Flying Pigs and Mature Labour Politicians

Scottish Liberal Democrat election chairman George Lyon hit the nail right on the head when he said, “[The Labour Party] aren’t fit to be in opposition, let alone in government.” One of the things that angered me during the general election is still angering me about the Labour Party and the way its members and supporters conduct themselves, and Harriet Harman’s recent comments are a classic example. Frankly, they are all very childish. As such, I would like to disabuse all you dear readers of their most juvenile rhetorical thrust: Regardless of what Labour tell you, political parties in the UK are not ideological monoliths.

Historically, the Conservative and Liberal parties were merely loose coalitions of individual human beings with some shared interests. Labour were the first party to present a grand ideology, namely a form of socialism. Labour created a polarisation of ideology with this radical stance, making politics boil down to the traditional Liberals and Conservatives versus the radical socialist ideals of Labour. When they presented policies, the two traditional parties merely presented the policies of their respective leaders; the Conservatives only had a grand ideology under Thatcher, and that was one that she essentially imposed personally. Once Thatcher was off the front bench, the Tories ripped themselves in two over policy and ideology – all sense of unity was gone.

So what does this mean now, in 2010? Well, it means that (contrary to Harman’s speech in Oban) “progressive” and “anti-Tory” are not the same thing. The Conservatives have gone back to a loose coalition of individual politicians. The Liberal-Democrats always were – there is a definite Liberal wing and a definite SDP wing. In terms of ideology, the Conservatives are what Cameron makes of them for the next five years or so. And that ideology is informed by the bits of Labour’s socialism that worked, and the bits of Thatcherism that worked. If you want a direct comparison between Thatcher and Cameron, remember that Thatcher believed everyone should stand on their own two feet, where Cameron believes that people should support each other. The running theme between the two is lack of state intervention, but those two ways of achieving it require opposing attitudes to the nature of society.

As for the Liberal-Democrats, they only did the honourable thing. Labour had the least seats and the least votes among the two big parties. Clegg said he would negotiate firstly with the party with the mandate to govern. Like it or not, that was the Conservatives. And remember that polarised political ideologies are a Labour lie. A coalition of made of two coalitions will always work better than a coalition split between reasonable politicians and ideological bullies.

If you voted Lib-Dem in June, just remember: they have not betrayed you; they chose the way to get you more of what you wanted.

And if you’re a Labour supporter: don’t you dare presume to tell me what I think.


~ by Scary Rob on 1 November, 2010.

One Response to “Flying Pigs and Mature Labour Politicians”

  1. If you voted Lib Dem in June, commiserations on the death/retirement/financial misdeeds of your councillor 😉

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