The Importance of a Strong Opposition to the Government
July 16, 2015 Leave a comment
There’s an argument that says someone like Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the Labour Party would be disastrous not just for Labour, but for politics as a whole, not to mention the nation.
A strong opposition is required, they say, to keep the government on the straight and narrow.
But, putting Labour’s spot of difficulty aside, do we really have a strong opposition, or do we have, as George Galloway so eloquently put it, “two cheeks of the same arse”?
Do we really have a politics of opposing ideas and values, or do we have two main parties that are both invested in the idea of large, interfering government, bent on legislating away personal choice, civil liberties and free speech? Two parties both equally married to the profoundly anti-democratic European Union contrary to all the evidence of our own eyes?
If you take the example of drugs as one, all the evidence so far suggests that Theresa May is as authoritarian and wilfully contrary to good sense as Jackie Smith was. An absurd and draconian new law on ‘psychoactive substances’? Bring it on.
How about the vexing topic of public health in general. Surely one party wants the state and its proxies to have less to say about what individuals choose to eat, drink and smoke? Nope. Just plain wrong, in a plain packet, behind a sliding chipboard veil.
While Labour harp on about Tory privatisation of the NHS, it was they who did the most privatisation during their last stint in power, not least with Gordon Brown’s profligate and ludicrous PFI deals.
If you consider ill-thought-out military escapades, I’m pretty sure that it’s only by a matter of circumstance (and an accidental Commons defeat), that Cameron hasn’t gone full Tony Blair in his foreign adventuring by proxy. While Labour might be awash with anti-war types, it’ll only take another centre-ground pragmatist at the Labour helm – i.e. someone electable – to rub out that line in the sand.
Do we have one party committed to reducing taxes and simplifying the tax code while the other wants more complexity and higher taxes? No, we do not.
What about a party that even questions the whole premise of anthropogenic climate change, and the pyramid of economically crippling ideological taxes that rest up on it? Not a chance.
A party that doesn’t think the answer to every supposed problem is more laws, or even – don’t laugh just yet – a party that wants there to be fewer laws? Hahahahahahaaaaa.
And when it comes to justice, never before has the saying “the process is the punishment” been more true than since changes made by the “party of law and order”, whereby those acquitted of criminal accusations are no longer able to recover their legal costs, and legal aid has been cut right back. Where was the strong opposition to these scandalous changes?. Even as courts are jammed up and accused people are waiting record times to come to trial, consultations are underway to close ever more courtrooms down.
The truth of the matter is that so far, as with the 2010-2015 government, the current one is planning to do hardly anything that the Labour Party have a real problem with. Of course, Labour will pick a fight for the sake of seeing to be doing something, but they don’t seriously object to stinging shareholders’ dividends, or independent contractors’ pay & expenses arrangements. The only criticism of Osborne’s new Living Wage you’ll hear is that – even though it goes further than Miliband was promising – it doesn’t go far enough. And Harriet Harman must have moistened her crusty gusset when Cameron announced his intention to tackle the mythical gender pay gap.
So while I’ll concede that commentators are correct to say that it is in the interests of a healthy democracy to have a strong opposition, it ought to be pretty bloody obvious that this is exactly what we don’t have on offer from any of the main political parties in the UK.
Here’s the 2015 outlook from politicalcompass.org
Look at it! How anyone can seriously argue that we need the Labour Party to be a strong opposition, while failing to recognise that there are a dearth of serious parties in the socially libertarian part of the political spectrum is a complete mystery to me.
That there is not a single party in that lower right quadrant speaks volumes about how unbalanced our political system is in the UK, and how classical liberal viewpoints go completely unrepresented.
So what’s the point? And people have the audacity to judge anyone who decides that in this political realm, there is no-one to vote for? Spare me, sheeple.