'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Wednesday 7 September 2011

If Nadine Dorries took a penalty kick, this is what would happen

Or as Andrew Sparrow put it earlier...'

It is certainly a terrible defeat, perhaps even a textbook example of how not to approach a free-vote, conscience issue. Dorries tabled what appeared at face value a relatively technical change, and yet she ended up losing the support of her government, a large section of her party and even the co-sponsor of her amendment (Frank Field).

But this wasn't really a decisive encounter in the culture war; it was more a case of Westminster ganging up on one of parliament's easiest targets. (Which is why the PMQ's exchange earlier was significant. When your own party leader treats you as a figure of ridicule, you are in trouble.) Does this really tell us much about the balance of power between social liberalism and social conservatism in Britain today? I doubt it. The only lesson that really stands out is that, if you want change legislation on a contentious issue, don't ask Dorries to take the lead.


  1. Andrew Sparrow is right.

    There are some serious issues of conscience around with real pros and cons of both sides of the argument that deserve debated in a considered and adult manner - and then a solution that works for for a pluralist society arrived at.

    Having a joke figure leading doesn't really help either side.

  2. Yes, would have been a very different event if Frank Field had led for example. Although of course It would have been a very different debate as well - rather more in common with the words of the actual amendment, rather than the implied meaning.