Monday, April 24, 2006

A Tory peer speaks

The Lord Onslow of Woking is one of the most consistently entertaining and hard-hitting speakers in the House of Lords. It is hard not to know his opinion on many things from scatological poems by ancient authors to the common fisheries policy.

After he was elected to be one of the Conservative peers to remain in the House, he was heard (by me among others) to remark gleefully: “And that is more than Baroness Jay ever was.” She just happened to be wafting along the corridor in the right direction at the time.

In yesterday’s Observer Lord Onslow takes the Boy-King to task. He does not mention glaciers but points out that the Conservative Party, if it is anything, is the party of individual freedom:

“From our beginnings in the Restoration parliament as defenders of church and king, we have seen ancient liberties as the key to the advancement of our fellow citizens.

Throughout the centuries, that Conservative-Tory tradition has been used for the immense benefit of our people. Peel's Tamworth Manifesto stated that so clearly in 1834. That is why we have been the most successful and long-lasting political party in history. From the Stuart kings to the modern, mass-political democracy, our great party has defended our constitution and benefited our country.”

At a time when we have a government that is inexorably eroding liberties (ancient or otherwise) the Conservative Party has not taken much of a stand on these issues

“It was dozy on the Civil Contingencies Act until the excellent Peta Buscombe in our house took it up; this from the party which, since the restoration of Charles II, has been so jealous of our constitution. Have we a guilty secret? Remember Burke saying: 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.' Why are we not shouting from the hustings that we will return to the people their ancient liberties?

Why, Mr Cameron, is the Conservative party passing by on the other side while our old liberties fall among thieves?”

Read the whole column. There are also some very funny and seriously ignorant responses. Well, this is the Observer that shares readers with the Guardian.


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