Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brown's Pork-Barrel Politics

Brown today repeated his claims that he didn't offer bribes to force though his 42 Days Detention Bill. But he would say that wouldn't he? That's the Brown style. He tries not to touch it, sign it, meet it or be phographed with it. But voters can see through the pork-barrel politics. 

The government may have won the 42 Day vote but Brown and New Labour lost miserably, scraping through by just nine votes. Exactly the number of MPs from Northern Ireland's DUP who voted for these draconian measures.

This ended up being nothing about 42 days and everything about fudges and bribes and Brown's leadership. Brown needed to win big, just to show that he is in charge. And he didn't. What should have been a vote on principles over civil liberties was a vote of confidence in Brown.

Now we'll just have to wait and see who gets the knighthood, whose post office is suddenly saved, what financial boosts come to the Northern Ireland economy and bizarrely, with a rumour of lifting the EU trade ban with Cuba as part of the deal, who goes off on holiday to Cuba. 

Brown could take that much-needed holiday there. It's the hurricane season in Cuba. Wild and windy weather and the storm clouds are gathering. It would be safer there in Cuba than back here in Blighty. 

The term 'pork-barrel politics' is used when government spending is used for projects to benefit particular constituents or campaign contributors. That means bribes.

The phrase originated in the US when gifts of salt-pork in a barrel were given by slave-owners to their slaves. How apt. Brown's Detention Bill supporters should take note.

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