Nixon in China
Ideology : Hegemony : Triangulation
Now, I'm glad that Phil at least is talking some sense on the filthy foriegners release story - from the tone of the Beeb you'd think Tony Blair himself had been murderering people (well, he has been, but they're about three or four years down the line on that one).
This story starkly illustrates something important - Traingulation strategy meets Nixon in China. this story, whilst embarrasing, would have barely scratched teh Tories? Why, because the hang 'em and flogg 'em brigade are their natural supporters, they have nothing to prove on being tough on crime. Just as Nixon, the arch anti-communist had the political backing for rapprochment with China, so too does a party on it's natural ground have the opportunity to strike out - the other side don't have teh will, the reosurces or the credibility to criticise.
Triangulation means basically using office to steal the other side's clothes - it means working to stress your toughness on law and order, etc. You can do this, precisely because of the Nixon in China effect, your own side can't criticise because they want to stand behind you (and understand the reasons). However, it means you are forever running scared of losing the newly won clothes, the new credibility - the other side will want their natural position back.
That is where this scandal is coming from.
It's a hegemonic war of position, with Labour arrayed against powerful media forces backing retributive policies and disgusting patriotism. This battle was over before it began. Honest politics means confronting and changing minds, not doing it by stealth. machiavellianism, don't do it kids.
Update Paul Anderson talketh sense too.