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?


Renegade Eye said...

Very interesting post, particullarly looking from the outside. The Labor Party is not left or right, it is Blairite.

Louisefeminista said...

I hope that tiny pupster sank its ickle teeth into David "where's my hoodie" Cameron's fingers or any other part of his anatomy after that pic was taken ("Good doggie, very good doogie, extra bonio"!)

My lousy Blairite tosser of an MP (and I am being flattering) has signed the EDM on Trident. Well.... I needed a stiff Brandy after seeing his name as I was (and still am) in shock.

Hark, maybe he has taken a left shift.
Nah, that would be whackier than a Lynch script and certainly I would be guzzling the rest of the Brandy...

Louisefeminista said...

"but in policy terms, could the Tories be much worse than Gordon Brown?"

Ah, an interesting question you pose comrade.

Under the Tories there will be full scale workfare, dismantling of the NHS, secondary moderns for most school students, Australian style immigration laws, scaling back of sure start and the tax credit system, no increases at all for the minimum wage, further shackles on trade unions, further "deregulation" in the workplace, means-testing of the state retirement pension, increases in defence expenditure..... and so on and so on.....

I have no doubt Brown would like to do the same BUT there are contradictions inherent within New Labour where you have attack upon attack on public service etc. but also at the same time placating the WC.

Brown is constrained by the LP's nature and links with the TU's. He cannot just take over the Tories territory, the only other territory available is the WC/left vote and the TU's.

New Labour was electoraly successful because large chunks of the Tories electoral support vanished in the 90's. It has now come back. While the average Tory voter stayed at home Bliar/Brown could afford to alienate large chunks of the left vote. Gordie will not have this as an option in the future.

AN said...

well I'm not sure that Labour does placate the working class.

In contrast I would say that the lack of big policy initiatives are the product of the weariness of balir and his shop-soiled government which has lost all moral authority over iraq.

So there are continual attacks on the public sector, but avoiding confrontations with the unions. Now i am alos not convinced that it is the unions link with the Labour party that acts as a constraint here, so much as caution from the government about the power of the unions as an alternative source of information and ideological opposition, and their power in the workplace - should they use it.

I would say that the evidence is that John major's government was just as cautious about attacking the intersts of organisaed labour as Blair is.

I have to also say that much of what you describe as future Tory policy is actual Labour government policy now. pensioners are means tested for pension credit. military expenditure has been increased (trident!), Academies are creaming off the most able students trasforming the surrounding comprehensives as virtual secondary mods.

Now it is not impossible that brown may draw the conclusion you say about the need to put clear red water between themselves and the Tories, perhaps more likely if Crudas is elected deputy.

But then again brown is even more committed to the legacy of pFI than Blair, and is utterly committed to maintaining London as a major financiall centre, hence the overvalued pound destroying manufacturing jobs. he is also utterly coommitted to miantaining the south east housing price bubble, as much of the Uk's debt led economy depends upon it. So he is probably unable to contemplate a major extension of social housing.

Al that is left to play with is new labour's obssesion with autoritarian laws for social conformity, but given brown has positionaed himself firmly in the "camp of British values, he is committed to this as Blair (and this is one area where the Tories are clearly way to the left of labour)

So I am far from convinced there is any content where brown would be prepared to, or could deliver a turn to the left. And that even presumes that New Labour see the problem in the same terms as you do, where they could draw the opposite conclusion of attacking cameron for being soft on yob culture, etc. 9If i were a betting man, that is the way i would think they are likely to jump)