If it is true, as H. L. Mencken suggests, that ‘no-one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public’, perhaps it is equally true that no-one ever lost power in the UK by underestimating the stupidity of our electoral system.
The Tories attempt to win an election with a leader who is their own version of Blair-lite, then the leadership election looks likely to throw up the possibility of Labour fighting the next one with a version of Cam-light: David Miliband.
Still, at least there is going to be a contest this time, the powers behind the various Labour thrones having realised there is no sense in allowing another leader to be anointed, after how well that worked out for Gordon Brown. Yet it is undeniable that Miliband the Elder is the front-runner. Can I be the only one to find this strange?
David Miliband voted very strongly for the last parliament’s anti-terrorism laws, a stricter asylum system and for replacing Trident. He was very strongly for ministers being allowed to intervene in inquests, brought in after the Kelly and Menezes inquests caused a few blushes on the government benches. He was both strongly for the Iraq war and strongly against any kind of inquiry into the Iraq war, an exact reversal of the feelings of many Labour Party members on the subject. He has some very interesting views on the torture of terrorism suspects and the public’s right to know what its government is up to.
In short, there is a real possibility that, once again, the party established to act for the interests of working people via left-wing principles and ideals may end up with a fairly right-wing leader. How, one wonders, can Labour have the brass balls to call itself a left-wing party any more?
(For comparison: Nick Clegg was anti the terrorism laws, replacing Trident, ministers intervening in inquests and a stricter asylum system. David Cameron was against the anti-terrorism measures and ID cards, for the war but also for the investigation and flip-flopped a bit on asylum, as you would expect with the right-wing press breathing down his neck.)
The party of the workers has always been slightly ashamed of its lowly routes, the first Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald was also arguably the first ‘champagne socialist’, much preferring hanging out with Duchesses at their country seats to sitting in pubs singing the Red Flag. But at least the ‘s’ word did appear then! Now Dave Semple wonders if Labour and socialism can have anything left to do with each other, while Obsolete sees this attempt at debate as a postponing of the inevitable.
It appears that as we head into our ‘future filled with cuts‘ those alleged to be fighting on ‘our’ side will be arguing straight from a Daily Mail editorial for the shrinking of the welfare state, tougher immigration laws and freeing business from pesky regulation. As Chicken Yoghurt notes, the dividing lines between our rulers will be shaved until wafer thin.
Still, at least it gives me an excuse to post this intriguing insight into the future of British politics:
Three parties, in different coloured rosettes, with a broadly similar aim of shafting the electorate helping hard-working families. Four legs good, two legs better!
*Or if I didn’t write the post myself would it be Milivanilliblogging?