James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - I’ll leave arch politicking to the more politically hungry (From This Is Wiltshire)
James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - I’ll leave arch politicking to the more politically hungry
12:00pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in Latest News
Having been back for just two action-packed weeks, Parliament has now risen for the party conference season. And what a ridiculous waste of time it is!
In days gone by, the party conference was a high point of the political year, with activists and MPs meeting in deserted seaside resorts for a week’s serious policy discussion. There were motions, and votes, and a real sense of political renewal.
How times have changed. The Labour and Conservative Party conferences have become media circuses designed to showcase the party’s latest ideas, and to give ministers and shadow ministers some much coveted TV coverage – without saying anything too candid of course!
There are thousands of interest groups and lobbyists of every kind, and very little opportunity for party members to contribute as a result. And there are non-stop parties. The conferences’ function as policy-creating hothouses went out many years ago; and their real usefulness with it. The Conservative Party had a pre-conference ‘away day’ last week for all parliamentarians, which was a much more useful collective chew over policy and campaigning matters.
I find myself becoming less and less ‘political.’ I know that free market liberal democracy as promised by the Conservative Party is a good thing; and that interfering big government as offered by Labour is not; I know that the Liberals are all things to all men in a bid for power at any price, and that UKIP are a one-horse wonder.
I know all those things, but I am less and less fixated by arguing them in public. All parties and politicians have some good about them; no-one has a monopoly on cleverness, nor a God-given right to govern.
So I shall watch the PM’s speech at the conference on TV from my constituency home, in between local events of all sorts. I will prefer it to Mr Miliband, Mr Farage or Mr Clegg’s efforts and always will, of course, be an instinctive Conservative (and rather a right wing one at that.) But I will leave the arch politicking; the blind promotion of my own party’s ideas, and the ideological rubbishing of the other parties to others who may be more politically ‘hungry’ than me.
Instead I will continue to think about each policy area on its merits; will seek to advance the causes of North Wiltshire in Parliament; and will retain my robust independence of mind. That will have the added advantage of saving me any nervous anticipation awaiting a Prime Ministerial phone call in the forthcoming re-shuffle.
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