Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Should the Conservatives be Propping up Labour?

Norfolk Blogger reckons that Tory MPs should join LibDems in the No lobby tomorrow and oppose Trident. He accuses Conservatives of propping up a failing Labour administration. Of course Liberals know all about that. They had enough practice in the late 1970s. This was my response to Nich Starling, who writes the Norfolk Blogger blog...
So Nich, you reckon that 198 Tories who support the replacement of Trident
should vote the other way? That would be really ethical, wouldn't it? Surely
responsible opposition means opposing the measures you disagree with but
offering qualified support for those that you do?Believe me, I'd love to see
Labour defeated on anything, but not at the expense of voting against my
principles on an important matter of national defence.


Newmania said...

You are always exceedingly kind to Norfolk Blogger , but, pleasant enough though he may be he appears to take delight in beating his own world record for foolishness every week.

I do not think of the Liberal as a political Party , a political party must have some vestigal political beliefs rather than all of them when it happens to suit.

From there lack of principle springs the vicious amorality we see constantly at local level and this is more of the same.

No Party that cannot be trusted on defence will ever govern this country and the Liberal party are a neat demonstration of that fact. It is my belief that even though it turned out they were right on Iraq ,deep down ,the British know that Blair made the right call at the time.Once again the Liberals have painted themselves into the pacifist corner.

They do not wish to escape because the point of being a Liberal is not to gain power but to brag about how much better you are than those who do . That is why thoughts of pacts are absurd.Why be a Liberal if you start compromising. With no beliefs opposing is the entire point .

The whole thing is more like a tiresome middleclass hobby really..its probably fun .. if you can stand the company

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Surely the best deterrent would have been to pretend that the present Trident Subs and missiles were still working well, even if they were u/s. Who would have found out?

Now we've blown that option, why do we need this cold war style deterrent? A UK bomb delivered by RAF bomber would be just as good.

Aren't we building the wrong nuclear defence anyway? - Nuclear power stations NOT bombs will be the best defence against any future Russian/Arab threat.

Big Andy said...

Frankly, attitudes like the one expressed here astonish and anger me.

What this blogger is suggesting is that democratically elected representatives OF THE PEOPLE should not consider the merits of legislation before them, nor even the greater good of the country, but should conduct themselves in a purely partizanal fasion.

The very idea that it is acceptable to put party before country (with the slight exception of ministerial responsibility) is enough to make me squirm.

Shame on you Norfolk Blogger for suggesting this!

David Anthony said...

So short-term political gain is more important than fundamental long-term national security. Disgraceful.

But what do you expect from the Lib Dems.

sturgess said...

David Anthony said...

So short-term political gain is more important than fundamental long-term national security. Disgraceful.

You bet it is,the voters forget if they ever even cared what you did, and in the long term the decision to get rid of this government, and build a fine democracy again will be worth it.The end justifies the means,that's what politicians do you know.

Rush-is-Right said...

Look, this entire parliamentary debate is bogus. There is absolutely no need for the government even to bring up the subject. It's just part of the Bliar legacy project.

That man just wants to strut around presenting his macho credentials with a view to furthering his appeal to the USA lecture circuit in a few months time.

Seen in those terms, it is perfectly respectable to vote against the government on the basis that it is not the job of Her Majesties Loyal Opposition to prop the government up on a needless and stage-managed motion.

It's been debated earlier, there is no objection to keeping a nuclear deterrant but it really doesn't have to be expensive Trident submarines.

I favour air, surface or even space-launched cruise missiles. That has to be more cost-effective.

Manfarang said...

I suppose conservatives live in the past.Didn't any one tell you the cold war is over.Why waste billions on threats that no longer exist?
Conservatives have beliefs?
Edmund Burke was an Irish Whig!

Anonymous said...

There's no need to take a decision on Trident replacement until around 2010. It's all about the LEGACY.

The Tories are being stupid. They should scupper this and embarass Blair.

Anonymous said...

" ... The Tories are being stupid. They should scupper this and embarass Blair."

Useful idiots is the phrase I believe.

Anonymous said...

It is not so much the actual trident issue, or the equality law or even house of lords. in terms of public perception it is the way Cameron is just seen as another grubby politician by supporting a hated government, against the public interest that will damage him.

If he behaves like this in opposition its fairly clear he will ignore the public when in power - this means that ANY credible RealTory candidate would regain masses of lost voters and unite those in the Party who simply cannot stomach the idiotic blair like policies currently being followed.

He will look a total prat when he is the only Party leader supporting the war, this has already done much damage to the Cameron 'concept' given its popularity.

HOL reform, EU non-policy, eco-babble, Iraq and 'social responsibility' are just the same as weve had from Blair.

We should be bringing the government down by any means, that would guarantee an electoral victory. Blair is hated, stay as far away as possible from him and his policies.

Anonymous said...

They should vote against the government whatever they propose simply based on the fact that no opposition can know what is really going on?

Secret inquiries at the Home Office, no resignations and yet we support him on trident. Keeping him in power is a sound strategy on a superficial level but no good if camerons credibility is toasted as a result.

david kendrick said...

So being against the replacement/up-dating of an independent Trident nuclear missile system is 'playing fast and loose with Britain's defence'? What bollocks.

It is not independent---the UK has to rely on the US for its efficacy.

It is a financially demanding programme far better suited to a wealthier ally, with a large domestic defence industry.

It does not play to Britain's stregnths, this yesterday's solution to a cold war problem.

We have under-equipped troops at the sharp end in Iraq and Afghanistan at the moment, and who knows where next year. Some people seem to want the UK to commit money to trident, instead of properly looking after 'our boys'? (And no, in the real world it can't be to both).

Why? It is to be macho, not sensible. Of course the tories should oppose it.

eddie said...

There's no point clambering atop a high horse on the issue of voting in the Commons, Iain. The words will only come back to haunt you if/when you become an MP, as you will be asked to vote on all manner of things which you disagree with but will be forced to vote the opposite way for the sake of political expediency or to prop up your own party.

Besides, you can make a number of cases that the Conservative opposition wasn't "responsible" by voting against top-up fees and foundation hospitals. They were hardly un-Conservative ideas.

no longer anonymous said...

"I suppose conservatives live in the past.Didn't any one tell you the cold war is over.Why waste billions on threats that no longer exist?"

Because similar threats may arise in the future (don't underestimate China)? Because at least the money isn't being wasted on non-job parasites? To be honest I think an NHS hospital is more deadly to one's health than a nuclear missile but they're prety tricky to launch from submarines.

On a more serious note, why exactly did the Tories vote against that prison bill which, in its support for great private involvement, one would have thought they would approve of.

Madasafish said...

More of the same irrelevant rubbish.
Why not discuss the principles: do we need a nuclear deterrent?
Whom would we use it against?
(and that is vital.. you MUST be prepared to USE it).
And why?

If you would use it on intelligence!!!!!see WMD

As for the Chinese? Absolute muppetry... Thye will be in a state to blow us to nothing in 10 years!!

As for terrorism.... well it's bleeding obviousy wrong... which target please...?

Can we have a list of countries we would hit?

Pakistan is the obvious elephant in the room...Home for Al Quaeda, nuclera powered,,, source of fighters for Afghanistan... yet the US is after Iran!!

PJ said...

I think the Tories should back their principles not their short term political interests in this case. But it may not even be in their/our short term political interests to vote against the replacement: the prospect of Tories voting against might persuade a few rebels to back the government, and the rebellion may not be as big as anticipated, so the government may win anyway, leaving the Opposition looking both opportunistic AND incompetent.

It might be worth opposing the bill if the government had a majority of 20-30, because then it might be the first in a set of defeats of controversial legislation. But with a majority of 60+, there's no point.

hg said...

If the purpose of Opposition is to oppose then the Conservatives are doing a fine job; they oppose the Liberal Democrats and the Brownite faction of the Labour party -a more unattractive grouping is difficult to imagine. Doing this while supporting conservative measures is particularly pleasing.

That there is a collateral effect in exposing the jagged fracture that lies from top to bottom of the Labour administration is masterly.

The Conservatives are not necessarily junior partners; with every demonstration of what they will and will not allow through the House when Labour rebels and Liberal Democrats ally against the prime minister they assert Conservative policies.

Anonymous said...

So Iain, your still predicting the Liberals are marching through the No Lobby when it comes down to it.

I'm still not convinced, are you willing to make a bet?

Iain Dale said...

They may abstain, whoch would be just as bad - and a bit embarrassing for Norfolk Blogger!

Ed said...

I'm not convinced that a government defeat on the issue would bring an election forward anyway.

After all Blair has scraped through enough embarassments already and still held on.

Tessa Jowell, Mandy, CfH, Blunkett, etc.

Ed said...


yes it's an interesting situation we have here with a coalition between the Blairites and the Tories meaning that to a certain extent that the Conservatives are in power but not in office.

Curly said...

They're all at sea, and we're bailing them out again!

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Poor Nich (NB)! I think he's a really decent bloke who is a REAL liberal. He mostly writes common sense aposts, which Conservatives can agree with. He must have been having a bad day.

sturgess said...

Looks very much like the majority who post here want the opposition to act like an opposition, and at every opportunity vote against this government.If the two main parties have a broad consensus on what is right for this country,why bother to change anything,why bother to even vote ?

greenham woman said...

Time to dust of the bolt croppers

Athos said...


The US are looking at Iran instead of Pakistan because Iran is not only providing fighters, materiel and money to Afghanistan, but also providing the same in Iraq and actively attacking Isreal through their puppets Hezbullah.

The principle of replacing Trident is to maintain the status quo: this is conservative thinking. It is also part of maintaining our status in world diplomacy: something any government now or in future should want.

Any yes, the decision doesn't have to be made now... we can put it off to the very last minute and then just buy the American thing most suited to our needs. But, pledging this money now will permit early investment and allow people to look at what kind of nuclear deterrant we want: developing one suitable to the needs of today. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance... and seeing a defence contract that had a clear idea of what it wanted and wasn't likely to shift on a whim would be a nice change.

Anonymous said...

But they could do it under the guise of an amendment to propose that a 'British alternative' to Trident be sought, and the current submarines have their life extended while a feasibility study was done.

Go on, a bit of sharp politics, and Blair would be in the 'Brown' stuff..

CuriousHamster said...

Does anyone have any thoughts on how the attitude of those intending to vote yes fits with our commitment under Article VI of the NNPT to "pursue negotiations in good faith... on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".

Iain's "precautionary principle" effectively sends the message that we will never disarm; when would that principle not apply? If we're going to keep nuclear weapons because of potential future threats, the NNPT is a dead duck.

Does anyone care?

Anyone apart from the inhabitants of the 170+ non-nuclear weapons states who signed the NNPT on the understanding that nuclear weapons states would disarm as part of the deal. I'm pretty sure they do care.

I tried asking in the previous Trident thread but no-one responded. Anyone?

Man in a shed said...

Its national interest stuff (Tory politics) - rather than personal ambition stuff (Lib Dem politics) - so I'm not surprise Norfolk blogger has trouble understanding.

However - there's an underlying issue that's only just coming out. Its about new submarines - not missiles. In part to keep the capability to build nuclear subs alive in the UK.

Hence we could rearm at some future point in 50 years time, if we are again threatened at sea.

We should remember that twice foreign powers (ok the Germans) tried to starve us into submission with submarine warfare.

lilith said...

Of course the Conservatives should not be propping up Labour..we would not be in this mess with some decent opposition. The Tories are no better in this than the Lib Dems. You guys sure know how to turn people off politics when you make it clear that its Party first, policies and people later.

Madasafish said...

You said "we would not be in this mess with some decent opposition. The Tories are no better in this than the Lib Dems"

Worse even (see Iraq war) imo.

Now who is the Shadow Home Secretary? David Davis. Totally ineffectual in opposition imo.

(and on a separate thread he's proposed as the new leader in waiting)

Frankly watching the Conservatives oppose is like watching West Ham playing football. They know what they should do, they know they should not score own goals, they keep changing managers.. and they are just plain carp.

Apologies to West Ham supporters :-)