Monday, August 07, 2006
I suppose that as political transvetitism goes, it would take a fair bit to top this piece of sheer audacity from Home Secretary John Reid at the weekend.
I agree with him as it happens. It's not racist to want to have a debate about whether immigration policies are serving the country's wider interests. But it's only 15 months since the Tories were being described as exactly that for seeking to have that debate during the general election campaign.
If this is now official Labour policy, I think that the least the party can now do is apologise to Michael Howard for the unjustified slurs of April and May last year.
If however it's just another piece of freelancing by Dr Reid, then I think he just kissed goodbye to any prospect of mounting an effective challenge to Gordon Brown for the leadership. However well this kind of thing might go down with the general public, the Labour electorate is a different audience.
Meanwhile, more from me on the question of whether stealing other parties' political clothes really is here to stay in my newspaper columns and associated Podcast at the weekend, developing a theme explored on this blog last week.
My overall verdict is that, whilst politicians may be happy to play these sorts of games, there is no great evidence of the growth of political transvestitism amongst the public at large.
"If anything, the dominant trend at recent elections has not being people switching from one party to another, but switching from one party to no party.
"Furthermore, it is hard to argue that New Labour’s “politics without conscience,” as William Hague once memorably termed it, has not been one of the biggest reasons why.
"Turning politics into an ideology-free-zone may please the Rupert Murdochs of this world, but for millions of ordinary voters, it merely leaves them disillusioned and disenfranchised.
"It seems that rather than resort to political transvestitism, we would rather be seen wearing no clothes at all."
Read the full version HERE.