Saturday, June 14, 2008

Keir Hardie revolves as Ulster unionists prop up a Labour government

I can't let the week go by without commenting on the manner of the vote on 42 day detention without charge.

I think Keir Hardie would be turning in his grave. Did he found the Labour party for it to impose internment and abolish the lower rate of tax? Gordon Brown is trying to out-Tory the Tories and will go down in history as a complete failure for doing so.

If there had been a free vote on the 42 day issue, then perhaps the Ulster unionists would have still voted with Brown, but about another 50 or 100 Labour MPs would have voted against.

Thank God for the House of Lords, albeit wrongly constituted, which will surely kick out the measure.

Regarding the Ulster unionist dimension, that was deja vu all over again. I have seen Ulster unionists propping up dying governments before. As Shirley Williams brilliantly describes them, they are: “The Undertakers of Parliament. They only show their faces when a government is about to die”.

Indeed, the irony is that they propped up John Major's dying government. But my goodness, to be saving the skin of a Labour PM, that is something else.

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