'Concerned Activist' authors this anonymous Platform about the party's reluctance to oust MPs who are past their sell by date.
If there is a classic example of why Conservatives are not the nasty party it is the attitude that constituency associations have towards Members of Parliament who are well past their sell by date and in many cases are indolent and no use at all. “Ah, but what about Churchill” one is reminded. Had he retired in 1935 where would we be?
The response must be is that government, politics and the media are very different today, not only here but all over the world. FDR was one of the greatest of all US Presidents, where would he have been in Iowa in January 2008 – nowhere.
Then there are the stories about Labour deselecting MPs in the 1980s. We remember the pamphlet “How to deselect your MP”. In many cases these were not the bed blockers but those who had fallen out with the left.
To go back to our proverbial MPs. If they have been in the House for years, then they will have answered some letters, held the odd surgery and smiled at a branch secretary. In many cases that makes them a statesman.
The late Nick Scott served over 30 years in Parliament. He was photographed “kissing the pavement at the 1996 party conference” . Nick was a decent chap and well liked. He was well into his 60s, his pension was secure. Why did he want to carry on? The journalists took about ten minutes to find a local councillor who wailed “it is so unfair, Nick is a statesman”. Yup, flat on his face and headlined “Sir Nick Scotch”.
In 1983 Harrow was reduced from three to two seats. The main change was attaching much of Harrow Central to Harrow East. Harrow Central was represented by the thoroughly decent, loyal and hard working Anthony Grant. Harrow East returned Hugh Dykes. At the inaugural meeting, with the support of most Harrow East activists, the constituency elected officers who were mainly from Harrow Central. The votes showed that Anthony Grant would have beaten Dykes hands down in a selection battle. However, gent that he is, Tony Grant did the decent thing and withdrew leaving Dykes to cause havoc to the local Harrow party, and then take a Lib Dem seat in the Lords.