Seeds of trouble for Cameron’s first term?
All is not entirely well within the environs of the Conservative Party; while they maybe riding high in the polls (for the first time comfortably in the early 40’s) and seem all but guaranteed a by into government. Given the negativity surrounding the government and the fact that Labour is paralysed in terms of doing what is necessary and changing it’s leader I doubt the problems the Conservatives have will cost them power; at most it may impair their chances of winning a working majority. However, they offer the prospect that Cameron’s first-term will be more crisis strewn than necessarily it should otherwise be.
Specifically, there are clear signs that David Cameron has nowhere near the authority over his own party that Tony Blair commanded. The mood of restiveness and rebellion will most likely be focused around sites like Conservative Home today which currently is sounding the call for rebellion over CCHQ’s trashing of ‘principle after principle’ in it’s ‘manipulation’ of candidate selection. I have some sympathy with some of it’s complaints; for example, I do not support all-women shortlists and was happy that Nick Clegg effectively ruled them out while recognising their are issues around the unrepresentative nature of Parliament.
I am glad to see Conservative Home ackowledge this;
We need more women MPs. We need them on grounds of fairness but also because a debate involving women is richer than one without. We also need more people from public sector backgrounds and people with experience of the voluntary and poverty-fighting sectors. I do not think it is helpful that quite so many Tory MPs are from the City, law, the south and from private schools. True diversity is about more than more women. If diversity was a key aim its criteria were too superficial. ConservativeHome’s own campaign to help lower income candidates has been consistently overlooked by CCHQ.
Also, I do not support open primaries and feel amoung other things that they do unfairly disenfranchise local party members. I can’t help but feeling that Cameron is picking an unnecessary fight with his party in a desperate bid to replicate Tony Blair’s ‘Clause IV’ moment; maybe he says the issues of these selections very much in that way. More cynically I suspect he wants to ensure he has some basis of support amoungst his incoming MP’s to head-off first-term headaches. Either way; assuming it comes to be; don’t expect David Cameron to be enjoying too long a honeymoon if he does get the keys to Number 10.