Monday, May 29, 2006

The awful consequences of doing the right thing


I feel no regret in supporting the 'Backing Blair' campaign. Blair is an arrogant, ideologically vacant, borderline psychotic Prime Minister and his personal magnetism which made it hard for me to hate him whatever he did has now worn off. But those of us who lend our support to it must be aware of the consequences of doing so. Most of us live in constituencies (whether parliamentary or local government) where there is a straight fight between Labour and the Conservatives. If our sitting MP/councillor is Labour we have the power to unseat him/her by voting for the opposition. The principle behind Backing Blair is that we should demand of our member that he/she push for Blair's resignation or we will transfer our vote to the party most likely to defeat him/her. In many cases, this brings the awful prospect of voting Tory.

I couldn't vote in the local elections at the beginning of this month. Although Mrs Wildebeest and I registered to vote as soon as we moved into our new home, Hounslow Council decided that we were too late to be included in the register to vote (probably because we live in the posh bit, and so were more likely to vote Tory). In any case, the ward in which I live is safe Tory territory. However, the collapse in Labour support has meant that Hounslow Council has a Tory administration for the first time in over thirty years.

You only have to look at the smug expression on Councillor Peter Thompson's face (he's the new leader of the council) to see what a coup this is for the Tories. His expression is matched by Tories across the country. These are the sickening, well-to-do types whose arrogance is exceeded only by Blair's, who have been waiting for years to take revenge on 'the Lefties'. Expect social services to be cut ruthlessly, as the Tories seek to slash council tax bills and ease parking charges for those in the more 'respectable' (ie white and middle-class) parts of the council - yes, the people who can actually afford to pay those high council tax and parking bills.

Scroll down on that last link to see the new Mayor, Felicity Barwood, a Tory straight out of Central Casting. "Oh, look at me," her face seems to say, "how important I look in this outfit. I'm going to have a jolly good time lording it over the peasants."

(Apparently, when Barwood was proposed for the mayor's office by her fellow Tory councillor, Paul Lynch - a man with a taste in bow ties that would have made the late Eric Forth look sober and shrinking - he remarked that she should have done a course in lion taming to prepare her for the post. If this is the kind of twee, desperately unfunny 'wit' that we have to expect from our new executive, then God help any consituent whose needs actually have to be taken seriously.)

This is the awfulness of being put in this situation by Blair. We want to hold him to ransom, but if he refuses to negotiate we have no choice but to shoot all the hostages. He's still in power, we have blood all over our hands and now we have to be the ones to do the cleaning up. This doesn't mean I'm supporting Polly Toynbee in her silly nosepeg campaign. It's just to say that it's all very well to oppose Blair - in fact, it's essential - but let's bear in mind that he's in no hurry to go anywhere. Two million people marching through London couldn't stop him going to war, for heaven's sake. Let's not cut off our noses to spite our faces by voting Tory, in the meantime, 'cause cutting off your nose bloody hurts.


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