A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi


9:00 am - November 29th 2010

by Guest    


      Share on Tumblr

contribution by Adam White

Ed Miliband will by now have received a letter from Baroness Warsi, Tory Party Chairman, and current front-runner for most irritating person in British politics.

In said letter, she flags up comments made by Hayes and Harlington MP, and LRC Chair John McDonnell, at this weekend’s Coalition of Resistance Conference in London. John noted that when the formation of a Government requires its participants to blatantly ignore one of their key election pledges, people have little other choice than to utilise their democratic rights to protest.

It’s a simple concept and is nothing new. If votes don’t deliver, then people will find other ways to make their voices heard. Democracy would be completely meaningless if disappointment and submission were a requisite.

But Baroness Warsi doesn’t seem to like this concept. As she says;

A member of your party, John McDonnell MP, has been quoted in the press suggesting that he is involved in a ‘programme of resistance’…

People resisting their government? It’s an outrage I tell you! This kind of thing would have never happened in Stalin’s Russia.

I mean how dare an elected representative of the people seek to organise against measures which he feels will adversely affect those he represents. Something clearly needs to be done about it.

So far, it is unclear what Ed Miliabnd will have to say about this, but if I was advising him, it would be something along these lines;

Dear Mrs Warsi,

I note that you are displeased about comments made by the elected Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell, and indications that he may be involved in opposing certain measures currently being pursued by your government.

Not being an elected Member of Parliament, I can forgive you for not properly understanding the requirements of the job.

Due to what you obviously perceive as a bizarre constitutional covenant, opposition MP’s are actually not required to agree with the government.

Some political theorists have even suggested, that they should in fact oppose the course of action being pursued by the government of the day. Perhaps when that course of action being pursued is contrary to the mandate upon which they obtained their position.

As such these elected representatives, may from time to time voice the concerns of those who do not agree with their government.

While representations via the House of Commons are commonplace, political activities outside of Parliament are not forbidden.

John’s observation, that ignoring students concerns leaves them “no other alternative” than to protest, could only possibly be construed as a criminal offence if you are stupid, or have been ingesting some kind of narcotics.

The Member from Hayes and Harlington seems to be doing his job in representing his constituents. I assume that enough of them may share his concerns, based upon the assumption that they agreed with his position enough to vote for him in May.

So, I will in fact be congratulating John McDonnell for a job well done, instead of reprimanding him as you suggest. In what is no doubt a futile attempt to turn members of the Labour Party against each other.

Yours Sincerely,

“Red Ed” Miliband.

One can wish, no?


cross-posted from Though Cowards Flinch

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Westminster

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


“and current front-runner for most irritating person in British politics.”

On what basis?

“People resisting their government? It’s an outrage I tell you! This kind of thing would have never happened in Stalin’s Russia.”

Nor would protests and democratic elections. The objection isn’t to people opposing the government’s measures and expressing their disapproval but actively trying to thwart them despite the government having been democratically elected and despite said measures not undermining peoples’ civil liberties.

2. Gaf the Horse

“and current front-runner for most irritating person in British politics.”

“On what basis?”

Have you never seen or heard her being interviewed? She irritates the hell out of me. You would maybe hope that, being a muslim female, she might have a different take on some topics than the general Tory view, but sadly she just parrots the party line at every opportunity.

She does seem to be filling admirably the gap left by the departure of Baroness ‘Shrieky Shriti’ Vadera. What irritates me about Warsi particularly is the smug self-righteousness of the tone and content of her public pronouncements.

Perhaps her experience with the Lib-Dems has led her to believe that *all* opposition parties should suck up to the government.

No chance. The likelihood of Ed doing anything other than roll over and ask for Cameron to tickle his tummy is extremely thin. He’s the so-called “leader of the opposition” yet he is not opposing. Ed should ditch his advisers and talk to some real people.

The message I got from his NPR speech was that he’s got a long difficult task to persuade us that the policies that he’s already formulated are right.

When is Peter Hain or Liam Byrne going to come to my local CLP and *listen* to what we want, rather than telling us what his advisers say that we should want?

Richard

You might be one of those people who come on LibCon only to object to absolutely everything – but you must see that it is absurd to object to

1) some one’s view that one particular overlord is irritating. (I do like adding ‘over’ to their collective title – it creates an entertaining perspective)

2) the defence of legal right to protest against government policy.

Is there a link to what McDonnell actually said? (I have looked)

Obviously the media has only printed the really juicy bit(s) – “bring down the government”, “programme of resistance”…

“You would maybe hope that, being a muslim female, she might have a different take on some topics than the general Tory view”

^^^^ Best comment ever, love the subtext assumption that because this is (a) a muslim and (b) a woman, she can’t possibly be a right wing.

Despite being a Tory, I too find Lady Warsi’s manner shrill and irritating.

However, I think she is right to raise the issue of certain Labour figures using emotive terms like “resistance”. Resistance, with all its associations of brave Frenchman fighting back against brutal Nazi occupiers, is something quite different from acting constitutionally as “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”.

We have recently had a General Election in this country and too much Labour rhetoric seems to be calling for the use of extra-parliamentary action to defeat a democratically elected government.

The argument that this is somewhow justified by the LibDem’s acting in ways contrary to their manifesto is totally specious. No serious person ever imagined that the Liberal Democrats were going to form a government on their ow, Therefore, everyone who voted LibDem did so on constructive notice that their manifesto was a ‘wish list’, not a programme for government; and that if they were to exercise power at all, it would be in some sort of coalition.

Had the LibDem’s formed a coalition with Labour, you can be sure they would have had to agree to things that ran contrary to their manifesto. Coalition necessities some trade offs and to pretend otherwise is downright dishonest.

9. Gaf the Horse

“^^^^ Best comment ever, love the subtext assumption that because this is (a) a muslim and (b) a woman, she can’t possibly be a right wing.”

There was no subtext or assumption to the comment. I’m quite comfortable that anyone including female muslims can be right wing. The point was that, given that the overwealming majority of the Tory front bench are white, male and privately/Oxbridge educated, I would hope that she would provide a different point of view, (no doubt right wing), given her different life experiences so far. Sadly if you look at her comments without knowing who said them it could be Cameron, Gove, Osborne or any of the other clones talking.
I experienced the same level of disappointment at Prescott in the Labour years. A very different early life and path to the top table, but when he got there he just filled his boots with the rest of them.
We need people to sometimes provide a different tone, a different take, or just downright disagree and it’s sad that so many of our politicians these days look the same, sound the same and act the same.

I’ll take the “best comment ever” remark thanks, but probably not in the spirit in which it was meant 🙂

10. Chaise Guevara


“and current front-runner for most irritating person in British politics.”

On what basis?

Personal opinion, obviously. Jesus wept. Did you think he was going to pull out a fucking irritometer or something?

Gaf the Horse @ 9

But Warsi does provide “a different tone, a different take’. She is strident, brittle and humourless, whereas Cameron is measured, urbane and witty.

12. Gaf the Horse

“But Warsi does provide “a different tone, a different take’. She is strident, brittle and humourless, whereas Cameron is measured, urbane and witty.”

Really? I’m not sure I’d agree that Cameron is measured, urbane or witty, particularly not at PMQs recently, but maybe we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

I’m glad I’m not the only person deeply annoyed by Baroness Warsi uber-hysterical manners.

She is probably the most irritating politician I’ve even seen in action since … I’m actually trying really hard to find possible contenders… Hazel Blears springs to mind…or Ann Widdecombe. No but Warsi wins hands down.

@ Richard (1)

The objection isn’t to people opposing the government’s measures and expressing their disapproval but actively trying to thwart them despite the government having been democratically elected and despite said measures not undermining peoples’ civil liberties.”

Sorry but precisely who ELECTED this government?

The answer is no-one, of course.

The government was formed by a process of negotiation between two sections of two parties rather out of step with their backbench MPs and party members.

And even if the government were elected, people are still allowed to protest if they feel that government doesn’t listen to them.

@ 14

Sorry but precisely who ELECTED this government?

We don’t elect governments in this country; we elect MPs.

The way you’re going on anyone would think this was the first coalition government there’s ever been. And that it came as a sudden shock or surprise. Posters here at LC were predicting a hung parliament for much of the election run-up.

As for mandates, legitimacy etc. – this coalition government can claim to represent a much bigger chunk of the popular vote than the last Labour government did.

She certainly irritated the hell out of Nick Griffin.

Not surprising that she irritates the hell out of his fellow travellers in BNPlite too.

But don’t worry, comrades. Once the party gets Woolas his seat back he’ll be able to carry on leading the charge against uppity . . . ahem . . . people like Warsi.

@3

“Baroness ‘Shrieky Shriti’ Vadera.”

Ah yes, she was another one.

@2

“You would maybe hope that, being a muslim female, she might have a different take on some topics than the general Tory view”

That’s the problem with these . . . people.

They’re just so ungrateful, aren’t they?

It really is most irritating.

@ Richard: “The objection isn’t to people opposing the government’s measures and expressing their disapproval but actively trying to thwart them despite the government having been democratically elected and despite said measures not undermining peoples’ civil liberties.”

So we’re only allowed to protest if government measures undermine our civil liberties now? I didn’t realise there was a Committee of Legitimate Protest that decided what we were and weren’t allowed to demonstrate against. I’m sure the EDL and the Countryside Alliance, among others, will be interested to hear this interpretation.

The way I see it, according to the government we have four-and-a-half years until the next general election, and although there will be local, regional, European elections and so on in that time, there is no way of the electorate removing the present government until 2015. So people are perfectly entitled to remind the government of their dissatisfaction on the streets, considering they can’t do it at the polls just yet.

20. Mike Killingworth

What I expect Miliband to write is

Dear Baroness Warsi

thankyou for your letter of [insert date] the contents of which have been noted.

Yours etc etc

Warsi’s job is to enthuse Tory activists, most of whom, no doubt, think that the country would be better off if all the contributors to this website dropped dead.

John Spence,

Sorry but precisely who ELECTED this government?

The answer is no-one, of course.

The government was formed by a process of negotiation ….

That’s how it generally works on these shores.

And even if the government were elected, people are still allowed to protest if they feel that government doesn’t listen to them.

Of course they are. But some of the rhetoric (as reported) sounds like the intention is to go further than mere protests if people aren’t satisfied. McDonnell himself said, “I know the Daily Mail will report me again as inciting riots yet again. Well, maybe that is what we are doing.”

If he is inciting riots, that isn’t a mere matter of “organising against measures”.

So let me get this right, Warsi was quote mining McDonnell looking for something stupid and embarrassing and this was the best she could come up with? How useless is she?

Just another brownshirt with jack boots on.

Tories only like people who obey orders.

24. Gaf the Horse

@18. Chervil

Read comment 9 please. You’ll find that your take on my comment was completely wrong.

Thanks 🙂

“The objection isn’t to people opposing the government’s measures and expressing their disapproval but actively trying to thwart them despite the government having been democratically elected and despite said measures not undermining peoples’ civil liberties.”

1. This government, the bulk of whose policies mirror centre-right ideology, was not democratically elected by any reasonable definition of the word. The Conservatives received only 36% of the popular vote, whilst centre-left parties (Labour, Liberal Democrats, etc…) received ~60% of the popular vote.

2. The suggestion that the only valid reason for protest, civil disobedience and/or direct action is when civil liberties are threatened is specious. Governments have a much broader remit than simply ‘behaving themselves’ with respect to civil liberties, and their electors consider far more than civil liberties when electing them. If a government is formed by backroom deals which involve MPs betraying their election pledges that is fraudulent and should be grounds for recalling an MP in a true democracy, and until such is possible our democracy cannot be true.

Lee,

1. This government, the bulk of whose policies mirror centre-right ideology, was not democratically elected by any reasonable definition of the word. The Conservatives received only 36% of the popular vote, whilst centre-left parties (Labour, Liberal Democrats, etc…) received ~60% of the popular vote.

It is a Con-Lib coalition government (together, 59% of the vote); MPs were free to form a Lab-Lib coalition but they did not. We don’t tend to form governments based on your dislike of a particular party and arbitrary lines around other parties and how you think they should behave.

2. The suggestion that the only valid reason for protest, civil disobedience and/or direct action is when civil liberties are threatened is specious.

Of course, but that is not what Richard suggested; he drew a distinction between protesting and active (possibly even violent) resistance.

“It is a Con-Lib coalition government (together, 59% of the vote)”

Quite right, however a significant proportion of that 59% is attributed to a centre-left party (Liberal Democrats) who have utterly failed to represent the views of their electorate (who are largely aligned to the centre-left). Thus the fact that our current government is the result of back-room negotiations between a minority of both parties MPs is an indictment to true democracy. It reaffirms my long-held view that our political parties and their respective leaderships hold the power and not the electorate, this is almost a text book definition of oligarchy.

To quote George Bernard Shaw – “There’ll be no such thing as true democracy as long as we have political parties, because every political party is only interested in attaining then maintaining power.”

A true democracy would limit the roles of party politics by abolishing the party whips, making vote inducement and trading a criminal office and requiring the independent election of key ministerial offices (Chancellor of the Exchequer, Speaker of the House, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary) are elected by the commons. That way MPs would be free to represent the interests of their electors and not their party!

“We don’t tend to form governments based on your dislike of a particular party and arbitrary lines around other parties and how you think they should behave.”

No, but our ‘democracy’ does form governments on the basis of the populations aggregate like or dislike of the three major political parties and their respective manifestos. It is reasonable to assume that the majority of Liberal Democrat voters hold centre-left views, and accordingly see little of the politics they voted for represented in the coalition government.

Also, political parties should most definitely behave in a manor in-line with the image they represent during election campaigns. If a political party represents itself as as progressive party and once elected turns around and props up a regressive regime, such is the very antithesis of true democracy!

“Of course, but that is not what Richard suggested; he drew a distinction between protesting and active (possibly even violent) resistance.”

There is very little distinction between what we call ‘protest’ (by which we almost always mean limp ineffective coordinated walking exercised conducted out of eye-shot of the Westminster village) and active resistance in the form of civil disobedience and direct action (neither of which are inherently violent, though they are inherently annoying; that being the point). If people feel disenfranchised from the ‘democratic’ process and betrayed by those who have been empowered by their vote, they have every right to protest however they wish, so long as their actions are proportionate (i.e. they don’t attack the police, although they should defend themselves if it comes to it).

@22

“So let me get this right, Warsi was quote mining McDonnell looking for something stupid and embarrassing and this was the best she could come up with?”

Nope.

What she actually said was:

“A member of your party, John McDonnell MP, has been quoted in the press suggesting that he is involved in a ‘programme of resistance’ which includes the potential incitement of rioting

For some reason LC decided to censor the quote and cut that last part out.

I wonder why?

@ flowerpower and ukliberty

Yes, I’m fully aware of how coalitions are formed. Sadly ‘Richard’ who I quoted seemed not to which is why I posted my objection to his assertion that the government had been ‘democratically elected’.

Do try to keep up.

further, @ ukliberty

Of course they are. But some of the rhetoric (as reported) sounds like the intention is to go further than mere protests if people aren’t satisfied. McDonnell himself said, “I know the Daily Mail will report me again as inciting riots yet again. Well, maybe that is what we are doing.”

If he is inciting riots, that isn’t a mere matter of “organising against measures”.

As you say, there is no real eveidence bar a Mail-baiting comment by John McDonnell, to suggest that he is inciting riots.

However, it’s a curious situation we have where throughout the history of political protest, people wearing uniforms committing violence against ordinary people is perfectly acceptable, wheras violence committed by ordinary people agaiunst authority is something utterly abhorrent.

Lee,

“Of course, but that is not what Richard suggested; he drew a distinction between protesting and active (possibly even violent) resistance.”

There is very little distinction between what we call ‘protest’ (by which we almost always mean limp ineffective coordinated walking exercised conducted out of eye-shot of the Westminster village) and active resistance in the form of civil disobedience and direct action (neither of which are inherently violent, though they are inherently annoying; that being the point). If people feel disenfranchised from the ‘democratic’ process and betrayed by those who have been empowered by their vote, they have every right to protest however they wish, so long as their actions are proportionate (i.e. they don’t attack the police, although they should defend themselves if it comes to it).

McDonnell himself said (my emphasis in bold), “I know the Daily Mail will report me again as inciting riots yet again. Well, maybe that is what we are doing”. McDonnell is on shaky ground, if he’s really talking about riots being a reasonable means to his ends.

@28. Chervil

Let’s get this straight, did McDonnell specifically say that people should riot? If all he encouraged was a “programme of resistance” then that means exactly that – resist the cuts. For example, one huge plank of the government’s policy is persuading people to provide public services for free. A form of resistance is just saying “No, people should be paid for the work they do”. No rioting there.

Warsi is as full of hyperbole as her voice is shrill. Ignore her.

@Chervil

“A member of your party, John McDonnell MP, has been quoted in the press suggesting that he is involved in a ‘programme of resistance’ which includes the potential incitement of rioting”

It seems to me from this quote that John McDonnell MP has announced his involvement in a ‘programme of resistance’, and that subsequently Baroness Warsi has inferred that this may ‘include the potential incitement of rioting’.

If there is a quote out there attributed to John McDonnell, which includes a direct incitement to riot (and by extension violence) please do enlighten us. Otherwise Baroness Warsi is simply over-reacting to an MP who’s made public his involvement in a grass roots movement (to his credit might I add).

John Spence,

Yes, I’m fully aware of how coalitions are formed. Sadly ‘Richard’ who I quoted seemed not to which is why I posted my objection to his assertion that the government had been ‘democratically elected’.

Do try to keep up.

Sure; we can argue about what “democratically elected” means until the cows come home. Perhaps it’s better put this way: the present government has as much legitimacy as the last.

… However, it’s a curious situation we have where throughout the history of political protest, people wearing uniforms committing violence against ordinary people is perfectly acceptable, wheras violence committed by ordinary people agaiunst authority is something utterly abhorrent.

I don’t know what point you are trying to make – that some people are stupid?

“Cameron is measured, urbane and witty.”
Tory stand-up? Good grief, they are from another planet!

Why is it that the Tory supporting ethnic minorities such as Sayeeda Warsi. Sean Bailey et al feel the need to extol such enmity and bitterness towards the Labour Party.

@32 and 32,

Happy to oblige, comrades.

“We’re here to plan a programme of resistance. Inciting riots? Maybe.”

– John MacDonnell MP

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/revolution-1.1071281

“Why is it that the Tory supporting ethnic minorities such as Sayeeda Warsi. Sean Bailey et al feel the need to extol such enmity and bitterness towards the Labour Party.”

It is like battered wife syndrome. They want to be loved by the people in their party who hate them. Namely the racists. So they try to be like them.

We all know that many in her party wish she would fuck off back to bong bongo land.

@2 “You would maybe hope that, being a muslim female, she might have a different take on some topics than the general Tory view, but sadly she just parrots the party line at every opportunity.”

Perhaps she does now (and one would mildly surprised if a party chairman did much different). But she opposed the invasion of Iraq. The same cannot be said of Cameron or Hague.

39. Dick the Prick

Come on, Hazel Blears, Ed Balls, Oliver Letwin, etc etc…never been a fan of lists.

@37

“They want to be loved by the people in their party who hate them. Namely the racists.”

The only mainstream party to tolerate racists is Labour.

Look at Woolas. If it hadn’t been for the judiciary he’d still be in your shadow cabinet.

“@Richard
“People resisting their government? It’s an outrage I tell you! This kind of thing would have never happened in Stalin’s Russia.”

Nor would protests and democratic elections. The objection isn’t to people opposing the government’s measures and expressing their disapproval but actively trying to thwart them despite the government having been democratically elected and despite said measures not undermining peoples’ civil liberties.”

Am… I think they may have been using ‘irony’ in that quote Richard.

‘You would maybe hope that, being a muslim female, she might have a different take on some topics than the general Tory view, but sadly she just parrots the party line at every opportunity.’

Why should I ever hope that? But then I have a reasonable grasp of the centrality of the question of class in political discourse.

So, it seems, has Baroness Warsi too, although, unlike me, I doubt that she is keen to admit it.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  2. burgerchrist

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  3. Lee Hyde

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  4. megazulu

    “@libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM”

  5. Lynn Hancock

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  6. Rupert Griffin

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  7. thabet

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  8. Political Dynamite

    A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi re: John McDonnellat | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/p6b6SCG via @libcon

  9. Andrew Griffiths

    A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/857NXTl

  10. Angela Pateman

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  11. Carl Poffley

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  12. Benjamin M. A'Lee

    Sayeeda Warsi: stupid, or on drugs? http://ur1.ca/2gjkf (via @libcon)

  13. Joseph Wheatley

    RT @libcon: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi http://bit.ly/f7fvtM

  14. Steve Glover

    @digitalraven I like this reply: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/11/29/a-letter-to-politburo-chief-sayeeda-warsi/

  15. Comprador Intellectuals in the Education Crisis « The Disorder Of Things

    […] Verily, ignorance is bliss. Meanwhile, ermine-cloaked colleagues in the blue corner are reduced to crying traitor while the imperatives of civic order require ever more draconian shows of […]

  16. Stew Wilson

    RT @akicif: @digitalraven I like this reply: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/11/29/a-letter-to-politburo-chief-sayeeda-warsi/

  17. Get Political Fund » Blog Archive » A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] Link: A response to Politburo chief Sayeeda Warsi | Liberal Conspiracy […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.