Armchair politics


It does sound as though it would’ve been funny to be at this meltdown meeting.




These sort of articles appear every time a party (in power or not) appropriates or mis-appropriates a policy from the opposition. The Tories have done it before, and Labour have done it before - both in and out of power.

IMV it’s actually a good sign of decent opposition starting to appear (wholly necessary), as that’s what provides the checks and balances needed to keep a governing power vaguely moderate. The dangerous effects of a weak opposition are all around us.




If I see this any more I’m going to go postal.


The frightening truth is that both government and opposition just now are incompetent and ill equipped for the job at hand.



I’ve seen him have to endure some awful things over the years,but this has to be the worst.


I saw him having to swallow some bear shit once. Things haven’t really got any easier for him in Manchester, just a different animal.


I knew there was a reason why I don’t watch that stuff.


When two things are true at once:

The dangerous effects of a weak opposition are all around us.

The dangerous effects of a weak government are all around us.


No irony, piss taking, sarcasm, rhetoric or trolling to follow:

What does a strong opposition look like? Given that the Tories (in this case) having a workable majority in the HoC what could an opposition do? How could they be effective? What could they achieve?

I am a lefty through to my marrow but I’m not specifically defending Labour here. In '97 Labour won with a huge majority and the Tories were the official opposition, what did they do?

I suppose I’m pointing out that with the system we have when the largest party have a working majority no one can do anything. They can question across the HoC and do interviews or rallies to make their points known. But what can they actually do?


A strong opposition is there to come up with viable alternative policies (see above), effectively hold the government to account through the HoC and media and generally present a vision which puts them in a good position to be the next government.

This reins in the worst excesses of the incumbent - they have to be on their toes, up their game etc.

Labour have been a shambles since 2010 and have allowed a pretty poor Tory party to run roughshod over them. That is not good opposition. In exactly the same way that the Tories were a shambles in the mid-2000s which allowed TB to go off the rails.

You cannot dispute that that overall standard of politics in the last 8-10 years has been absolutely diabolical, whatever your allegiances.


The current Labour party would say they are putting forward viable alternatives, you would disagree as would I. I don’t accept that any opposition can keep a govt on its toes if said govt has a working majority. Hilda took no notice of the opposition as well as her own party as she had, at least for her first two parliaments, a large majority. Equally Blair put through his agenda with no worry or care as to what the opposition did or said.

'effectively hold the government to account through the HoC’

I’ve no idea what this actually means in practice. An opposition can say all sorts of things in the HoC, in the press or to the public in a myriad of ways but what can they actually do? We’ve all seen how PMs and ministers behave in the chamber when asked a question. They very rarely answer properly and usually don’t take any action based on the question unless it lines up with their views.

I don’t agree that the standard of politics has been any better or worse in the last 10 years than it has been through my adult life or before. Why has it been worse?


Stating the obvious I guess, but the whole democracy thing really only works if you have an electorate which is paying attention and then voting on the basis of a) what the government does and b) what the opposition says it ought to have done instead. If the oppositon can make the government squirm then the electorate might just take that into account. Jeremy et al can say they’re putting forward viable alternatives, but the way he feels about his policies doesn’t matter. If he’s serious about being the government rather than just slagging it off then he’ll have to convince enough of the voters to trust his policies. That’s his problem.



Being able to trade effectively at PMQs. Having a front bench with gravitas and presence - not one that you pulled out of your left nostril a fortnight earlier because you had to sack all the others because they tried to oust you, etc. etc.

It’s a matter of opinion of course, but there are very few politicians of stature anywhere - either in deed or oratory.

The Tories had a golden opportunity to elect Ken Clarke as leader - well liked, fantastic speaker, engaging and an enviable record as Chancellor. Instead they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot electing Hague, IDS and Michael Howard because, poetically, of their blinkers over the EU.


I very much accept your point about the electorate paying attention. What I don’t accept is your ‘make the government squirm’ point.

An example. In 2010 when the tories were in power with the lib dems Cameron and Osborne laughed as cuts were announced. You can make an argument that the cuts were needed but that’s not my point. When there are MPs and a govt behaving like this nothing will make them squirm I’m afraid. The same can be said of Blair pushing through the case for a war. He wanted a (religious) war and stooped to lying to get it approved.

** If he’s serious about being the government rather than just slagging it off then he’ll have to convince enough of the voters to trust his policies.**

He is serious, so we are led to believe and he is trying to convince people. Again I’m not defending Corbyn here. All politicians will claim the same thing; they have policies they are trying to get the public to agree with. Also it’s been said that slagging off the govt, or calling it to task/account, or disagreeing with them (choose your phrase) is the job of the opposition.

So the current Labour opposition is: putting forward policies and challenging (slagging off) the govt. You may agree or not with it’s position but it is doing what all opposition parties do. There’s nothing else they can do. Which is still my position.


But what difference does that actually make? I’ve never known a PM say ‘you know what the leader of the opposition is correct, we shall adjust our policy accordingly’. PMQs is all about the optics, as I believe the current phrase is.


I think we’re done. You’re either being a naive twit (which I doubt) or just asking glib, semi-rhetorical questions, which is annoying as fuck. Either way, I guess we disagree again.