Tuesday, March 13, 2007
David - so cute about the bomb
David Cameron’s decision to impose a three line whip on Wednesday’s Trident vote is a piece of political cunning worthy of Niccolò Machiavelli himself.
This will cause almost no damage to the Tories electoral interests, as everyone expects them to be right wing on defence issues. And it doesn't detract much from the generally succesful repositioning of the Tories, which we shouldn't forget is to the left of Labour on many issues.
But given the expected size of the Labour rebellion, it means that Tony Blair will only win with Tory votes. And Gordon Brown is as compromised as Blair on this issue. Cameron's help on is a political disaster for Labour, much worse than a common's defeat would be.
I just finished a phone call with my mum, who has voted Labour in every election since 1945, and she told me that for the first time she has decided never to vote Labour again – the final straw being Trident. Like so many of Labour’s increasingly elderly vote she had been voting for the historical tradition not the current reality. In her mind she was voting for Attlee and Wilson, not Blair, and each vote represented the triumph of hope over experience.
By saving Blair’s bacon on Wednesday, Cameron is sending a very clever signal to many Labour voters that Brown and Blair represent a decisive break with the historical progressive traditions of the Labour Party.
Of course Labour governments have supported the bomb before, but the argument has moved on. Not only has the context made nuclear weapons less defensible, but the loyalty of the socialist proportion of Labour’s vote has never been stretched so thin. Yet another reason to not turn out for Labour this May.
We need to get used to the idea of a Tory government. Of course the political context for building working class politics is better under a labour government than under the Tories, but in policy terms, could the Tories be much worse than Gordon Brown?