Blair’s first defeat moves Tories to the left?

So Tony Blair has lost his first three line whip set piece in the House of Commons. The pundits say it’s a disaster, no doubt some of them delighted at smelling a real political defeat instead of speculating on the likelihood of one. It’s certainly not good on the face of it. As Nick Robinson quipped on Newsnight last night, his backbench rebels have tasted rebellion and won, and they may do it again. Polly Toynbee cautions against triumphalism. But the most fascinating outcome may be that (on security at least) he has pushed the Tories out to the ‘left’ of the parliamentary Labour party.

  • fair_deal

    The right can have as much concern about limiting on the powers of the state as the left does.

  • Traditionalist

    mick
    it is too simplistic to say that concern for individual liberty is a ‘left’ issue. tories might be regard as tough even harsh on crime and terrorism but that doesnt mean they have no regard for the judical process

  • Elvis Parker

    DUP abstained – so much for delivering!
    Sylvia Hermon votes with Labour – proving that she just doesn’t care and is over keen to prop up her New Labour luvvies. She is surely going to stand down at the next election?

  • fair_deal

    elvis

    The DUP did not abstain. The DUP voted with the other opposition parties as did the SDLP. Labour talked to the DUP and SDLP about a deal to get their votes but both still voted agaisnt the government.

    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2005-11-09&number=84&dmp=258

  • Christopher Stalford

    Did Sylvia Hermon act on instruction from her party leader to vote for the government, or was she just acting off her on “initiative”?

  • The Sun names the MPs who voted against the Government and they included all of the DUPs’ MPs. The ironic thing is if Lady Sylvia Hermon voted with New Labour it may be seen as a conservative act brought on my her closeness to the RUC GC etc.

  • Christopher Stalford

    The truth is that this was a pathetic attempt by Blair to outflank the Tories on security issues and it has blown up in his face. I think following this defeat, and others which are on the way – Blair will be lucky to last a year.

  • Butterknife

    …and anyway it does not more the Conservative Party to the left but rather shifts New Labour to the right by leaving behind their grass roots.

  • Mickhall

    Butterknife in post 8 is correct, this simply shows how far to the right this Labour Government is. I also agree it is not only those of us on the left who care about civil liberties. Many on the right have an honorable record on this issue. I never forget the mistakes some on the left have made over individual liberties. After all many leftists supported the Stalinist States and some of the worst satraps in the third world, Galloway and Saddams pal Mr Aziz also springs to mind.

    I hope we have learned from our past, for myself when ever a politicians is over keen to punish or lock people up the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

    On the vote in the commons, Im surprised more was not made of the fact that all bar one, all of the norths politicians were against locking people up without trial for 90-days. After all these MP’s probably have more experience of living with terrorist/freedom fighters/whatever than most members of parliament.

    Regards

  • Butterknife

    In the words of another thread:
    This house moves that it is better to free several guilty men than to deny liberty to one innocent man. Or is it?

  • Mickhall

    In the words of another thread:
    This house moves that it is better to free several guilty men than to deny liberty to one innocent man. Or is it?

    Posted by Butterknife

    Yes, because one becomes two and two becomes three, etc, etc. Then the law is called into disrepute, people become bitter, then angry then act. Not against the law but the state which implemented such bad law. Need I say more than the last thirty odd years in the north are a living example of this.

    Regards.

  • I find it incredible that the DUP voted against this bill, for a party that “talks tough” on terrorism and fully supported the invasion of Iraq. There can only be two reasons why they voted against the bill.

    1. Knowing how slender Phony Tonys majority on issues like these are, they might be sending a message to him about bartering for votes in exchange for “concessions” to the DUP regarding Northern Ireland not just on this matter but also on others in future for the rest of the term, like the Ulster Unionists had with the Conservatives during the mid 1990s.

    2. They felt 90 days was nowhere near long enough!

  • It’s coming to something when you can be outflanked from the left on civil liberties by Michael Howard.

    A defeat like this on health or education policy will do for Blair.

  • joc

    I think the DUP have shot themselves in the foot on this one.

    They would have gained far more kudos with Blair by going along with it.

  • fair_deal

    Joc

    “They would have gained far more kudos with Blair by going along with it.”

    How would helping Blair be defeated by 13 votes instead of 31 gained them kudos with him? Also giving something for nothing is not a wise policy in politics.

    Slapnuts

    Or maybe like the Labour rebels, Conservatives, Lib Dems, SDLP, PC, SNP and independents they thought this was a kneejerk and ill-thought out measure with questionable value in the fight against terrorism.

    “Knowing how slender Phony Tonys majority on issues like these are, they might be sending a message to him about bartering for votes in exchange for “concessions” to the DUP regarding Northern Ireland not just on this matter but also on others in future for the rest of the term, like the Ulster Unionists had with the Conservatives during the mid 1990s. ”

    Maybe I just hope they have the good sense to ask for more than the ‘fireside chats’ Molyneaux was content with.

  • Fair Deal

    “Or maybe like the Labour rebels, Conservatives, Lib Dems, SDLP, PC, SNP and independents they thought this was a kneejerk and ill-thought out measure with questionable value in the fight against terrorism.”

    I would seriously doubt that the DUP voted against this measure on the basis of it being a knee-jerk reaction.

    “Maybe I just hope they have the good sense to ask for more than the ‘fireside chats’ Molyneaux was content with.”

    Blair has just been given his first bloody nose. The DUP now know that while their own votes would not have saved Blair on this issue, they now form a vital bloc vote that New Labour could try and barter with. And I would feel they’ll be more agressive than Molyneaux was with Major – after all the DUP are a different party, unlikely to be lapdogs to anyone but themselves and the political climate here has changed in the past ten years.

  • johnhidd

    This was a good move by the DUP. It works at all levels…

    They have pointed out Blair’s hypocrisy in “fighting terrorism” while rewarding the IRA. (Apparently there’s a difference between “traditional” terrorism and this new type. Explain it to the victims.)

    Blair’s arrogance is becoming pathological. he needed a bloody nose.

    Ninety day detention is a form of internment. While I accept that internment was introduced in NI with the best of intentions, we have the benefit of hindsight and it was clearly counter-productive as well as repressive.

    The vote by the DUP and the other MPs against Blair was a vote for freedom and democracy, and is therefore likely to discourage terrorism.
    The police are not always right, as an innocent Brazilian and a Scotsman carrying a table leg could testify if they were alive.

    And finally, the DUP have announced their arrival as a parliamentary force which is no pushover.

  • D’Oracle

    Butterknife,

    Left right politics is dead esp in UK ; -the right’s given up on the past and the left’s given up on the future (Frank Furedi,’The Politics of Fear’).

    Its not imagination that parties in government all turn out to have the same economic policies ; they try at election times to offer different safe ‘policies’ peoples private lives like school meals, smoking, childcare etc.

    Same in Ireland ; watch SF develop its new safe economic policy – if it stays radical, it will be frozen out of power but if it gets with the liberal capitalist programme it’ll get into Government. Tricky bit though is that if it sells out too much, enough people wont vote for them as other parties have found (E-Voting anyone ?)

    Real issues now are things like – what does democracy now mean and – where is all of this going?