I loathe the Sun!
I’m referring to 'The Sun', the UK’s biggest selling newspaper. Today’s edition refers to the Labour MP’s who voted against Blair in last night’s Commons vote to amend the terror laws as ‘treacherous’ , calling them ‘traitors’ who have ‘betrayed the public’. I haven’t bothered to read more than the front page as it lay before me at the newsagent but I doubt that there is any reference to the arrogance of Blair and his poor judgement of an issue he knew was very divisive. In an interview yesterday, he said that ‘sometimes it is better to do the right thing and lose, than to win doing the wrong thing’.
True, but sometimes it's even better to compromise than to do what you think is right.
Technically, the Sun may be correct in referring to betrayal of the public as a majority were in favour of the amendment. I wonder what they said at the time of the massive opposition to the Iraqi war by the British people – were the MPs that voted in favour of going to war branded as traitors then?
If the UK had a system whereby policy was decided by direct public involvement, something that has been tried on a number of issues in Switzerland, the statute books would be full of all sorts of new and old laws conflicting with basic human rights and civil liberties (eg capital punishment). Can you imagine how much more powerful the press, eg the Sun, would be in deciding government policy if the public were able to vote in that way?
A parliamentary democracy as we have it in the UK may not be a perfect democracy (bring in some form of proportional representation!) but MPs are elected to decide on behalf of the country even when their decisions sometimes conflict with the majority. If they consistently go against public opinion they eventually get chucked out. But, when they do, you very rarely find changes to laws enacted by the previous government that affect human rights revoked by the new one.
Sometimes MPs know best.