Thursday 4 August 2022

Indelicate Constitution

Downright contemptible stuff from Liz Truss, both on her donkey daft proposal to abolish the middle class in much of the country and severely depress the economy of most of it, and on her incitement of British citizens to become terrorists in Ukraine.

Yet she has probably already won, because she dresses up as a long-dead Prime Minister from deep in the last century, and because she promises tax cuts for the affluent elderly while funding their sweeties out of borrowing, leading to astronomical interest rates to the benefit of savings account holders who had paid off their mortgages decades earlier. Not that the other one is any better, but even so.

Conservative Party members are utterly convinced that their sole right to choose the Prime Minister is fundamental to "the parliamentary system", but it never happened before 2019. Imagine the reaction from the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail if the Labour Party had ever tried it. There is no constitutional basis for this gold card citizenship, not even conditional on holding British citizenship or on ever having set foot in the United Kingdom, that may be acquired only by the payment of a fee to a private organisation that consented to accept it.

An all-member Leadership Election is all very well in Opposition, and indeed no one would join a political party in this day and age if it were not in place, since under almost any conceivable circumstance it would then take a General Election to make the winner Prime Minister. But office brings greater responsibilities all round.

A party needs to accept that when in Government, then either its Leader, and thus the Prime Minister, would be elected by its MPs alone, or its internally determined shortlist of two would be submitted to an election among all registered parliamentary electors in the United Kingdom. In the twenty-first century, then it would probably have to be the latter. No party could afford that. But the State could. As for the more than financial cost, call it the price of success.


  1. The urban myth has grown up that Labour did this in 2007.