Whilst this post is directed at the Conservative Party, purely due to the fact they are vying to become the next 'government' of Britain, the underlying argument about 'principle' can be laid at Labour and the Liberal Democrats. 'Principle' is a word often 'banded about' by politicians with 'gay abandon' - no inference to their 'personal proclivities', I hasten to add - yet is most definitely open to question.
One politician who would appear to believe in the underlying 'principle' for which he was elected as a Member of Parliament is Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley. As I posted in December 2009 "On his website he states: "I have made it my duty to work for Shipley in Westminster and not for Westminster in Shipley, I am working for your interest, not self-interests. Above all, I will always put my constituents' interest above my political career, therefore, I am in the constituency on a regular basis and I am available to hear your concerns" . In his maiden speech he announced that he wanted to remain a backbencher and not to be a shadow spokesman or a minister, and that he wanted to feel able to speak for his constituents".
Unfortunately the principle of working for the interests of constituents, rather than those of self interest, do not seem to be held by other MPs. Consider the following, which are cited purely as examples.
Liam Fox, who now serves in David Cameron's Shadow Cabinet, said during his leadership speech at the Conservative Party conference in 2005 "There's no leadership in just telling people what they want to hear...." and "We need to break away from the whole outdated concept of "ever closer union". The inevitable destination of "ever closer union" is union. The Conservative party should never accept that Britain's destiny lies in a united states of Europe....." Talking of the Poles and the Czechs, Fox said "Many have just shaken off one oppressive foreign regime. Why would they want another based in Brussels?"
If Liam Fox really believes that 'There's no leadership in just telling people what they want to hear'; that 'We need to break away from the whole outdated concept of "ever closer union". The inevitable destination of "ever closer union" is union', one has to ask (a) why is he following Cameron in promoting policies that 'just tell people what they want to hear' and (b) if there is a need to 'break away from the whole outdated concept of ever closer union', why does he still follow Cameron's policy of 'ever closer union' - because that is exactly what Liam Fox is doing by acceptance of three policies on the EU, devised by David Cameron, which are completely undeliverable.
As an aside, Fox also said "We cannot go on like this." So that is where Cameron got the phrase!
Turning to David Cameron, he said in his Conference leadership speech "I joined this party because I love my country. I love our character. I love our people, our history, our role in the world. This is the only party that understands, and is proud of, what we have been and who we are. I joined this party because I believe in freedom. We are the only party believing that if you give people freedom and responsibility, they will grow stronger and society will grow stronger." Once has to ask David Cameron if he believes 'he loves our country; loves our character, our people, our history; that if he believes in freedom; in giving people freedom and responsibility', (a) why is he accepting it being changed through uncontrolled immigration from Europe, and (b) how can he believe that for us to be ruled by unelected and unaccountable people provides us with freedom, especially when the laws that are passed have no democratic basis in that the people have no chance to vote on their introduction and subsequently, if they choose, overturn them?
Returning to the question of 'principles', it is necessary to ask both Cameron and Fox, at what point does the attraction - and financial reward - of ministerial office outweigh one's 'principles'? At least Philip Davies understands that his first duty is to his constituents and to his country and, in so believing, he has shunned the lure of ministerial office.
Afterthought: Returning to David Cameron, he also said "When I meet young people, they tell me how sick they are of the whole political system - the shouting, finger-pointing, backbiting and point-scoring in the House of Commons. That's all got to go." Watching PMQs one is prompted to ask; What happened to that asirational promise then iDave? Oops, silly boy me, how could I forgot - it was not 'cast-iron'!!