Thursday, 14 July 2011

Naming the Shameless #2 - Henry Smith

It's good to see other blogs joining in the pointing to Richard North's profiling of the MPs who seem to thing you the taxpayer is good for an extra £9 billion towards the IMF whilst simultaneously telling you of the need to cut back on spending.

The latest entry is one Henry Smith who protested Richard North's inclusion on the list, which only served to bring further scrutiny on his actions that night in which he abstained by registering both a yes and a no vote.  This further scrutiny has led Autonomous Mind to paint a deliciously sarcastic pen portrait.

Whilst I can't speak specifically to Mr Smith's specific motivations for registering this abstention its difficult to look at this and view it as an act in support of the British people.  An abstention is typically the act of a person who wants to vote one way but the party Whips want another outcome and to go against them is to go against the party machine.

This can be painful come election time.  A friend who used to work for a Labour MP explained how the party machine can really cripple your local election chances if you go against them.  Key items such as printing, photocopying and the use of a car can all dry up which are key to spreading your message.  Cross the party and you can certainly forget, the supportive visit from a senior party member who usually gets his or her physog on the TV.

A seemingly sorry tale but one which is the nub of the whole issue with what Richard North is referring to as "Noted by Madame Defarge".  The extra £9 billion is of no benefit to Britain.  We won't see the money again despite the spin of the powers that be.  It's gone and therefore is not a vote in the interests of the people of Britain.  So a vote for it or an abstention when you wanted to vote against it, is effectively spitting in the face of the people of Britain.  So why would you do either.

It only makes sense if your first thought in voting is what doing so will do to your career as an MP.  It is an act of self interest.  A vote such as this is all about preserving your spot at the trough.It demonstrates that the overriding thought is about what is good for you as an MP.  It is an act of the self absorbed, the self preserving and the self obsessed.  It is all about me me me! An act such as this in a vote that damages the people of this nation shows that what is good for us is of no concern to them when the two stand side by side for comparison.  It is an easy decision - you the public will just have to pay the price.

But of course knowing that can work in our favour.  If we know that their key driver is maintaining their place at the trough, we just have to make that work in our favour.  Their behaviour at the moment, hinges on the fact they think we are not watching.  That as constituents, we have little interest in their activities and as such they can do as they like. It is backed up by the fact that when looking at the Westminster bubble they look like a strong group.

But that can change.  Right now, they still have to come back to us for our vote.  They have to come back to their constituencies every so often and suck up to us in exchange for our vote.  They wax lyrical about their values and their "achievements" and talk about being a man or woman of the people giving you the spiel about how what you want counts.  Because we typically have little interest we have no clue as to whether what they say is real or not.  But as I say, that can change.  All it takes is a willingness to take them on a ground where we have the upper hand and they are weakest - in the local constituencies.  All it takes is a group of people to come together to start showing exactly what your local MP claims to be doing with a blog such as this and promoting it locally.  From there, local voting blocs can begin to develop where the people can start to remind their MP exactly who they work for and give them an opportunity to go back to work for the people and not the party machine.

And if they won't the people can go looking for a new candidate.

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