On the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today, Keith Vaz cited a poll that showed that the 42 day detention madness was supported by 65% of the public. This poll was carried out for the Daily Telegraph However, this could hardly be seen as “good news” for the government, as it also showed only 26% support for Labour.
(Temporarily assuming, for the sake of argument, that a Telegraph poll is somehow likely to represent the truth…) surely, the vast majority of these pro-42 day people are planning to vote for the Tories. Are these Tory votes going to change to Labour over 42-day detention?
Obviously not, or they wouldn’t be saying they will vote Tory, at exactly the same time that they are saying that 42-detention is a great idea, would they?
Whereas, the main threat to Labour must surely be the fact that a fair part of its traditional voter base is decidedly unimpressed by the ongoing extension of illiberal measures to every area of life. I suspect that there are many Labour voters who can bring themselves to vote for the Liberal Democrats, if the LibDems make a principled stand on the issues of Liberalism and Democracy (that their party’s name is supposed to represent.) And there are many more Labour voters who will just refuse to vote …..
Throwing away Labour’s core supporters, with genius actions like compulsory ID, 10p extra tax on the poorest – with its fumbled half-recovery – is getting to be a Labour party habit. (*heavy sarcasm* Turning away from the unions as a funding source, in favour of secret business loans, was such a clever idea. It’s not as if businesses demand anything in return. )
Brown is nowhere near as unpleasant as Blair – he hasn’t invaded anywhere yet, for a start. He could make some efforts to get back the traditional voters by stopping going for the Daily Mail constituency. Read my lips: The imaginary army of disgruntled “ex-pat” right-wing nutters are never going to vote for you, fool.
Any Labour MPs that want to rebel against the vote, should remember that, although senior ministers can make their Parliamentary careers seem (temporarily) doomed if they don’t support it their traditional voters are the ones who can put them on the dole. Be selfish on this, MPS. Save yourselves, not Jacqui Smith’s face.
By the way, Andrew Marr made some excellent points in challenging the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. (MI5 don’t particularly want it; the complexity of a threat is not the same as the seriousness of a threat; the 42 day limit seems to have been chosen just because it’s the most they can get away with.)
The BBC even blogged its own show, which seems a mite self-congratulatory.