Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Labour and Tories just the same? I think not

James Gray is the Tory MP for Wiltshire North who has fought off deselection attempts since his affair and marriage break-up came to light. I went to Mongolia with James Gray in 2003 and charming company he was. I still have somewhere a photograph of the two of us standing at the edge of the Gobi Desert. I am of an urban working-class background and so was not brought up with horses. I did ride one on that visit (it is more or less compulsory in Mongolia), cautiously, slowly, with someone else leading the horse. Mr Gray (whose father was the Moderator of the Church of Scotland) was much more confident, but was kicked by a horse on that visit. Sometimes confidence can be misplaced. Mr Gray also once rode a horse into the House of Commons entrance yard, which MPs still have the privilege to be allowed to do, and there were not a few female persons around the House who liked watching him do so. Now there is talk of a new deselection attempt, which has been briefed to the Telegraph. This passage in that story struck me:

A number of members of the local Conservative association agree and will write to David Cameron asking him to intervene in a constituency where Mr Gray is defending a 7,000 majority. "In this climate, post expenses, it's seat we could now lose," said a stalwart of the association. "We must act now."

The Conservative Party is every bit as keen on deselecting its MPs as the Labour Party is - Bob Spink sits now as an Independent because of just this - but for entirely different reasons. The Tories will do it, or try to, if they think their MP might lose them the seat, which they think they could hold with a different candidate. Labour will do it if their MP is a winner. After 12 years in government Labour still do not understand power, and they turn savagely on those who do. I wonder if they ever will.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

It sounds as if you are somewhat starstruck yourself by the spineless Mr Gray who gallantly left his cancer suffering wife to shack up with his mistress.

jane said...

hardly - and the story was not quite like that, as such stories usually are not. And I do not think Mr Gray is a star, so I cannot thereby be struck.

dreamingspire said...

Jane, you should write a book - about power.

Jonny said...

Mongolia, eh? I bet you all never stopped talking - it was just yak, yak, yak.

jane said...

ha ha Jonny. the British ambassador's residence at the time had a kind of pub attached, which was called the Steppe Inn. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Of course, comments so far have simply not addressed Jane's main point - which is that, whilst both parties are partial to the de-selection weapon, LABOUR is the party that is thrilled to wield it when the MP is a winner - standing head and shoulders above the local party pygmies who are attempting de-selection , always motivated by the personal grudges that one or two of them hold against their Labour MP.
What then happens is that other party members don't like it, because they know that their constituents (who have voted for the MP) will react angrily at being deprived of their own electoral choice.
However, despite their own misgivings, the vast majority of patry members go along with the de-selecting clique because they are frightened of being persecuted themselves by the de-selectors. Anything for a quiet life! They know that the MP won't turn on them - and so has to be sacrificed.
Until LABOUR is prepared to defend its own loyal MPs and fight off these consituency party worker insurgents, then it will be confined to many happy years in Oppostion. Which has always been the main goal of some of the national party HQ who are happier in Opposition than Government anyway.
For the record, in the case of Bob Spink, his local party took a leaf out of Labour's book - which is why his de-selection battles were rather atypical for usual Tory party de-selection practice.
I suspect that he will hold the seat for UKIP as he has always been an excellent constituency MP, respected and supported by the voters who ousted the previous Labour MP, Christine Butler, in his favour - in a year when the Tories only gained nine seats in a General Election.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.40 what are you on? Of course an MP is deselected when they are 'a winner' otherwise they wouldn't be an MP, hein? Ergo, it cannot be a sin restricted to Labour MP's.

Setting aside the conceit that '.. the vast majority of patry members go along with the de-selecting clique because they are frightened of being persecuted themselves by the de-selectors...', it could be that the local party has woken up to the fact that their candidate is a fricken loon and decide that enough is enough. I know that it comforts some of you in Reading to persist in the view that the majority are somehow bullied by the minority, but it really is self serving tosh you know.

Get a life and move on.

dreamingspire said...

Anon 00.53 reads like Jane's alter ego (even down to the 'hein?'

jane said...

when I read 0053 I thought "now we're getting somewhere" - some reasons being given, though quite what a "fricken loon" is I do not know. So who is the "fricken loon" and what has she or he done to lead 0053 to describe him or her in this way? Who are we talking about here? Anneliese or Nasty? Or someone else?

Hannah said...

No offence Jane but when I read the comment about a fricken loon I took it to be referring to you.

Anonymous said...

Yes - who, or what is the 'fricken loon'?
As far as I can see, it is a brilliant description of many of the constituency party members, described by Anon 9.40 - whose enjoyment of persecuting their own
MP far outweighs their concern for the poor be-nighted voters who were happy to vote for said MP - and couldn't see why narrow cliques of sectarian party workers thought that they knew better than
them.

Lesley said...

Lots of people that I know aren't going to vote Labour again because they know that in any crisis, the Labour MP that they have helped to elect will not be supported by their party - and this makes people who have voted Labour feel that they are being mocked.