Now in its third year the coalition government continues to brush aside all questions of disunity or a growing gap between the two parties of government. This great sense of unity is reflected in the Prime Minister’s own opinions, such as his, ‘strong backing’ of the House of Lords Reform Bill. The government itself appears, like a mighty vessel steaming through the ocean, as a strong set of officers commanding there ship with full loyalty to one another. Plato wrote about the great ‘Ship of state’ as a comparison to the governing of a nation and I feel this an adequate way in which to describe the running of the Conservative Party. Although the top brass of cabinet members and party officials may appear to be all powerful and wise they are hardly the philosopher-kings Plato alluded to. Those who truly govern the Conservative Party are those below the waterline, the crewmembers who tirelessly work to keep the great blue liner steaming ahead and truly ship shape.
A recent article in the Daily Mail writes about how they believe Conservative party membership has fallen by 81,000 since David Cameron’s election as leader in 2005. Of course we should not accept this as gospel truth and it entirely possible that these figures are wildly inaccurate but, in keeping with the ship analogy, no vessel can continue at such a pace as it once did if a third of its crew have jumped overboard or even taken to the lifeboats and boarded the SS UKIP. Now it appears that we have some of the officers, near one hundred we hear, preparing to mutiny in the House of Commons over the matter of House of Lords Reform. Although I am supportive of what these rebels are attempting to do as I am with the 81 on Europe I feel that the only way to avoid such public acts of defiance are to loosen the shackles on MP’s.
We may be accommodating an alien crew in the shape of the Liberal Democrats but it works both ways. The leadership must appreciate that this vessel only sails by the hard work and dedication of its membership and by representing some of the voices of its members in government it will get the loyalty it so desires. Jumping overboard to smaller and less illustrious craft such as UKIP will not help in the navigation of the Conservative Party but only make quieter the voices of members against the smaller but shrieking loud Liberal Democrats. As the silent majority in government Conservative members must appreciate this unique situation we find ourselves in after three years whilst not simply sitting back and accepting that Conservatives must surrender on key issues but fight for fundamental matters that are closest to us, looking to men like Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove for inspiration.