A little while ago I was listening to the Today program and John Humphrys interviewing Home Secretary Theresa May when the subject of repealing the Human Rights Act came up.
The crux of JH's argument appeared to be this:
- it was a Conservative manifesto pledge to repeal the act
- the Liberal Democrats pledged to do the opposite
- if the government fails to repeal the act they have betrayed Conservative voters
- if the government fails to repeals the act they are "bending over" for the Liberal Democrats
Allow me to say that Theresa May is my MP and I've no special regard for her. While I tend to believe she has worked for our constituency it is also true that we disagree on 98.75% of the points I've written to her about (thank you WriteToThem.com!)
That said, I found JH to be at his most rotten in this interview. He continued to worry away at this point seemingly without regard to reason.
It put me in mind of the comments of a political analyst just after the election. When asked what might happen next he replied the press would leave no stone unturned to find a breach between the partners and work it into a chasm. Disappointingly it seems that the Radio 4, the Today program, and JH are all party to this.
Is it not obvious that the results of the election mean that no party received a mandate to carry out it's program?
If Conservatives who support repeal of the Human Rights Act feel betrayed then they should look to themselves because they didn't muster enough support to give their party a mandate to carry through it's manifesto commitments.
Short of such a mandate, compromise is a requirement to govern and while the LD's are the "junior partner" if they're not going to be Cameron's bitches then they must be getting something more worthwhile than a desk and a red dispatch box out of the arrangement.
While I am already heartily sick of the New politics slogan the coalitionites trot out at every opportunity let us at least acknowledge the facts of the election: neither party, individually, has a mandate and they must agree to compromise in order to govern.
When you criticise them because they are compromising (or, in this case, about to compromise) rather than about the specific policies that arise from that compromise it leads one to consider if you are ignorant, boorish, or both.