One fallout from Expensegate (or Redecorationgate, Capitalgaingate, or Taxiforgeorgegate) has been a little indiscipline on what is now the fringe of the Tory Party. It involves arch Thatcher ally and former Chingford MP Lord Tebbit of Onyerbike, and it’s one area in which David Cameron would do well to tread carefully before pulling the trigger.
Norm is clearly unimpressed with the expenses business. So he has suggested that the three main political parties are not worth the vote come next month. Those three parties include the one of which he is a member. He has also decided that, whatever voters’ disgust at the progress of the gravy train, they should not vote for the BNP. This leaves few options. One is the Greens, but Norm doesn’t radiate green friendliness, so the only party left fielding candidates on a national basis is UKIP.
If I agree with David Cameron on one thing, it’s his assessment of UKIP: “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly”. So he may not be impressed by anyone in his own party urging voters in that direction.
And so it came to pass: Young Dave has suggested that Norm may find himself sitting in the Lords as an Independent, which is another way of telling him to keep schtum or face expulsion. For someone of such long and dedicated service to the Tory Party, this might appear enough to keep them in line. But if the subject is Norm, I’d say don’t bet on it.
Why so? Ah well. Many years ago, when an ageing Harold Macmillan was making one of his occasional visits to Westminster, he remarked in astonishment that he’d just seen a Tory MP “with a Cockney accent”. The MP so characterised was Tebbit. He wasn’t impressed: moreover, he would re-tell the incident with a clear dislike for old Mac, the subtext being that this was a sign of the old Tory party that had now gone for good.
Except, of course, it hadn’t: the Old Etonian cabal that Macmillan represented has now returned, rejuvenated, in the shape of Young Dave and his fellow jolly good chaps. Norman Tebbit is, ultimately, his own man, and if he wants to make the point, will tell Cameron to shove his discipline.
It would be an interesting one to watch, but probably not on WebCameron.
[there follows a long weekend break on Zelo Street, but I’ll be back soon, with more on Station Sellout, the vindictiveness of Mrs T., things European, and another look at the USA. And whatever events may occur in the meantime.]