Conservative Intelligence

Conservative Intelligence

This site is currently down for maintenance and should be back soon.

Miliband’s Threat To Outside Earnings May Drive Tory Mps Over The Edge

Last Updated: Friday, October 24th, 2014

Conservative MPs are capable of a wide range of emotions, encompassing the normal human set and then a few extras thrown in. Pride, injured pride, confidence, optimism, crushing depression, panic, fury, resentment, contentment, ambition, resignation, triumph and a host of others are within their repertoire.

Even at the best of times, a healthy parliamentary party will normally feature at least one individual exhibiting each of them. When the political outlook is less good, rather than moving reliably in the same direction “the colleagues” tend to refract into a wide scatter of emotional states.

The current circumstances could have been tailor-made to exhibit this tendency.

Some MPs are bullish about the economy and the EU referendum. Others are furious about the latest invoice from Brussels demanding yet more money or fearful of the cost of living issue.

A few find themselves newly enthused about the future, while an assortment harbour lasting grudges against their leader. New ministers are enjoying their good fortune, while former ministers are grumbling about their defenestration, just or otherwise.

Some believe that UKIP will cost them their seats and intend to fight to the last, while one or two are perhaps considering whether defection might be in their best interests.

In a way, the sheer variety of opinions is Cameron’s biggest curse and his greatest protection. While his troops can be tricky to harness, any would-be opponents struggle with exactly the same problem.

Into this psychological menagerie pitches one of the issues MPs fear the most: outside earnings. New research by The Guardian has generated not only a total figure – £7.2 million – but a league table showing everyone’s extra-parliamentary income. Unfair headlines jostle for space with reasonable replies.

There are suspicions – which are probably accurate – that it’s only a matter of time before Ed Miliband returns to the topic. His attempts to cut through on new issues have almost all failed, so it would make sense for him to return to ground that he has trodden before. This territory also has the added bonus, for him, that more Conservatives than Labour MPs earn money outside Westminster than.

As if there weren’t enough worries for the government benches, any prospect of clamping down on outside earnings would throw a depth charge into the deep waters of the parliamentary party’s psyche.

Not only would banning other work be bad for parliament by depriving Westminster of its (already limited) contact with the outside world, but it would be a personal blow to a number of MPs who may already be wondering if politics is worth all the trouble.

We have already seen a number of experienced politicians announce their intention to leave parliament at the next election, well before what would be their natural retirement date. If lost income is added to the already roiling pot of emotions, we may yet see a few more decide to go.

By Mark Wallace


Paul Goodman: Immigration won’t win the Conservatives the election  ‘The Prime Minister could bang on and on about immigration from now until polling day. He could gamble on voters believing that he has had a real change of heart. Or he could present new plans for EU immigration control as part of a balanced whole. Which do you think sounds more likely to convince the voters?’ Read more

Mark Wallace: Why is Downing Street pressuring Tory MEPs to vote for Jean-Claude Juncker?  ‘Downing Street’s position appears to be woefully clear – vote for the Commission, get Hill into the job – but it is causing a degree of chaos among Conservative MEPs. The Prime Minister risks making rebels of people who simply want to follow the policy he himself charted mere months ago, and he can secure no benefit by doing so.’ Read more

Peter Franklin: Thomas Piketty says that rich people are eating capitalism, but what does Bill Gates think?  ‘Bill Gates invites us to consider three types of wealthy individual: the entrepreneur, the philanthropist and the playboy. Each may have the same amount of capital, but they use it such different ways that the Piketty’s call for an across-the-board ‘wealth tax’ (i.e. the systematic confiscation of capital) makes no sense.’ Read more

Andrew Gimson interviews Andrew Tyrie – “These are tax cuts being offered before the headroom for them is available”  “The government and indeed all political parties to varying degrees have ring-fenced large parts of public spending, in particular health, schools and overseas aid. And the more you cut into the rest, the smaller the amount left to cut with each successive wave of cuts, and therefore the higher the percentage cut that the rest will have to bear.” Read more

Emma Carr: Grayling’s plans will censor unpopular views – not quell online threats   ‘Rather than tinkering at the edges of the current legislation, there are two key things that the Justice Secretary should be focusing his efforts on: ensuring that the communications legislation is fit for the social media age; and that the police and prosecutors are acutely aware of when it is necessary and proportionate to arrest and prosecute someone for comments made online.’ Read more

Paul Goodman: Who should lead the Metropolitan Party?  ‘It is easy to see what the manifesto of the London Party – or rather, to be faithful to the argument of Ian’s piece, the Metropolitan Party – might look like.  It would be economically liberal and socially liberal.  It would be pro-capitalism as well as pro-capital. It would be pro-immigration… But I cannot think of a single Conservative politician – or any politician at all – who speaks for it.’ Read more

From the Conservative Intelligence member's site

Miliband’s Threat To Outside Earnings May Drive Tory Mps Over The Edge

Conservative MPs are capable of a wide range of emotions, encompassing the normal human set and then a few extras thrown in. Pride, injured pride, confidence, optimism, crushing depression, panic, fury, resentment, contentment, ambition, resignation, triumph and a host of others are within their repertoire. Even at the best of times, a healthy parliamentary party […]

Cameron Woos Mrs Rochester

“There’s no stunts or backroom deals, just a strong local candidate you can trust.” So wrote David Cameron in a letter sent this week to every voter in Rochester and Strood, where the next UKIP-engineered by-election is to take place towards the end of November.  At the end of it, he made the point again […]

To Respond To Defeat In Clacton, The Tories Will Need A Tougher Immigration Policy

Everyone expected the UKIP candidate, Douglas Carswell, to win in Clacton, but few people thought he would win by the enormous margin of 12,404 votes. An exceptionally rude kick has been administered to David Cameron. It is not much consolation for the Conservatives that a scarcely less rude kick has been administered to Ed Miliband […]

The Tories Leave Birmingham With A New-Found Confidence

No-one knew quite what to expect when the Conservative family gathered in Birmingham on Sunday. Mark Reckless had just delivered the second UKIP defection blow in as many months, and Brooks Newmark’s indiscretions were causing embarrassment (though less existential questions for the party). If anything, observers might have expected a depressed conference mood. Instead, though, […]

21 People To Watch As Next Week’s Conservative Conference Looms

1. Those two MP defectors to UKIP – if, of course, they exist at all.  If so, they will presumably turn up on Saturday evening.  If they don’t, the media will treat this as a further sign that the Party isn’t grown-up, since it talked but didn’t deliver.   2. George Osborne. The Conservative election […]

Will Cameron Go Fast And Slow On Devolution All-Around?

The Prime Minister announced this morning that more devolution for Scotland and reform elsewhere – specifically, action on English votes for English laws – will take place “in tandem” and “at the same pace”.  Draft legislation will be “published by January”. His statement opens up two possible outcomes. The first is that he pushes for […]

Whatever The Result, The Scottish Referendum Has Killed Blair’s Devolution Settlement

The Scottish referendum result is up in the air – polls swing from No to Yes and back again, all within the margin of error. The rush from Westminster to Scotland, not only of the party leaders but of scores of Labour MPs, demonstrates how seriously the prospect of a Yes result is being taken. […]

Two Conservative Scenarios If Scotland Votes Yes

Scenario One: David Cameron does not resign as Prime Minister (or as Conservative leader).  Nor does any member of the Cabinet other than Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary.  The Coalition hangs together.  The Conservative Parliamentary Party rallies round its leader. UKIP’s attempt to provoke an English nationalist backlash comes to nothing.  Perhaps unexpectedly, […]

Cameron’s Ability To Neutralise Opponents Is Brilliantly Illustrated By His Handling Of The New Surveillance Law

David Cameron will always do what the Establishment considers to be prudent.  The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, sprung upon the Cabinet on Thursday morning, is a case in point. Cameron has been told by the security services that these powers are needed. He has therefore set out to square Nick Clegg and Ed […]

Why Critical Headlines About Donor Dinners Raise A Smile In Downing Street

In politics, as with so many things, it’s tempting to judge a book by its cover. The personalities, the catchphrases, the emotional and cultural baggage carried by politicians and parties all compete for our attention. They’re important, of course, but they’re only one part of the political process. The showbiz elements often distract people from […]