An old Liberal slogan has been brought to mind in recent times
‘Putting people before politics’
and it couldn’t be a more apt phrase to sum up the times that we live in because most of the time the opposite is true.
These days, probably more than in the past, our politicians see themselves as doing the right thing by being loyal to their party and what it tells them to do and how to vote. Only rarely will a brave few break ranks and defy their party. Looking at it more cynically though most MP’s these days are career politicians so voting the way they are told ensures that they get reselected so keeping their job.
Recently 12 Conservative MP’s stood up and very publicly voted against their party in a crucial Brexit vote, a vote where, for once, Labour did not back our disgraced and shambolic Bluekip government over Brexit.
But one of the brave Tory MP’s (he actually abstained) said this and what a telling if probably unintended insight into the world of party politics it is:-
‘For me, this was a point of principle and just occasionally in one’s life one has to put principle before party’
The MP, according to the i newspaper, was John Stevenson.
To me he inadvertently opened a window on a world where loyalty to a political party is much of the time more important than the common good and it sums up how weak our politicians have become.
Where are the rebels of the past who would not be whipped? Where are the political leaders who would do the right thing rather than what’s in the best interests of their party political sect?
Yes a few Tory MP’s had been whipped once too often on this occasion but there has been vote after vote over Brexit where both Labour and the Tory Parties have whipped their MP’s to vote the pro-Brexit party line. Yes there have been Labour rebels too over Brexit (around 40 last time) but how many MP’s from both the main parties would have voted differently over Brexit if they had not been whipped?
Surely, we want our MP’s to be more free thinking individuals who whilst coalescing around the core beliefs of their chosen political party are quite happy to say ‘no’ when that party asks them to vote in a way they don’t agree with. Well that is what we want is it not?