Have the Tories changed? No, not really. Their party used to be a dazzlingly effective means to putting posh boys into positions of power and influence, entirely regardless of their views, if any. It is now a laughably ineffective means to that same end. But that's all. The real change has been in Labour.
Labour used to believe in social democracy. It did so precisely because it had profoundly conservative social and moral values, not least a strong British (and therefore also Commonwealth) patriotism focused on the institution binding together each and both of the Union and the Commonwealth. All of this was, and remains, mainstream opinion in Scotland, Wales, the North, the Midlands, and the decidedly less chi-chi parts of the South. In some such constituencies, turnout last time was cas low as one in three.
So there is a huge gap to be filled by the restored party of those Labour MPs who defended the grammar schools as the ladder of working-class advancement. By a party tough on crime because most victims are poor.
By the party of the Attlee Government, which dismissed the European Coal and Steel Community as "the blueprint for a federal state", which "the Durham miners would never wear". Of Hugh Gaitskell calling the Common Market "the end of a thousand years of history" and a threat to the unity of the Commonwealth.
By the party of ardently Unionist Labour MPs from Scotland, Wales, and their adjacent areas. Of Roy Hattersely sending British troops into Northern Ireland in order to defend the grateful Catholics there precisely as British subjects defined by their liberties under the Crown (whereas citizens are defined by their obligations to the State and to the government of the day). Of Roy Mason running Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom, with terrorism treated as a plain and simple security problem. Of Harold Wilson guaranteeing the Anguillan people's right to be British, explicitly outside the American hegemony that had wanted to re-create there the brothels and drug dens of old Havana.
By the party of those Labour MPs (mostly Methodists) who resisted relaxation of the laws on drinking and gambling. Of those (mostly Catholics) who fought against abortion and easier divorce. Of those who voted in favour only after warning against exactly what has come to pass: abortion more common than having a tooth pulled, and one in three marriages ending in divorce.
That was the party in favour of the Welfare State, workers' rights, progressive taxation, and full employment. It dissuaded Truman from dropping an atom bomb on Korea, and it refused to send British forces to Vietnam. It opposed the Soviet Union and wider Stalinism on the same grounds, and with the same ferocity, as it opposed Fascism in the Iberian world and elsewhere, as well as apartheid South Africa and its Rhodesian satellite. It won elections on enormous turnouts and in the face of serious opposition.
Britain is crying out for just such a party today. So let's get on and build it.
Never heard of David Lindsay, but his contribution to one of Mad Dog Milne's CiF threads is interesting. I wonder how he gets on at Labour branch meetings with ideas like these ?
A Question I Think We've All Felt Like Asking...
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