Wednesday, 18 September 2013

"Labour gloats at Tories' inability to state the principles of the Conservative Party"

is a headline I would like to see.

May I congratulate Patrick Henessey who has now been appointed Deputy Director of Communications of the Labour Party.

[ is the short version of this, by the way.]

I would like to tell him a story that will nicely turbo-charge his new appointment, especially with the conference coming up at the weekend.

It begins with this story in Hugh Muir's column on 16 September 2013.

"More developments in the ludicrous case of Claire Khaw versus the Conservative party. Khaw, you may recall, is the rightwing horribilist who having served the BNP and having voiced stomach-churning views on the disabled, managed to sneak on to the Tories' membership list. 

On finding her in its ranks, the party threw her out. Khaw, being a difficult sort and ignoring threats from Central Office, applied to the high court for a judicial review of the decision.

Well, we can tell you that – as was always likely – the high court sided with the Tories on the basis that their party is effectively a "private members' club" allowing them to embrace or reject who they like. Khaw, having ignored the warnings, now owes them £1,500.

And yet, undeterred and risking substantial financial exposure, she has lodged an appeal arguing that the party still hasn't spelled out the principles relied upon for the termination of her membership. A hearing will follow; all very expensive and perilous for Khaw. Still, she does seem to be enjoying herself."

The Conservative Party expelled me without warning or notification and claimed they had an absolute right to do so, claiming that I had behaved in a way that was "wholly inconsistent" with the principles of the Conservative Party.  When I asked what those principles were, they were unable to tell me, and even claimed that they were contained in David Cameron's Foreword in their 2010 General Election Manifesto.

Below is what they said when they dismissed my appeal:

Decision of the Conservative Party Disciplinary Committee in the matter of the appeal by Ms Claire Khaw against her expulsion from the Conservative Party by the Board

The Committee met at Conservative Campaign Headquarters, 30 Millbank on Wednesday 27th March 2013 to consider an appeal by Ms Claire Khaw against the decision by the Board to expel her from membership of the Conservative Party.

Members of the Disciplinary Committee who heard the Appeal on the papers were:

Simon Mort (Chairman)
John Flack
Pauline Lucas
In attendance: Marcus Booth
The Committee DISMISSED the appeal.

Based on the evidence provided (including by Ms Khaw), the Committee concluded that Ms Khaw's publicly stated views and values, together with her conduct (that the Committee were in a position to appraise) are such that they are not compatible with membership of the Conservative Party, which is not an absolute right.

The aims, objectives and policies of the Conservative Party are freely available to read and Ms Khaw should have reasonably appraised herself of these before applying to join the Party.

Ms Khaw questioned the whereabouts of these principles.  The Committee commend to anyone suffering from similar uncertainty to study the Foreword to the 2010 General Election Manifesto  Page vii seems particularly applicable in this specific context.

A  reading of her wholly unconvincing evidence [which can be read at] therefore led the Committee to reach the view that her expulsion should be upheld and that the Board of the Conservative Party acted reasonably.   


It strikes me that Labour ought to take the Tories to task for being so cavalier about the concept of principles, since I know how much heart-searching went into the traumatising excision of their old clause iv and its replacement with the current motherhood and apple pie one.

Talking about the genuine and alarming absence of Conservative principles and their inability to find them anywhere is something Labour could make much of.   

Old Labour had principles.  Being a socialist party, it had the principle of nationalising everything in sight.   This was found not to be very popular and so they felt they had to change it in a way that would reassure their potential supporters ie voters who owned shares in the newly privatised utitlities.  Clause iv of their constitution contained the clause that said they would nationalise everything in sight and therefore clause iv had to be removed in order to reassure voters with shareholdings in British Gas and British Telecom.   After much rending of garments, gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, this was successfully accomplished in 1995. The voter being reassured, Labour went on to win the election in 1997.   

The fact that Labour Party constitution had a clause stating this policy turned out to be a blessing in disguise, for it served to be the clear blue water that divided Old Labour (not electable) from New Labour (infinitely electable).   

There was doubtless much sniggering by the Tories at the discomfiture of Labour.  Tories are not after all the fools who would ever have such a  ridiculous policy in their constitution.

The Tories congratulated themselves on the fact that they had no principles and on the fact that Conservative Party principles were always whatever the leader of the party and his cronies said they were, which was all very convenient and expedient.

But what if their leader was not a Conservative and had no idea what Conservative principles are?

Can it really be the case that Conservative Party is claiming that its principles are contained in the Foreword of this piece of puffery at
What would Disraeli, Peel or Salisbury make of this farrago of absurdities?  We can only imagine.  

The moral of this story, boys and girls, is that because Labour had principles and took them seriously, they went on to win a general election.  Because they saw the importance of having principles, they made a big thing about having to change them, even though everyone quarrelled with each other and was very upset.  However, because they were making such a fuss, this made everyone notice them and take them seriously.  The result was that they went on to win an election by a landslide.  

As for the Tories, who had no principles, they had the purpose of their party subverted by a convictionless charlatan, who had no idea what Magna Carta was even though he went to Eton, and foisted gay marriage on the nation while claiming to be a Conservative.   

Extract from my Statement of Grounds

(h)           It is not in the public interest that a governing party has no principles and is also ignorant of the concept of principle.  To not have any principles means that the  Defendant, as a governing party, is not subject to any rule that would govern the formulation of its policies according to any moral or distinct political doctrine.  If Conservative principles were expressed in terms of “To support Conservative principles, we must do or say X, Y and Z” then it and its supporters would know when these principles are being deviated from.  Since such a statement is notably absent, it can be inferred that the Defendant regards its role to acquire office or remain in office without adhering to any political doctrine or moral guidance whatsoever.  It cannot be in the public interest to suffer the existence of a political party that has neither principle nor the long term national interest in mind every time it makes election promises.   The fact that it has no principles would make it likely to claim the policies of other parties as its own, to the detriment of  principled rival political parties who have stated their  principles with conviction and clarity, and then subsequently revised them, eg clause iv of the Labour Party constitution.  If it were the case that the no political party in the world had any political principles, then it must be inferred that political parties would only exist as a means by which unprincipled men and parties acquire power at the expense of principled men and parties, which cannot be in the public interest nor the long term national interest and is in fact immoral.

Extract from my Request for Reconsideration

Ground 6:  Justice Ouseley declared that it is not for the court to decide “whether the Claimant’s acts were compatible with its principles, but for the Defendant to do so."   If it is not possible to know what the Defendant’s principles are, or if the Defendant itself does not know what they are, then it is logically impossible for anyone - Justice Ouseley included - to determine whether or not it has acted irrationally.  If this is the case, then Justice Ouseley cannot be correct in stating that “the Defendant’s decision is not irrational or unlawful given the powers its constitution gives it.”  Indeed, the Defendant’s constitution under Part IV.7 giving it absolute discretion by that fact gives it the right to be irrational and to go against its principles, whatever they are.   
Ground 7:  Justice Ouseley did not take into account the fact that the Defendant could only be considered to have acted rationally in dismissing the Claimant’s appeal if it formally declared that its aims, objectives and principles is to seek office or remain in power without being limited by any reference to any political principle at all.  Only then would its decision to expel the Defendant be rational, in that it wished to avoid the controversy that the Claimant’s views attracted, which in her view were morally and intellectually defensible and in harmony with Conservative principles as she understood them. 

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