openDemocracyUK

Take a long hard look at Labour

Unable to offer voters any positive reason to vote for the government beyond the worthless platitudes in Brown's speech, Labour now hope to scare us into returning them to power by urging us to "Take a long hard look at the Tories".
Guy Aitchison
27 February 2010

Alongside last week's vacuous promise of a "Future fair for all", the Labour party has launched a new campaign slogan for the election. Unable to offer voters any positive reasons to vote for the government beyond the worthless platitudes in Brown's speech, they now hope to scare us into returning them to power by urging us to "Take a long hard look at the Tories".

Their new campaign site offers six reasons why we should stick to nurse, one of which is the "Tories on DNA". It quotes Chris Sims,  ACPO lead on forensic science and West Midlands Chief Constable, who is "absolutely certain" there are cases where removing "un-convicted people" from the DNA database would have meant there would be "quiet serious crimes that weren't saved by police and offenders who could still be out there committing further serious offences."

That the Labour party should so loudly trumpet its contempt for personal privacy and the presumption of innocence, parading its violation of the European Court on Human Rights ruling on DNA retention as one of the top six reasons to vote for it, tells you everything you need to know about its attitude to civil liberties and the rule of law. If the Tories were in power, we are told, nasty horrible "un-convicted" people would be running around everywhere committing crimes. 

Un-convicted. Un-con-vic-ted. Didn't we use to have another word for that at one time before we became suspects to be tagged, tracked and monitored? And did it not underpin some legal principle of one kind or another generally thought essential to a free society? Clearly I'm getting muddled up. Un-convicted people are just people who haven't been convicted. Yet. They will be. Just so long as the Tories aren't there to give them back their DNA.

 

 

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics of class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this a chance to realign around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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