Dead Men Left

Monday, June 20, 2005

Crushing inner party democracy beneath the iron fist of etc

Roy Hattersley:

It was barely four years ago that grassroots Tories chose Iain Duncan Smith in preference to Kenneth Clarke. Then a walkover had to be arranged for Michael Howard in case he proved too liberal-minded for the local membership to stomach. He spent much of his time as leader - and most of the general election campaign - narrowing the gap between the Conservatives and the British National party. He clearly knew where his core vote lay.

A vague thought, inbetween Hattersley's chuckles, that alongside latter-day liberal capitalism, modern political parties are making a deliberate retreat from democracy: the ascension of Tony Blair was provided for by the crippling of breaking of attempts to democratise the Labour Party; the Tory leadership realises it must do the same thing if it is to retain any vestige of credibility. The parallels aren't exact, but there's something going on here.