07 November 2008

Meanwhile, back in "the old country"...

(i.e. the UK, rather than Ireland, in this particular case)... we have good news and bad news (depending on which side of the fence you sit. 

Firstly, an against-the-odds victory for Labour in the Glenrothes by-election. Big majority over the SNP. Brown understandably bigging it up - "a vote of confidence in our handling of the economic crisis", etc. And I would argue, to an extent, it is. 

But there might be a bit more going on here: there are now 2 ways to make a protest vote in a Scottish by-election. You can protest against the UK govt or against the Scottish govt, which is a minority SNP administration. There may have been some of the latter going on (although if people wanted to make a double protest vote, why did the Tories and the Lib Dems both do utterly lamely?)

Secondly, that Labour won a by-election in a safe Labour seat doesn't mean they are suddenly favourites to win a general election. Labour is still a minimum of 8 points down in the national vote. If it had been a big win in a Labour or Tory marginal, now that would have been a big story. 

Still, one senses the momentum is with Labour at the moment. Brown has been looking happy to be in the job for the first time since summer '07. He knows there is a fighting chance, and he will enjoy the fight.

The downside of this, of course, is that it reduces the amount of flak that Labour takes for many of its crappier policies, of which one of the most shit-stained is ID cards. The rather duff Jacqui Smith was at it this morning, saying that "people can't wait for the introduction of ID cards". Yep, and turkeys can't wait for Christmas either. The sad thing is, given that opinion polls show a substantial proportion of the country in favour of this crazy money-waster, she's probably telling the truth. But hey, just because there are a lot of idiots around who want to spend a great deal of money on eradicating our basic freedoms with an ineffectual (because easily forged!) measure doesn't make it right. 

There should be a referendum on this policy (it's a fair cop - I'd abide by the result.) There should be a referendum on a national DNA database (introduced in one fell swoop for everyone rather than the present policy of just taking DNA from people charged with an offence, even if eventually found innocent). Hell, there should be a referendum on a lot of things. Until then, NO2ID is our best bet - please give generously. 

No comments: