Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Political Honesty or Automata?

Oh dear, we say we want honest politicians who are not political automata, we want authenticity, but then when we start to get it there is uproar!

(But does the uproar come from the wider electorate or the professional commentariat?)

I am unhappy with “shoot to kill”

Presumably it is better to be “happy” with shoot to kill? I am not happy with the idea of armed police but sort of accept that in the hole that is London and major potential targets (airports, nuclear installations, etc.) it may be necessary. I also appreciate that if you arm police with “lethal force” it is inevitable that the consequences of effective use will be lethal – and in the end it is the brain behind the trigger that has to make the decision. But if I resorted to just saying “I am happy with a shoot to kill policy”, I think I will have lost a bit of my humanity. Perhaps politicians have to lose a degree of humanity to hold office?

I do not believe the prime minister’s current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it

This seems quite innocuous unless of course “war mist” has descended and any questioning of parliamentary blood lust is to be condemned.

Corbyn is different:

  • in approach from practically all our other politicians
  • in policy from a majority of us from the right through to the centre left

He was elected by the Labour membership – overwhelmingly. Do we expect him to morph into the existing mould of what a senior parliamentarian looks like (something the wider electorate do not want and hold in contempt – always on message irrespective of the quality of that message, always avoiding the question, always failing to say anything that might be innovative). Or do we expect him to stand out and see if the style of (Westminster) parliamentary politics might change in response – possibly in a manner we say we want?

The idea that things might change is too radical for many existing MPs – and for many of those who comment on their foolish machinations.

Even before Corbyn’s election, Labour had spent five years showing that it was incapable of sufficient change to challenge for Government (if you are going to buy into deficit management by cutting spending, you might as well vote for the real thing). Whatever it does it is unlikely to win in 2020 (unless Gideon throws it away), so they might as well spend 9 years coming up with a genuine alternative to the “Thatcherite consensus” – and a means to implement that change. The members have recognised the candidate who will make a change. It may be the wrong change, but it is the only serious change on offer.

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