Vote 2005

A fervour for liberty?

Good stuff from Polly Toynbee today on why Labour has the best policies on social justice but they still aren’t good enough.

But this is not just the Labour leaders’ fault: politicians alone cannot do all the heavy lifting in changing cultural climates. Poverty and equality are low on the agenda even on the left. Deep in email debate with angry Labour voters threatening not to vote for the party this time, I find it is the war and terror legislation they care about most, not poverty. Time and again they dismiss social justice as a second-order question. All ideological fervour is expended on liberty, very little on equality.

If even the left is relatively uninterested in (and grossly uninformed about) Labour’s social programmes that really can change lives, Blair and Brown are not alone to blame for public indifference. Where is the pressure on them to come from?

Indeed. But I’ll take issue with just one sentence from that: All ideological fervour is expended on liberty, very little on equality.

I haven’t seen the slightest indication that the anti-war left has the barest passing interest in liberty let alone a fervour for it.

There has been a desperate struggle for liberty going on in Iraq over the past two years. What has been the response of the vast majority of those Toynbee is talking about?

At best to ignore that struggle; at worst to side with the declared enemies of liberty.

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