20 February 2006

A coalition of the mistaken.

There's a lot of talk on the blogosphere about Labour being authoritarian this, and authoritarian that, so much so that Talk Politics is organising a cross party 'coalition of the willing' to fight for what they think are civil liberties.

Because that is the crux of my criticism, it is only what they 'think' are civil liberties that are being eroded, not actual civil liberties.

The anti-Labour press have been pushing this line for some time now. Papers like the Sun and Daily Mail have even used criticism of the Iraq War (something they actually supported) to hit Labour with.

There is no doubt that the Iraq War has done immense damage to the Labour Party both in terms of credibility and in fostering this hardline authoritarian uncaring image.

The Daily Mail and other Tory press have pretty much realised that their criticisms of the economy, crime and immigration was only having a limited effect (probably because their criticisms were untrue and people realised this) and in their desperation to hit Labour have widened the field of criticism to spurious leftfield opposition to Labour authoritarianism.

So how has Labour come in for this criticism? Like I've already mentioned the Iraq War has been the most damaging and the terrorism legislation that has followed, some of which I would agree is foolhardy (28 day detention, glorification bill, religious hatred bill) though I would also suggest that the latter two are mostly harmless and won't last long. But also the cry of the press is the 'nanny state'. By this they cite things like ID cards, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), CCTV, road pricing, even the smoking ban and other health and safety legislation. They even use it to generally criticise higher spending on public services and the mimimum wage. Laughably even the Human Rights Act has become 'anti-civil libertarian' to some, which demonstrates the sheer perversity of the whole campaign.

I am old enough to remember fully the whole authoritarianism of the Thatcher/Major era and I can tell you now, that our civil liberties have been improved since then. I am talking about our real civil liberties not the imaginary ones some try to defend.

I will give examples of Tory authoritarian acts;

Sinn Fein laughably were banned from being broadcast. Apart from turning the Government into a laughing stock, it actually improved the image of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness because softly spoken Irish Actors were used to dub their voices.

There was internment in Northern Ireland and a 'Shoot to Kill' policy.

Section 28: You could be prosecuted for even mentioning homosexuality if you worked in the professions. How different the atmosphere today when Labour has equalled the age of consent, brought in civil partnerships, stopped discrimination in the armed forces and for adoption purposes. Labour has changed the whole culture of attitudes to gay people. I'm sure homosexuals don't feel they have less civil liberties.

There was a whole persecution of people the Tories didn't like; single mothers, the disabled, gays, the poor in general. Public sector staff like teachers, social workers, lecturers, any intellectual, were ridiculed and their wages and job status eroded and derided.

Local Government was abolished. Yes you heard me right. The Tories didn't like who was being elected, so they abolished the Metropolitan Councils, principly the GLC. They also introduced rate capping and QUANGOS to replace democratic decision making at the local level. QUANGOS were also introduced to regulate all the new privatised companies with ex-Tories ending up both on the boards of the new companies and on the regulating boards. It reeked of corruption and insider dealing was rife.

More bills were guillotened under the Tories and of course the House of Lords with its massive inbuilt Tory majority would nod through all the bills, not even raising a heckle to things like the Poll Tax. How different it is today. The House of Lords only find their voice when it's a Labour government.

'Victorian Values' and 'Back to Basics'. Both Thatcher and Major ran their moral crusades, yet hypocritically defending their ministers caught with their hands in the till or up some girl's skirt.

So after reading all this, does anyone suppose (with the changed climate of 9/11) that the Tories would have acted differently over the terrorist bills (we know for certain they were more enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and George Bush, because they voted for it and their leader has stated as much).

Most of the rest of the criticism is just criticism of technological advance. Remember it was the Tories who introduced CCTV and Michael Howard who first proposed ID cards. So would they not embrace ANPR? Local residents groups campaign around here for the introduction of CCTV.

As for the smoking ban, yes the party that receives the most from BAT, and includes it's top consultant Ken Clarke, would vote against. But this ban is not anti-civil libertarian. To suggest it is, is to deride the liberties of the majority who wish not to have their health and comfort damaged by cigarette smoke.

Labour have done plenty to increase our civil liberties and we must remember these things; transparency in party funding, freedom of information acts, human rights act, multitudes of bills enhancing the civil liberties of minorities. These are not to be ignored as small steps, some have been highly controversial at first, but now accepted.

Under this electoral system the only alternative government is a Tory government and they are much much worse. The only reason anybody ever voted for them, other than for personal gain, was a belief they managed the economy better. That fell apart with two recessions, high unemployment and Black Wednesday, and with Labour achieving the most successful economic growth on record. Lets not make the mistake of thinking the Tories would be any better on civil liberties, when infact they would be much much worse!

31 comments:

  1. The Blue Foxxx20/2/06 11:17 am

    Yes indeed - New Labour are a 'less worse' Tory party. A ringing endorsement and essentially the reason so many on the left despise them.

    Do you think such cynical defences and campaigns as 'vote for us, the others are worse' are likely to encourage or discourage participation in politics? Is such an approach likely to dispel the view that 'they're all the same'.

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  2. Looks like I'm being thick, Neil. What do you mean by:
    Section 28: You could be prosecuted for even mentioning homosexuality if you worked in the professions.?
    I don't think I followed the whole Section 28 thing closely enough. Are the only professions in Local Government then? Damn doctors in the NHS, and lawyers in private practice, and all journalists (if we can include them)!
    The Sun still appears to be a Labour-supporting paper to me. And why shouldn't papers criticise the prosecution of the war, whether they support it or not? Do you really want to say that just because someone supported The Great War they couldn't criticize Gallipoli or the Somme?
    Laughably even the Human Rights Act has become 'anti-civil libertarian' to some, which demonstrates the sheer perversity of the whole campaign.
    Because what do we need to know about the "Human Rights Act" other than its title? All acts henceforth should bear names like "The Caring, Sharing, Kind to Kittens Act." The only doubters will be people who are selfish and cruel to kittens.
    Remember it was ... Michael Howard who first proposed ID cards.
    Indeed, some of us do.
    The only reason anybody ever voted for them, other than for personal gain, was a belief they managed the economy better.
    You have evidence for this of course?

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  3. It is precisely because I remember with horror what someone like Thatcher would have done with a tool like the ID cards database that I oppose it. These measures will live way beyond the current government. Arresting a woman for reciting the names of dead soldiers, a bloke for shouting "rubbish" at Jack Straw are an affort to me but they show what power is available to be misused by an even more authoritarian regime.

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  4. Urko: Why do you think the stewards at the Labour conference were so nervy and over-reacted? Could it be because the media distort and exagerate any dissent out of all context?

    By the way he was not arrested, and certainly not held under the 'prevention of terrorism' act. This is a media fabrication that has been commonly accepted.

    As Walter will tell you himself, when he tried to re-enter the Labour conference, he had had his pass removed, and the policeman said I can't let you in without a pass (he may or may not have mentioned the terrorism act as a reason for this). He continued that Walter would have to wait while clearence was sorted, which it eventually was.

    In no way could you describe this as 'detained' or 'arrested', it is a ridiculous exageration.

    Also the woman you mention was not arrested for reciting names, she was arrested for not getting clearance for her protest to be in Parliament Square. This has been brought in because the sheer volume of protestors that want to be in this area dictates some regulation especially with the recent breaches of security around parliamnent. It is sad, maybe even over the top, but it is hardly a restriction on freedom of speech. It has also proved counter-productive, because this woman would never have got to make her point on national TV otherwise.

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  5. Backward Dave: "Are the only professions in Local Government then?"

    Well it wasn't all professions, just some.

    "The Sun still appears to be a Labour-supporting paper to me."

    Good God, how little you know about that paper. The so called election endorsement was reluctant and only because it had to be seen backing the winner. Anybody who reads the Sun could see it had run an anti-Labour, pro-Tory campaign for years before the election and only changed tack in the last 2 weeks before election day. If you want to call this support for Labour, go ahead, but you would be very very wrong.

    It was a common perception amongst people I met and in the media that the Torie may not have our best interests when it comes to funding public services but they ran the economy better, now of course they don't even have this strength.

    The evidence? Well a look at opinion polls now, shows Labour well in the lead on the economy and under Thatcher it was the other way round. The economy consistently is listed as one of the top reasons that people vote for, therefore this change would have obviously madea big difference, this is hardly a controversial statement.

    If you think the Human Rights Act is a problem for civil liberties, then tell me which bits?

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  6. "Do you think such cynical defences and campaigns as 'vote for us, the others are worse' are likely to encourage or discourage participation in politics?"

    It may not be a satisfactory statement but it is still a true statement. Having a Tory government will not help civil liberties. What we all have to do is join the Labour party and change it from within, which is what I am trying to do, by campaigning for electoral reform and a written constitution to protect democracy.

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  7. The Blue Foxxx20/2/06 10:39 pm

    "This has been brought in because the sheer volume of protestors that want to be in this area dictates some regulation especially with the recent breaches of security around parliamnent."

    Actually, mainly one guy... Besides which - we have a right to protest, so long as we don't protest too much? Can you not simply admit even one obvious breach of civil liberties?

    "What we all have to do is join the Labour party and change it from within, which is what I am trying to do, by campaigning for electoral reform and a written constitution to protect democracy."

    I suspect I've been in the party longer than you, that said you are right it must be changed from within. That is why opposing Blair/New Labour's authoritarianism and privatisation of the public sector is of paramount importance. The Labour party is a democratic socialist party - this government is pissing all over such a position.

    The 'coalition of the mistaken' is those New Labour supporters who believe their one nation toryism can control the party forever.

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  8. If I'm honest Labour are probably going to be in power for most of the next 10 years. But eventually they will loose, and do you really want anybody that comes after them to have all the concentrated power of RIPA, the Civil Contingencies Act, ID Cards and NIR (by then mandatory in law as well as practice), Control Orders, automatic number plate recognition, and the proposed Leg/Reg bill?

    Maybe labour will use these extraordinary powers, maybe they won't. But they are not going to go away, and eventually somebody will use them. That is why they have to be stopped, to avoid anymore of these legislative landmines getting laid. If we can maybe get rid of some other stuff (e.g. the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994) at the same time then all the better.

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  9. Blue Fox;

    "we have a right to protest, so long as we don't protest too much? Can you not simply admit even one obvious breach of civil liberties?"

    The reg and leg bill is bad news, I can admit that.

    We can protest when and where we like, and even in Parliament Square if we get a permit first. It's hardly a major foible.

    Chris, I agree that the leg and reg bill is terrible (although limited).

    No matter what the govt are saying, I don't think the NIR will happen.

    I think the CCA has quite strict guidelines for use, although the huge powers are obviously needed for dealing with a large scale terrorist or other incident. Even spyblog says this;

    "We do not believe that the current Government or Opposition politicians would abuse the enormous powers which they have just granted themselves"

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  10. Fuck me. The Sun's anti-Labour? You know more about civil iberties than me?

    Have you ever read ANY political philosphy?

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  11. The entire point of the coalition is that it goes beyond party politics. This, it appears, is something you are unable to do.

    To try to sum up the idea the coalition is the coming together of people who oppose creeping authoritarianism. We (not that I'm an official spokesman or anything - this is my view of it) believe that it is vital that there should be genuine checks and balances on the power of the executive. These checks and balances do not currently exist in the UK. Blair, more than any other PM in modern history, has exploited that situation to increase the power of the executive branch to unprecedented levels.

    You can argue that the Tories would be just as bad, and you might well have a point, but that's not the point. The point of the coalition is to attempt to change the British political system. At the moment, that means clear opposition to Blair's power centralising policies.

    Btw, the idea that the Sun is anti-New Labour is fairly outlandish. No offense but are you actually a spoofer out to mock and discredit the Labour Party?

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  12. NM, Curious Hamster; The Sun is indeed anti-civil libertarian but it's natural leanings are to tax cutting and public service cutting, hence it is anti-Labour and pro-Tory in philosophy. A philosophy driven by its owner Murdoch, of course.

    CH; I have a few people who think I am a spoof Labour site. This is undoubtedly a reflection of my poor writing skills and debating abilities. I apologise to Labour for that.

    I am also independently minded and obviously don't represent Labour officially, I am just a party member and supporter.

    I support drugs legalisation, a citizen's income, green taxes, proportional representation and I am vehemently anti faith schools. None of which is Labour policy.

    If all your campaign is about, is having better checks and balances on the executive, (i.e. a written constitution, elected 2nd chamber, pr, etc.) I am all for it.

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  13. You are living in cloud cuckoo land.
    Blair is grabbing power to the centre.
    Brown seeks to follow in his footsteps and become as authoritarian as possible.
    Habeus Corpus is being threatened. Summary justice is called for.
    People are to be treated as criminals without having committed a crime under the law.
    The government seeks new powers which will allow the Prime Minister to sack judges (today you need a 3/4 majority in /both/ houses) and to create and ammend law at will.

    We cannot peacefully protest outside Parliament because a long protestor annoys some ministers.

    ID cards are an infringement of our basic civil liberty to live without permission of the state and to go about our business without being under routine surveillance. The same goes for CCTV cameras.

    The police seek more powers, and are given them because they ask for them.

    Then again, this is Labour undiluted with any pretense of helping people. The grand plan of the leadership is to go ahead no matter what, because government knows best.

    At least Thatcher sought to increase economic freedom and end subsidy of failing industries by the state, a great move for freedom against minorities who sought to dominate.

    Just because its the Labour Party it doesn't mean its all good and okay because they're working in 'our best interests'. How can a few wonks in Whitehall know what's best for us? Why can't we decide how to live our lives?

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  14. Don't forget the Tories were elected by the working classes every time.

    And what is wrong with personal gain? Would you prefer all to be peasants?

    You cannot administer to all people equally, all you can hope to do is give a framework for effective competition and support those who suffer bad luck and need support.

    Self interest is the driving force behind all politics and all human action.

    People only voted Labour because they felt they would do better out of them than out of the alternative.

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  15. Apologies for my sarcasm Neil. My coalition building skills might need a little work.

    If all your campaign is about, is having better checks and balances on the executive, (i.e. a written constitution, elected 2nd chamber, pr, etc.) I am all for it.
    That is indeed the nub of our gist.

    The idea, again in very basic form, is to build a very broad coalition with specific aims. Looking at the political compass provides a good illustration; we're looking to involve as many people as possible from the libertarian side of the social axis, be they left, right or centre economically. The intention, as I understand it, will be to steer clear of the economic axis and leave that to the political parties.

    The coalition will work towards promoting a written constitution which enshrines basic democratic principles, ensures proper seperation of powers between judiciary, parliament and executive, and protects individuals and society from abuses of the power of the executive.

    The intention is to create as broad a church as possible based on the pursuit of these goals. As such, it is to be hoped that we might end up on the same side as far as this coalition goes, even though we might disagree about the relationship between New Labour and Murdoch's newspapers.

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  16. "Blair is grabbing power to the centre.
    Brown seeks to follow in his footsteps and become as authoritarian as possible.
    Habeus Corpus is being threatened. Summary justice is called for.
    People are to be treated as criminals without having committed a crime under the law."

    Take a deep breath and look at the world around you. We live in one of the most prosperous and free societies in the world. You sound like the Daily Mail. Anybody would think you were living in a concentration camp. Please admit you are going way over the top.
    You are living the media headline, get in the real world, take a grip.

    "The government seeks new powers which will allow the Prime Minister to sack judges (today you need a 3/4 majority in /both/ houses)"

    This doesn't make sense, if he needed this 3/4 majority he wouldn't be able to do it would he? This is why we need a written constitution to stop things like this, because quite clearly all you need to do this, is a majority in the Commons and use the Parliament Act through the Lords (the same as it has been since the Tories were in power). It is the system that is at fault, the Tories rode roughshod over convention just as much and so did the Liberals. Did you know it was the Liberals who voted against the Single Transferable Vote being introduced, it would have passed otherwise? Ironic isn't it?

    "We cannot peacefully protest outside Parliament"

    Wrong, you can and people have. I saw some the other day, you just have to apply for a permit.

    "ID cards are an infringement of our basic civil liberty"

    ID cards are not going to happen for a long time because the technology is not ready, I wouldn't worry. Can you tell me specifically how your own personal liberties are going to be affected by ID cards? I need specific realistic examples related to your own life, not futuristic hypotheticals. Are you worried about all the information held about you by your bank's audit trail, ISP information, mobile phone records, credit cards, loyalty cards, library, passport, NHS database etc. etc? What are the Lib Dems policies on these?

    A lot of this is happening because it is new technology, a future Tory/Lib Dem administration would be just the same. It was the Tories that introduced CCTV.

    "At least Thatcher sought to increase economic freedom and end subsidy of failing industries"

    Ah, so you are a quasi Thatcherite when you want to be, except when you are opposing privatisation and PFI etc. Don't you think you are being a tad disingenuous?

    Can you tell me anytime where new Labour has subsidised state industry? The economy seems to be doing a damn sight better under Labour than it did under the mis-managing, recession and unemployment hit Tories. They were a disaster, remember repossesions?

    "The police seek more powers, and are given them because they ask for them"

    Maybe it is right to give them some more powers if it stops crime. Have you ever thought about that? I agree the police are poorly managed and because of this they are extremely ineffective and inefficient. There is a culture akin to the British carworkers of the seventies. There are too many lazy and incompetent and corrupt officers and they are suppressing and frustrating the good officers from doing their job and it needs to be sorted out. The trouble is the police are a powerful lobby force. It is going to take a brave government to take them on.

    "Why can't we decide how to live our lives?"

    What Thatcher taketh away, David Miliband will hopefully give back. He is proposing much more devolution of local government (subsidiarity). Remember who has already delivered devolution in Scotland, Wales, London, and PR for these and Euro elections. We are getting there, we just need a little help. Come and join the Labour party.

    "And what is wrong with personal gain? Would you prefer all to be peasants?"

    The problem is it is personal gain for the few at the top. It's like going to a gig and because everybody is standing up, only the row at the front can see. If only everybody sat down, everyone would have a good view. Sitting down is Socialism and in a lot of situations - education, health, transport etc, it is the best solution for everyone.

    "People only voted Labour because they felt they would do better out of them than out of the alternative."

    And they have been proved right.

    Curious Hamster: I may agree with your laudable aims, but I fear it is too 'anything but Labour'. That seems to be the philosophy of most people in the coalition. If you can persuade me it is genuinely not party political, I would be interested, but I am far from convinced this won't just result in anti-Labour campaigning.

    The Tories and Lib Dems are just as unreforming and anti-civil libertarian when they are in office, if not more so in my opinion. I think Labour have done a lot for civil liberties in this country. It must be so much better being gay now than 10 years ago (compare the Tories' section 28 with Labour's equalisation of the age of consent, civil partnerships, ending discrimination for adoption and the armed forces etc.),for instance. Also poverty (although the gap has risen, this always happens in an economic boom, which has continued right through this Labour govt) HAS been reduced and public services have been vastly improved, so the civil liberties of the poor are much better as well. You must remember that, it is no good having marvellous civil liberties if they are only for the rich to enjoy. Then there is devolution, PR for regional & euro elections, human rights act, freedom of information act, transparency in party funding and outlawing race discrimination in public functions. These things have made a real difference.

    I've used political compass before, I came out -6.7 I think, which is very libertarian. It might surprise you to hear that. It was because I am for legalising drugs, rehabilitive punishment rather than prison and anti war etc.

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  17. The Blue Foxxx22/2/06 2:05 pm

    "I have a few people who think I am a spoof Labour site. This is undoubtedly a reflection of my poor writing skills and debating abilities. I apologise to Labour for that."

    I fear it may be more the content than the presentation Neil. (I always thought Zoe Williams was some kind of multi-media meta-troll cooked up by Chris Morris. I'm beginning to doubt this but still cannot believe such a person exists).

    '"We cannot peacefully protest outside Parliament"

    Wrong, you can and people have. I saw some the other day, you just have to apply for a permit.'

    Ho!Ho! With your irony you are spoiling us.

    "Can you tell me specifically how your own personal liberties are going to be affected by ID cards?"

    Err, by having to carry one and provide proof of my identity on request.

    "... What are the Lib Dems policies on these?"

    Why should we care! The policy is either good or bad. This better than/worse than schtick is desperately cynical.

    "There is a culture akin to the British carworkers of the seventies. There are too many lazy and incompetent and corrupt officers and they are suppressing and frustrating the good officers from doing their job and it needs to be sorted out. The trouble is the police are a powerful lobby force. It is going to take a brave government to take them on."

    And he calls others quasi-thatcherites. For all her faults, you must admire her reform of the mining industry.

    "It's like going to a gig and because everybody is standing up, only the row at the front can see. If only everybody sat down, everyone would have a good view. Sitting down is Socialism and in a lot of situations"

    Ah - the lesser used 'gig' theory of value. No idea why it's not used more frequently.

    "Also poverty (although the gap has risen, this always happens in an economic boom, which has continued right through this Labour govt) HAS been reduced and public services have been vastly improved, so the civil liberties of the poor are much better as well."

    Good to see you still have no idea what civil liberties are.

    "You must remember that, it is no good having marvellous civil liberties if they are only for the rich to enjoy."

    Indded, because you then do not have them. FOR F**K'S SAKE - look up civil liberties in a dictionary or wikipedia or something (even the children's encyclopedia you got your socialism from will probably give you some idea).

    Can you now see why a non-mental health professional may believe this site to be a spoof?

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  18. Blue Foxx:

    Your personal attacks are not answering the specific points I have made.

    I guess that is because you can't answer the legitimate points I have made.

    Admit the following;

    You can still protest outside parliament.

    You won't have to carry an ID card anywhere.

    The Lib Dems haven't got any policies on curtailing CCTV, ISP records, mobile phone records or any other database in existence because people are NOT THAT BOTHERED about these things and are not that bothered about ID cards either.

    There is nothing Thatcherite about criticising the lazy corrupt, incompetent police management and culture. The opposite in fact, Thatcher praised the police because she needed the police more than anyone to suppress the people.

    Inequality affects civil liberties, and the Tories give us more inequality. It is you who is insane to want to see the Tories back in power, thinking they will help civil liberties. They will not.

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  19. The Blue Foxxx23/2/06 9:02 am

    'You can still protest outside parliament.
    You won't have to carry an ID card anywhere.'

    1. See http://www.spy.org.uk/parliamentprotest/
    for how much this is now worth.
    2. Not for a couple of years at least... How naive are you?

    'Inequality affects civil liberties.'

    What definition are you using?

    'There is nothing Thatcherite...'

    This was a response to your car industry comments (and general anti-union/public sector stance).

    'people are NOT THAT BOTHERED about these things '

    Please see your comments sections every time you mention civil liberties, or any one of hundreds of politics blogs, or attend any 'No2ID' meeting etc. - what definition of not that bothered are you using?

    ' It is you who is insane to want to see the Tories back in power'

    That must be the voices in your head, 'cos I've never said, or wished, for such a thing. Oh, sorry I frogot, everyone who disagrees with you is a Tory.

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  20. The Blue Foxxx23/2/06 9:28 am

    'It is you who is insane to want to see the Tories back in power'

    Yeah, that's why i wasted my evenings canvassing for Labour, delivering leaflets for LAbour etc at the last elction.

    When you've knocked on the umpteenth supposedly Labour supporting door and got the umpteenth variant on 'I used to be a Labour voter/member, but cannot vote for Blair' then see how NOT THAT BOTHERED you think people are. BTW the 'It's between us and the Tories and the Tories will be worse' line was generally treated with the contempt it deserved - might have saved the seat though. As I've said this was a tactic - it is a suicidal long term strategy.

    It is New Labour and its lickspittles who will destroy the party and let the Tories in, not those campaigning for Labour values

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  21. Bluefoxx: "It is New Labour and its lickspittles who will destroy the party and let the Tories in, not those campaigning for Labour values"

    This is partly correct but it also people on the left by not voting Labour, who inflict an even more dreadful fate.

    I agree, we have got to campaign to get the right policies and new labour IS too authoritarian and right wing. But we also have to accept that they are STILL massively better than the even more right wing and authoritarian Tories. Do you agree?

    I'm glad to hear you campaigned for Labour at the last election and that helped prevent a Tory government. Do you regret this campaigning? Would you rather we had a Tory government?

    Are there or are there not, protestors allowed outside parliament? Yes or no?

    Even NO2ID's own poll showed more people wanted ID cards than were opposed, that is what I mean by people not being 'that bothered'.

    'Any inequality affects civil liberties'.

    I think that statement is self explanatory. If you don't understand it, then I suggest it is your definition of civil liberties that is too limited.

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  22. The Blue Foxxx24/2/06 1:18 am

    'I think that statement is self explanatory. If you don't understand it, then I suggest it is your definition of civil liberties that is too limited.'

    Or perhaps correct - the statement is self explanatory in its identification of your mistaken idea of civil liberties. Equality before the law, freedom of expression... and communism (any inequality?) - standard definition of civil liberties?

    'This is partly correct but it also people on the left by not voting Labour, who inflict an even more dreadful fate. '

    err - why aren't they voting Labour? As I pointed out, a Labour vote in 2005 can only ever be a tactical move, not a strategic one for anyone on the left. People are angry, particularly about a lack of representation for their views. If we ever get PR I think you'll see this as New Labour will be left as a rump party at best.

    'we also have to accept that they are STILL massively better than the even more right wing and authoritarian Tories. Do you agree?'

    Obviously... the leadership are still scum though.

    'I'm glad to hear you campaigned for Labour at the last election and that helped prevent a Tory government. Do you regret this campaigning? Would you rather we had a Tory government?'

    If I wanted to be patronised I'd go talk to a teacher (or a minister). I was simply pointing out the stupidity of your earlier statement:
    'It is you who is insane to want to see the Tories back in power, thinking they will help civil liberties. They will not.'

    the misguided nature of your belief in New Labour and the cynicism of your approach. Sorry if that wasn't clear (!)

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  23. Blue Foxx: "any inequality?"

    Yes, any inequality affects civil liberties, which is why absolute civil liberty is impossible. There are always arbitrary lines to be drawn.

    "a Labour vote in 2005 can only ever be a tactical move, not a strategic one for anyone on the left."

    I tactically vote Labour, it is still the right thing to do. Any vote is ALWAYS going to be tactical to some extent, because parties are not going to give you everything you want, maybe not even a majority of what you want. You just have to vote for the best alternative. All I am arguing is that the Labour party is the best alternative by quite a big margin. Not as big a margin as it should be and certainly they only satisfy a small percentage of my aims, but we have to campaign within the party to change things. This rebellion we only lead to a Tory administration which will set us back , it is counter-productive.

    "If we ever get PR I think you'll see this as New Labour will be left as a rump party at best."

    You are assuming that PR will not change the party. It will change all the parties. This is my prediction;

    Labour will move to the left but remain a social democrat party: They will gain in strength moving from 30% to 40% of vote over the first decade of PR. Just like has happened to the Labour party in NZ under MMP.

    A new socialist party will be formed that garners around 8-10% of the vote.

    The Greens will grow in strength to around 5-6%, maybe more.

    The Tories will fracture with defections to UKIP: They will hover around 20-30% with UKIP gaining 10%, the BNP might also gain to around 3-4% or more unless seriously checked in debate. The Tories will move towards the CDU position in Germany to avert their slump in the polls as they become a right wing rump, but it will be a painful transition that could take them many decades.

    The Lib Dems will splinter in all directions. They will see the most defections. The party will move to the right and become like the FDP in Germany on around 8-10% of vote.

    The other smaller parties will remain around 6%.

    "Obviously [Labour are better than Tories]... the leadership are still scum though"

    At last we can completely agree. I wouldn't say the leaders are scum, but they are misguided.

    Sorry if you thought I was being patronising, I just had to make you agree that Labour are better than the Tories.

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  24. The Remittance Man24/2/06 3:49 pm

    Neil,

    You say: "There was internment in Northern Ireland and a 'Shoot to Kill' policy."

    I'll refrain from commenting on 90 days detentention and certain young Brazilians and move on to historical fact.

    Internment was used in the early 1970's (by both the Heath and Wilson governments, I think) at the start of the Troubles. It was soon abandonned as it was rightly understood to be counter-productive. Mrs Thatcher became PM in 1979 so I think this one falls out the bus purely on timing.

    "Shoot to kill". By this I think you mean a deliberate "shoot on sight" policy. Anyone with even the briefest of knowledge of firearms knows that one never "shoots to wound" or "shoots to create a scary impression" that's Hollywood bollocks. If one is forced to use a firearm against a human being it is to lethal effect. It's one of the things one has to get one's head around if one is going to carry a firearm.

    Returning to the "shoot on sight" issue, I believe that its existence was refuted by the enquiries commissioned at the time. Now you could claim "cover up", but given this government's eagerness to appease the IRA (an organisation that did not hesitate to shoot on sight by the way), don't you think this government would have commissioned another enquiry in the same vein as the Saville one had there been any evidence of the security forces deliberately murdering suspects?

    And just a reminder, the SAS troopers involved in Op Flavius (Death on the Rock to the sensationalists) were required to face a judicial enquiry in open court after that particular incident. Mr Blair's government is the one trying to gain immunity for "Crown Agents" who kill in the line of duty.

    Even this right wing loon accepts that Mrs Thatcher's government was not perfect, but I would like to bring one biblical phrase to your attention: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".

    RM

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  25. Now, now boys - no hair pulling please. You are all obviously NooLabor supporters. I don't think you should call yourselves Labour as you are speaking for the Blair Party. Are you closet Blair Party MPs? Naughty - Declare yourselves properly - Or are you ashamed of something? You must know that the real Labour Party is now just the remnants of a once great movement.

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  26. Anon: You are the one posting anonymously and you are asking US to reveal ourselves?

    Labour is still a great party. It may have escaped your attention but Labour has won 3 successive election victories for the first time ever. In electoral terms this is the greatest period of Labour's history.

    By comparison the Liberals have been mediocre and third rate for a long long time!

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  27. As for being newLabour supporters, most of the commenters on here, are anti newLabour, so I don't know what you are on about.

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  28. TheLeveller26/2/06 3:13 pm

    OK finally got your comments thing to let me reveal myself. I am a working classssss woman from Worcestershire - Worcester woman if you like. Traditional democratic socialist. Anyway if you are anti-BlairCourtParty you certainly sound as if you could be speech writers for them. Also, if you want people to join in with ridding the country of Blair you should not try to insult people into NOT JOINING IN. We need more than a little tweak here and there to what is basically a good system - it stinks.

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  29. TheLeveller26/2/06 3:16 pm

    Particularly this Neil Harding person.

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  30. I agree the system needs more than a tweak, it needs radical overhaul. My point is, the only party that will bring this is a left of centre party that win elections, i.e. Labour.

    The Power Commission.

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    http://davidp1.blogspot.com/2006/02/smoking-ban-in-britain.html

    ReplyDelete