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Tory attacks on Labour & SNP legitimacy are dishonest, hypocritical & illegitimate

Cameron (still from Captain Ska video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQFwxw57NBI)It’s clear the Tories don’t believe that in the post-election fracas they and their possible allies can reach the threshold 324 seats to win a majority in Parliament. That’s why they’ve already launched a deceitful campaign of denunciation against the only political forces that can deprive them of their retention of Downing Street – prepare for its hysterical intensification over this next weekend and the days and weeks following.

They are wrong on every count. There are already precedents, both in 1924 and 1951, for the second largest party to take on the role of government if it can win over allies to gain a majority in the House of Commons. The SNP is not some foreign ogre, but a political party entitled to use its influence in the Commons in any way it and its supporters choose. Most other EU countries have governments put together after an election which more accurately reflect the balance and diversity of voters’ opinions, thus strengthening rather than undermining democracy.

There is of course also an undertow of viciousness in the disreputable Tory tabloid propaganda which flows from Ed Miliband’s determination to take on the power structure of ‘predatory capitalism’. He displayed this all too clearly when he prevented Murdoch taking over BSkyB which Cameron was gung-ho to hand to him on a plate. Then he took on the Tory tabloids in support of Leveson, an act of political courage which no other previous leader in Opposition would have dared do, and for which they are now determined to exact revenge.

The Tories and their press acolytes will scream that Cameron, if he wins the largest number of seats (a big if),  is entitled to stay on in No 10. But the Cabinet Manual, which covers scenarios like this one, says no such thing. It lays down the obvious and inevitable principle that a government must “command the confidence of the House of Commons”. If it becomes clear that an existing incumbent in No.10 doesn’t have the votes to do so, they must give way to another leader who can show they do have the votes to do so.

When Gordon Brown spent 5 days in 2010 seeking to persuade the LibDems to join a coalition, the Tory tabloids howled that he was ‘squatting’ in No.10. Does Cameron wish to go down in history as the squatter who dishonourably dallied in Downing Street until he was unceremoniously evicted after losing the vote at the end of the Queen’s Speech debate on 2 June?

2 Comments

  1. David Pavett says:

    I agree that the Tory attempts to delegitimise the SNP is a particularly nasty form of politics. What Michael Meacher doesn’t add any regret that Labour has followed the Tory lead on this by declaring that it will not do deals withbthe SNP.

    The idea that the Tories and their supporters are alarmed by “Ed Miliband’s determination to take on the power structure of ‘predatory capitalism’” seems to me to be an example of fantasy politics. This ‘determination’ is based on such meaningless objectives as a ‘desire’ to see a ‘greater relationship between contribution and reward at the top’.

    If the left is to make any progress then surely we need to distinguish between meaningful proposals and (disimulating) waffle.

  2. Robert says:

    Back to the good old days of saving the NHS, education, and spin.

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