Friday 5 August 2022
Royal Tunbridge Wells No More
It leaves my MP, Richard Holden, with some explaining to do, but Rishi Sunak's nasty little speech at Tunbridge Wells was nothing other than a politic pitch to the only electorate that is allowed to matter.
For the second time in a row, and for the second time in a mere three years, but for only the second time ever, both Crown and Parliament are about to bow to the people who thought like that, by honouring immediately their exclusive choice of Prime Minister. Effectively, the Conservative Party has dissolved the People and elected another. Effectively, the Conservative Party has deposed the Queen.
That party's 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.