Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Politics Decoded: Political Fads & Supermarket Trolleys

A few hours ago I posted the first of my weekly columns over at the Wardman Wire. Here it is:

The Latest Political Fad

What is Gordon playing at? He has pitched his large tent up and is now inviting everyone along to the party. First he took on a few Lib Dems, now he is courting Tories.

Patrick Mercer – he who was ridiculed by the Labour party a few months back over an alleged racist slur and was sacked by Cameron as a result – is now an advisor to Brown (a slight hint of hypocrisy, maybe?). Along with him go John Bercow and super rich party donor Swede Johan Eliasch.

The idea is that we are moving away from Punch and Judy politics not just talking about it. Brown is creating a new type of politics where it is the best minds that matter, not partisan politics. It all sounds very attractive, but how long will it be before this all comes back to bite him?

There is a clear game plan from Brown and it is not just about moving politics on to the next stage. It is about making Cameron look stupid. So far it has had a minimum impact – but an impact all the same. This is gimmicky and a stunt. Mercer and Bercow will find out sooner or later that they may have been invited in to the tent, but they haven’t got back stage passes. They are a long way from the inner circle and Brown is notorious for making his decisions with his tight circle of confidantes and everyone else is just there to look like they are involved.

A cynical move by Mr Brown?

The move has certainly ruffled Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s feathers, describing the move as “deeply cynical.” It is deeply cynical but it is also deeply clever… but only clever if Brown calls an election before everyone figures him out. The electorate will see through it eventually when the defectors return back to the Tory party out of frustration that they are actually not needed after all. The Parliamentary Labour Party is going to have enough of it when the point scoring no longer matters and they are no longer getting the jobs they had an eye on. After all, there is always the accusation that Labour clearly does not have the talent if they have to poach off their ideological rivals and that won’t please a talented Labour backbencher.

Is consensus good for politics?

As for Brown saying this is good for politics, I disagree. A staunch Labour supporter would be a bit miffed if they voted for Labour and then got a few right wingers join the government – after all, we vote for a party, right, not for a cross house consensus? In the long term this is only going to benefit the Tories – even if poor Cameron’s party are persisting on making him look a bit stupid right now. It can not stay like this; politics depends on a difference of opinions not on consensus. If they all agree, what is the point of politicians and opposition parties? No one will know this better than Gordon Brown though. That is the point – he is scoring the points early, putting the Tories out of the game to make way for an election before 2009. It doesn’t matter after that – he has his full term and rides off in to the sunset. Rather like Cool Britannia in the Blair days, all he has to do is keep people convinced for a year or two then the next fad will come along. He’s a smart cookie that Gordon Brown – all he has to keep the wool over our eyes until election time…

Trolley Found Far From its Shop

So much for the silly season. It’s all been about floods, knifings and shootings, missing Madeleine McCann, Iraq and cheap political point scoring. It feels like there is no respite from the bad news these days. So imagine my delight yesterday when I came across this story in the local Walthamstow press whilst looking in to local political issues in the area. Unfortunately, it is from a couple of years ago now.

With just under a month to go before parliament starts sitting again, let’s make up for lost time and let me hear about your local rag’s most ridiculous stories.


Anonymous said...

There maybe a hint of hypocrisy from Brown but there is certainly the stench of betrayal from the Tories own Benedict Arnold. Patrick Mercer allowed his need for vengeance (dismissed) and his need to flaunt his grasp of basic security matters to overcome any sense of loyalties he once had to the Tory Party.

Patrick Mercer, is a very intelligent man and is fully aware of the damage he inflicted upon his leader and the Tory Party, but then they did knock Mercer off his pedestal, and for that Mercer gave them a volley and charge into Brown’s tent.

Garbo said...

Agreed, but Mercer is the fall guy here I reckon. He is being used as a pawn by Brown and will be hung out to dry by Labour sooner or later (who owe him nothing). Whether he will be welcomed back by the Tories is another matter - probably not easily, though maybe to score points.

Either way, if Brown plays this right he will be the big winner in all this while Cameron and Mercer will suffer. Cut throat politics is alive and well, it just has an honest yet dour face these days.