Vote 2005

Don’t play with fire

At the risk of turning this blog into the Observer fan club:Aaronovitch has much to say on the ‘Bliar’ stuff:

I am sure that parts of the Labour press machine have told lies in the last eight years, and therefore it deserves much of its forfeiture of trust. And I am also sure that, like its predecessors, and despite its promises, the government has been guilty of evasion and exaggeration. But, on the recent charges, over WMD and the Attorney General’s advice, it is simply not true to say that the Prime Minister has lied to or deceived the country. A few weeks ago, I made the case that the report of the Joint Intelligence Committee, as the Scott inquiry concluded, was consistent with the picture of Iraqi intentions and capabilities that Blair presented to parliament and the nation.

And now we have seen the Attorney General’s advice from 7 March, which was widely leaked to the media as being a series of severe misgivings about the legality of war. In fact, it was nothing of the kind. To spin the advice, as many journalists have done, as showing that Goldsmith was saying that war ‘could be illegal’ is disingenuousness worthy of the slickest weasel.

And on the vote itself:

Elections are blunt affairs. For example, if I want to vote for Blair, I actually have to vote for someone – Glenda Jackson in my case – who has called for him to resign. To vote for freedom for Iraq, I have to vote for someone who seems to me to be indifferent to it. And that’s what I’ll do. Because if you try sending messages at elections, it’s quite likely that a message will come back to you. And it’s this: don’t mess about at elections.

I entirely endorse that rejection of pro-liberation tactical voting.

Likewise it is hard to find anything to disagree with in the Observer’s election leader:
[The] text of Lord Goldsmith’s advice is not as damaging as the Prime Minister’s enemies imagined. A case for going to war based on existing Security Council resolutions can be made, says the Attorney General, as can the case for ousting Saddam. The problem for Tony Blair does not rest in the legal advice, which backs his position. The problem is that he failed to trust either his Cabinet, Parliament or the British people with the fact that these are difficult arguments. The Prime Minister made a judgment on Iraq, a judgment this paper backs. He should have been more open with the information on which that judgement was made. If he had been, the understandable divisions over the war would not run as deep.

……[A] general election is about more than protest. It presents a choice between competing propositions for government. It is not a referendum on a single issue, nor a choice between the incumbent administration and an ideal one.

A vote should not be cast in protest but to endorse a party, and the only party that offers progressive government committed explicitly to ending poverty and building social justice is Labour. The way to get a Labour government in most constituencies is to turn out and vote for one.

They say ‘most constituencies’ because they support votes for Liberal Democrats where they are sitting MP’s or where they are the main challenger to a Tory. That is the only kind of tactical voting that makes sense for people on the left.

Anything else, especially ‘anti-war protest tactical voting’, conceited ‘message sending’ and silly attempts to ensure a lower majority or hung parliament are playing with fire – mostly by people who won’t personally get burnt.