Monday, July 16, 2007

What Are The Tories For ?

A couple of weeks ago Peter Hitchens was wielding the whips and scorpions :

The Tories are an unleadable party based on a hopeless, seething coalition of people who hate each other and have nothing in common to enforce unity in their ranks ... this means that the urgent task is to replace the Tories with a movement that can beat New Labour and which believes in something, and to do this we must bulldoze the wreckage of the Tories out of the way.

Hitchens basic thesis is that the Tories' continued existence is vital to the Left, soaking up the votes and energies of those who want to leave the European Union, those who don't want mass immigration and those who think that criminals should be punished - while not actually doing anything about these issues. This view is IMHO not exactly fair to the Blessed Michael Howard, who implemented pro-prison initiatives in the face of Home Office resistance.

Libertarian Dr Sean Gabb feels pretty much the same way. In his excellent (doesn't mean I agree with all of it mind you) publication CULTURAL REVOLUTION, CULTURE WAR, subtitled "How Conservatives Lost England and How To Get It Back" he writes :

For as long as I have been alive — and for some while before — the Conservative Party has been a gigantic fraud on the people of this country. Its true function has not been to articulate, but to neutralise discontent. The only threat to the hegemony of the ruling class has been the deeply conservative prejudices of the English people. Any conservatism would be a threat, because it means an adherence to values not fully controlled by the ruling class. English conservatism, though, is an especially dangerous threat. Its values are those of a roughly libertarian past — of self-reliance, of patriotism, of a vague belief that while government may often be useful, it is not fundamentally necessary, and is never wholly to be trusted.


Anonymous said...

One could argue that these issues are a problem for both main parties. Labour claims to be for the working man but in fact always tends to keep the working man in his place to ensure continued support. The Tories also appeal to their traditional supporters but usually fail to deliver on policy since Tory values conflict with their paymasters in the corporate world. On top of this, both parties are fighting over the swing voters in the middle ground. so public policy is aimed to satisfy the demands of a group of people that are:

of average intelligence,
of moderate income,
readily influenced by interest rates, job security, and tax breaks,
have no long-term ideological goals,
tend to whinge about "what gone wrong with this country" but are not driven to do anything about it even at the ballot box.

This will likely be the case for all parties in a democractic system. NuLabour IS the government we deserve and we will continue to elect similar governments until some sort of crisis develops. Then we will elect a government to deal with that crisis. If we have two crises at the same time we won't know what to do!

Anonymous said...

I must say, in recent months I've started to find myself agreeing more and more with Peter Hitchens on all manner of, if not most, issues.

At the moment, the Tories do not seem to have any firm set of values upon which and around which they can build a set of policies to counter Labour.

However, Hitchens' 'grand scheme' to destroy the Tories at the next election and create a new right-wing party, I believe, won't succeed because the Conservatives are always going to have some kind of foundation stone that will keep them alive.

Although it sounds naive, the best thing to do is to change the party from the inside. Hitchens himself derides this, I am aware, as only wishful thinking. But Margaret Thatcher changed the party. David Cameron is changing the party.

Those old Tory values are still in the party somewhere, they just need a forceful voice, someone with the drive and tenacity to take them to the forefront of the Conservative Party.

Anonymous said...

Sean Gabb's pamphlet 'Culture War' deserves a much wider distribution and publicity. The diagnosis of how Britain became so suddenly a proto totalitarian state is compelling. His prescription for what we can do about it seems little more than a dream though. Emigrate - while you can - seems to be the only viable answer.

Michaelcd said...

Hitchens was a member of the Conservatives for a number of years, and even stood for the candidature of one seat. Clearly something has turned him from believing that you can change the party from within, to a position in which only total destruction is the answer to the problems facing 'small c conservatives'.

As for replacing the Tories: I simply cannot see a new party arising and challenging the status quo.

If, however, the Conservatives were to split along the lines of those who believe we should stay in Europe, and those who believe we should completely withdraw, perhaps this would create more stable idealogical coalitions. More than likely this would also push the Labour Party apart, as the 'bogeyman' Tories would no longer exist.

Sadly, In all likelihood this will never happen. So we'll have to live in hope that conservative voices with the Tories will win through.

British National Party member said...

Sean Gabbs book Culture revolution, Culture war, is a masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

"More than likely this would also push the Labour Party apart, as the 'bogeyman' Tories would no longer exist."

I have a suspicion that they will do that themselves as soon as they lose an election. Either that or fade into poorly funded insignificance. I just cannot see how Blairites, "old" (traditional) labour and the radical left can stay in one party, forced to admit that the only way they can get elected is to pretend they get their policies direct from Paul Dacre.

British National Party member said...

Ive just done a bit of a review of his book here;

Laban said...

Labour are doomed anyway, when their ethnic vote realise that they don't need them any more. It might take another 20 years.

I shall watch Respect with interest as the socialist bit gets smaller and smaller and the Islamic bit greater and greater.