I understand perfectly that Twitter can be an insane, crazy, and dangerous place in part that is why over the past few months I have retreated into the relative safety of my ‘fun’ account of @TrainOddity for relaxation. Inevitably I am a political person so there has been some leakage over to the serious stuff. I was perfectly aware that @MancLibertarian was a political act, even so I did it.
Some interesting tweets followed and then the ’everything is Labour fault’ I think it was something to do with the Welfare State, which is my Holy Grail. A copy of the exchange of tweets, like the recounting of a conversation, is not much fun so I will forgo the pleasure of watching people suffer. One tweet followed another and I quickly realised that my training of political argument was still valid.
One of the best speeches I have ever heard was Barbara Castle in 1984, the Sheffield Arena (I was on Nights a stone’s throw away and listened to it on the Radio) and her punch line was
‘never argue with a Tory over policy, ask them what they have done with the money, ask them what they did with the money!”
Barbara was a political heavyweight, and Yvette Cooper reminds me very much of her, she sought no mercy, and gave no mercy, she was what we would call today a ‘conviction politician’ as opposed to the slimy career and opportunistic politicians we are saddled with today. Though despising her politics so was Maggie Thatcher, they believed in something, and more importantly knew what they believed in, Mancs. sought of knew what he believed in, but couldn’t stomach the logical outcomes of his professed Libertarian ideals – primarily that he would have to sacrifice total unquestioning support of the Conservative Party.
The first rule political argument is to understand the argument, and never commit 100% to the proposition – unless you are prepared to acknowledge its weakness and accept the contradictions. For instance let’s talk about the Welfare State, I agree with it but I admit it is a political solution and has flaws, but I would rather have a flawed Welfare State than the alternative, the depravation of the 1930’s. Alternatively, once I had assessed ‘Mancs’ unswerving loyalty to the Press Handouts from Tory Central Office, let’s talk about ‘Secret Courts’ lack of support for ‘Equal Marriage’ and ‘snooping on emails’
All three should be ringing alarm bells of a democrat let alone a Libertarian, the State not supporting equal marriage (well the facts are its just the Conservative Party not supporting Equal Marriage) legislating to have Secret Courts where Justice cannot be seen to be done, and in Kafkaesque style not be able to face you accuser? Perhaps the most insidious is the ‘email snooping’ where the State, on a whim, can read my private email? These are the measures of a Police State.
I understand that counter argument that criminals maybe getting away with crimes, but I am happy with that, that is the price we pay for living in a free society. We have to accept the flaw in justice that a guilty person can escape, but make it as impossible as practicable for an innocent person to be found guilty because we have to presume innocence and it is up to the prosecutor to prove otherwise.
The response was equally as blasé as his other statements ‘if the Tories stood on a totalitarian manifesto then I would vote against them’ sort of thing, like many totalitarian regimes stood on that kind of manifesto.
Back in the 80’s the ‘Guildford Four’ were found to be innocent of the charges that had been brought against them, even though it transpired that they had been involved in other bombings they were innocent of the charges made. Justice has to be that even if you were guilty of something else the charge that is brought is the charge that has to be proved.
Whilst I wanted Al Qatada deporting as much as the next sane person I have to agree the process should be made as difficult as possible for the Home Secretary to deport someone, the State can have carte blanche to act as it will, it has to be accountable and it has to prove its case, not the other way around. It is difficult, but it’s called democracy.
The one thing that makes me despair of the level of political debate today is the total lack of intelligence and it becomes political point scoring, we need to have a respectful debate, with well articulated ideas, and the acceptance that we may not have all the answers on everything. If we are going to label ourselves we need to ensure that we are aware that of the consequences of our belief structure.