I’m relieved to see there’s now a bit of a backlash following Harriet Harman’s pronouncement yesterday that the Labour Party will not be opposing the Tory government’s welfare cuts. According to Harman, the current interim leader of the party, Labour won’t be voting against the proposed welfare bill and its MPs shouldn’t even think about opposing the Tory plan to limit child tax credits to two children.

Harman’s bizarre rationale is that because the Tories won the election, opposing their policies would be some kind of affront to the voting public: that by doing what any self-respecting left wing opposition party should be doing and standing up for working people, the poor and the vulnerable, and (god forbid) for some socialist principles, Labour would essentially be telling the voters they got the election all wrong.

Apart from the moral bankruptcy of this argument, what’s tragic about this line of thinking is that if we take it to it’s natural conclusion we’re left with a Labour ‘opposition’ in Parliament that opposes nothing; a ‘left wing’ alternative that simply rubber stamps every Tory proposal that comes along. And ultimately, if Harman and some of her acolytes get their way, we’re also left with a party so busy chasing votes and trying to win elections for the sake of winning elections, it has no policies or principles left to speak of and is indistinguishable from the very party it’s trying to defeat.

Unsurprisingly, both Liz Kendall and Frank Field have been busy defending Harman this morning, but then they’re both in the wrong party anyway and have been for years. What’s reassuring is that aside from Kendall, the three other Labour leadership hopefuls, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn, have all come out against Harman’s suggestion that the party ditch its principles for the sake of a few more votes.

What I really don’t understand about all this though, what genuinely baffles me, is what on earth Harriet Harman, Liz Kendall and others who support this nonsense, think politics actually is? What do they think the point of politics is if it’s not about standing up for the things they believe in?

If, as appears to be the case at the moment, they believe that the point is to win elections and get into power simply for the sake of winning elections and getting into power, then why did they ever bother getting involved in politics at all?

 

 

 

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