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Guardian - Andrew Rawnsley - Does the Tory party actually want to win the next election?

s the Conservative MP Peter Bone secretly in the pay of Nick Clegg? Does he take Lib Dem gold? It is true that no Tory backbencher has been more hostile to coalition than the MP for Wellingborough. And none can compete with him when it comes to being rude about the deputy prime minister, often to his face. But you could take that as further grounds to suspect that he might be a yellow agent. Being nasty about Mr Clegg is how you would maintain your cover if you were a covert operative implanted in the Tory parliamentary party with a brief to cause maximum mischief for David Cameron to the benefit of the Lib Dems.

I'm prompted to wonder about Mr Bone because he is one of the leaders of a gang of Tory MPs who have just mocked the prime minister by launching an "alternative Queen's speech" which, they say, would transform the electoral fortunes of the Conservative party. Many of their 42 proposed bills are from the traditional menu of the right of the Tory party: the restoration of national service, exit from the European Union, the privatisation of the BBC and the reintroduction of the death penalty. They missed a trick, I thought, by not also calling for the resumption of birching in schools, the decriminalisation of duelling and bear-baiting and the relaxation of prohibitions against child chimney sweeps. They throw in a few suggestions that command very widespread support within their party, such as tax breaks to reward marriage, though presumably not gay marriage since another bill calls for a referendum to abolish it.

There are even some quite sensible ideas in the mix, such as putting a cap on the size of the House of Lords. But the eye is most drawn, which was surely their intention, to their most provocatively look-at-me suggestions, which include a bill to ban the burqa in public places and another to rename the late August bank holiday as "Margaret Thatcher Day".

Peter Bone was interviewed on one of the political shows today and seemed very proud of himself, inviting the panel to say which one of his policies was silly.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 09:25:37 AM EST

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