Saturday, 2 May 2009

Labour's treason season?

. The rumours that some Labour MP's/Peers might be considering defecting to the Liberal Democrats has certainly caused a stir on the blogsphere at least. Let's fly straight off the bat; this is kite-flying of the most blatant kind by malcontents in a Conservative supporting newspaper in a media climate where the media narrative is 'government in crisis. So, having said that what are the wider issues?

Firstly, there is nothing inherently wrong with attracting support from people within the Labour Party. It amuses me greatly that the same people who were only days ago celebrating our Gurkha success would think there is; how else was that vote won if not with a large-scale rebellion on the government benches?? This, if anything should prove the fact that there are people in the Labour Party (and indeed the Conservatives too) who can be worked with and are potentially open to political life in the Lib Dems.

Charlotte Gore has obviously totally mis-read the original piece because it is made clear that this is a putative *right-wing* (not left-wing) split from Blairites in our direction. So, most of her rant simply doesn't apply really. Party politics is partially tribal in nature and it engenders a tribal loyalty in all parties, including our own. Sometimes that is a plus, sometimes a minus. Political parties by their very nature are heterogeneous beasts; coalitions of different individuals and viewpoints around broad goals. It is bitterly ironic for people to inveigh against a Labourite propensity to create 'traitors' and then in the very next breath argue for a climate of ideological purity which in fact would make traitors of people.

Over on Liberal Democrat Voice, Richard Huzzey has a certainly more balanced view. He wants the newcomers to actually reverse their positions on some questions like ID cards which is understandable and will be likely if for no other reason than because pragmatically dropping ID cards makes sound economic sense. Also, it's worth noting that the more socially authoritarian strand to Blairite politics (taking Anthony Giddens as our marker here) actually came in as a response to the start of the 'war on terror' and that in turn can be traced back simply to how state formations actually react when a mass hysteria/sense of loss of control takes hold. State's increase their power incrementally in response to this public mood (with public unlicensed consent, normally) usually and had say, for example, the Conservatives been in power things would not have been an awful lot different (you may even have seen a return of capital punishment in response had it been a Conservative government). If you notice one thing it is that support for measures like the introduction of ID cards has declined markedly as time marches on since the last terrorist attack.

Given what I have just said above; assuming that this kite-flying has much substance which is a highly dubious assumption, it would be accepted that these people would bring something to the mix, there own experiences and own politics and commitments. Why anybody should feel threatened by that is beyond me; even though I don't entirely share Blairite politics it doesn't bother me. What we are really seeing in this article is that the coalition; the heterogeneous nature, of the Labour Party is creaking under the weight of the governments decay. In other words, discipline is starting to break-down and the Party is fragmenting into it's component parts.

I would have thought this would have been a good thing from the oppositions point of view. Letters from a Tory presumably thinks that they should, if anything, join the Cameroons in his own party. All-in-all we should dismiss this and the kite flying it actually is but not use it as an opportunity to show how 'closed-shop' we can be....


asquith said...

Blairites may be "right-wing" in the sense you're using, & I perceive it being used as a slur in the way certain brethren/sistren of ours use "lefty", but they have sod all to do with liberalism.

They are ridiculously authoritarian, fully-fledged believers in the docttrine of nothingtohidenothingtofear, convinced that there's nothing wrong with ratcheting up government power so long as righteous people (viz. themselves) run the government.

Let the Tories have the likes of David Freud- I would not support a party that contained them.

No one who had been a loyal lieutenant of Blair could become a liberal without a total change of heart. They could say "Labour no longer represent my values". But if they are capable of having been at the top of the party for so long without a murmur, I doubt whether they hold any values & if they do they are antithetical to mine.

I am sore disappointed in Ashdown if he still does not realise that Blair took him for a ride & he gained nothing from it.

asquith said...

Yes- they cleave to authoritarianism as an ideology rather than for any other reason. These statist tendencies have always existed but have been obscured by the fact that they are not old-fashioned socialists, which is all that people notice if the economic axis is all they care about.

I view myself as being on the left- not having owt in common with these tossers.

Darrell G said...


I think Giddens was outlinging in his own mind at the time a way to cross the bridge between liberalism and socialism. Certainly there is that strand within Blairism but that came from Blair himself and his rather preachy persona as much as Giddens who is acknowledged as the theoretical underpin.

Economically, Blairism is actually closer to Charlotte than me in terms of its almost deification of the market so why she is complaining is beyond me (for example, one of the key causes of moaning is the 50p tax band on which CG and the Blairites would agree).

I think there is a certain difference between Blair's 'Blairism' and the framework Giddens laid down.

asquith said...

Yes- I actually read Giddens' book & arrived at the view that is slippery, unprincipled & a tosser.

The discussion is belting away in response to Charlotte's assertions. I like my response. An aesthetic triumph, it were.

Darrell G said...


I had the misfortune of reading it too. So I see lol :)

asquith said...

Aye- only thing I retain in my head from that module was a lifelong hatred of him- did just about scrape a 2:1 though.

Some absolute staggering shite gets written along these lines, seriously. You've brought it all back like.

Darrell G said...


Sorry about that lol....

asquith said...

Aye- they were wild nights though. Thursday was tame by comparison!

Bit of a culture shock it was to get a job & only be able to drink on the weekends. Nowadays I don't even do that most weeks- hangovers stop me doing anything else if I've been out the night before.

I seem to remember saying, not sure if it was to you, that there must be shite far better than alcohol- in terms of the effect it has on people- as enjoyable as drink it, it's hardly "efficient" as a drug given its side effects & its positive effects aren't all that good.

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