Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yah-boo politics is alive and well

Last week, Harriet Harman said that there would be a three line whip on Labour MPs during a vote to exempt MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act. This led to a barrage of protests online and elsewhere, which caused the Government to withraw the proposal. I'm really pleased by this, especially since it came about in part due to a grassroots movement on the Internet. My problem with this is the way that the withdrawal was reported in the media and handled by the opposition parties. The BBC article linked to above has the headline Brown backs down in expenses row, the Tories and the Lib Dems have been quick to talk about U-turns and humiliating climbdowns, while nobody has actually said well done and congratulated them for taking the sensible decision. Now you could argue that it shouldn't be necessary to congratulate them on doing the right thing, but if we don't, then surely stubborn politics will just get worse, as the Government of the day (or, indeed, an opposition party) can't be seen to change its mind about anything or it would be seen as losing some battle. So much for the end of yah-boo politics

Our current politics is too confrontational, with each party having to try and score points against the opposition and it's making them lose sight of the greater good: that all decisions should be made for the good of the country. The fact that this simple fact seems to be pushed to the back of politicians' minds should make them pause for thought and remind themselves why they entered politics in the first place.

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