Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Confused of South London writes...

I've spent an evening watching a politician talk about liberty, responsibility and fairness. All things that a Liberal Democrat would applaud, you might think, and you would indeed be right. The only catch is, the politician in question is the Chancellor of the Exchequer (and kind of my boss), the Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, PC.

He made all of the right noises in terms of principles, and you can see how many Liberal Democrats tend towards a preference towards Labour as opposed to the Conservatives. Unfortunately, and I do mean that, I find myself wondering how a desire for liberty can be squared with support for the abolition of jury trials, ID cards, holding possible terror suspects for ninety days without charge, greater centralization of power and more besides. And how do you encourage people to take more responsibility for themselves in an increasingly coercive, nanny state? And as for fairness, what a remarkably woolly word that is. Does anyone expect a politician to call for less fairness? Fairness for who? Fairness how?

To give Gordon credit, his references covered most of the great political theoreticians of the past three hundred years, poets, writers, economists and the effect was marvelous. Yet look more closely, and it was a blur of concepts without substance. I still find myself wondering what he actually stands for, apart from not being Tony Blair.

An opportunity lost, Gordon, an opportunity lost...

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