Wednesday, February 02, 2005

politician nobhead day

What is this, Politician Nobhead Day?

Blair defends the new get-out of the illegality of imprisoning foreigners without trial; indefinite house arrest of anyone without trial.

So the LibDems decry it, with Charles Kennedy suggesting that instead there should be a new crime of 'acting towards planning acts of terrorism'. Er, isn't 'acting towards' an integral part of planning? In fact, isn't it a reasonable working definition of 'planning'?

They weren't just thinking about doing it, they were thinking about thinking about doing it! Can't you see the difference?

Then Michael Howard gets up on his hind legs to say that the house arrest idea goes against 'our way of life'. Why does house arrest do it, but not indefinite imprisonment of foreigners? The only difference is in who he means by 'us' - it might now be British citizens affected as opposed to mere darkies. All the difference in the world to Michael.

We should, of course, expect such warped thinking from the architect of the racist Asylum & Immigration Act 1996 and the man who declared to Tory Party Conference 'PRISON WORKS!'. Although defence of 'our way of life' is a tad rich coming from the guy who gave us the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 - the single most repressive law in a generation, and the only piece of legislation to give a blanket curtailing of everyone's right to silence.

It looks to me like they sat round and dreamt up Politician Nobhead Day to distract us from Robert Kilroy-Smug's new party Veritas.

Damn him for falling out with UKIP. If they'd stuck together then they might've done for the Tory vote at this year's general election what the Social Democratic Party did for the Labour vote in 1983.

Four prominent Labour MPs decided they didn't like the direction the party was taking ('Commitments to socialism and global peace? We're outta here!') and formed the SDP, a slightly to the right of the Liberals thing, proto-NewLabour.

The resulting struggle split the centre and lefty votes, and so the Tories were re-elected with the biggest landslide in 40 years, despite having been elected four years earlier on a law & order and anti-unemployment ticket yet presided over vast increases in joblessness and the largest spate of rioting in centuries (22 towns and cities in summer 1981!).

The SDP, incidentally, were the first political party to use someone from Monty Python as a serious spokesperson. Speaks for itself, that one.

But as Spitting Image pointed out, not even Cleese himself could compete with the comedy classics the Party's slogan writers came up with; 'we have broken the mould of British politics'. 'The three-party system is here to stay'. They eventually merged with the Liberals to form the Liberal Democrats in 1988, although a bizarre residual party staggers on to this day.

Given the slow implosion of the Tories since 1997, a crushing defeat against the unpopular Blair regime could really be the thing that tips them out of being the proper opposition. That mean-minded racist far-right voice wouldn't be credible any longer, the grounds for popular debate would have to shift away to the sliver of difference between Labour and LibDem.

Not a great joy in itself, but certainly increasing the chances of ideas other than the present right versus far-right being heard. A step in the right direction, and a liberating vengeant joy for those of us who remember the days of Tory rule.

It may still happen, but Kilroy and UKIP were the guarantee. I hate them even more now. Christ, what an achievement.

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