Something struck me when discussing the thorny coalition question; that as soon as we start talking about it we start surrounding almost ultra-leftist, continually parroting the line that there is no difference between Labour and the Conservatives. The debate is not about ‘lesser evils’; most people given the choice would not choose evil at all so it’s a false choice. It’s also a highly metaphysically loaded choice because the concrete reality is that hard facts tell us some options are better than others.
Let’s take electoral reform for example, now it is absolutely true that the Labour government has done nothing to advance this and it’s progress on constitutional issues has been snail-paced and in some regards non-existent. However, there is a clear body of opinion within the Labour Party that supports electoral reform and it’s conceivable, nay probable, that in different conditions the Labour Party could enact electoral reform. What of the Conservatives? Well, Douglas Carswell certainly does support it but he represents a tiny, and crucially unorganised, minority which in some ways only consists of himself. So, given this is there any concrete circumstances under which the Conservatives could be persuaded of the case for electoral reform? The answer surely has to be no.
Sins like banking bonuses and Labour’s rather slavish attitude to the markets (acceptance seems to have been mistranslated in the Blairite lexicon to mean acquiescence) do not take away from the fact progressive measures like the minimum wage were brought in. So, if we were looking for progressive taxation cuts then why would the Conservatives be the natural allies of choice when their idea of ‘progressive taxation reduction’ is to reduce inheritance tax?
All these differences matter in the concrete; in the real world and that is where politics takes place; not in the metaphysical worlds of good and evil.