Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Agree With Roy Hattersley!

I don't recall ever agreeing with Roy Hattersley on anything. Until today. His article in today's Observer on the dangers of a Hung Parliament is a must read for anyone who cares about conviction politics and ethical government. He concludes by saying...

Cynics will say that, whichever party is in power next year, the nation will benefit from it being kept on the short leash of a hung parliament. The cynics will be wrong. Not only are minority administrations prevented from taking the long view that good government requires, but they are also constantly required to compromise their beliefs.

What our democracy needs, above all else, is the politics of conviction.

Hear, hear.


Sir Inglegram said...

Convictions are just what the political class in this country needs.

And then prison.

Tony said...

Sadly none of the parties offers us conviction politics and as a result our democracy is in an advanced state of decay.

The clamour among the political elite for centre ground consensus has drown out anyone bold enough to hold an opposing view to the self appointed mainstream.

The party leaders have things sewn up tight to control their parliamentary colleagues, shut down debate and marginalise conviction politicians. Where dissenters were once described as mavericks, they are now undermined in off the record briefings and described pejoratively as ideological fundamentalists, extremists or in some way unstable.

As a result of this the electorate is only able to vote negatively, against the party they despise most. I would suggest very few people will vote positively for a party because there is more than a ring of truth about the faces changing but the governance being more of the same.

Anonymous said...

To quote Margaret:

"And now my third point. I hear the Press talking about a hung Parliament.

Mr Chairman, a hung Parliament would hang the future of our country.

We have been able to take strong decisions and Prime Minister Major has been able to take strong decisions and show strong leadership because we had a good sound majority behind us.

Just look at some countries that have had coalition governments. You may have read about Belgium in the papers in the last few weeks. It took them 100 days to form a new government. What would have happened if anything vital had come up during that time? Did it help their main decisions? Did it help their deficit to come down? Not a bit of it. They've got one of the worst deficits in Europe. Not surprising with a coalition government. No-one has got the guts to stand up and say no to public expenditure. So they get a big deficit. Does continuous coalition government help them to stand up against the tyrant? No. When we wanted to buy munitions they wouldn't sell them to us. So, do not go for coalitions—ever.

We want a strong decisive majority which enables us to continue the way in which we have, which enables Prime Minister Major to continue the strong leadership which he has already demonstrated to the people of this country and overseas.

There can be no doubt that a new, clear mandate to Prime Minister Major offers the best hope of solving our present problems, of continuing the economic advance which the 1980s began, and of ensuring that Britain's reputation rides high in the counsels of the world."

Tapestry said...

The Hung Parliament narrative in the MSM started the moment Cameron declared his open rebellion programme to the Lisbon Treaty.

Until that moment he was treated as the new Blair by the media. But as he declared renegotiation and the possibility of a referendum in the longer term, he was, overnight, assessed as too risky an asset by the (e)utopians.

He is now being politically emasculated, with rigged Glasgow byelection, rigged MORI polls and the creation of an expectation of a Hung Parliament when a day before his Lisbon speech, he was seen as landslide material.

Once the expectation of a Hung Parliament has been created, rigging the result of the general election through postal vote fraud and overnight ballot box tampering, to match the expectations, will be a piece of cake.

Cameron is being eliminated.

Keith Elliott said...

Oh yes, that has worked, hasn't it!

If that's the best the both of you can do, then roll on a hung parliament.

Akheloios said...

What this country certainly doesn't need is more politics of conviction, it needs more politics of evidence and science.

Jon Lishman said...

Yeah, yeah. And the first conviction should be Tony Bliar's.

Onlinefocus Team said...

So the long years with a big Labour majority have yielded "ethical government" have they?

Paul W.E. Ingham said...

"What our democracy needs, above all else, is a Conservative Government with a majority of between 50 and 100"

Frankly that is going to be quite a mountain to climb. Anyone who thinks that the Conservatives have the election in the bag should check Party Chairman Eric Pickles current video on the subject.

Road_Hog said...

What does it matter, NuLabour or BluLabour, they are both the same and neither will tackle the EU or immigration problems.

We will end up with a homogenised mix of government. Quite frankly I couldn't care. We need a different choice.

Anonymous said...

In the increasingly unlikely event that the next Parliament has a Tory majority a large one would lead to the convictions of the Euro-anarchists once again tearing your party, perhaps my country apart.

While HM Labour Governments have done great things with large majorities I recall the common Whips' view that smaller ones lead to better discipline, and a tighter ship.

The will of the people may be obscure, and sometimes it is that no-one should take clear control, as per 1974.

I hope, and continue to expect as I may have mentioned before, that Labour will have a working majority, and Britain will continue to face the future with realism.

JMB said...

Presumably he is writing that because the Conservatives are most likely to win, would he say the same if a Labour victory was probable?

Tom King said...

Yeah - we've really benefited from the 'long view' of the knee-jerk 'something must be done' brigade recently.

The tub of lard would have written a more lucid article.

Unknown said...

Since when has "conviction" been a part of the governance of this nation , certainly not since Mrs T was forced out of office. Major was a benign joke, Blair an opportunist and Brown an unelected egoist. What Hattersley is stating is that our present system needs to be kept and that it still works. Alot of us "voters" think the present system (first past the post, party appointed candidates, unelected second chamber etc etc) has failed and needs to be swept away.

Roger Thornhill said...

Then the Tory Party is a Hung Party.

Cynic said...

Shame that he hadn't noticed over the last 12 years all we had was the politics of expediency, personal gain and spin.

Dr Gonz said...

Well, it all depends what your beliefs are. That someone sincerely believes that stoning adulterers is right, or that low taxation is sinful doesn't in any sense protect the beliefs or render them somehow more justifiable. The problem with sincerity is that people are more likely to act on their beliefs - and this sincerity is of course partially responsible for the current NuLab nutters having brought about the current situation. Thus the American philosopher Quine's quip that it doesn't much matter what you believe so long as you are insincere. The emphasis on "conviction" is just so much New Age Blairite twaddle ("I only know what I believe") rather than an emphasis on something like rigour, or evidence. In part the problem in the UK with a hung parliament would be that politicians would have difficulty getting used to the idea that they would have to compromise. Things certainly take longer, but it cannot be creditably believed that Germany for example is ungovernable, and I can't remember a time when its government wasn't formed by one coalition or another.

Simon Lewis said...

Totally correct. The worst thing that can happen is a hung parliament. The country needs certainty and
so does the city and business.

MikeyP said...

Well, the way to avoid a hung parliament (I wish it was hanged!) would be for Wavey Davey to come out strongly against the EU!

James Higham said...

The hung parliament is a distinct possibility because people are not doing the right thing and writing to their MPs about a European Referendum, therefore people like David Cameron get complacent with his 18 month agreement but a sizeable chunk of the UK won't be taken in by that.

As this voice gets stronger, Labour reacts with more spin and as people always want to hear good news, even if it's false, they are more inclined to go all tribal and vote that way.

It's looking like a hung parliament, which is irrelevant anyway as the EU has other things in mind for 2011/12.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Hattersly for we have plenty of evidence in Scotland since 2007 that a minority government can work very well.

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

"What our democracy needs, above all else, is the politics of conviction."

... and it also needs plenty of our troughing hoons to be convicted too!

Unknown said...

Roy Hattersley said:

"...Not only are minority administrations prevented from taking the long view that good government requires..."

Good grief, since when did this Government take the long view - except perhaps to perpetuate itself.

True Belle said...

Through every adversity lies the seed of greater benefit!

David Cameron is performing true to form, Mumsnet had him sussed!

Simon Gardner said...

tapestry said... “rigged MORI polls”

This is not only nonsense but actionable nonsense.

Paul Halsall said...

"here, here" not "hear, hear" Iain!

Apart from that, Hattersley is wrong. A hung parliament would allow the kind of constitutional changes (an elected Lords, proportional representation, etc. that we need).

Will 883 said...

Nonsense. In a hung parliament political parties are not forced to compromise their beliefs, they are merely forced to compromise.

Isn't a little compromise, negotiation and consideration a good thing for a government?

Will 883 said...

Paul Halsall - I think you'll find the phrase is actually "hear, hear", as in "hear the rather wonderful points that chap is making".

Unknown said...

"It's looking like a hung parliament, which is irrelevant anyway as the EU has other things in mind for 2011/12."

Hang on, one poll out of dozens shows a seriously exaggerated swing back to Labour, and all of a sudden, it's a hung parliament?

People see one bit of bad news and start clucking like headless chickens.

Labour must be laughing their heads off.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Dave certainly does not agree with you. He thinks any government would be better than this shower (Andrew Marr this morning) and I agree with him on that. It is what will inform my vote when the elections come.

Even if I were tempeted to vote LibDem I would not, because they might support a lamer liebor rump government. They will not promise NOT TO DO SO before the election, preferring secret deals in smoke filled rooms afterwards.

Of ocurse that would exclude a BNP government surely!

Unsworth said...

@ Paul Halsall

'Here here'? What are you on about? The correct version is 'hear' - as in hearing.

Or are you making some kind of obscure joke?

Unsworth said...

@ Simon Gardner

Actionable? No. And also remarkably unlikely if it were so.

Unsworth said...

@ Simon Gardner

Actionable? No. And also remarkably unlikely if it were so.

Twig said...

I'd like to see a complete rout of the main three parties and consign them to the dustbin of history.

They've all let us down, LibDems included with their pathetic abstention to the referendum vote.


neil craig said...

Indeed. If Hattersley approves it must be in the interests of the nomenklatura & nobody else.

john in cheshire said...

Iain, you are wrong, if it takes a hung parliament to force the Conservative party to change its attitude towards Europe Union and immigration, then that's what should happen. If they form a minority government, and can't implement their leftwing agenda, then perhaps some proper Conservatives will emerge for the election after next, to supplant the lot we have at the moment.

Michael Heaver said...

Sorry Iain, this has really stirred me. A hung Parliament is exactly what this country needs.

You've stirred me to blog about this subject on a Sunday afternoon you swine!

Anonymous said...

"Sadly none of the parties offers us conviction politics and as a result our democracy is in an advanced state of decay." -- but how much of that is down to the electorate (and the left wing bias in the BBC).

For all the criticism of Browns bad handling of the economy, we have all been complicit in jumping on the speculative escalator. Browns pensions policy may have encouraged it, but we were not willing to take heed of warnings. We were taken in by end to boom and bust and all the other smoke and mirrors tricks.

This of course is where the BBC comes in - their institutional left wing bias and the labour sanctioned power grab of market share and salaries leads them to step on any criticism.

The convictions of the likes of Hattersley and Foot got them nowhere. Mrs T and her convictions were not that strong - oh they were much needed but 'circumstance' and the total collapse of socialism made it obvious to all what was needed.

In 6 months - no matter what the composition of the Parliament - circumstance will dictate the harsh measures. Browns deceit is to pretend that the measures can be painless.

Tapestry is being hysterical. And quietzapple is being absurd. We still have a PBR and a month or two of tax receipt figures to mull mover yet. There is a real prospect of Darling having to admit his PSBR estimate is some £45 billion adrift. This is going to be one of the interesting bits of his 'report' - if we ever get (a proper) one.

And really Mr Halsall - it IS "hear, hear"! A corruption of 'Hear him, hear him!' I believe.

Alex said...

Politicians should look at themselves. The reason for a hung parliament is that none of the collective groupings seeking power make a convincing argument for their election despite the extent to which the electoral system favours party groupings.

Barnacle Bill said...

It will only be a hung Parliament if we let it be so!
If enough independent candidates can be elected we stand a good chance of getting a People's Parliament.
Next year looks like being the chance for us to cleanse the Augean stable that Westminster has become.
Now all of you return to your constituencies and prepare for Government!

Chucklenuts said...

"tapestry said... “rigged MORI polls”

This is not only nonsense but actionable nonsense."

Granted, I think he might have meant, "rogue MORI poll."

Anonymous said...

There's no point in Cameron and Co running around crying "the sky will fall" should they fail to get a solid majority.

If they want a solid majority, then they need to offer solid conservative policies, rather than the vague, wishy-washy, pinko cr*p that's been on offer for the last 4 years. Lisbon being a prime example.

Cameron's waning poll ratings surely indicate that his policy announcements fail to capture support.

Will he wake up when it's too late? Or is he simply the wrong person for the job?

Cllr Peter cairns (SNP) said...

As someone has said already it seems to be working okay in Scotland.

If you can accept that a big part of Thatchers success was based on winning over "Middle England" then the strong government argument starts to weaken.

Over the last twenty years as a result of focus groups and polling we have seen both the Tories and Labour move their policy platforms away from conviction to pragmatism.

In effect we have moved from;

"This is what we believe, lets convince people to vote for it"


"This is what people will vote for, lets convince people we believe it".

If this is even in part true then like "Pragmatism" from New labour or "Localism" from the Tories, these aren't actually convictions at all.

The are election slogans designed to appeal to people hopes, designed to win votes by branding opponents either as "dogmatic" or "cenralising".

Conviction politics goes down well with the party faithful, which is why you get so much of it at conference, but it doesn't win elections, partly because for every "Hear Hear" you get an "Oh No".

So the non conviction manifesto aimed at winning over and keeping "Middle England" on side rules the roost and as that is what you get elected on large majority or not thats what you deliver.

Anyone who doubts that should look how many of blairs favourite policies could be called left wing.


Paul Halsall said...


I stand corrected. had the most information.

DespairingLiberal said...

A hung parliament would be so much less productive than the super-majorities of the last two but one governments. Given the huge amount of pernicious legislation that poured out of all of them, that would seem to me to be no bad thing.

Also note that Blair, despite his almost sinister control of the House, did precious little of merit with it.

Interesting as to why the Tories are now sliding in the polls - the only real change of late is the wierd alliance between the Tory Party and far-right nutters from across Europe. I can't help thinking that has something to do with it. All real poltical wins are in the centre.

Houdini said...

And where has this man of conviction politics been for the past 13 years? Where has he others like him been? Benn and the like.

Good point to make just before a Tory Government is swept to power and can then be castigated by this bumbling oaf.

Anonymous said...

Theres a very annoying pizza ad on your blog - I am far from convinced you ever eat pizza....

Anonymous said...

ludicrous treversden obviously panics when he has to pay a few weeks' milk bill . . .

Why do so many loons, with so little grace, imagine that the UK is a corner shop, cannot ALL be Mrs Thatcher's fault.

Anonymous said...

Houdini should not have not got stuck in that bag for so long.

Hattersley has been writing about his dog and so forth.

I think Mr Benn's imagination has turned to infringements of our civil liberties.

They'll both be dancing next march or so though . . .

Animal Magic said...

@Despairing Liberal

Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but one other change of late was Dave's ditching of his promise on a referendum. We told him beforehand "No Referendum - No Vote". He didn't listen so serve him right. More power to the real Conservatives in the party who might now get him to change his mind.

Twig said...

At November 22, 2009 4:38 PM , Blogger DespairingLiberal said...

"Interesting as to why the Tories are now sliding in the polls - the only real change of late is the wierd alliance between the Tory Party and far-right nutters from across Europe. I can't help thinking that has something to do with it."

So nothing to do with breaking his "cast iron guarantee" then ?.

Little Black Sambo said...

quietzapple said:
"I ... expect ... that Labour will have a working majority, and Britain will continue to face the future with realism."
Well, which is it to be?

Little Black Sambo said...

I shall vote UKIP unless we are promised a referendum.

neil craig said...

DL the BBC are spinning it as because Cameron has started hinting at the size of the cuts. I suspect it is because he broke the "cast iron" promise on a referendum. Perhaps we are all moved by our prejudices but I do think breaking such a promise is even more damaging than never making it & will, for example, make any assertion that major cuts in the size of our parasitic state will improve growth less credible. Such assertions ARE entirely accurate & completely destroy Labour's only remaining claim - that printing money allows them to "support" real growth look like the economic illiteracy it is but it requires some trust to put it over,

Unknown said...

'The all-important centre-ground' is just the most depressing phrase in politics.

2.7 million 'on the sick', 2.6 million of whom aren't sick.

Could any one from the quote unquote centre-right or quote unquote centre-left let me know how you intend to sort this problem.

ps Ranting on about Thatcher won't help to sort the problem.

Unknown said...

"Blogger Cllr Peter cairns (SNP) said...
As someone has said already it seems to be working okay in Scotland."

And that, my friend, is truly the funniest thing I've read all week.

Scotland does not have a government - it has subsidy-shufflers.

The two really are quite different.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Having seen today's Times Mr Clegg said this morning: "Whichever party have the strongest mandate from the British people, it seems to me that they have the first right to try and govern, either on their own or with others." I change my opinion, expressed above, on the LibDems position. For once its a principled position expressed before the election.

The Tories should not be wringing their hands about the possibilities or not of a hung parliament but get on with governing even as a minority party. If that is what the electorate decide then they should abide by that.

This lying socialist shower have created such a mess that desperately needs them to be removed from the levers of power.

cassandra said...

I wonder when people will actually start to realise that as from 01/12/2009 it does not matter who gets into No10, from that date real power will be drawn like a magnet to the new anti democratic centre of the new superstate. Real power, legislative power and the ability of elected MPs to have an authoritative voice is being removed.

The greatest enemy of the new professional politician, the one thing above all else they fear most is the ability of the ordinary voter to remove them from office, a career politician climbs the greasy pole, oils the wheels and makes the right connections and climbs over the bodies of those who get in their way and then just when power has been attained the ordinary Joe Bloggs voter kicks them out in a heartbeat!
Look at the problem from the perspective of the political classes and you start to see their determination to remove the threat, if they can disable our role in the democratic process then eternal power can be theirs.
Real power was stolen from the UK councils and brought to the centre and now the same thing is happening to Westminster, power is being stolen and removed to a distant place far removed from the people.
Why has Brussels become a magnet for such people as Kinnock? they enjoy a power denied to them by the UK voter, Brussels is full of unelected local rejects unable to get elected and they have real power, they hate and despise the voters that rejected them and they are in a position to ensure that their class of parasite never has to undergo democratic judgement!

Anonymous said...

I like the sillier pronoucements of your sillies, Iain, especially when they fall for a politician usinga oword he will interpret his own way:

"In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative.[1]

"The concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of democracy.

"New governments who attempt to introduce policies that they did not make public during an election campaign are said to not have a legitimate mandate to implement such policies.

"Elections, especially ones with a large margin of victory, are often said to give the newly elected government or elected official a mandate to implement certain policies.

"Also, the period a government serves between elections is often referred to as a mandate and when the government seeks re-election it is said to be seeking a "new mandate"."

But then, when they misinterpret "lying" in their own foolish way, I suppose they deserve to be misled by Cleggy.

rullko said...

I'm not sure the Scottish experience of minority government has been that great.

There have been occasions when the opposition have deliberately sabotaged the government's programme just so that they can attack them for failing to deliver it. Conversely, the government have blamed some of their own failures on opposition intransigence.

This dilution of responsibility has shaken my faith in PR - though it probably remains the worst system apart from all the others.

VickyK86 said...

a hung parliament is a multi supported government according to . I think this group is right in saying that more parties need to address and inform the public of what they would do in the case of a hung parliament