Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In praise of “Punch and Judy” politics

I caught part of the boy Dave being interviewed on Today this morning and was taken by the number of times he was accused of "playing party politics", sometimes referred to as being Punch and Judy politics. The implication is that somehow it is wrong in these difficult times to "play politics" and that the opposition should be supporting the Government in its efforts to sort out the problems.

That opinion is at best misguided and at worst down right dangerous. This implies that there is only one solution and the Government knows what it is. Well, there isn't one solution and even if there is it will be fraught with risks and dangers that we need to know about. Politicians of all parties cosying up to each other in the proverbial smoke filled room to agree whatever deal suits them is no way to work out how to deal with the mess we are in.

What we need is more Punch and Judy politics. We need the opposition to be ripping the heart out of Government plans and exposing the weaknesses and flaws, we need them point to the failures of Government and exposing weak ministers and their teams. There should be nowhere for incompetent ministers to hide. For all his arrogance this is exactly what Paxman does, and does well, and he was about the only effective opposition for about 5 years.

By doing this opposition will then be able to build their own case for their solutions, if indeed there is one. But if there isn't one we at least know that and go in to whatever solution is proposed for this mess with our eyes open.

And if the general public don't like it - tough. There is far too much at stake for simple niceties.

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