Monday, 26 April 2010

A guest article by Sir Hardly Anyone

Sir Hardly Anyone is the outgoing Conservative MP for an English county whose name he cannot quite recall at present, and a former contributor to BBC Radio's "Week Ending" programme. His contribution is dictated to his prospective successor, Miss Tamsin Aylist-Sloane.

I am grateful to Frederick Little for the opportunity to make a modest contribution to the debate on the British electoral system. I am informed that his "Blag" is read by millions around the world via the wonders of the Interweb. If my message is read by only a modicum of the people who count in this country, it will have done some good.

The subject of proportional representation has once more raised its ugly head. The powers that be have successfully resisted its siren call since the early years of the century when that Welsh oik Lloyd George attempted to foist it on us, along with those other foreign nonsenses, old age pensions, accident insurance and the wages councils, which nearly ruined my poor dear father ... sorry, drifting off there ... where was I? Oh yes, foreign imports.

It is said that we are alone in the civilised world in adhering to what I believe is now described, in today's argot, as "first past the post". (I have long suspected that political journalists are drawn from the ranks of those who have failed to succeed as racing tipsters.) That is not correct. Our cousins across the Atlantic have retained the traditional electoral system which we bequeathed them, along with Imperial measures, and they are all the better for it.  If the tried and trusted traditional system of voting is good enough for Great Britain and the United States of America, the two greatest nations on God's earth, why should we change it?

However, the new leader of the Liberal party, Nick Clegg (what an oafish name) is attracting more support than the Liberals have had for many a long year. It is said that he may hold the balance of power after the next general election, and that he will use this to force a change in the electoral system. This is only to be expected from an old boy of that nest of dangerous radicals, Westminster School, which also produced, may I remind you, Michael Flanders and Donald Swann.

Resist, good people! If we adopted proportional representation, we would no longer have working majorities in the House of Commons. No more could a British Prime Minister count on loyal support for actions guaranteeing world peace, like the ousting of dictators like Madman Hussain and the eradication of hundreds of thousands of his fanatical supporters. No more could a British Prime Minister have the ability to correct the injustices of local government taxation, whereby my family paid hundreds of times more hard-earned money to the council than some "worker" who did not have enough get-up-and-go to lift himself and his family out of ... sorry ... anyway, the rating system had to go. What is fairer than each man making the same contribution? I am only sorry that wets like Heseltine and Major did not have the backbone to resist the mob. Their Council Tax compromise is at least preferable to the iniquitous Local Income Tax, which is another abortion which would be forced on us should Clegg have his way.

My friends point out that the system occasionally fails. Socialists such as Callaghan and Brown sometimes reach the top of the greasy pole. I am not unaware of these dangers, but these may be removed by two simple measures.

Firstly, the existing constituencies must be redrawn. We must return to the days when county constituencies were the norm and industrial towns mere adjuncts.

Secondly, this socialist experiment of paying MPs must end. It has only resulted in a lower class of member scrabbling around for yet more money, with results which are plain to see. Far better to have a House comprising those of independent means and thus of independent mind. The best of us derive our living from the land but I do not despise those who come from trade, like our own dear Margaret.

So, vote Conservative on May 6th! At a pinch, if it is the only way to keep a Liberal out, vote socialist. At least these Labour johnnies know their place and respect our traditions.

Now, my dear, the choice of restaurant is yours.  The memsahib is not expecting me back at the Hall until tomorrow, so perhaps we can take in a show this evening?

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