British politics was ruined by the democratic election of party leadership

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Kenneth Clarke clearly understands politics in a deep way. He is philosophical. If were to claim he read Edmund Burke and Jeremy Bentham and reached his own conclusions, I’d believe him. I love this article:

Regarding the promises made by Johnson and Hunt in the Conservative leadership election, Clarke said both Labour and the Tories had been pushed towards more fringe views than those of their MPs after altered rules involving party members electing leaders.

He said: “Both parties were doomed, in hindsight, when they followed the 1990s fashion of making our parties democratic. They’re not ready for it.

“Now we have the membership, which in both parties’ cases is totally unrepresentative of the vote for the respective parties, which now chooses the party leader.

“That’s why it looks like we’re winding up with Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, who are two of the people most unrepresentative of public opinion at large that you could possibly imagine.”

….Clarke was dismissive about the leadership campaign as a whole. “When the Conservative party can’t think of anything sensible to do in a crisis it always has a leadership election. And I’ve taken part in several of them.”

“We might return to normality. But it’ll be a different normality. It’ll take a generation to cure the divisions that this issue has caused. It has broken the political system. We will have multi-party parliaments. I think if we had an election, god knows how many parties would be in and what the respective balance would be.”

Clarke reiterated his threat to potentially back a motion of no-confidence against a new Tory government if it pushed for no deal over leaving the EU, saying he faced a dilemma.

“As I don’t think that the declared policy position of either candidate is remotely credible, nor do I think it is what either of them think it is what they’re going to pursue, I shall wait to see what the prime minister says he and the government he forms actually intends to do,” he said.

This, Clarke added, was a luxury he could indulge in as a veteran not seeking to stand again. “I don’t want the new leader to make me parliamentary under-secretary for nuts and bolts.”

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