Sunday, March 06, 2005

Mr Kennedy goes missing

I don't like two party politics. I just don't think that two choices are good enough. Last years election in the US is a good illustration of how narrow the debate can become under such a system. In the UK we have more than two parties but only two realistic outcomes for the coming general election. Either a Labour or Conservative government will be in power after the votes are counted. It seems to me that this is not a great advertisement for democracy and I'm sure that many other UK citizens would agree. Many have said just this long before I started getting interested in politics. The Liberal Democrats as the third party stand to gain the most from this discontent with the current system. Opinion Polls suggest that they are likely to gain more seat in this election than they have for a very long time and if they do I will be one of those cheering as the results come in.

Something happened on Monday which I've only just understood the significance of (I've been busy, give me a break). The governments new anti-terrorism laws with all the controversial proposals for house arrest, tagging and so forth were voted on in the House of Commons. The vote was carried by 14 votes and sent on to the House of Lords for scrutiny. The Liberals are opposed to this bill and this seems entirely sensible to me. What was not sensible was having 17 Lib Dem MP's not bothering to vote against the bill when those 17 votes would have defeated the government proposals. If I wanted to land a low blow I might suggest that Mr Kennedy had been sipping a fine malt when he should have been making sure his party was properly organised. I wouldn't be so unkind; I'm trying to learn how to be a bit nicer to people.

To his credit Mr Kennedy has already admitted that this was a misjudgement on his part. This is something that Mr Blair and Mr Howard appear almost entirely incapable of saying about themselves on any issue. I hope Mr Kennedy has learned from his mistake. I believe that the country needs a third party desperately. Don't blow it Charles, your country needs you like never before.

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