I've never been a Labour member myself so I can only imagine the pain this must cause Labour party members. David Davis, a man clearly on the right of the Conservative party, a man who attends Margaret Thatcher's birthday parties, is standing up for decency in the face of a Labour government which appears to have completely lost all sense of what is right and what is wrong.
However, he has also spurred me on to indulge in a little essay, which I have been meaning to write for a while, on the nature of political labelling.
I don't like the terms "Left" and "Right" as applied to politics: they really don't mean a lot.
Let us take this Labour government. They certainly have some weird idea that they know best. They believe this so fervently that they are rapidly removing the rights of their citizenry in order to stifle even any debate on their policies. They talk about how their citizens must do this and do that, and do it all with "respect". In order to facilitate their plans for those that they rule, and to better control them and to force their respect, they are proposing—and in other matters, have already implemented—a number of illiberal surveillance measures. And they believe all of this so strongly that they use their citizens against themselves, by forcibly removing their money (the ability to control their own destinies and, thus, their freedom) to fund these measures.
Now, is this government Left or Right? It is neither. What it is is an all but totalitarian regime. It is not on a par with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Nazi Germany, but it has certainly passed the first post. This government has done deals and now has such a stranglehold over the mainstream news media that it may as well own it. Wikipedia's definition of fascism includes these lines:
Fascism was typified by attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life.
... the term is often used to describe individuals or political groups who are perceived to behave in an authoritarian or totalitarian manner; by silencing opposition, judging personal behavior, promoting racism, or otherwise attempting to concentrate power.
Does anyone seriously believe that, by this definition, this Labour government could not be described as fascist?
It has certainly aimed to concentrate power in the State, most notably in its huge system of bribes. Sorry. I meant "benefits". In this way, it has removed the ability of workers to determine their own destiny and has bribed the less gifted majority with money and jobs, and the promise of more to come, in order to secure power for themselves (would you vote for any political entity that threatens to take away that (free) money that you have been enjoying?)
They control the media with a combination of threats (the barely concealed threat to the Beeb's license fee over the "sexed-up" dossier, anyone?), management and backroom deals with the owners of said media.
They have embarked on a number of legally very dodgy foreign adventures (Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq), using this classic tactic in order to distract the electorate from their continuing failures (law and order, the NHS, the economy and, as it happens, just about everything else) on the home front.
They have rewarded fraud and corruption (Mandelson and the house loan, Mandelson and the passports, the adulterer Blunkett and the nanny's passport, the Lakshmi Mittal steel deal letter, the million pound Ecclestone bribe, the theft of Railtrack from the private individuals who owned it, and much more besides), or have dissembled or ignored it, safe in the knowledge that their media deals mean that there will be no real fuss.
Does any of this make them Left wing or Right wing? No. They are simply totalitarian. They are fascists.
People often refer to me as Right wing, or a Tory (by which they mean the same thing). This is simply meaningless. I am a free-market libertarian.
This means that I believe that free-market capitalism is not only economically the most efficient system, but also that it is the only morally correct system, in that it allows individuals to control their own destiny and, as such, is the only system that allows true freedom. A natural extension of this belief is that there should be no government interference in the lives of its citizenry, beyond protecting them from violence to their person or possessions.
None of this makes me Right wing. It just makes me right.