What must qualify as one of the most fatuous statements of the week – against fairly stiff competition – is the comment by Matthew d’Ancona, who has broken out from his usual slot in the Sunday Telegraph to write an op-ed in the Daily.
Headed, "How are we going to fight this war?", d'Ancona wiffles about possible responses to the London bombing, and of Blair who has "pointedly left the door open to further legislative measures", warning that "the normal processes of law will not be enough". D'Ancona continues:
Therein lay the seed of a huge and necessary debate on the proper balance between security and liberty in this country. But that debate will now be carried out in the proper context. This is not about party politics, Mr Blair's future, or the Iraq war.What an utterly stupid comment. How can you have a meaningful debate if there are no opposting views, and where will those opposing views come from other than within the framework of party politics?
Of course this is about party politics. That is what party politics is all about and is - in theory at least – at the heart of the British parliamentary system, as against stultifying, anti-democratic continental ethos of "consensus" politics. How else will you get a proper debate about the "proper balance between security and liberty?"
D'Ancona's denial of politics is in fact an illustration of the malaise in modern politics, resulting in an opposition that has been strangely silent and ineffective, while ministers run around like headless chickens looking for more laws to impose upon us, outside "the normal processes of law...".