The art of opposition: speed kills, seize opportunities, never stop punching

Six weeks in, and Tom Watson MP is emerging as the leading anti-government stormtrooper. His latest assault is a series of Parliamentary questions and freedom of information requests, which have forced the government to reveal that it has spent nearly £18,000 on re-stocking the government wine cellar since the election.

The cellars include wine’s most legendary names: Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Haut Brion.  Named as “first growths” in the famous classification of 1855, this is the royal family of wine.

Such wine costs a lot to buy. Hundreds of pounds a bottle. Beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Which seems slightly at odds with the age of austerity and us all being in it together. The very week that George Osborne’s axe is set to fall on schools, hospitals and family tax credits.

The good news is that a google search for “Tom Watson government wine” reveals dozens of pages of results containing versions of the story in national, international and – best of all – literally hundreds of UK local newspapers.

This is how you do opposition.  It is a war of attrition.  Little things.  Tiny things.  The more unfair the better. Irritating, annoying things that Tory and Lib Dem ministers phone each other up about on Sunday morning saying “did you see that piece in the ****ing Independent (or wherever); it’s a ****ing outrage”.  But there’s nothing they can do about it.

And things which illustrate, even through examples which may be tenuous, the underlying hypocrisy and iniquity of the coalition.

When coalition ministers are furious, and the breakfast tables of Britain are gently tutting, then we know we are fighting back.

Again we say: can we have more of this from the leadership candidates, please?  Less of your meaningless blue sky pronouncements on this and that policy pointlessness.  More sticking it to the government.

For that’s what the actual job is: leading a guerilla army in five years of dirty war.  Not general secretary of the Fabian society.

As Uncut will continue to demand: you say you want to be leaders – so lead.

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2 Responses to “The art of opposition: speed kills, seize opportunities, never stop punching”

  1. Amanda Ramsay says:

    Tom Watson was brilliant in the Chamber on Thursday, challenging Danny Alexander, stronger than most attacks in the Commons and rightly so. Also, tabling probing Parliamentary Questions, using the tools of opposition to reveal what is really going on. Hope this will soon catch on to the Labour leadership candidates.

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