Sunday, December 12, 2010

Parachute Payments

Wierdo MP's are the norm when parachuted into safe seats.

There is with regularity entertainment to be had in the media when they document the various affairs of elected representatives. For sheer entertainment value it's had to beat.

When Joe Public learns that his local MP is variously a serial womaniser, a Russian spy, a bi-sexual adulterer or just plain odd in the head, should they be surprised? I think not for the system is designed to produce just the sort of folk who think any of the above afflictions is really par for the course.

The examples from the last 20 to 30 years are legendary. I distinctly remember that dope who unseated Michael Portillo ( not my favourite guy, but certainly a serious politician ) standing on the platform looking completely bewildered when the result was announced. Not surprising as even he was amazed that he won. After all I'm sure the party only put him forward as a candidate to annoy some local politician who should have got the nod but was blocked because he was simply too safe and sane. The look on this guys face ( Stephen Twigg was his name and he is still an MP I was amazed to learn ) was incredulity bordering on insanity. Priceless.

Why does this happen so often. Are the electorate so stupid as to vote for any ass the party might put up? Actually, pretty much the answer is yes.

The other answer is that the system is designed to produce the most unctuous toady possible and rewards the loser with the most stamina.

How do I know this?


My prime example is Michael Carttiss. Wikipedia tell us “Michael Reginald Harry Carttiss (born 11 March 1938) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Great Yarmouth from 1983 until his defeat in 1997 by Labour's Anthony Wright.

Carttiss was born and brought up in his future constituency and worked as a teacher in a local secondary school. He was the full time agent for Anthony Fell from 1969, and was elected to Norfolk County Council in 1966. In 1973 Carttiss was elected to Great Yarmouth Borough Council and became its Leader from 1980 to 1982.

In Parliament Carttiss allied with the right and was a loyal supporter of Margaret Thatcher. During the debate on a motion of no confidence a few hours after Thatcher had announced her resignation as Prime Minister on 22 November 1990, his loud shout of encouragement to her to cancel her decision because "You can wipe the floor with these people!" was clearly audible and is recorded in Hansard. Indeed, immediately after the remark, on television, Thatcher is seen to acknowledge him by looking back at him and bowing.

However, Carttiss found life under her successor John Major less easy. He was a strong eurosceptic and disliked the provisions of the Maastricht Treaty, voting against them frequently in early 1993. When he voted against the European Communities (Finance) Bill in November 1994, he was one of eight Conservative MPs to have the Conservative whip withdrawn. It was restored in April 1995.

Following his defeat Carttiss went back onto Norfolk County Council from 2001, and was made Vice-Chairman of the Council in 2006. He represents the West Flegg division.”

What this fails to mention is that: 1) he was the worst teacher in the world according to anyone who knew him during his time at the Oriel High School in Gorleston - 2) that he spent his formative parliamentary years as Conservative agent for Sir Anthony Fell – and 3) that he was a complete pain to the Conservatives after the demise of Maggie Thatcher by becoming an arch-rebel.

What Wikipedia doesn't mention is that Carttiss spent 20 odd years “stalking” the Yarmouth seat, has no real experience of real life and is still ponceing around as a local politician. And whilst he is no doubt not the worst parliamentarian ever he is a classic role model for anyone who aspires to a political career and is fairly much divorced from real life.

He is, in short, the very quintessential politician.

There is no doubt that in the higher echelons of Parliament there are some excellent and fairly normal fellows. The other 4 or 5 hundred are mostly Michael Carttiss behave-a-likes. That is what the system is designed to produce.


No comments: