By Gerald Warner, Scotland on Sunday
THE Tory Party was a great adventure, but it is over. Last week the oldest surviving political culture in Europe was liquidated by its own leader.
David Cameron may modestly describe himself as the Heir of Blair but he has succeeded where his master failed. The Conservative Party belongs to history.
Scotland piques itself on experiencing a constitutional upheaval, when the reality is that nothing earth-shaking is occurring, while at United Kingdom level the first pebbles are trickling down that will grow into an avalanche causing a political revolution as significant as 1688. What, in reality, is happening in Scotland? Support for independence is hovering around 32 per cent. Even events-dear-boy could not transform the separatists’ poll deficit into a majority by 2014. The independence referendum is a non-event. Yet, while Edinburgh treads water, Westminster is in the first throes of a convulsion that will alter the political landscape beyond recognition.
Last Tuesday’s events were the culmination of a process that began in 1965, but they deserve consideration as an ?individual phenomenon. The proposal is to redefine marriage which, along with its concomitant the family, is the oldest institution in the world. By the conventions of the British constitution, so unprecedented an intervention in so fundamental an institution demanded certain minimal processes. A royal commission to examine marriage would have been the least that could have been expected. Thereafter, a general election manifesto commitment, a thorough public consultation process, a green paper, a white paper and finally draft legislation would have been the due procedure.
On the contrary, there was no royal commission and no manifesto commitment by any of the political parties. Instead, just three days before the last general election, on 3 May, 2010, in an interview on Sky News, Cameron was asked outright by Adam Boulton whether he would introduce same-sex marriage and replied: “I am not planning that.” The so-called consultation was a complete sham: the online process was so structured that anyone, anywhere in the world, could support the legislation anonymously, any number of times, by pressing “send”. In contrast, more than 500,000 verifiable signatures on a rigidly policed pro-marriage petition were disallowed. The “free” vote of Conservative MPs was heavily pressured by the government. The timetable vote was whipped. Instead of debating every stage of the bill on the floor of the House it has been bundled into a committee stuffed with supporters, easily so since all three parties are in favour of it. The voting result last Tuesday showed that some of the lemmings behind Dave are having second thoughts about the brilliance of the “modernisation” project. Only 127 Tory MPs voted with Dave – who, in cowardly Blair/Brown fashion, did not even attend the debate he had provoked – while 136 voted against and 40 abstained. That will not save them: the Tory Party is doomed, deserted by its activists, donors, core supporters and, most fatally, voters. If the Conservative Party will not conserve marriage, but instead leads the initiative to destroy it, why would any conservative vote for it? Although Labour will be the temporary beneficiary of the collapse of the Tory Party, being now assured of power from 2015 to 2020, it will be next into the killing bottle.
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