Why I feel (kind of) sorry for the Conservative right….
You have got to hand it to Lord Tebbit who certainly knows how to make grand sweeping statements which capture the very essence of the true blue heart of Conservatism. His call for the ‘punishment’ of the Liberal Democrats and warnings about the ‘wild men’ of the TUC (riding to power, scaly hands clasped firmly around Ed Miliband’s neck presumably) hark back to a age of swashbuckling politics when nobody cared too much for the imaginary ‘centre ground’.
Despite it all, I also cant help but feel a twinge of sympathy for the likes of Tebbit. Comrades within Labour who have leftish politics and/or are trade unionists feel only too keenly the pain of exile from the warm affections of the party hierarchy imposed on them by a cold, calculating and manipulative leadership. They know what its like to wince when you hear the name of your own Party being taken in vain and associated with all sorts of things which you know run completely contrary to the spirit (and often the letter) of what you know instinctively it believes in in its heart-of-hearts.
For those that forget quickly today was an instructive reminder as the ‘two Ed’s’ desperately tried to outflank the Conservatives from the right on crime and punishment. Mr Balls, far too thuggish to ever convince as a brave defender of civil liberties, argues for an ‘evidence-based’ approach to control orders without producing much actual evidence they work. Meanwhile, I can partially understand the concerns expressed by Miliband; however, having thought about this I have decided there is no satisfactory way to regulate which prisoners do and dont get the vote. Simply put, I don’t trust judges to administer this in a political neutral way so pending a massive overhaul of our judicial system in favour of the empowerment of juries when it comes to sentancing (as opposed to judges) this is an ‘all or nothing issue’. Either all prisoners have the vote or none do and since I believe in rehabilitation as a cornerstone of the very nature of justice I would opt for all.
I went on a tangent for a reason. Our approach towards this issue shows we have triangulated light years away from our core values and are lead by the nose by the worst of peoples prejudices like the simple-minded sheep our leaders are. The authentic voices of the radical spirit of the Party are treated with contempt; like curios at the local museum. They are told they are the ‘reactionaries’ who are ‘inflexible’ and who are failing to ‘adapt to modern reality’ by people who simply don’t have the wit to realise that the flexibility and dynamism that comes from a radical spirit is timeless in its application and relevance and can make the general specific at will. This is exactly how the likes of Tebbit and the wider Conservative right are treated by Cameron and his motley crew and that is why, although I know they are warriors for the other side, they illicit feelings of grudging sympathy in me….