Sunday 28 August 2022

Unparliamentary Conduct

In what other parliamentary country would an all-member but members-only Leadership Election be allowed in a governing party, such that it changed the Head of Government midterm? Would that country be any other Commonwealth Realm, or any other European constitutional monarchy?

Was Britain not parliamentary until 2019, which was the first ever occasion that a couple of medium sized football crowds' worth of people whose money a private organisation had agreed to accept were therefore accorded the gold card citizenship that was the sole right to choose the Prime Minister?

For such payment, that right extends to children, to foreign nationals, to long-term expatriates, to incarcerated convicts, and to people who have never set foot in the United Kingdom, all around a core of the affluent elderly to whom Liz Truss has promised tax cuts 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.

They have mostly never lived in a ward, much less a constituency, that had ever elected anyone other than a Conservative, so they are not remotely representative of the coalition that Boris Johnson created in 2019. Furthermore, while Johnson was overthrown by the anti-Brexit alliance of the City and the Home Counties, Conservative Party members tend to be Brexit supporters in the South, making them untypical even of their own local communities and of their own party's voters in those communities.

In spite of themselves, however, they did understand that Johnson was the only Leader who could ever have won an overall majority against Jeremy Corbyn, and even then only once, since this winter is going to make him Britain's most popular parliamentary politician, rather than trade union leader, since Tony Blair in his pomp. Truss, or whoever was the Conservative Leader by the end of this Parliament, will be extremely lucky to have to beat only Keir Starmer rather than Corbyn.

To have dissolved the People and elected another, to have deposed the Queen without legislation, would be just as objectionable in any other party as it is in the Conservative Party, but only the Conservative Party has ever done it, this is only the second time, and the first was only three years ago. This is no pillar of the Constitution.

Moreover, in 2019, the party members elected the candidate who had led in every round among Conservative MPs. Truss never led in any such round. Even in the fifth and last, she took a mere 31.6 per cent, with 113 votes. Taking the House of Commons as a whole, that was 113 out of 650, 17.38 per cent. There is no reason for the Queen to accept the imposition of this person as her Prime Minister.

Rather, Her Majesty should put the name to a Yes-No ballot of all Conservative MPs. If the majority voted Yes, then she should honour that. If not, then the same question should be put to a division of the House of Commons. What if it also failed there? The Premiership has not been vacated. There is a Prime Minister right now.

Most Opposition parties have no parliamentary representation, and only in the most wildly improbable circumstances could any install its Leader as Prime Minister without there having been a General Election. But when that office were guaranteed to be assumed by a party's Leader, then the shortlist of two determined by its MPs might be submitted to an election among all registered parliamentary electors in the United Kingdom. No party could afford that. But the State could.

Or a governing party might have two rounds of voting among its MPs. The first would be open to all of them to contest, and the highest scoring two would go through to the second. The whole thing could be done from start to finish in half a working day.