Imagine a job where all the responsibility for difficult decisions has been delegated to your organisation.
You just need to turn up and vote the way you are told and, should any of your fellow workers or members of the public question ‘your’ decisions, the organisation will craft a standard reply to send (sometimes with minor alterations) on your behalf. There may be a creeping sense of unease as you think some of those decisions are not in the interests of the wider population, but you are kept aware by ‘whips’: your job and income of just under £82,000 plus expenses, is entirely dependent on your obedience.
As you are rarely around people who don’t share your party loyalty, it may be easy to convince yourself you know best. The standard response of ‘let the ballot box decide’ will also come in handy, even though the broken first past the post system leaves the vast majority of people with no voice in Parliament.
Such is the case of Robert Syms, MP for Poole in Dorset. So rarely seen in the constituency, certainly outside party coffee mornings and fundraisers, it has become a standard joke that in his case MP stands for missing person.
It’s difficult to understand the mind set of anyone who would want to ruin the precious jewel of Poole Harbour by sanctioning the release of raw sewage. Fishing and tourism are lifeblood for the town, but in this case, as in so many others, his vote is an automatic transaction. His soul belongs to the Tory Party and those of us he is elected to represent are muted by his craven obedience.