame to AV voting campaign lost. AV would have permitted more independent candidates. We are left with STV on the horizon - which requires party lists. We won't be getting any independents at all if that system comes in.

  7. Never give up hope, Paul.

    Anonymous, you would be 20 years late if you tried to make a fuss about it now. That long ago, or as good as, people did. To absolutely no effect whatever.

    Catholics, you see, are Old Labour, in the way that Catholics were the old Democratic Party from before the McGovern Commission: defined as part of the problem.

    But all-women shortlists were very much part of New Labour. Quietly, but decisively, expect them to be phased out.

  8. It is amazing what one can achieve from a hospital bed.

    Don't you know it, and don't certain other people know that you know it?

  9. Certain people must live in some dread now.