Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's time to end the era of 'fuzzy' politics

Political cross-dressing is occasionally sensible from a tactical perspective but rarely does it make for an effective political strategy. Too many voters just don't see what the real differences are between the two main parties in Britain, we live in the age of fuzzy politics. Gordon Brown knows that if he and the Labour party is to regain the trust and confidence of the electorate he will need to articulate exactly what differentiates progressive Labour politics from those of the opposition.

In an attempt to stimulate debate and discussion can I suggest three main differences:

1. Conservative philosophy believes that inequality in society is inevitable and desirable and that government can play virtually no role in its eradication. Progressive, left of centre political parties have always argued that inequality is repugnant to a modern, civilised society and that governments can be operate some powerful levers that bring about change.

Modern example: Labour wants education up to 18 for all, the Tories want to keep it to a select few.

2. Conservative politics believes in that most government 'intervention' is futile, be it in the markets or in the realm social policy. Progressive Labour politics believes that there is both strength and virtue in collective endeavour, that government really can make a difference in helping improve the quality of life for all.

Modern example: Labour introduced the national minimum wage, the Tories opposed it.

3. Conservative politics is 'conservative' politics, it seeks to entrench privilege and limit opportunity to an elite few.Progressive Labour politics recognises that to live is to change, that reform is often necessary to help re-affirm or re-assess strongly held values and beliefs in fairness, justice and tolerance for a modern setting.

Modern example: Tories have fewer women MPs than Labour and (in contrast to Labour) the vast majority of the Tory front bench come from backgrounds of immense wealth and privilege.

Let's not forget who the real enemy is and let's also remember that, yes the centre ground is where elections are won and lost, but let's not forget that in politics the centre ground covers a very wide area.

4 comments:

Miller 2.0 said...

"Conservative philosophy believes that inequality in society is inevitable and desirable and that government can play virtually no role in its eradication. Progressive, left of centre political parties have always argued that inequality is repugnant to a modern, civilised society and that governments can be operate some powerful levers that bring about change."

What about the Hutton argument (the more unequal the spread of wealth, the better)?

Letters From A Tory said...

"Labour wants education up to 18 for all, the Tories want to keep it to a select few."

What utter rubbish. The Conservatives want everyone to have the option of education up to 18 but without the element of compulsion. Very poor research on your part.

Cassilis said...

You do appear to be caricaturing the Tory position on some things here Mike.

Conservatives don't believe inequality is 'desirable' or that governments have 'virtually no role' in eradicating it. After all is was Conservative governments who passed the first public health & education acts, who first legislated for unions and workplace protection. They did all this before the Labour party even existed. What they do have is a more realistic view on the limits of what government can achive and a recognition that some inequality will always exist in a free democratic country - it could only be completely eradicated at the expense of personal liberty.

When cross-dressing is just a posture to garner support I share your contempt for it. But anyone with a decent knowledge of political history will tell you how fluid the principles and outcomes favoured by BOTH parties are. The partisan approach you urge (with talk of 'enemies' and class etc.) ultimately lets everyone down and our national politics will be the better for a more subtle and nuanced reading than you offer here....

jmb said...

Hi Mike,
Recently we had a vote in Blogpower on various issues. We did not hear from you in this regard and since one of the questions was asking the members to reconfirm their membership in Blogpower, could you please do so by emailing JMB at nobodyimportant@shaw.ca? We are using this method of communication since we want to be sure to reach you and perhaps the spam filter ate the other emails. Regards jmb.