Saturday, April 10, 2010

Objectively pro-Tory

Early morning thought (I know it's not that early now; I had it earlier): I think we should discuss the election at some point, and what positions various Decents take as we approach polling day. And I thought that if I had to sum up AW readers' view on Decents in a single snappy phrase, it would be, "objectively pro-Tory". Oliver Kamm voted Conservative in 2005. Nick Cohen and Martin Bright seem to be doing all they can to run down Gordon Brown. Aaro isn't a fan of his MP, Glenda Jackson. Only Norman Geras seems like a Labour diehard to me.

Your opinions?

(Full disclosure: I can be accused of being 'objectively pro-Tory' myself. I haven't made up my mind how I'm going to vote, other than not BNP, UKIP, Conservative, or Labour. So probably Lib-Dem, possibly Green, Monster Raving Looney if available, and I'm tempted by the Communists, or even Plaid. It's no good trying to talk me into voting Labour: I loathe my MP, Alun Michael. Apart from gay rights, his views are diametrically opposed to my positions. He voted for the Digital Economy Bill, and he even had a mention in Steven Poole's Unspeak. I've never voted for him - I lived in a different constituency in 1997 - and won't start now.)

Update Sunday 11/4 8:00 pm BST. By accident, I seem to have watched DA's column from the 8th: Radicals or conservatives? How can we tell?. DA on Glenda Jackson (not named):

[The] sitting Labour [MP] is a grumpy septuagenarian who has, for years now, inhabited an ideas-free zone. When David Cameron quipped the other day that a government led by him “couldn’t do any worse” than the current lot, the image of this MP came to mind.

Not a fan? No, not a fan. Here's Aaro's constituency, Hampstead and Kilburn on Here's a summary of her career this term on I prefer his Labour MP to mine!

Bugger the silly fool who said, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been!'" No, the saddest are, of course, "I was wrong." I haven't just mis-guessed Aaro, I did so after he wrote a column on this and which I didn't read.

So why not slip into the polling station and quietly cast a ballot for MTC [My Tory Candidate]? I am ashamed of part of the explanation because it is one of those dreadful, reiterated clichés of election campaigns.

I think that means that he won't vote Tory, but I find it hard to believe that he'll vote Labour either. True, if Glenda Jackson wins that's one more MP to returning Gordon Brown, but does Aaro even want that?

In summary, I don’t know whether he [David Cameron] and his party are radical or conservative. Every time I think this has been resolved one way, something happens to suggest the opposite.

This is quite amusing and percipient of the Conservative Party at the moment: it's also silly. There are no really conservative parties anywhere. Labour is small 'c' conservative in many ways (especially in the 80s). And ideas are only radical when very few people hold them. Let's not forget that Tony Benn used to insist that 'radical' came from the Latin 'radix' or 'root'. (I picture all opposites like those as being on the surface of a Möbius strip. They're not useful, IMO.)

Take the mood oddly revealed by Labour’s utterly misconceived poster last week. The point of making Mr Cameron a throwback to the 1980s, in the shape of the Ashes to Ashes character Gene Hunt, was to warn the electorate of a return to the bad old days. The problem is that a section of voters have got it into their heads that almost any time was better than this, including punch-the-bad-guy policing. Mr Cameron’s response? “I think there will be thousands of people, millions of people, in the country who wish it was the 1980s and that police were out there feeling collars and nicking people instead of filling in forms.”

This is wrong, I think. I've only watched one episode of Life on Mars, so I'm not expert, but people like Gene Hunt. He's direct, straight (in the 'old-fashioned' sense). I bet that if you asked "How could anyone like that Gene Hunt?" of a group of women, you'd be met with one of those awkward silences. Well at least Cameron wasn't compared to Clint Eastwood's 'Dirty' Harry Callaghan character - who was always being told that his methods weren't acceptable (and that was in the early 70s). Everyone knows that violent policemen aren't desirable, but Eastwood and Glenister manage to project a sort of emotional intelligence. Never mind that the Hunt character was the copyright of the BBC (as defined in the Digital Economy Bill); the image sent the wrong dog whistle. Accusing their opponent of both conviction and courage - what was Millbank thinking of?

The whole thing is so confusing. The Conservatives are excellent on defence and internationalism, but useless and deceptive on Europe. They say good words about the poor, but suggest that their policy emphasis will be on reducing taxes for the middle classes and -- amazingly-- the very wealthy.

Is any party anything other than "useless and deceptive on Europe"? My idea of excellence on internationalism is similar to Aaro's: it's a good thing. No so with 'defence' (dreadful Newspeak evasion: rename the MoD the 'Ministry of War' at least). As for tax reduction on the wealthy: the Tories have arguments here. I think they're utterly wrong, but they should be addressed rather than snarked at.

Here's Dave's Independent Candidate Tamsin Omond very very slow website. She seems nice, if naive. So were the Founding Fathers of the US (naive that is, not nice, I'm not a total idiot).

So, how will you vote, Dave?


Blogger Paul McMc said...

Is Aaro having a go at Glenda Jackson as a way to criticise Labour without doing so explicitly? "Oh, if only I had a Decent MP" kinda thing?

4/11/2010 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Aaro would like to have Gisela Stuart as his MP.


4/12/2010 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

On the question of whether the Tories are radical or not, Alex Massie says they are, Kevin Drum agrees that they are radical (for Britain) but not in a good way.

4/13/2010 08:19:00 PM  

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