Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Tory Barrel, Scraped.

Despite my two fundamental disagreements with the Conservative Party (everything it says, and everything it does), I've always had a lingering respect for it as a machine. It is ruthless, sinister, single-minded and vicious. As parties go, it's the Tasmanian Devil.

Until now. Despite having a wider pool of MPs from which to choose, it has awarded PAUL UPPAL a government post. Not only that, but one as Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Willetts, the Minister of State for Universities and Science.

I am baffled. Firstly, Paul Uppal is a serial loyalist. He literally has never disagreed with the party line on anything, in the two years he's been an MP. One might think he has no invididual consciousness. A cynic might say that his loyalty was a job-seeking strategy. But from the government's point of view, one would have thought that so slavish a toady does not require a PPS job: they're unpaid and often used to force rebels to behave. Many spiky Labour MPs were bought off by such a post: you have to resign if you want to vote against your government's line. There was no danger of Uppal rebelling, so there was no need to buy him off. He retails planted questions, I suspect he invents agreeable constituents who adopt perfectly nuanced Parliamentary discourse to elucidate his personal opinions and as I've documented in the past, is not above telling untruths to Parliament.

Is Uppal qualified to be an education expert? He won't tell anyone what degree classification he achieved (Warwick, Politics) and he's never worked in education or evinced any interest in higher education policy, based on his speeches. He's a property speculator, plain and simple.

What other explanations are there? There is a university in Uppal's constituency, but he seems to basically oppose it: he enthusiastically voted for fees and has not concerned himself with our well-being. The constituency is an ultra-marginal one though: he has a majority of 691. The Tory vote hardly increased: Labour voters stayed at home. So giving him a cheap job might be an attempt to bolster Uppal's profile in the hope that it might save him.

I'm determined to make sure it's exactly the opposite. Government policy is to beggar and humble less prestigious universities such as The Hegemon. It wants to concentrate research and high-achieving A-level students in Russell Group universities, and farm out the rest to dodgy corporate faux-universities. It has loaded students with debts of £60,000 each, which will wreck entry to socially-useful low-paid jobs (teaching, nursing, social work, research) and further study, especially amongst the working classes. I am going to make damn sure that every single student associates Uppal with the government's actions: 2015 is the date of the next election and sees the first £9000 fees students graduate - the perfect storm.

So I don't think that it's a particularly clever marginal constituency gambit. Which leaves one horrible, horrible reason:
The Conservative Party actually thinks that Paul Uppal is the best of the remaining unemployed Tory MPs
Even I find this hard to swallow. For all their blind ideological idiocy, there are highly-qualified, articulate and intelligent MPs on the government benches. And yet… this is the decision they've reached.

David Willetts' nickname is 'Two Brains'. I hope it's true because frankly, he'll have to lend one of them to his new PPS.

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