Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Sticking to pretend principles


Of the 361 Tory MP’s in the House of Commons, 135 are considered to be part of the ‘payroll vote’, that is, MPs who must either resign before voting against the government, or be sacked after doing so. Of the remaining 226, over 100 – nearly half – chose to vote against the government last night. We can be reasonably sure that a number of the 135 on the payroll vote agreed with them, but decided (surely not?) that their careers were more important than what passes for their principles.

The main arguments that the rebels used against the idea of people having to display their Covid vaccination status were firstly that they are opposed to the idea of people having to display their ‘papers’ before entering certain venues, and secondly the lack of evidence that such a move would be effective against transmission. It’s worth comparing their stance on this issue with their stance on other issues.

Whilst I haven’t checked the lists in detail, it is clear that most – perhaps even all – of the rebels also voted recently in favour of demanding that voters should be required to show ID before voting. They clearly believe that requiring all electors to show their ‘papers’ in an attempt to reduce the almost non-existent incidence of electoral fraud is a good thing, but requiring only those who wish to enter venues where large numbers of people gather to show their ‘papers’ in an attempt to reduce hospitalisations and premature deaths is a bad thing.

What could possibly be the huge difference between the two propositions? Two things immediately spring to mind. The first is that the requirement for ID to vote will disproportionately benefit the Conservative Party, and the second is that the requirement for ID to enter venues will disadvantage Conservative donors and supporters certain businesses. Still, the rebels pretend to have their principles – and as Marx (Groucho, not Karl) didn’t quite say, if people don’t like them, then they will pretend to have others. But only ever ones from which they and their ilk will benefit.

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