Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why the rebellions?

In fairness, the Labour Party in Government has not been so supine as the moist-tongued questions at PMQs might suggest. It has been unusually willing to rebel against the Government on many things - usually buoyed up by the knwoledge that the majority was so vast that a little bit of grand-standing conscience-appeasing was fine. But recently, both on the 10p tax cancellation and on 42 days detention without trial, Labour rebels have looked careless that their opposition might be enough to bring down the Bill - perhaps even the Government. Why is that?
Quite possibly it is because an air of fatalism has descended on them. The opinion polls are increasingly desperate, especially in the South, but also in Scotland. Gordon Brown, who was styled as a consummate political operator, now stands exposed as the ultimate exponent of the Peter Principle. Labour, the mood is, will unquestionably lose the next election - even if the Tories are unable quite to win it. That being so, a lot of back-benchers are wondering what on earth they are for. Loyalty to a doomed administration will win them no favours. The ministerial ladder is about to be pulled up, even for those fortunate enough to avoid the cull of back-benchers in 2010. And there's something visceral about the abolition of the 10p rate - especially as it paid for a reduction in the basic rate that will benefit middle and higher earners. If you can't oppose a measure that will, categorically, affect the poorest the worst, what are you an MP for? Lets face it, we're doomed anyway, may as well go down with a slightly clearer conscience...
Fatalism has a tendency of being self-fulfilling.

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