Monday, March 22, 2010

Goodbye Kitty Ussher

It would have taken a heart of stone in recent days not to have laughed at the sight of Kitty Ussher destroying a promising ministerial career through greed and stupidity.

But when I think of Ussher, the Labour MP for Burnley, I think of an article she wrote for the Guardian back in 2005. It appeared in the wake of the defeat of the government's proposal for 90-day detention before charge for terrorist subjects.

Ussher wrote:

Let's be clear about this: this country is a less safe place because of the actions of the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and, yes, a minority of our own side, last Wednesday.

I very much hope that we will never have another terrorist atrocity in Britain. But if we do, and if it happens because the police have not had sufficient time to accumulate enough evidence to charge the perpetrators, then the Tories, the Lib Dems and our own rebels will have blood on their hands.

And she concluded:
Tories and Liberals voted to make the country a more dangerous place in order to score a cheap political point over the prime minister. A small minority of our own side - for whatever spurious reason - did the same. So, as I said at the outset, in the horrific event of a crisis that I hope will never happen, it'll be their fault, not mine.
If you were looking for an article that laid bare the New Labour approach to politics, this would be it. Forget principle, politics is entirely a matter of news management. The main thing - the only thing - is to avoid bad headlines.

I suppose Ussher's motivation was that if there had been another terrorist atrocity in Britain, people would have dragged themselves from the wreckage with the words "if only we had listened to Kitty Ussher" on their lips.

So let's not not be too hard on Ussher. She is a symptom, not the disease.


Ryan said...

1995? Before she was even an MP

Jonathan Calder said...

Make that 2005. It's a sign of age when you make mistakes like that.