Then, I conceded there might be some truth in it.
Now, it cannot be denied. The Conservative Party really does contain some mad swivel-eyed loons. Today’s Daily Telegraph reports:
Conservative MPs have drawn up an “Alternative Queen’s Speech” with radical policies such as bringing back the death penalty, privatising the BBC and banning the burka in public spaces.
The 42 bills also include legislation to scrap wind farm subsidies, end the ringfence for foreign aid spending and rename the late August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”.
Britain’s relationship with Europe features prominently in the action plan, with draft laws setting out how the UK would leave the European Union and a Bill to prevent Bulgarians and Romanians winning new rights to work, live and claim benefits here from next year.42 Bills? How did that happen?
All of the proposals were laid before the House of Commons last night after the Tory backbenchers hijacked an obscure Parliamentary procedure by camping out in Westminster for four successive nights.It is no surprise that one of the Tory MPs behind this coup is the most swivel-eyed of the lot:
Peter Bone, the MP for Wellingborough and one of the architects of the document, said: “This is serious attempt to deliver policies that the British public really want. There are ideas here that could form the basis of a future Conservative manifesto.”Besides the death penalty, privatising the BBC and banning the burka, Bone and his chums have other demands:
One of the proposed Bills would privatise the BBC, with all license-fee payers awarded shares in the corporation. A separate bill would de-criminalise non-payment of the licence fee.
The programme also includes plans to abolish the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister – a post currently occupied by Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader – as well as legislation to abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change and reintroduce national service.This sounds like a Daily Express reader’s wet dream, and indeed that is what it is. So let’s make something clear. The 1950s are not coming back. With the best will in the world, no one, not even Peter Bone with a Tardis, can bring them back. You can legislate till you’re blue in the face, but 42 Bills cannot turn the clock back 62 years.
And there’s another reason these 42 Bills won’t work. Bone claims they are “policies that the British public really want”. But they are policies that only one portion of the British public wants, elderly reactionaries. On any normal actuarial expectation, within twenty years these people will be dead.
Postscript: Jonathan Calder (@lordbonkers) has tweeted some suggestions for what the 42 Bills include:
- On the new Heath Day bank holiday, you get to sit around looking miserable, until someone you dislike loses their job, then you can smile
- You don’t have much fun on Major Day, but looking back it does not seem so bad
- Errand Boys (Whistling in the Street) Bill
- Cloth Cap (Wringing in Front of Social Superiors) Bill