Sunday, March 01, 2009

Just rhetoric

Harriet Harman made a very interesting statement this morning, in arguing that the now imfamous Sir Fred Goodwin £650 million pension was going to be stopped at any cost, Labour's deputy leader is quoted telling Andrew Marr: ""The Prime Minister has said it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted. It might be enforceable in a court of law this contract but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the Government steps in." This surely has significant implications. What Ms Harman suggests is that it does not matter what laws exist, if the public is opposed then such laws will be over-ridden by the government. Perhaps actually it suggests that laws will be over-ridden if it does not suit the government's position of the time. Ok, one could ask why any law should exist that does not have broad public support and perhaps agree that a mandated government should be the highest arbiter of what should or should not be legal. All the same it is an interesting statement that could be simply rhetorical or reflect the Obama style of having the public put pressure on various bodies (in the US their representatives) to get the desired results or suggest the government seeks to be led rather than them leading.


Matt Hurst said...

Along as it doesn't mean hanging will be brought back.

Mind you Labour has since about 2001 mostly followed what the Mail have said. I agree on Goodwin being a "bastard" but if he is telling the truth, (Wouldn't trust him as far as you can throw him mind) then it's another sorry mistake by this government who in bending over backwards to improve the lives of people who will never vote for them have upset alot who would have.

That's the court of public opinion I've heard on the doorstep.

POLPUB said...

Who is holding the government to account? They do what they want they want. If Harriet is so bothered about public opinion howcome, she did not worry about it during the Iraq War?

The general election is approaching and they want the brownie points. Thats the Labour Party - 'in it to win it' forget about 'fixing it'.

Matt Hurst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Hurst said...

The press hold government to account, surely they do, Non...

Well they supported like the entire Tory Party that the War was a good thing. Advisors those people in the know knew it was bad, they said it was bad, several people resigned from the government because they disagreed.

But anyhow the "Court of Public Opinion" is like this, whatever the Mail/Metro/Sun/News of The Screws/whoever say IS public opinion.

Take this for example:

Eastern Europeon Immigrants circa 1991, good for the economy and brilliant for our lives.

Eastern Europeon Immigrants circa 2001, bad for the economy and giving us many viral infections.

But it's always been this way, and I'm not being all Chomsky, but I tend to believe that alot of what the public believe comes from press.

Take falsehoods like Winterval and so on, people say they may not trust the news. But saying and believing are two different things.

Anyhow Wars have always been popular poll boost, headlines such as "One in the eye for Gerry" and the more recent "Gotcha". Whatever Government you put in will always fail, just perceived Leftie governments espically when pretending to be Tories, let down alot more people, than say a Tory government.

Maybe a change in the voting system or something would raise accountablity, but I wouldn't hold much hope on that happening anytime soon.

Darren G Lilleker said...

Scary thought, the court of public opinion is in session within the editor's office of Sun Newspapers; is it implausible, sadly not. I suppose the little point of hope is that newspapers and other media outlets (as the BBC have covered this in a similar way to all tabloids) try to reflect public opinion if only the mood vulgus.