Little Red Blogger

This blog looks at radical politics(with a libertarian socialist slant), music and culture. Marx to Mises, Girls Aloud to Steve Reich...

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Howard The Political Alpha Male: The Sacking of Flight....

So the Tories are yet again in disarray, well that's the superficial impression given from the sacking of Flight for his remarks on government spending. Now Flight has not done anything unexpected here as he is renowned for speaking his mind and being politically honest.

Flight is an unreformed Thatcherite with all the requisite vulgar libertarian cant about 'small' government and rolling back the state being pretty much a given when it comes expounding his views on politics. Howard probably agrees with everything that Flight stands for but it is inconvenient for this political strategy for him to actually say this in public.

The Tories official line is to reduce the growth of public spending not to reduce the total amount of public spending. Flight has paid the price for speaking honestly what alot of Tories are actually thinking. For Howard this sacking has some beneficial effects, firstly it demonstrates that Tory MPs must cleave to the parties message, secondly it shows that Howard will not be crossed and that any deviations from the party strategy will be punished without mercy.

Howard is trying to introduce a strict culture of loyalty and message discipline into the Conservative party, hoping to emulate the 'New' Labour machine of the mid-nineties. I do not think in the long-run that this will be successful the Labour party's mindset has made it conducive to the kind of message discipline propounded by Blair and Campbell and the ex-commies and Trots who created and birthed 'New' Labour are expert in constructing and running movements and cadres. 'Democratic' Centralism comes as second nature to the likes of Reid and Blunkett.

The Conservative Party lacks this organisational culture with MPs being motivated by the twin sticks of fear and greed. The lack of labour movement traditions of solidarity make Tory MPs very hard to corral and organise and being a minority opposition party makes this worse. The only motivational tool left for Howard is that of fear, his implicit bargain with the party is follow me or loose your seat. Flight's sacking is an instructive lesson for those Tory MPs who might rock the boat or who have leadership ambitions of their own...