Well, that’s clearly the view of the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Conservative MP for East Devon and a Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Mr Swire recently treated readers of the Exeter Express and Echo to an article headed “Beware of voting for chaos politics”.
The first half of his article is the usual scaremongering along the lines of a vote for anyone except a Tory will lead to a Labour-led coalition with the SNP/Greens/LibDems. The Greens are singled out for particular venom, though Swire tops his ineffective hatchet job by the accusing the Greens of holding to what he clearly regards as the grossly irresponsible belief that “money, in the end, is less important than quality of life”. So, there you are: the Tories are after the fat cat vote.
However, it’s not only parties that fall to the withering Swire analysis. His next paragraph is worth quoting:
Then there are the occasional independent candidates that pop up every now and then and think they can change the world. They can’t. If by some miracle they get to Parliament, and occasionally they do, they are up against a system that does not cater for them. They rarely win a second term because once there they are powerless and ineffective.
This is probably one of the most insightful statements, from an experienced insider, of how utterly unfitted for the 21st century our parliamentary democracy has become. What sort of representative democracy is it where “the system” freezes out an elected MP just because he or she doesn’t belong to a mainstream political party?
Of course Swire doesn’t see it that way. He’s trying to frighten his East Devon constituents into believing they’ll be wasting their vote if they support his real opponent, the community-focussed, committed district and county councillor Claire Wright who is standing as an independent.
My late father was fond of saying that one of the problems with the Tories was that they thought the voters were stupid. 50 years on, that at least hasn’t changed.