23 February 2006

Four key questions on civil liberties.

Would you rather be gay under a Thatcher government or a Blair government?

Would you rather be a single parent under Thatcher or Blair?

Would you rather be working poor under Thatcher or Blair with a minimum wage (increased at faster than the rate of earning's growth)/ guaranteed holidays, tax credits, better funded education and sure start for your children etc?

Would you rather be a poor pensioner under Thatcher or Blair with winter fuel payments, shorter waiting lists for NHS, free local bus travel, free tv licences, etc?

This is not just disagreeing with policy, these are fundamental civil rights differences.

We are better off than we have ever been in terms of disposable income, poverty has been reduced and this government have introduced devolved power and proportional representation, and freedom of information, human rights, party funding transparency etc. etc.

This is not to say that this government is not getting some things wrong or that we don't need more devolved power and better constitutional safeguards. WE DO, and this has been the case for a long time. There is much more chance of achieving these things under a Labour government than a Tory government. The Tory record on civil liberties is appalling and speaks for itself. Don't be fooled that things couldn't get much worse under the Tories, they most certainly would!


  1. Thatcher isn't running for office. Cameron is. You are setting up a straw man.

  2. As ever...

  3. You aren't listening. I don't want these draconian laws because of the risk we'll get another Thatcher. Look how much she admired Pinochet - she'd have loved some of the powers this government is giving itself.

  4. None of you will answer the question.

    Why not?

    Will anybody say they would prefer Thatcher to Blair on civil liberties?

    Even Tories can't bring themselves to say it, because they know it is ridiculous.

    Andrew: Cameron is a fraud and his past record bears that out (he wrote the last racist/anti-poor/anti-environment Tory manifesto). He is a Tory, he must be similar to Thatcher, or else why would he join the party that is so dominated by her legacy?

    Urko: Labour is too authoritarian, my point is, that unfortunately the only alternative is worse.

  5. Neil? I'd rather have Huhne thank you very much. Straw man comparisons are pointless, I opposed Thatcher just as much as I now oppose Blair/Brown, but she's been out of office for 15 years now. Get over it already.

  6. Yes, but the point is to compare Labour's record with the Tories.

    You are being a typical Lib Dem by refusing to answer the question and sitting on the fence.

    The problem with sitting on the fence too long is it splits your arse.

    Come on, I know it must be difficult for you, but admit that new Labour are less authoritarian than the Tories?

    You just about managed to grudgingly admit that Labour wer right and that the Lib Dems/Tories/Daily Mail had made themselves look a laughing stock over the new licensing hours. So admit this one as well. You know it makes sense.

  7. The Blue Foxxx24/2/06 12:58 am

    'He is a Tory, he must be similar to Thatcher, or else why would he join the party that is so dominated by her legacy?'

    You're in Labour, you must believe in Michael Foot or why would you... Thatcherites were never a real majority in the conservatives, it's similar to Blairism in Labour. Why is Dennis Skinner still in the party?

    The question has been answered - it's a pointless, poor question.

    'Yes, but the point is to compare Labour's record with the Tories.'

    Precisely and entirely wrong - sums up the problem with your viewpoint nicely though. I seem to remember you saying something about changing the party from within.... 'Labour is too authoritarian'(?!)

  8. Thatcher's influence on the Tory party is far and away anything more than Michael Foot or any other such figure in the Labour party.

    Plus more importantly, Cameron has form in supporting Thatcherism wholeheartedly. His manifesto wanted to do to the NHS and Education what even Thatcher never got round to.

    Yes the point is Labour's authoritarianism and the bigger point is that the Tories were much worse. This is a bigger point because when we criticise Labour we should keep it in context with the only alternative currently on offer, which is a right wing Tory government. We don't want to cut off our own nose to spite our face.

  9. OK here's my answer - Blair.

    Will you now answer my question which is:

    Are you able to understand that these powers will be available to any future Thatcherite government and that is why I am against them?

  10. The Remittance Man24/2/06 4:04 pm

    Urko is hitting the nail on the head. Laws don't fall off the statute books when governments change. Unless repealed, NuLabour's laws will remain part of the body of law of this country to be used by any future government now doesn't that scare you, because it sure as hell scares me for two reasons.

    One: not one of us can predict what shape all future governments will take. Some will be good, some bad and one might be pure evil. And if this doesn't concern this government then either they are irresponsibly blind or they don't care about any future government which leads me to my second objection.

    The growing body of illiberal law has the potential to enable the government to behave in a very dictatorial fashion up to and including extending the life of parliament or even dissolving that body altogether.

    A ruler closing parliament has happened once in our history. It caused a civil war, cost a king his head and ultimately led to the country being run by a military dictatorship (Google "The Major Generals" if you don't believe me).

    I would prefer to believe that the government is merely criminally irresponsible rather than potentially criminal, but that is hardly a defence for bad laws.


  11. "Are you able to understand that these powers will be available to any future Thatcherite government and that is why I am against them?"

    I totally agree, we need to campaign within the Labour party and in single issue pressure groups to change things, but also still vote Labour to keep the Tories out.

  12. Sorry Neil - voting is about conviction. I cannot vote for anyone who wants to force me to give them my fingerprints for no good reason. I have actually written to Tony Blair sending my card back recently - I know the party won't care, but everyone has a point where they need to stand up and be counted. I can't imagine ever voting Tory, but the current govenment's behaviour is more Tory than the Tories in this area.

  13. The Remittance Man28/2/06 8:38 am

    Quite frankly, I'd prefer to remain heterosexual thankyou.

    By the way, why do you assume that all homosexuals think, act and vote in the same way? As far as I am aware, apart from being attracted to members of their own sex, homosexuals exhibit the same broad range of attitudes and beliefs as the rest of humanity. By that logic there would be some who think that Mrs Thatcher's time in office was a disaster and others who believe it was a time of great recovery for the country. For all I know there could be rabid BNP memebers and hard line Stalinists who also happen to be gay.

    When will people on the left begin to realise that the various minority groups (defined by race, sexuality or whatever) do not all act or think as one? To be honest I can only think that this approach is simply a ploy to try and keep various minority groups in a state of perpetual victimhood in order to bolster support for left wing parties.


  14. RM: How is it encouraging victimhood to pass laws that reduce oppression of minorities?

    I don't assume any group votes in a certain way, but there are indicators. It's reasonable to assume that people who want gay rights would be more likely to vote Labour. The biggest indicator of party support is rural/right-wing, urban/left-wing.

  15. urko, I understand your frustration with the Labour party but ask yourself, who is more likely to implement the recommedations of the POWER inquiry? Gordon Brown who spoke at its launch or David Cameron who completely ignored it.