Comment: Rebellions, loyalty and Governor Christie

With different faces of rebellion being seen on either side of the Atlantic, Young Fabians chair Sara Ibrahim looks at the various aspects of political loyalty.


Sara Ibrahim is the chair of the Young Fabians

In politics there has been an increasing premium placed on loyalty. This has often been perceived to come at the expense of doing the right thing. If you want to climb to the heady heights of political power, then the prevailing orthodoxy has been that you follow the line of your party, regardless of whether you agree with it.

The events of recent days have therefore provoked an interesting question to one’s mind: when is rebellion a good thing? On Wednesday night, David Cameron and the coalition government suffered a blow when 53 tory rebels voted with Labour on an amendment proposing real term EU budget cuts.

For Cameron and Clegg, the timing could not have been worse. It is the eve of EU budget negotiations and their set negotiating position was for a budget freeze.

This isn’t a piece on the merits or demerits of the respective parties’ positions on the EU budget; instead it throws up a more interesting question about the value of towing the party line and when you should depart from it.

There is a tension that plays out in the minds of most politicians: Do you put your own values above those of your party? To opt to answer ‘no’ is not to be a sell out as many believe. For politicians to have any impact they have to act in concert with one another.

Those steeped in the Labour tradition in the UK will often advocate values of solidarity and collective action. Lack of discipline within a political party can therefore undermine not only the reputation of the whips and the leadership but also the ability to deliver on the manifesto commitments on which many were elected.

Despite realising this political reality of the need for party solidarity, there are principles that trump it. To me, that is the greater recognition that ultimately politics is a means rather than an ends. For those who operate in the political world to remain authentic, they must sometimes depart from the accepted script.

In support of this contention, I rely on the unexpected comments of Governor Chris Christie in support of President Obama’s reaction to Hurricane Sandy. Christie gave a keynote speech at the Republican National Convention only a few months ago in Tampa and has been hotly tipped as a future Republican Presidential candidate.

At the convention, he made it clear he saw the Republicans as the true truth tellers to the American people. In what was perhaps a portentous moment, he called for a “new era of truth-telling”.

Few could have predicted this straight talking politician meant he would be referring to Obama’s handling of the devastation visited on the east coast of America as “outstanding”. When asked by an interviewer about whether Mitt Romney would visit New Jersey, Christie gave him short shrift for focusing on presidential politics.

What are we to make of a hardened Republican like Christie overflowing with praise for Obama? Well maybe in politics there are some things more important than strategising, like putting the people you represent first. That’s why most people go into politics in the first place right?

I leave the last words on the matter to Christie:

Says Christie:

“Right now i have nothing but praise for the way the administration has handled that, and co-ordinated with us at the state level… This is the oath I took, and I quite frankly don’t care about the election at this moment…

“I’ve got lives to protect and rebuild in my state, and if the President of the United States does a good job, I will praise him…He deserves and has earned my praise and he’ll get it, regardless of what the calendar says, because this is much more important than politics, this is the lives of the people of my state.”

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47 Responses to “Comment: Rebellions, loyalty and Governor Christie”

  1. Selohesra

    Are we going to have thread condeming McShane today?

  2. uncle jo

    yep, that’ll be fun! I doubt they’ll do it though. He was part of ‘the cause’ and his wrongdoings can be overlooked. remember socialism, the ends (mass murder) always justify the means (ditto).

  3. Selohesra

    Would be great to hear Botty or Fruitbat9 defending that one

  4. neswbot

    God save us from Fabians

  5. rudolf

    Newstwat9 seems to have gone a bit quiet. Maybe he’s looking for that link to “the latest scenarios show that England will be uninhabitable due to man-made climate change”- ho ho!

    talking about uninhabitable, wasn’t that thieving toe-rag Macshane from Rotherham?

  6. harold

    ps love your macshane limerick on order-order

  7. Newsbot9

    Yes, you keep pushing YOUR collectivism.

    As usual, you can’t understand anything outside your 1% Comrades and the “Socialist” 99%. In reality of course, I’m not a Socialist, and you’re simply flailing away at the poor with your weapons of mass starvation as usual. Thanks for highlighting that you feel anything is justified if it makes you cash!

  8. Newsbot9

    Thanks for that statement on how YOU justify mass murder, Stewpot/rudolph/whateveryouaretoday!

    Thanks for highlighting that you can only see your own views and a nebulous “cause” making up the 99%,

  9. Newsbot9

    Ah, you again. This time proposing a Jihad… again. Poor Islamic doctrine!

  10. Newsbot9

    I have a job. I work. Oh right, alien concepts to you.

    And yes, you’re already making the UK uninhabitable for the poor, you’re an expert on it.

    As usual, you’re taking an article which shows someone putting their principles ahead of blind loyalty to a cause and talking about something, ANYTHING else. It’s so scary to you…you’re so FRIGHTENED of morals…

  11. jeff

    what the hell is a mutualist? wiki says it’s some sort of loony anarchist

  12. Selohesra

    Don’t call him loony – he gets really mad if you do that

  13. Selohesra

    Working in your poly still?

  14. Newsbot9

    “My?” Poly? Oh right, the actual work I did as a freelancer in the University system. For a variety of Universities.

    Which is, yes, still going on. I actually generate value for the UK’s economy, yes. Why do you find this evil?

  15. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, of course you take wikipedia as the sole source of your information, polymorphic shill.

    Your spitting on everyone outside Approved Views is a nasty habit. It’s SO terrible that, for instance, I think workers should be paid properly and that unearned income should be taxed properly.

    OHNOES! In fact, I’m a moderate and it’s explicitly gradualist…it’s your far right who are the revolutionaries

  16. Selohesra

    Probably asleep in a ditch somewhere – although he appears to have woken up now. Not sure LFF would like the limerick – I try to be more pc when I’m a guest here & I know the lefties have no sense of humour. There again maybe I’m wrong – they elected Milibandwagon as leader

  17. jeff

    define ‘properly’ please

  18. jeff

    he is a loony. or maybe he’s got tourettes. I’ve never known such vacuous posts and bizarre claims never backed up by anything. I don’t suppose he’s old enough to vote but god help us if he is…

  19. Newsbot9

    As a principle, to get started with…

    Taxes should track GDP, without imposing a significantly higher burden either on wages or capital simply because of their “type”. What’s been happening is that wages have been shouldering an ever-higher proportion of the burden…since the mid 1970’s, while at the same time wages have been falling as a percentage of GDP.

  20. jeff

    congratulations on a decent post! I’ll agree with you, I think unearned income should be taxed higher than earned income. I also think there should be no tax on income for those earning under the mean wage.

    My personal view is that people are getting squeezed because of house prices and rents – due entirely to government policy of high net immigration and restrictive planning law.

  21. Newsbot9

    See, that’s a good mutualist view on tax. I’m quite serious when I say it’s not radical.

    Your “personal view” is wrong though.

    Even without a SINGLE immigrant we’d have a critical housing shortage. Moreover, the amount of brownfield land in the hands of private companies has done nothing but rise…the problem is not planning permission but the lack of incentives to build housing except for the rich when rents are on a decades-long above-inflation escalator, and there is no tax reason not to sit on land.

    Quite simply, the private sector’s house building remains effectively unchanged from the day when Thatcher ended council house building, and that rate was always going to be grossly insufficient.

    Rents are just one part of the squeeze…house prices have tracked the overall economy well, but of course as wages have been falling as a percentage of said economy…

  22. jeff

    and how do you work out that immigration is 5-10% of the issue? without immigration our population would be stable or possibly falling and the only houses needing building would be to replace ones that are knocked down.

    at the moment we need around 100,000 houses a year just for new people let alone to house current inhabitants better.

    I’ll disagree on the planning permission issue. Given anyone would be allowed permission to build a house given they could buy some farmland to put it on there would be no housing shortage at all.

  23. Newsbot9

    Again, this is based on faulty assumptions. The British population, including the White British population, is growing. And how? I read the papers on it, of course.

    100k for just “new people”. Right..never mind actual figures on housing density, or who council houses would actually go to. Housing people “better”? Nope, no incentives at all in the current system to do that. Heck, it’s easier in most cases to find a new tenant than to do work if one wants some basic work done on the house.

    And of course you think paving over farmland would help. People apart from the rich have to access their jobs. This means transport infrastructure, this means expensive spending simply not required in any major way for brownfield sites (oh, you might need to adjust bus routes and so on, but that’s not in the same order of magnitude).

    (Or, alternatively, you’re simply expecting the poor to own a car and to the costs of that on the 90-minute commutes the government requires people to do to their minimum-wage jobs!)

    Then there are all the side effects on food prices and so on…

    This is on top of the fact that there is NO EVIDENCE that house building will pick up. There have been efforts to ease planning permission which have produced no up-tick in building… (it’s shifted where building occurs, but the same thing happens – you get a few luxury houses and an even small number of “affordable” houses which MIGHT be in the reach of the middle class…) again, building new houses isn’t that interesting to companies when rents are going up as fast as they are. The only way to break this cycle is both new housing (and the only realistic way to get THAT is for the Govenrment to start building council houses) and rent caps!

    And no, we don’t need to pave over the countryside given the vast amounts of brownfield land which companies would release if they were taxed on that!

  24. Newsbot9

    Mad? No. I just point out that as usual it’s a good Social Darwinist, Totalitarian view. You’ve expressed that often enough that nobody can be surprised about it.

  25. jeff

    The White British population contains many people who are from immigrant populations. An Albanian with a UK passport is ‘White British’. Without significant net migration over the last 50 years, we would have a population 10 million lower and there would be houses for everyone – with gardens.

    The indigenous population is stable or falling. The ethnic English are probably for the first time in history no longer in the majority in England, certainly not in the their capital, London.

  26. Newsbot9

    No, those people are White (Other). Like me.

    And, as usual, you’re making a false, racist and xenophobic claim which isn’t based on evidence. It’s completely ignoring actual build rates for houses, longer lifespans and the tendency towards smaller families and more individual living.

    “The indigenous population”

    What do the Celts have to do with this?

    “ethnic English”

    No such thing. You’d be laughed out if you tried to present a scientific paper using the term, and rightly so.

    “no longer in the majority”

    Britain remains remarkably homogeneous. While the final data on this from the 2011 Census is due, I believe, next Spring the 2009 figures place it at 82.8% White British, and 1.1% White Irish.

    *White British* people remain a supermajority within Britain, and within London.

    Death rates continue to fall, and the birth rate for White British mothers is 1.91 and rising. Moreover, TFR is misleadingly low in terms of cohort replacement, because the average age of Mothers is rising too!

    Do you want to know what makes a real difference? That’s right, the sort of babycare crèche systems which your Tories are slashing the state aid for.

    Moreover, in fact leaving the EU and relying on the commonwealth would shift the demographic trends away from white people and to – primarily Islamic – darker-skinned peoples…

    Meanwhile, this sort of racist hysteria is absent in Canada or Australia, which have twice as many immigrants per capita, or in America where they really /are/ headed for a white minority.

    Facts > Your Bigotry.

  27. jeff

    White British includes the children of French or Russians or Spanish people raised in the UK. I am English. That is an ethnic group as much as any other ethnic group. And only a percentage of ‘White British’ are English. That is a fact as far as I am concerned, and like it or hate it, the English – those with English ancestry – are moving towards or are already a minority in England.

    White British also includes the children of Irish people raised in the UK although they could use White Irish if they wished.

    I have no wish to either prevent all immigration or send anyone ‘home’. Just a recognition that I am part of an ethnic group that doesn’t have the word ‘White’ in it and that there are implications of continued population rise, none of which is caused – in England – by English people.

    Not that any of this is relevant, England is going to become uninhabitable due to human induced climate change and our descendants, English, Scottish, Irish, Jewish, Pakistani and Afro-Caribbean are going to have to find somewhere else to live.

    I hope Greenlanders don’t mind.

  28. jeff

    “What do the Celts have to do with this?”

    the English are descendants of those initial Celts who migrated from Northern Spain at the end of the Ice Age.

    “Recently, historians have questioned the assumption that the English are primarily descended from Anglo-Saxons. Based on a re-estimation of the number of settlers, there is a view that it is highly unlikely that the existing British Celtic-speaking population was substantially displaced by the Anglo-Saxons, and the latter were merely a ruling elite who imposed their culture on the local populations”

  29. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, revisionism. The typical resort of the racist and the wikipedia editing troll.

  30. Newsbot9

    As usual, you’re trying to revise definitions, racist, to justify your bigotry. You can’t admit that you’re demographically in a super-majority, because of your bigotry and hatred.

    And I see, you just want to murder everyone who isn’t a “true pureblood”. Got it, that of course includes the majority by your own ranting. And I have to say that I don’t care if you’re personally sterile given your bigotry.

    And yes, you keep trying to cause a situation where most people die anyway. That’s all you care about…

  31. jeff

    You really have been at the booze this time! We live in a multi-cultural society. You are ‘White (Other)’, I’m ‘English’. Those are 2 communities living happily alongside each other. No-one wants to kill anyone. I despise being branded as ‘White (anything)’ and Chinese people aren’t yellow and North Americans aren’t red.

    Have a coffee and take some deep breaths. You were talking reasonably earlier today.

  32. jeff

    I must also say, I haven’t seen such foam-flecked ranting since I watched a documentary on Josef Geobbels!

  33. Newsbot9

    Yes, I’m sure you were ranting about the slurs to your hero. You can stop ranting away now about how terrible it is that population statistics don’t support your bigotry now too, should you chose to!

  34. Newsbot9

    No, I am White (Other). You are White (British).

    Of course you despise accurate measures of the population, since they undermine your hated and bigotry. Unlike you, I believe in my country, Britain.

    Stop attributing your like for alcohol or coffee to others, too.

  35. jeff

    You claim to be Jewish of Middle European Descent and White (Other). What is so wrong with you that you take offence at me describing myself as English and White British (with twisted arm)? One can be a member of a number of groups, English, British, European etc. Why do you appear so keen to claim the English don’t exist? I have no problem with you being Jewish and British. I am not claiming that you are a racist because Jewishness doesn’t exist. Can’t you just accept that I regard myself as English first?

    In your opinion are the French an ethnic group? Germans? You say you are Jewish and White British – which is your nationality, which your ethic group, which your cultural affiliation? I am generally interested in what you find so threatening about the existence of an ethnic group called the ‘English’.

  36. Newsbot9

    I’m not the one taking offence, you are.

    And you regard yourself as English, right. That’s a regional identification. The racism is your claim it’s an ethnic group.

    And no, neither the French or Germans are a whole are an ethnic group, of course. France for example is a mix of Celts, Iberians, Italics, etc. – the dividing line for most French people is *language*!

  37. jeff

    so Celts, Iberians, Italics etc are ethnic groups? But French, German, English aren’t? And what is your ethnicity? Jewish or White (Other)?

    “The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English.”

  38. Newsbot9

    Yes, well done, you can quote incorrect information.

    Do go and actually read a proper explanation of this (not wikipedia, for starters), and realise the difference between categories on a piece of paper used for statistical analysis and actual identifications.

  39. jeff

    So, what is your ethnicity? Jewish or White (Other)?

    And you say the Germans are not an ethnic group?

  40. Newsbot9

    I’m Jewish, of course. There’s no “White (Other)” grouping beyond record keeping.

    And there’s a difference between Germany as a social/national identification and the Germanic Peoples, who are among other things the single largest ethnic group in America – there are just as many Germans in the Americas as a whole as there are in Germany!

    Pan-Germanism as a form of irredentism in Europe died with the Fourth Reich.

  41. jeff

    so you are ‘allowed’ an ethnicity which is Jewish, and I’m not ‘allowed’ an ethnicity which is English?

    you regard Jewish as an ethnicity but not French, German or English? I think you’ve got some serious superiority issues going on there.

  42. jeff

    A German could say he is ethnically German, you say you are Jewish, but an English or French don’t have the same liberty? A Frenchman is either a Celt, Iberian or Italic and an Englishman has to be White British (a grouping that only exists for record keeping)?

  43. Newsbot9

    No, your ethnicity simply isn’t “English”. It’s probably Anglo-Saxon or perhaps Celtic. English is a purely sub-national regional identity within Britain.

    And that’s right, I’ve read the appropriate definitions, and you haven’t. Therefore, my knowledge is superior to yours on this issue – since I’m not conflating statistical, national, linguistic and ethnic identities. And?

  44. Newsbot9

    Ethnically Germanic, IF he is so, of course. And yes, France, Germany and Britain are all multi-cultural nations…there are only a few countries which are NOT – starting with North Korea!

    You’re mixing and muddling your terms to justify your bigotry.

  45. jeff

    As the member of a group that has suffered such persecution in the past, I find the audacity of claiming an entire other ethnic group doesn’t even exist as beneath contempt. I genuinely and deeply despise you and want nothing more to do with you.

  46. Newsbot9

    Yes, you claim the mandate of the far right, claiming “discrimination” against the majority culture – falsely portraying it as an ethic group. Shame the facts don’t support you, as ever.

    And of course you despise me, I’m Jewish and you are far right. I’d be shocked if it were otherwise! Run bigot, run.

  47. Blaine

    the only time christie is a human being to the left is when he turns his back on republican moderates like romney. Funny how everyone has to be conciliatory and cross the aisle except for the kooky left.

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