In his book The Powers that Be Walter Wink considers the meaning of Christ’s teaching to turn the other cheek. He argues that this does not mean passively to accept violence, but rather to render it ineffective by making the violator look foolish.
The proposed legislation on the Fiscal Charter being debated today is fatuous nonsense. For a start the bill says that the government would not run a deficit in ‘normal times’. What are ‘normal times’? Secondly no government can tie the hands of a future government; legislation can always be repealed. No, the purpose of the legislation is primmarily to embarass and trick the Labour Party.
Now if the Parliamentary Labour Party had ‘turned the other cheek’, in the sense that Wink understands this, they would merely have refused to debate such a ridiculous, unnecessary bill and would have simply not turned up in the House of Commons – and preferably persuade the SNP to do the same. Osborne and his cronies would then have been the ones looking foolish debating with empty opposition benches and wasting Parliamentary time.