One paragraph of a post by James Forsyth on the Coffee House caught my eye, which prompted a bit of thought:
"But then again, as one liberal Liberal Democrat said to me last night, of the party’s MPs only half a dozen are authentic liberals. Such a small group can drive change in a party—just look at the Blairites and the Cameroons. But this change is always vulnerable to the party reverting to the norm." (my emphasis)
Consider how Blair 'De-Laboured' Labour, how Cameron 'De-Conservatived' the Conservatives. More importantly, consider the response of their elected MPs and Prospective Candidates who, it can be said, generally did not actually agree with the respective decisions of Blair and Cameron. Is it not logical to question the beliefs of people like Skinner, Prescott, Cash and Carswell - to name but a four?
This leads one to believe that ingrained 'beliefs/concepts' matter not, when compared to the possibility of position and power. If that suggestion were not true, would there not have been a 'rebellion'? Would not Labour have rebelled against the reversal of Clause 4? Would not Conservatives have rebelled against the downgrading of country, the belief of self-government and personal ambition? In both cases the party leaders offered the opportunity of power, something which bearing in mind the time they had been out of government, held a greater allure than party dogma. Consequently, the allegation can be laid at those elected MPs - selected candidates and party members - that they forewent principle for personal gain. It can also be alleged that those seeking nomination as candidates agreed to temper their opinions in order to gain said nomination.
All of which leaves our democracy in an unenviable situation, does it not? If we are unable to elect candidates of principle and resolve, how on earth do we get the type of government we would like? Are not elected MPs supposed to represent the views of their constituents? How often do we see MPs going through voting lobbies because either they have 'decided', or have been coerced by Party Whips, or dare one suggest, for personal reasons, in the hope they may be noticed as having followed the 'party line' and thus be considered as candidates for advancement up the party heirachy ladder?
The foregoing just underlines the need for the introduction of referenda; the need for open primaries where the electorate, irrespective of party affiliation, elect candidates who they believe will best represent their interests; a recall system decided by the people, rather than Parliament - which would cement the basic principle of democracy that it is the people who should decide on matters affecting their lives*.
* Far be it for me to introduce the subject of membership of the European Union.........!