CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRACY 19 July 2005
As a Conservative party member, I read with interest the call for grassroots involvement by 10 Conservative MPs. While it seems only fair that members are given a say in choosing their future leaders, they clearly have little say in dismissing them. Having voted for Iain Duncan-Smith in 2001, I found that Tory MPs exercised the right to sack him without consulting party members. Then the party went one better by selecting only one candidate for the succession, which barely merited the endorsement of members. If MPs can dismiss a leader, let them do the selecting too. And let it be on their heads if they make a bad decision
THE FRENCH NON 29 May 2005
Following the Gallic rebuff to European federalism, you call for a British referendum on the constitution. This would be a futile gesture for there is little to be gained in voting for a lifeless treaty. However, in order to reduce the EU’s implicit democratic deficit, another more meaningful referendum might be possible. The citizens of each EU state should be asked to decide what type of relationship they want with the organization. The choice should be between a European ‘inner core’, marked by economic centralization and extreme levels of political integration and an ‘outer core’ in which citizens can reverse treaties, reject the Euro and loosen ties with Brussels bureaucracy. For the sake of democratic accountability, we must be given the choice.