Sunday, February 28, 2010

The poison of using patriotism as a political weapon

Oh, so David Cameron thinks it's his patriotic duty to get rid of Gordon Brown.

That makes me feel really uncomfortable. In fact it makes me shudder.

Far be it from me to ever defend the Labour Party. You'll find evidence of them getting things very wrong on any page of this blog you care to look at. Not ever, though, would I ever suggest that any one of them has a lack of devotion to or love for our country.

It's quite poisonous, and completely disingenuous, to suggest that about political opponents. We've seen that sort of slur in American politics for too long, usually by a Republican Party trying to decimate an opponent's character, as George Bush Senior's nasty campaign in 1992 tried to do to Bill Clinton.

I don't think that defining your opponents as unpatriotic because their ideas are different from your's has any place in British politics.

You wouldn't find anybody but the Conservatives using that sort of language - or would you? Step forward, Jim Murphy, Labour Secretary of State for Scotland, who has used similar language as the SNP. Look at this, from the Commons debate on the recommendations of the Calman Commission last year:

The problem for the hon. Gentleman and the SNP is that he always behaves like a nationalist and never behaves like a patriot. A nationalist puts the SNP first, but a patriot puts Scotland first. That is the difference between my party and his, and why Scotland is increasingly turning its back on the SNP.

This, I should remind you, is the same guy who thinks that if you are religious, then your natural party is Labour.

I don't think it's right to use the word "patriot" to make yourself sound better than your opponent. It's nasty, brutal, irrelevant politics. It says that you have nothing positive to offer.

Come on, people, let's have a robust debate about the issues, but let's not doubt our opponents' motivations.

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