Watch Zac Goldsmith and Nicky Morgan being introduced in the House of Lords, and ask yourself whether US President Eisenhower was right when he said that patronage was a wicked word which could defeat democracy.

First published in January 2020.

Almost eight years ago the then Tory MP Zac Goldsmith tweeted about Nick Clegg’s proposals to reform the House of Lords saying, “Seedy lists of party apparatchiks appointed by power hungry party leaders & insulated from any democratic pressure for 15 yrs? No thanks.”

Zac, who’s an Etonian posho pal of that other Etonian posho Boris Johnson, was appointed as Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and at the Department for International Development after the fnaughing one won the Conservative party leadership.

The Brexit supporting Zac contested his heavily Remain-voting seat of Richmond Park in December’s general election, and got his jotters from his constituents, voted Zac out and replaced him with the Lib Dem candidate. His rejection by the voters in what was a rare example of the Lib Dems taking a seat off the Tories might not be unconnected to the racist campaign that he led when he was standing as candidate for the London Mayor’s office.

General Election 2019 results in Richmond Park. / Wikipedia

However Zac is still Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and at the Department for International Development, because he’s got over his aversion to seedy lists of party apparatchiks being appointed by a power hungry leader and insulated from democratic pressure. Perhaps that’s because Zac will be insulated from any democratic pressure for the rest of his life. He’s been given a peerage by Boris Johnson for services to losing formerly safe seats and will continue exactly as he did before, attending cabinet meetings, making laws and policy, and influencing the lives of the people of Richmond Park and everyone else even though he was booted out of office.

Zac Goldsmith introduced to the House of Lords, 13 January 2020. / Parliament TV

Funny how Brexiters bewailed the unfairness of the UK being subject to the decisions of unelected Brussels bureaucrats who could be booted out of office by MEPs that the UK got to elect as well as voters in the other EU states, but they’re quite happy to be ruled by unelected pals of Boris Johnson who can’t be booted out ever and who get rewarded with political immunity after the electorate has voted them out of office.

This would be that same Zac Goldsmith who in 2016 explained his objection to the EU saying, “I just believe that the people who make decisions on our behalf should be people who can be fired if they get it wrong.”

Zac Goldsmith on Uber, Savile Row suits and his ‘heat stick’ - 3 March 2016 / GQ magazine

Except that is when the person making decisions on our behalf is Zac Goldsmith.

In 2018, the Brexit loving Zac was quoted as saying, “The EU is an arrogant, rotten bureaucracy that views democracy as an inconvenience.” Zac, or Lord Goldsmith the Seedy Apparatchik to use his new title, is opposed to the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels. But the unelected posh boys of Westminster? That will do nicely. Here’s my expenses form, I claim my £300 a day plus my salary as a cabinet minister. Ker-ching.

You’d almost think that Zac has become an arrogant rotten bureaucrat who views democracy as an inconvenience. All that respecting the democratic decision of the people doesn’t apply when the careers of posh Conservatives are at stake, although everyone in Scotland who voted SNP already realised that particular point.

Anyway now, just as an aside, you also have the answer to the enquiry, “Hey Google, show me the most egregious example of rank hypocrisy.”

Likewise the former Tory cabinet minister and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nicky Morgan has managed to forget that she used to be opposed to a Boris Johnson leadership and to Brexit. It’s quite amazing how the prospect of donning an ermine robe can cause all the symptoms of amnesia. Although you only have to gaze upon the green benches of the House of Lords for five minutes not to be remotely surprised by just how amnesiac they all are.

Top Tory Nicky Morgan says she would refuse to serve under Boris Johnson - 10 Sept 2018 / Politics Home

Nicky, or Lady Morgan of Eh? Oh … Em... It’s On The Tip Of My Tongue, as we must now call her, has been accused by some of resiling on her previous principles. Not that long ago Nicky said that Boris Johnson used deliberately incendiary language, and refused to consider serving in any government led by him. She forgot about that too.

However it is unfair to accuse Nicky of going back on her principles, because that would imply that she had some to begin with. She’s now able to continue in her job despite announcing prior to the General Election that she was standing down as an MP in order to spend more time with her family, although she spent a few minutes with them and then forgot that she wanted to spend more time with them. She was also able to spend the £8,400 leaving bonus given to all retiring MPs. She’s not forgotten about that, but she’s not giving it back, by the way. If you’re surprised by that you’d probably also be surprised by the revelation that Boris Johnson is a liar.

But of course those of us who are keen students of Scottish political history will know that we’ve been here before. As this author has pointed out before, in 1997 Michael Forsyth led the Conservative party in Scotland to its worst electoral defeat ever. Michael was so inept, so arrogantly clueless, so repugnant to the sensibilities of the Scottish electorate that in that year’s General Election the people of Scotland gazed upon Michael Forsyth, the Scottish Conservative manifesto, and the Scottish Conservative party and said we don’t want you Michael, we don’t like your manifesto, and we don’t like your party. That year the Tories lost every single seat they had in Scotland. It was glorious. But not for Michael.

Nothing like old friends...

In any normal functioning democracy, or indeed professional career, that would have been the last we’d have heard of Michael Forsyth. His failure was of such a magnitude that if he’d been a teacher he’d have been subject to a restraining order banning him from approaching within 100 metres of any education establishment. If he’d been a doctor he’d have been struck off and banned from buying a packet of paracetamol from Boots. But Michael is a Tory politician, so he got a peerage and was given a seat in the Lords where he still, to this very day, casts a baneful influence over the laws and policies that affect Scotland. He’s one of those unelected and unaccountable Tory politicians who wants Brexit because he says Brussels can’t be held to account. In Michael’s, Zac’s, and Nicky’s world, it’s only Conservatives who have the absolute right never to be held to account.

We don’t live in a normal functioning democracy. We live in the UK. We live in a state where the ruling party is quite happy to ignore the democratic will of the people of Scotland, and to overrule any constituency electorate which has the gall to reject one of the Conservatives’ own. This is a failing state that rewards failure, as long as the failures are Conservative failures. The American President Dwight D Eisenhower said that patronage was a wicked word which could defeat democracy. In the UK it already has.

There’s only one way in which the people of Scotland can ensure that our political class is accountable, and that’s in an independent Scotland with a written constitution. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again. We need independence so that we can keep our politicians close to us, so that their arses are always within kicking distance of our feet.🔷


Check their Voting Record:

🗳️ Zac Goldsmith

🗳️ Nick Clegg

🗳️ Boris Johnson

🗳️ Nicky Morgan

🗳️ Lord Michael Forsyth

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[This piece was originally published on the Wee Ginger Dug’s blog and re-published in PMP Magazine on 15 January 2020, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Gif of Zach Goldsmith in the House of Lords.)