Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I See Dead People

Slightly behind on this but I have to mention it.
Let's be clear about this: this country is a less safe place because of the actions of the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and, yes, a minority of our own side, last Wednesday. I very much hope that we will never have another terrorist atrocity in Britain. But if we do, and if it happens because the police have not had sufficient time to accumulate enough evidence to charge the perpetrators, then the Tories, the Lib Dems and our own rebels will have blood on their hands.
- Kitty Ussher, New Labour MP for Burnley
And there's more like that. For Fu..

*tries to remove remnants of recently expectorated feathers from between teeth*


*takes a very deep breath*

For Fu...

*takes another even deeper breath*

What a stupid fu...

This may take a wee while. Maybe you should read the excellent responses of NoseMonkey and Talk Politics while I compose myself (if you haven't already read them).

Now that've calmed down, I've spotted what may be a silver lining round the dark cloud Ms Ussher uses as a brain.

Playing politics. It's a nasty business at the best of times but when it comes to matters of national security it's downright dangerous. Before, during, and after the vote on the 90 day proposals, both sides accused the other of playing party politics. Yah, and very much boo, as they say.

I've actually read at least two letters in my local morning paper accusing the Lib Dems and Tories of political opportunism. And everyone's favourite terrorism expert, David Capitanchik, weighed in with this in the Evening Express, the evening local. (Anyone not familiar with David's opinions, and my opinions of those opinions, should start here if interested.) To me, these accusations are pretty feeble. As far as the Lib Dems go, it's clearly a non-starter. The Lib Dems would have voted against 90 days even if they were the only party doing so. The clue's in the name. The Conservative one is less clear cut but they do have strong libertarian leanings. Also, if the opinion polls (and the PM) are to be believed, it appears that the Conservatives will lose more votes than they gain out of all this.* Not very good political opportunism then really, is it? OK, the Tories might display questionable judgement at times but not that questionable. I think they decided to vote the way they did in spite of the political consequences, not because of them.
I'm on my way back to Ms Ussher, honest I am.

It seems to be clear that Blair could have compromised and got more than 28 days out of the Commons. 60 days is the figure most commonly aired. I'm glad that didn't happen. The accusation Blair faces is that he didn't compromise because he was looking for a way to blame the Tories and Lib Dems if any further terrorist attacks occur. He could have had 60 days (and his rhetoric, if he genuinely believes it, means he must believe that this would have made us significantly safer than the 28 days he ended up with) but he was more concerned with making the Tories and Lib Dems look "soft" on terror. Michael Gove said it the other day on BBC News 24. Some of the "usual suspects" also claimed that Blair had very explicitly stated this motive in private meetings he had with backbenchers before the vote. I believe these allegations but I can see how many people would say "well, they would say that, wouldn't they?".

The thing is, it really only works if you do it subtly. That's why Blair and Saftey only ever implied that the other parties should be blamed for future attacks. If they had come out and said it openly, well, it'd just be too obvious. The plan was to let the media do the pointing and blaming, a task they're more than qualified to complete to the highest of standards. As such, Ms Usshers cheap political opportunism is a bit of a spanner in the works. Remember, she is very, very loyal to the Blair. And now, she's given away the ending and spoilt it for everyone. Oops.

In a way, reading Ms Ussher's drivel has cheered me up. The New Labour puppet show is becoming increasingly threadbare and exposed. The strings are starting to show on an all to frequent basis. I believe it's a sympton of panic caused by the fear of imminent unemployment and, as with so many things in life, it's a slipperly slope; panicking only makes it worse. Of course in this case, that's a good thing. Tick tock...

* Leaving dodgy opinion polls to one side, I still believe that public opinion was in favour of 90 days. I'm not happy about it but it's probably true.

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