Monday, March 15, 2010

Tom Harris and the Labour /Tory Neverendum

There's been an interesting discussion over on Lib Dem Voice today where Stephen Tall took Tom Harris to task for a post he wrote criticising Nick Clegg in general and what he thinks the Lib Dems would do in a hung parliament in particular. To be honest, I'd be surprised if Tom Harris were to say anything nice about us. That, surely, could only take place in a some sort of surreal parallel universe where daleks were compassionate, caring and kind to animals.

Tom was good enough to join in the debate on Lib Dem Voice and I thought that some of his comments were interesting and showed the totally different mindset between the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats.

Look at this one for example:

Well. it’s not up to me, sadly, but my guess is that GB would do the same anyway – form a minority government and then call another election after a short period. And that’s exactly what Cameron would try to do in the same circumstances. The key as to whether Labour or the Tories could form such a government within a hung parliament would be the main opposition party’s calculation as to whether it wanted to force the other party into a coalition that would likely result in electoral reform, or whether they were willing to allow it to govern as a minority for a while.

I'm sorry but that's just rude. Not willing to accept the hand the people deal, he expects that either Labour or Tory, if they didn't have a majority, would just assume that the people had got it wrong and, rather than actually doing what the people wanted, would keep asking them until they gave them an answer. It's a bit like the SNP saying that they would just keep asking the Scottish people if they wanted independence until we came up with the "right" answer to them, the so-called neverendum.

His remarks show an arrogance that we've come to expect from the two old parties - it's almost like they believe in the political party equivalent of the divine right of kings. I don't know about you, but their ideas that they will govern at all costs and without doing what the people ask of them makes me absolutely hopping mad.

Tom attacks Nick Clegg for not being clear about what we would do in the event of a hung Parliament. But, excuse me, look at what Nick said yesterday. You can actually imagine Chandler from Friends saying "Could you get any clearer?"

This weekend we’ve given the answer:
We will give you fairer taxes. We will make sure your child gets the fair start in life they deserve.
We will create a new, fair economy where we are no longer held hostage by the greed of bankers in the City of London. And we will give you a fair, open and transparent politics after the gross betrayal of the expenses scandal. It really is as simple as that. No-one can guarantee what the election result will be. But I can guarantee what we will always fight to deliver.

And if you like what we say. If you share our values. If you want fair taxes, a fair start in life for your child, a fairer economy, and a new, fair politics. Vote for it.

And while Tom thinks that the people's job is to put Labour in office, Nick Clegg shows our fundamentally different view of and trust of the people:

"People often ask me what the Liberal Democrats will do after the General Election. I’m flattered that people think I can predict the future. The newspapers certainly think they can. Some days I read we’re planning a deal with Labour. Some days that we’re planning a deal with the Conservatives. Other days that we’ll refuse to talk to anyone at all. Yet, when all the speculation is said and done, I keep coming back to some simple truths:
I am not the kingmaker.
The 45 million voters of Britain are the kingmakers.
They give the politicians their marching orders, not the other way round.
It’s called democracy – and I kind of like it.

Almost 1 in 4 voters chose the Liberal Democrats at the last election. If that increased to 1 in 3, we could lead the next government. This election is a time for voters to choose, not a time for politicians to play footsie with each other."

Just to remind you, in Lib Dem Voice's new rank your MPs as liberal or authoritarian site, Tom came out as 86% authoritarian. I'm sure that he will be disappointed with that, but I'm confident that if he'd actually been present for the other 2 votes, he'd have scored 100%.

No offence to Tom, after all, his blog is witty and well written, if a bit tribal, and he is one of the few Labour politicians who actually gets Twitter as a means of real, meaningful engagement, but I'd much rather have Nick Clegg at the helm of the HMS United Kingdom than anyone with the arrogance to think they deserved to rule in the way they wanted.

1 comment:

Richard T said...

I think it would be more remarkable if he was anything other than a central belt stalinist. Although on many issues he's sane and personable, this hides the essence of his being a Glasgow Labour MP


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