Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Choice

The Lib Dems are exasperating more than just me by the looks of things. An interesting post here by Oliver Kamm (who I haven't come across before, so have yet to make a judgement beyond him seeming perhaps a tad pretentious, like most of the rest of us bloggers) points out their current attempts to come up with a new description for their political ideology are a tad shaky.

All that many British Labour voters are looking for is an alternative party, and the Lib Dems should be the ideal choice - after all, they were founding by a bunch of former Labour MPs, share many of the same views, but don't have Blair in charge and aren't the Tories. What more could you want?

But Kamm's post also pointed me towards a Guardian article that I'd missed somehow. In it, Matthew Taylor, Chairman of the Lib Dems, makes some interesting points, not least that

"Liberal Democrats refuse to be pigeonholed into left or right. We believe that the 20th-century division into left and right failed... Take this example. David Blunkett and David Davis would both leave asylum seekers destitute, want every citizen to carry an ID card and have supported the removal of the right to silence. Left and right, but equally illiberal. Liberal Democrats oppose these measures because we believe it is vital to protect the citizen from an over-mighty state. So the press label us leftwing. We say it's liberal."

That's pretty much my position - on certain issues my views would be considered right-wing, on others I'd be on the left. It isn't necessary to buy completely into one set political ideology - that's when the problems start (and why I doubt I will ever join any political party) and is unhealthy for any democracy.

The whole point of a democracy is freedom of choice, so why tie yourself to one set of opinions or one party when there might be better viewpoints and alternatives if you bother to look around a bit? Blind voting for the Tories led to 18 years of disappointment and anger; blind voting for Labour seems to be leading to a similar number of years of frustration. This doesn't HAVE to be a two-party system - after all, look at the trouble America's in...

Oh, and here's a thought - why is it that in Britain if you are pro-European you are automatically labelled left-wing? The EU is dedicated to furthering trade and industry, and effectively promoting protectionist policies to anyone outside its little club. You can't get much more capitalist than that - so why are most right-wingers in this country opposed to it? It couldn't, perchance, be because they're xenophobic racists?

3 Comments:

Blogger Eliab said...

Glad to see that you are as sane as MacShane on this one.
Whta is more I have heard this chestnut so many times it hurts. Very basically, the European (read EU) Social Model is corporatist. This may be seen as right wing if you inhabit planet TUC or Chevenment, or even Oskar Lafontaine, however is you inhabit the planet somewhat nearer the centree then you will not see it as a right wing plot. Simple really.

I cannot imagine that you would include the working time directive, Chemicals Directive, wobbly bloody ladder directive et al as some capitalist plot...would you?

9/23/2004 11:12:00 am  
Blogger Toby said...

I agree. The EU's political direction is set by a Council with representatives from all parts of the political spectrum; its laws are proposed by a Commission (supposedly politically neutral, made up of politicians from all parties); and the legislating bodies are the Council and Parliament (elected proportionally from all parties across the EU). So there is no dominant political ideology, either left- or right-wing.

Left-wing eurosceptics, like the UK Greens and some Labour backbenchers, accuse the EU of being right-wing because it fights for free trade, protectionism, a liberal market, limited state intervention in business, and so on. But right-wing eurosceptics like most Tories accuse the EU of being left-wing because it fights for trade union rights, workers' rights, social justice and so on. The reality is neither: EU laws are decided by consensus and negotiation, not by debate of government vs opposition.

I remember a chap who'd been a councillor in the 1980s saying that his colleagues saw the EU (EC) as the only shaft of light in those dark Thatcherite days - Europe stood up for workers and local authorities when the UK government seemed intent on destroying them. It's an interesting perspective.

9/23/2004 11:42:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

I'm certainly not suggesting the EU is entirely capitalist, but its major initial thrust was to boost trade. My confusion stemmed from this blog being put in the "left" category by A Fistful of Euros after only a couple of posts, none of which said anything more than that I rather like the EU.

That Toby chap above me has summarised it already, so I'll leave it at that for now. Goes to show though - the EU has something for everyone, and something to piss everyone off...

9/23/2004 12:04:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link


(Mostly) Britain
(Mostly) Europe)
Regional Expertise
Misc
New Blogroll Additions

Archives by Date

02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003 | 03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003 | 04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004 | 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 | 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 | 08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004 | 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 | 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 | 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 | 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 | 10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004 | 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 | 10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004 | 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 | 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 | 11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004 | 11/14/2004 - 11/21/2004 | 11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004 | 11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004 | 12/05/2004 - 12/12/2004 | 12/12/2004 - 12/19/2004 | 12/19/2004 - 12/26/2004 | 12/26/2004 - 01/02/2005 | 01/02/2005 - 01/09/2005 | 01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005 | 01/16/2005 - 01/23/2005 | 01/23/2005 - 01/30/2005 | 01/30/2005 - 02/06/2005 | 02/06/2005 - 02/13/2005 | 02/13/2005 - 02/20/2005 | 02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005 | 02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005 | 03/06/2005 - 03/13/2005 | 03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005 | 03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005 | 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005 | 04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005 | 04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005 | 04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005 | 04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005 | 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005 | 05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005 | 05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005 | 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 | 05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005 | 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 | 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005 | 06/19/2005 - 06/26/2005 | 06/26/2005 - 07/03/2005 | 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 | 07/10/2005 - 07/17/2005 | 07/17/2005 - 07/24/2005 | 07/24/2005 - 07/31/2005 | 07/31/2005 - 08/07/2005 | 08/07/2005 - 08/14/2005 | 08/14/2005 - 08/21/2005 | 08/21/2005 - 08/28/2005 | 08/28/2005 - 09/04/2005 | 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 | 09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005 | 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 | 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 | 10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005 | 10/09/2005 - 10/16/2005 | 10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005 | 10/30/2005 - 11/06/2005 | 11/06/2005 - 11/13/2005 | 11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005 | 11/20/2005 - 11/27/2005 | 11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005 | 12/04/2005 - 12/11/2005 | 12/11/2005 - 12/18/2005 | 12/18/2005 - 12/25/2005 | 12/25/2005 - 01/01/2006 | 01/01/2006 - 01/08/2006 | 01/08/2006 - 01/15/2006 | 01/15/2006 - 01/22/2006 | 01/22/2006 - 01/29/2006 | 01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006 | 02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006 | 02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006 | 02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006 | 02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006 | 03/05/2006 - 03/12/2006 | 03/12/2006 - 03/19/2006 | 03/19/2006 - 03/26/2006 | 03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006 | 04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006 | 04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006 | 04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006 | 04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006 | 04/30/2006 - 05/07/2006 | 05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006 | 05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006 | 05/21/2006 - 05/28/2006 | 05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006 | 06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006 | 06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006 | 06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006 | 06/25/2006 - 07/02/2006 | 07/02/2006 - 07/09/2006 | 07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006 | 07/16/2006 - 07/23/2006 | 07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006 | 07/30/2006 - 08/06/2006 | 08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006 | 08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006 | 08/20/2006 - 08/27/2006 | 08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006 | 09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006 | 09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006 | 09/17/2006 - 09/24/2006 | 09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006 | 10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006 | 10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006 | 10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006 | 10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006 | 11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006 | 11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006 | 11/19/2006 - 11/26/2006 | 11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006 |

Blog Pimping

«#Blogging Brits?»
Blogwise
Feedster
Blogdigger
Blogarama
blo.gs
Is my Blog HOT or NOT?
Eatonweb portal
Bloghop
Blogdex
BlogExplosion
Daypop
Who Links To Me
Technorati profile
BlogSearchEngine

Rate Me on BlogHop.com!
the best pretty good okay pretty bad the worst help?

Politics Blog Top Sites

Top of the British Blogs
blog search directory
Advertise on blogs
.