Friday 18 February 2022

Labour is the obstacle, not the enabler


It was reported yesterday that, in the latest twist on the so-called ‘progressive alliance’, Labour and the Lib Dems have been discussing a non-aggression pact which under which each of the two parties would do only minimal campaigning in the other’s target seats, with the objective of removing as many Tory MPs as possible. Whilst there may be many of us who would be delighted at seeing Tories booted out, it doesn’t follow that we would be equally elated at seeing them replaced by the self-styled ‘progressive’ parties. It raises, and not for the first time, the question of what the word ‘progressive’ actually means.

We know that Labour and the Lib Dems are united in their ‘progressive’ belief that whatever outcome Scots vote for want can and should be ignored, even if pro-independence parties win every seat in Scotland. We know that they are united in their support for the ‘progressive’ policy that the UK should retain and be willing to use weapons of mass destruction to incinerate millions of civilians. We know that they are both committed to the ‘progressive’ policy of balanced budgets over the long term, as though a ‘progressive’ form of austerity is somehow better for its victims than a Tory form of austerity.

There are some areas of disagreement between them – whilst the Lib Dems are keen supporters of electoral reform, Labour remain committed to the ‘progressive’ policy of a winner-takes-all system on the basis that it is better for them to have absolute power some of the time (whilst allowing the Tories to have it most of the time) than to be obliged to compromise and negotiate. We discovered yesterday that at least some senior Labour figures (it’s not clear as yet whether this is actual party policy) support the ‘progressive’ policy of extra-judicial executions, and the establishment of something akin to a ‘progressive’ police state in which police are encouraged to batter down people’s doors at 3am.

For Labour, ‘progressive’ actually seems to mean ‘whatever policies Labour promotes’ which is a distortion of language on a grand scale. It is, in essence, a negative rather than a positive approach, more to do with who holds the levers of power than with what they actually do with them. There certainly is scope for some realignment in UK politics, but it inevitably starts with electoral reform, the one change against which Labour continues to hold out. Whilst we shouldn’t under-estimate the advantages of replacing a corrupt and dishonest kleptocracy, neither should we simply accept that ‘any’ short-term temporary alternative is going to be better if we then allow things to revert after one or two terms in government. The one form – perhaps the only form – of electoral alliance which would make a real difference is an agreement between a number of parties to fight one election as a single bloc with the sole aim of electoral reform followed by new elections. And it is the ‘progressive’ Labour Party which is the biggest obstacle to that.

1 comment:

dafis said...

A sound diagnosis of the present Unionist Labour and Lib Dem "condition".

It will be aimed of course at getting the Tories out which may be a perfectly sound objective after possibly 14 years of cock ups and downright cheating. However the aim of rolling back SNP, Plaid and other undesirables is a clear indication of their mindset. Who wants to swap one set of useless hostile Unionist bastards for another ?