Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is this Cameron's Moment?

There are rumours circulating this morning that Cameron has cleared his diary and is consulting with lawyers and advisors over what to do. As Iain Dale notes, this could be the much desired Clause IV moment for the Tories. If Cameron acts against those named this morning, and he does so decisively, then he will, I think, clinch the deal with the electorate that he is a leader and, to put it bluntly, won't take any shit. MY guess is that by the end of the day we shall see some sort of graduated censure for those MPs that have been highlighted by the Telegraph.

As Tim Montgomerie noted, "[t]here is no clear line between right and wrong here - only a messy gradation of greediness within rules set by MPs to suit themselves." This means I think that censure is going to have be weighted against the perceived wrongdoing somehow. Think of it like sentencing guidelines for crimes. The very worst offenders, and I will no doubt be wrong on this, could see the whip removed, pressure on their Associations to deselect them, and demands that money is paid back. At the other end of the scale, public apologies and just public payback of funds and a return to Back bench.

The key here is going to be how ruthless Cameron is with those on his Front bench team. The public anger over this row is, arguably, unprecedented though, so the idea that anyone censured and demoted could successfully attack Cameron from the Back bench on the issue wouldn't fly well with the public and Cameron would likely receive admiration and respect for taking them on. This does of course assume that Cameron knows there are no elephant traps about the order of his own house waiting to surface.

A metaphorical blood letting and purge would certainly do wonders at defining him as a man of principle and action in the mind of the electorate.


Obnoxio The Clown said...

Let's think about this, dizzy:

1. A few sacrificial lambs ain't gonna cut it. EVERYONE caught troughing is going to have to go.

2. That will effectively write off his front bench.

3. Why should crooks stay in the house at all?

There is no action that Dave could manage that would satisfy public anger without completely destroying the Tory party.

It is time for a new broom to sweep clean. The fact that the old broom knows where the corners are is the actual problem.

Oldrightie said...

The answer is to sack those abusing their claims, from all Parties and hold an election.

IanVisits said...

I agree that this could be David Cameron's "moment" if he takes decisive action - when compared to the dithering from the Prime Minister, and the attitude from the Speaker yesterday.

Indeed, considering how annoyed some Labour MPs are over the issue, it could put more pressure on Brown's premiership.

I would however, expect that DC is having conversations which would not be unlike:

"I need to sack you today, but we'll have a year for the public to move on and forget, and when I am PM, you'll be eased back onto the front bench"

ConstantlyFurious said...

I think: Cameron's got an Open Goal.

This latest batch can afford to pay back the money, unlike the Labour flat-flippers.

If they do, then CallMeDave can point across the divide and keep asking "Why don't they do the same?

James Burdett said...

Obnoxio, I think you are wrong. I think that public anger dissipates as quickly as it arises. I think if he does something proportionate it will satisfy. There are degrees of claiming and abuse here, the worst offenders should be treated the harshest, but some of the allegations against MP's are little tenuous.

I think as long as Cameron is seen to take action and discipline his party's recalcitrant members then the public will respect that.

Oldrightie said...

Dizzy, check out the theory at my place. Sorry to plug but you will find it interesting, hopefully.

Anonymous said...

If he does he'll have my vote in the euro elections. If not I think it will be UKIP again

Anonymous said...

Clearly what Douglas Hogg should have done was to get a mortgage on his ancestral pile, which he could then use cleaning the moat and the other necessities of life, and then just claimed for the mortgage interest. His expense return would then have looked like Cameron's and he would have needed a lecture from his leader.

Don't you think that some of the Tories being lectured/disciplined by Cameron might not have enough financial acumen to understand this.

Good old Tory hypocrisy - its not what you its the way that you do it?

Anonymous said...

Will the man of principle repay the gain he has made on his tax payer funded investment in a country cottage in the Cotswold (to the tune of a £300k) mortgage - purchased in 2000/1 back to the tax payer. Perhaps one he has done so we will listen to his lectures on principle and action?

Anonymous said...

£115k salary for Cameron says that he can more than meet his household costs, compared to the poor MPs having to scrape by on their paltry salary of £62k! However, this has not stopped the great future leader from claiming the full Annual Allowances and getting taxpayers to pay for his garden clearing! Is this how we are to be led in the future? I despair!

Anonymous said...

Lets face it they are all a bunch of hypochrites. Yes maybe it was all within the rules..........but what rules?

Not the rules of decency where everyone knows claiming £350 for horse manure etc etc is a flagrant abuse.

It is my belief that allowance were brought in initially for those members of parliament who could not afford to go back and forward to parliament from their constituencies.

Maybe it might be a good idea for all MP's to be means tested to see if they should be allowed to claim any expenses.

After all the government does it to our pensioners don't they?

Anonymous said...

Has Cameron got a personality disorder or what? It seemed as if he was talking about an evil twin with has hand in the till not himself at all. Clearly the Tories haven't changed in the slightest and the others are not much better. Comment from such media sources as the finincial times saying this is a frenzy, and its all blown out of proportion are so out of touch. The only frenzy is the medias' lies on the 'depresion' which is now coming to an end. Cameron is dirty, the Tories are corrupt, the economy is about to recover from great depression 2 (dear god). October Election, Brown to will a majority of 96