Wednesday 29 January 2014

Carswell Goes Native

On 17th April 2012 Douglas Carswell was interviewed by the BBC regarding his criticism of the government's decision to tax charitable donations. At around 01:19mins in Mr Carswell was asked the following question by a BBC presenter:
"But this is your Government, would you vote against it, if you had a chance?"
Carswell in reply says:
I point out that I'm not a member of this Government...I sit on the backbenches, I'm a member of the Legislature, my job is to hold this Government to account.
We are tempted to be stirred by such sentiments especially as Mr Carswell's commitment to reform and holding the government to account is so 'genuine' he co-wrote with Dan Hannan The Plan: Twelve months to renew Britain which proposed electoral reforms arguing:
I want the voters to have the ability to sack lazy, self-serving MPs by triggering by-elections. I want the people to help set the Commons agenda, and veto politicians and their endless folly. But I still think you need a legislature.
Once you’ve made the Commons properly accountable to the voter - and government properly answerable to the Commons – good luck to any MP who ignored what their local voters thought.
So an impression is made of a man committed not only to EU exit but also significant political reform. Yet fast forward on nearly 2 years (as we get ever nearer to an election) and what a difference. In an interview with the Spectator he has this to say in contrast:
“What is it we now want, guys? We’re going to face a reckoning with the electorate in just over a year’s time. We’re two points behind the Labour Party. We can do this – we really can do this. If we lack discipline, we’re going to have five or six appalling years in opposition to dwell on it”
The Spectator concludes as a result of the interview:
Here’s a sneak preview of what was supposed to be a debate about the wisdom of rebelling – but ended up being Carswell explaining why he believes his colleagues should now stop defying the government, and support the PM.
Thus it becomes clear that when faced with the prospect of the Conservative party losing the next election, Mr Carswell reverts back to type and becomes a loyal party member worried about losing his seat, losing power and the Tories not being in government. "Holding this Government to account" on behalf of his constituents - which he admits is his job - now becomes a 'luxury' he cannot afford. He complains of our "rotten political system" but then as his interview illustrates neatly he has become part of it.

I guess we shouldn't be too surprised, after all this was the same man who stated in 2012 (my emphasis):
One of the reasons I backed David Cameron to be party leader early on in his leadership campaign was because I wanted to see a different kind of Conservatism. I still do – and I’d vote for him to deliver it if there was a leadership contest tomorrow.
The same man who signed a letter proposing for a national veto on EU laws despite that such an idea is a complete non-starter, the same man Witterings from Witney identified as a hypocrite in 2011 and the same man in the Spectator's podcast (6 mins in) who argues that Cameron will give us a referendum in 2017, despite that the timetable is completely impossible to meet.

So rather than being "a member of the Legislature, [whose] job is to hold this Government to account", Carswell merely demonstrates clearly the lack of separation of powers within Parliament, whereby loyalty to a party overrides proper scrutiny of a government.

We need the Six Demands:
3. Separation of powers: the executive shall be separated from the legislature. To that effect, prime ministers shall be elected by popular vote; they shall appoint their own ministers, with the approval of parliament, to assist in the exercise of such powers as may be granted to them by the sovereign people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; no prime ministers or their ministers shall be members of parliament or any legislative assembly.


  1. Nicely put, TBF, nicely put. For the benefit of your readers I will repeat the question I tweeted to him: How many pieces of silver crossed palms?

    Thanks for the link.

    1. Thanks WfW, one does wonder what has persuaded him to change his mind. Is he up for deselection...?

  2. WfW beat me to it, I cannot improve on that.

  3. Judas Goat syndrome returns.

    1. Opportunist rather than off-topic but it's important to take in on board today, but a few posts ago I wrote of the tendency of Farage letting repeat opportunities go to waste.

      Another passes by today, which he should justifiably be crowing from the rafters about.

      Last night on all main TV Channels, Mark Carney was followed by a literal host of commentators in relating that a currency union can only work with the permanent ceding of Sovereignties by the nations involved.

      To a signed-up Politician, that's a 'hallelujah!' moment. Even cabinet members of the Government which wouldn't publically debate Single Currency membership were talking clearly, candidly and openly on the matter. Twenty years ago if you had presented them with the same argument over the Euro, you would have immediately been labelled as an extremist, or a xenophobe.

      That aspect of that debate was roundly and soundly settled in the past twenty-four hours. In public, by senior and allegedly credible figures. How can somebody claiming to be against a similar currency union fail to make immediate political capital from that? Talk about an open goal...

    2. He's a Conservative MP and when it comes to it, they always rush to man the pumps.

      "Judas Goat syndrome returns".

      In view of the fundamental loyalty of MPs like Carswell to the Conservative Party first, it never left.

  4. Off topic Anonymous!

    I wonder if Carswell, still has his "Lurrrrve Seat"?

  5. Why the surprise? Carswell is a party politician and when push comes to shove he'll always toe the party line. The political reforms we need must militate against the power of political parties and make MPs accountable to their constituents.

    As an aside, I think elected prime ministers are a very bad idea.

    1. "As an aside, I think elected prime ministers are a very bad idea."

      Why? We effectively have one proxy.

    2. We do, and he's not very good, is he? Nor have very many of his predecessors been. A directly elected PM is simply going to be the same sort of creature freed of the problem of climbing the party pole. Anyone who can afford the campaign, someone like G W Bush or Obama for example, can win the election. Elected officials are rarely the answer, as the numerous controversies that various PCCs have been involved in show. I'd be happy to be converted but I can't see that directly electing a PM is going to change things for the better. Why not allow a parliament of genuinely independent MPs, accountable only to their constituents, choose the candidate they think best?

    3. I thought I was alone on that one William.
      Imagine the electorate having to vote for the best person for the job instead of being guided by the pretty rosette and the vain promises churned out by the chief rosette wearer.

  6. I need to run these 6 demands at OoL.