04 May 2011

Lies, Damned Lies and Chris Huhne

With the referendum only a day away, as per Giroscopers request, the Yes side has come out with various forms of calumnies and gone down low and dirty to try and pull out all the stops for a Yes vote.He launched into an attack on Monday portraying opponents of AV as on a par with Donald Trump and the 'birthers' making such a mockery of Republican pretensions to the presidency .

Whence this notion comes from is hard to explain. However, whilst it might take someone of Giroscoper's somewhat paranoid mindset to elicit the true motives of Nick Clegg's pushing alternative vote, the reason behind Huhne's motives are easy to discern. Perhaps one of the least enthused about the coalition, despite his cabinet position, it isn't much of a stretch to see him positing a leadership challenge, partly because:

A/ He thinks he probably should have been leader anyway. According to the analysis of results of the 2007 election (which he lost to Clegg) which include late delivered postal ballots he would have won by a very narrow margin. Had the Royal Mail been more efficient, could the country have taken a very different turn?

B/ By coming out with public attacks on the Conservatives within the coalition, he is no doubt hoping he can tempt back Libdem voters (who have proven their socialist credentials by defecting en masse to Labour) by some kind of 'John of the Cross' routine, wherein he can say, I tried to disassociate myself from it' and 'it's all Clegg's fault.' . It may not be a bad idea from the Libdem perspective to do this, as they risk suffering the fate of their 19th century predecessors who split over Irish home rule to the extent that the 'Liberal Unionists' were absorbed by the Tories .

However, where Huhne's attack falls down is in its somewhat simplistic portrayal of the Tories as mindless opponents of democratic reform 'throughout the ages'. Even a cursory look at any 19th century or early 20th century summary of British political history will reveal the Leading opponent of democracy (who many would say based on New Labour has been almost completely vindicated)Robert Lowe was actually a Liberal, and the Prime Minister who passed the second Great Reform Act, Benjamin Disraeli was a Conservative!

I'm afraid it's also difficult to take anyone seriously whose attitude to the EU is 'right or wrong, Europe is right'. Someone who supinely stood by whilst the EU took away our fishing industry. Someone who sided immediately with European partners behaving illegally against Commmonwealth nations whose soldiers died to protect this nation's freedom. Someone who doesn't believe in putting important constitutional questions on Europe to the people. So when Huhne picks the pieces out of the probable 'No' vote on Thursday night, he might care to look not at his 'coalition' partners, but perhaps himself, for the main reason as to why that is.


giroscoper said...

"Someone who doesn't believe in putting important constitutional questions in Europe to the people"... isn't that Dave Cameron though? The Tories initially said there would be a referendum on Lisbon, then backtracked. So did Labour. UKIP is the only party offering a referendum on membership of the EU (strangely enough, Clegg did mention this in one of the leadership debates but of course nothing has been done about it since he went into office...)

Van Patten said...

Absolutely right - and probably a key reason why I could see the UKIP going into first place in terms of number of seats in the next European elections. However, saying you're going to do it and then not, whilst bad, is a little better than never even bothering in the first place, as well as offering tacit support to the European commission's failure to allow any referenda in countries where they know they'd have no chance of winning. (about 11 at the last count)The point is that Huhne rabbits on about Opponents of AV whilst failing to acknowledge that he was part of (and his party a huge supporter) an organisation that was not only undemocratic but deliberately designed to be anti- democratic! Caroline Lucas is the same, although in her defense she does seem to recognise more issues with the EU than this turkey.