Time for an update about British party politics. When I started Samizdating, I posted a piece about how the British media have finally started laying in to our hitherto untouchable Blair Labour – from now on: Blairbour – government, after about seven years of Blairbour being beyond criticism. However, in my earlier posting I exaggerated how easily the Conservatives might be able to exploit all this. I assumed that they could make clear and rapid strides in the entirely smart direction, and of course being the Conservative Party that’s beyond them. Plus, I keep forgetting how much Normal People hate and despise the Conservatives.
The underlying story here is of a great nationwide coalition for Blairbour between (a) Normal People who want better public services without taxes going up, and (b) Abnormal Socialists who find the Conservatives so appalling that they are prepared to tolerate any other non- or anti-socialist humiliations in order to see the Conservatives go on being humiliated by the Normals. This coalition is starting to crumble.
The Normals want “better public services” and the idea was that by booting out the Conservatives (who supposedly don’t care about public services) and having a Blairbour government that did care about public services (but who wouldn’t put taxes up), they’d get better public services. This was never true. “Public services” don’t work like that. See everything else ever written by libertarians since the dawn of time. Blairbour cannot ever do as well with public services as it has promised. Some public services have patchily improved, at great cost. Others have got worse, also at great cost. Blairbour is starting to mutter about tax increases. The patience of the Normals is wearing thin.
Insofar as it is possible to contrive any “better public services” the only methods that stand any chance – and it is only a chance – are Conservative methods. So now that “we must start actually delivering better public services”, the Abnormals are also starting to be seriously pissed off. Their own methods always fail, and everyone except them knows it. So the methods of the hated Conservatives are being obstinately persisted with by Blairbour, and if anything being beefed up (“we must now actually deliver better public services”). So the patience of the Abnormals is also wearing thin.
(The Abnormals also hate that Blairbour backs the USA against Terrorism. The Abnormals are deeply confused about Terrorism. Some Abnormals are neutral for it. Others Abnormals are neutral against it. None oppose it as keenly as Blairbour or the Americans.)
But the Conservatives remain hated and despised by both Normals and Abnormals. Blairbour is no longer the Best Government available. But Blairbour remains something almost as politically potent, the Least Worst Government. Watch for a huge surge in the polls by the Conservatives, because if that happens I’ll be proved wrong. But my best guess for the next general election is for further significant gains by the Sod-You-All Party, that is to say a further decline in the overall percentage of people eligible to vote actually bothering to vote, for anyone, with the actual number of MPs remaining much as now, except that there’ll be a few more Liberal Democrats. Far more likely than a surge of enthusiasm for the Conservatives – or for anybody else – is a general sense of depression and cynicism about politics as a whole.
Sounds good to me.
Which provokes the question: what of libertarianism? Could there be some kind of British “libertarian political party” cobbled together to fill a small but growing patch of this huge vacuum and snatch some of those idle votes? Maybe. But as usual, the Conservatives are now making just enough libertarian-ish noises (“diversity” – “importance of the market”) to keep all those “libertarians” who are fascinated by British party politics fascinated, still, by the Conservative Party. And the rest of us have better and more amusing things to do with our lives.