Saturday, June 14, 2008

The game

It's been a funny old week.
First, we had the bizarre situation of the Conservatives making civil liberties arguments against a Labour government. This left many of us in a terrible tizz. How could it possibly have come to the point where, on a matter of principle - that of not banging people up without having the decency to tell them why for up to six weeks - it was the Tories that were speaking up on behalf of people, like me, who find the whole thing completely abhorrent.
That was then followed by David Davis's extraordinary manoeuvre of resigning his seat, forcing a bye-election over East Yorkshire way. Fortunately, the universe was restored in the wake of his resignation with a Tory talking head saying how 42 days wasn't the answer to the problem, but the Human Rights Act, which the Tories have pledged to abolish on getting into power. Muppets. Anyway, order restored and I could once again sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that the Conservatives are still hateful idiots.
Neither the governement nor the major opposition parties - or UKIP - are fielding candidates against Davis. As far as the government are concerned, this was the only move possible, leaving Davis bellowing into the wind and denying him the opportunity for debate that he craves. Instead, Kelvin Mackenzie, former Sun head twat, who supports 420 day detention without charge according to a Radio 4 interview yesterday, is picking up the cudgels. I'd be half tempted to have a go myself if no other bugger is going to represent my views, if I had the money for a deposit and the inclination to spend time on the outskirts of Hull campaigning.

And then to Ireland, where the EU Lisbon reform treaty was rejected in a referendum following a lamentable yes campaign versus a thick fug of conflicting opinion and misinformation on the no side. Apparently, people were urged to vote no lest accepting the treaty meant that Ireland would be forced to legalise abortion, gay marriage and conscription to an EU army, not one proposal of which is in the treaty. That makes it virtually impossible to take it back to the electorate. If the Irish government want to go again, it has to be a different proposal on the ballot. This means that the treaty would have to be amended to scrub out the provisions that aren't there, which clearly can't happen. What a mess.
And further highlights why I wouldn't want any referendum on European issues in this country. For a start, we have a parliamentary democracy. We appoint people to make decisions on our behalf according to the ticket they stand on at election time. Second, the campaign would consist of the same two lobbies as we saw across the Irish Sea. On the one hand, you'd have the foaming mouthed right blustering "Europe? No! Never! They want to force us to rename Jerusalem artichokes as 'two-state solution artichokes'." On the other, like in Ireland, you'd have the yes lobby telling us "Look, it's complicated and explaining it to you would take ages. Just trust us. We know best". Which won't work either, no matter if it is actually true. Even before Iraq, trust in politicians was in short supply from the proles. Less so now. What a mess.

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