16 May 2009

Enough is enough. We need an election

image David Cameron yesterday:

Our politics is reviled. Our parliament is held in scorn. Our people have had enough.

Steve Richards in the Indy:

Westminster became a different place this week. It was like visiting a once vibrant company on the verge of closure. The same people were still there, taking part in their familiar routines, but the darkened context meant everything had changed.

My colleague, the former Conservative MP Michael Brown, met some of his local party canvassers on Wednesday night as he walked back to his flat close to Westminster. "How's it going?" he asked. "Awful," was the response. "They hate us all now."

By Thursday the frenzy in the country was heightening a mood of gloomy hysteria at Westminster. One MP told me he thought 10 ministers could be gone by the end of next week.

The Guardian reports:

A window is smashed, a garden is vandalised and vengeance is demanded as taxpayers turn on their Westminster representatives over expenses scandal.

Not only has ‘Westminster became a different place this week’ but the country also.  You only had to watch Question Time on Thursday night to witness this.  The expenses scandal is not the usual 7 to 10 day media story that will quickly be forgotten.  This is not an event like Diana's death or Churchill’s funeral, when Britain stopped for a week but then returned rapidly to normal.  ‘Our people’ have had enough.

Even now, some wish to continue along the traditional route.  Comment is made on who is up and who is down in the polls; on whether the Alan Johnson bandwagon (now with Polly Toynbee on board) will roll after June 4th; on how Brown will re-launch himself with a Cabinet reshuffle; and if MPs have the courage to topple the Speaker.  There is even talk that Brown will give a long interview on Sunday (no doubt another easy ride with Marr, although there is nothing on the website yet).

The usual wheezes that are got up to deal with political crisis will not solve this scandal.  Parliament cannot be allowed to return to normal, wait for the Standards Committee to report, move a few heads around, and hope and pray that voter anger will subside.  Resignations and by-elections will resolve little.  Hands up anyone who seriously believes that Brown and Co. can continue for another 12 months.  Brown can't even provide leadership during a crisis outside his comfort zone, let alone solutions.  We may watch Brown on Sunday but who will listen.

The electorate have had enough, and if the reports are accurate, so have many MPs.  Earlier this week, I posted on an early election and concluded:

If Labour is to replace Brown, bearing in mind what I have posted below, it has to be June.  Alan Johnson would then have four mouths to clear up the mess and go to the country in October.

I have changed my mind after more recent events and because of the way Cameron has conducted himself this week.  What we need is a general election now.  If it means that there has to be a vote of no confidence to bring an election about, so be it.  Before an election is held, any MP found to have made improper expenses claims should be deselected by their local constituencies.

The solution to this crisis can only be provided by effective leadership and Cameron has proved that he can supply this.  More importantly, he will have the confidence of the electorate.  A ridiculed worn out leader who has lost his credibility and authority should not be allowed to continue in office.

A long profile of David Cameron in The Times ends with these words:

It’s clear that for Cameron, it’s not enough to make his party electable; what matters to him is getting elected. And now, more than ever, as Gordon Brown lurches from crisis to crisis, it seems that the voters are inclining towards the devil they don’t know rather than the one they think they do. Cameron appears to have learnt a lesson from all those Dave-ish action films he loves: who dares wins.

Cameron’s moment has come.  He should act decisively now to bring about an election.

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  1. I agree, we just cannot go on like this we must have an election and a clear out of the thieves. I pay a fortune in taxes and this is what i get.

    That man Obourne and his book was spot on.

  2. Howard, how about putting a link to Craig Murray's petition to the Queen for the dissolution of Parliament? I've done one.

  3. Subrosa, I will not do that and have posted a comment on your blog as to why.

    Craig Murray should know better. The Palace will not get involved. Labour has a working majority and that is that.

    The Palace would only act (and discretely) if Labour lost a vote of confidence and then refused to go the country.

    Another point. Heath called an election in Feb '74 because he had lost the authority to govern. He had a mandate, a working majority and there was no pressure from the Palace to call an election.

  4. Ah ok Howard thanks for the explanation. I think it's more of a gesture than a demand. Hopefully it will be something which will grow though because the public need somewhere to vent their anger.

  5. Yep, I agree it is a gesture but let us not make fools of ourselves in attempting to get the Palace involved. HMQ needs no gestures, or anything else for that matter, from someone like Craig Murray.

    Read Dizzy's blog if you do not think I have a point.

  6. Yeah! its so fortunate nobody on Dave side of the house is involved in any scandal.

    lets be honest this if this be an illegitimate Parliament Dave Cameron is its bastard son.
    Labour are deselecting their errant M.Ps
    Dave is just winging it with his.

    But then your a Tory