Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Thoughts on the 'national interest'

There is much talk of coalitions being formed "in the national interest" or "against the national interest", but as usual, the mainstream media's treatment is shallow, and can give a misleading impression.

The alternatives to "national interest" are "party interest" and "personal interest", but only one of these holds up in the longer term.

It comes down to whether a politician genuinely believes that his party will deliver the best outcome for his country:
  • If he does, then by acting in the "party interest", he believes himself to be serving the long term national interest.
  • If he doesn't — if he recognises that his party's policies are against the long term interests of the country, as any thinking Labour politician must — then by acting in the "party interest" he is actually opting for personal interest.
So, assuming Clegg genuinely believes that "balanced parliaments" are the way forward, with all the back-room deals that ensue, and unless he thinks that our national fortunes will be irreparably damaged in the next 6 months, we would expect him to pursue electoral reform in both the party interest and the national interest.

1 comment:

  1. There is actually another possibility, but it seems so unlikely as to be unworthy of consideration.

    A politician might set out deliberately to sabotage 'his own' party (and his own career with it), because he recognises that his party is against the national interest.

    Perhaps Gordon Brown was a closet patriot — a deeply buried mole — who recognised the evil of the Labour party, and set out to destroy it (with unfortunate collateral damage to our immediate national prosperity).

    As I said, it's too unlikely to be worthy of consideration.