Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Conservatives inconsistent on terror?

Yesterday on Nick Palmer MP posted this:

"personally I don't think Iraq will be a major factor in the next GE either way. Whether it is ultimately seen as a success or not, it will be seen as less relevant to the 2009-2014 period. But of course terrorism will probably still be a live issue, and a record of inconsistency on that may be a handicap."

You can read the comment in context here.

It seems the argument is that if a party opposes the Government on any proposed measure then it is either weak or inconsistent on terror. I would assume that the argument also applies to Liberal Democrats as well. The position does not hold up to logical scrutiny (or words to that effect).

Firstly it assumes that what ever is being proposed by the government is going to achieve the results that government thinks it will. Secondly it assumes that the government has a monopoly of good ideas.

Neither is the case for any government on any issue, and very much so in this case. That's why we have debates to discuss the best way forward.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have opposed Labour on some Terrorism legislation because neither thinks that certain proposals will reduce terror. The Rev. Iain Paisley seems to agree as well, and I understand that the good Dr NO! is no softy. What these parties are interested in is the safety and security as well as the liberty of the British people.

The charge of inconsistency is of course a school boy taunt. I would not be impressed with it in a school yard and I can't say I am impressed with it in a debate as important as terrorism. It seems there to score cheap political points or rather more worryingly close down debate on a subject where debate is very important.

Terrorism will not be beaten by masses of repressive measures, in fact they may make the matter worse. It will be beaten by understanding the ground rules, dealing with the propaganda and investing in the intelligence services to look for and track these people. What the law is or is not makes little difference as frequently terrorists are already conspiring to commit an offence which in it self an offence. The trick is finding them, and again that is down to people being out there gathering intelligence.

I have written articles on the war on terror itself here and here.


Crossland said...

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of Camerons shift on Iraq, I think Nick P's point was that it is at best unlikely to win Cameron any Kudos and at worst damage him .For the reasons he gave - it seems reasonable to me that in 3-6 years time voters will be less concerned about Iraq and those that are may view the conservatives as opportunistic in their role - they werent as courageous as the Lib Dems in opposing it at the beginning and were all for backing away when the going got tough.
Its the tacking on to the motion by the Nats that plays badly for Cameron - if its such a noble issue why didnt the Tories put it forward themselves ?
Camerons problem is he inherited a party that fully backed iraq
and so can gain nothing from it politically until the troops are back.
Arguably all political leaders have to be opportunistic on occasion but when they do it they have to win- crucially Camerons ambush failed, hence in a minor way he has damaged his reputation.

Benedict White said...

Actualy I accept the point on Iraq, and it would have been better had we put forward our own clear motion.

The point I was annoyed about was the "inconsistency on terror" bit which i regard as unhelpful taunting in a serious debate.