The PM’s mendacious maunderings on the subject of liberty have been adequately picked apart elsewhere (amongst others), so I’m not going to comment on that except to say that it is surprising to find a qualified lawyer so profoundly ignorant of the basics of their profession*. Instead I want to ask what it is that keeps people who oppose a party’s central policies campaigning and voting for them.
To talk of issues being treated as political footballs is a tired and worn out cliché. But what worries me more is the tendency of political party members (and even just supporters) to treat their parties as if they were football teams. That is to say, their party will receive their support no matter how crap it is, no matter what rubbish it is putting out. This sort of tribal loyalty is all very well when it comes to supporting one sporting team rather than another – supporting ‘my team’ because ‘I’ve always supported my team’ – but applying the same sort of unthinking loyalty in politics is frankly lazy, stupid and dangerous.
Yet that is exactly how many, perhaps most, party members and supporters (of all parties) behave towards their objects of their loyalty – unthinking devotion. And I don’t mean that there is a consciously thought-out decision that “I like policies A and B, but dislike C and D, yet on the whole A and B are more important, so they get my vote.” That at least would be some kind of rational process. I mean the thinking that goes, “C and D are really important, but more important still is that no other party should win – even though the other parties oppose C and D as well.” The essentially bizarre idea that you can campaign against bad policies, but should still support the party proposing them, because your party winning outweighs all other considerations.
Well the political process is just a little more important than football (though obviously not as measured by time on TV), and it’s not who wins power that matters, it’s what they do with it. It should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.
*And even more surprising that the country’s top law officer seems equally ill-informed.
Of the tyrant, spies and informers are the principal instruments. War is his favorite occupation, for the sake of engrossing the attention of the people, and making himself necessary to them as their leader.