Tom Harris against democracy…..

Tom Harris often illustrates vividly so much of what is wrong with the Labour Party. It strikes me that a commitment to basic, often radical and reforming, democracy has disappeared with Clause IV.

Harris trots out the usual canard, describing the scene amoung ‘Chatter-88’ types;

Parliament finally agrees that the Lords are to be elected by some form of proportional representation.

Then outrage as Nick Griffin announces that, following his defeat in Barking at the general election, he will instead stand as a BNP candidate in the new “Senate”.

He dismisses the line that the British National Party need to be argued against by saying that it ‘didn’t work last time’. Except it did; the British National Party vote share fell but Labour couldn’t motivate their vote to errr actually turn out and vote. Sadly, Tom illustrates that where it counts; in terms of programme and policy the Labour Party in its current form  has little to offer against the British National Party and that the only way they can conceive of to stop them is to ‘move the goalposts’ and essentially fix democracy to deny them representation.

This is hardly a compelling argument and is unlikely to put many people off Griffin’s party. In fact, it will probably endear it to them. It is probably true that electoral reform would see the election of far-right representatives however it would also see the election of Greens and other more progressive voices in greater numbers. Greater numbers than Nick Griffin could muster one would suspect so Tom’s arguments look suspiciously look like a desperate defence of Labour’s electoral hegemony of the progressive vote.

Tom is also factually incorrect in saying alot of the demonstrators would support PR as many are from the far-left where demands for a different electoral system are hardly ever raised seriously. So, he is wide of the mark in what I presume is meant to be a caricature of liberal demands for constitutional change. To be fair to Labour; there are voices on it’s left that take electoral reform seriously and argue for sweeping constitutional changes and the best chance of advancing them is in co-operation with that left.


Tags: , , , , , ,

About darrellgoodliffe


4 responses to “Tom Harris against democracy…..”

  1. Richard T says :

    Tom Harris is for the most part sensible and engaging but get him on PR and the central belt stalinist emerges from the shadowy nice guy. Like the whole of the Scottish Labour cohort he has never accepted the introduction of STV into Scottish local elections. He mourns the days when 40% of the Glasgow vote got 90% of the Glasgow councillors for Labour. Pluralism always gives way to democratic centralism for him.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Fair enough; lol though it’s so true and that is the problem. Luckily I don’t think Harris is representative of the wider Labour Party on this but he certainly represents a strain of thought therein.


  3. Richard T says :

    I take your point for the UK but seen from a Scottish perspective, Tom Harris’ views on PR are smack in the mainstream of Labour opinion. Jack MacConnel was never forgiven for the deal he did with Jim Wallace and this accounts for his quasi disgrace now.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I am happy to take your word from a Scottish perspective but I am thinking that electoral reform does appear as a cause of the Labour left; Compass, Next Left et el and they can certainly be seen as allies for it….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: