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This is the moment of New Labour’s victory

The loathsome Philip Gould, a man who is like something out of Orwell’s 1984, has written a letter to the Guardian pointing out what Tory Blair David Cameron has made obvious over the last few days: New Labour’s ideology of regulatory statism and the incremental replacement of several rights based civil society with democratic omni-political interactions has completely won the argument amongst the professional political classes. David Cameron’s announcements of ‘belief’ in the purest form of socialism in Britain (the National Health Service) and his effortless assumption that it is the role of politicians and the state to tell companies what choices of food they may offer to customers to select from are not ‘clever politics’ but rather the total whimpering surrender to the ideology of Blairism. As Philip Gould points out, his side has won and won utterly. The entire meta-context within which political debate goes on has been conceded by the Tories, dooming them to always fight on ground of their ‘enemies’ choosing.

I have never been more certain that my conviction is correct that liberty, individuality and several rights can only be fought for outside the democratic political process. Although being in office matters to people like Philip Gould, to the rest of us the truth is we might as well be living in a one party state.

New Labour has indeed won in Westminster, regardless of who wins the next election, but of course as Gould cannot imagine anything beyond politics, there is still a civil society out there that needs to be defended against people like him and you cannot do that by voting for different sections of the political monoculture. I hope his article will be read by many of the remaining Conservative activists who are still quixotically clinging to the absurdity that a Cameron victory would change anything. To fight Tony Blairism first we have to destroy Tory Blairism. If you care anything for liberty and opposing the growth of a panoptic pooled database regulatory state, the worst thing you can do is vote for a Blairite like David Cameron and his intellectually defeated political party.

147 comments to This is the moment of New Labour’s victory

  • GCooper

    There is, of course, a delicious irony in that Philip Gould has never won an election in his miserable life.

    Perry de Havilland writes:

    “If you care anything for liberty, the worst thing you can do is vote for a Blairite like David Cameron and his intellectually defeated political party.”

    Hear hear!

    In passing, has anyone else detected a note of, “Oh, Christ, what have we done?” in recent Telegraph editorials?

  • HJHJ

    Perry,

    I too read Gould’s article in the Guardian. The man is both odious and feeble-minded.

    It’s hard to accept your premise (that these things can only be fought for outside the political process) unless you propose how this would work. Despair at the present state of politics doesn’t mean that you have a better solution unless you tell us how.

    Your piece is (I hope you’ll forgive me for saying) a bit like one of those woolly Guardian articles that argues vaguely that ‘we need’ or ‘there ought to be’ something without ever proposing a practical mechanism.

    Incidentally, some commentators see hope in the newer LibDem MPs who might be described as libertarian, capitalist and localist.

  • Verity

    G Cooper – I am going to turn to a Telegraph editorial to check the minute I’ve finished writing this!

    It is very strange, but the minute I first saw Blair, I had a flash forward and I basically saw all this. I don’t know why I had such a strange moment of prescience, but it is why, when he was elected, I arranged to leave Britain. I saw that he would have an influence for evil far beyond his intellectual capabilities.

    Cameron has indeed sounded the death knell for the Tories. As Perry says, even if he wins, he will faithfully carry out Blair’s programme of the corruption of the masses by forcing them, with his heel on their necks, to be touch-feely, compassionate and non-thinking and destruction of democracy. How strange that it has come to this.

  • Verity

    Well, G Cooper, nothing about the young Master David in The Telegraph leaders today, but they a leader that warmed the cockles of my cold, cruel heart. It seems that chocolate manufacturers are ignorning or circumventing a commitment they made (why?) to phase out giant size chocolate bars.

    This must be so frustrating for Dave, who cares so much. Not about the armed forces, or the size of the public sector, or the EU, or the state of education in Britain, but what people choose to eat. They want to eat big bars of chocolate and chocolate oranges. They must be re-educated to eating what Dave ‘n’ Tone have decided they should eat.

    I know, chocolate identity cards!

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “… nothing about the young Master David in The Telegraph leaders today…”

    I haven’t yet read today’s edition, but it did strike me that the leader on Thursday was less enthusiastic about the boy wonder than the paper has been sounding of late.

    I’ve also detected a sense in some of the comment pieces that Heffer is a less alone in his views on “Dave” than he seemed a week ago.

    Then again, it might just be wishful thinking on my part.

  • HJHJ: I have said what I think is needs to be done ad nauseam on this blog. We need to fight and win a culture war, an intellectual and ideological war of ideas, with the end result being that people recoil in horror when someone like Gould or Cameron say the things they say. We have to make sure that outside the hothouse world of Westminster and politics, there is still a cultural expectation of liberty.

    That is how racism was sidelined and broken and a political force: racism is the view which puts you on the lunatic fringe because of cultural aversion, not anti-discrimination laws. Take care of the culture and the politics take care of themselves. I know I sound like a broken record but it is essential to change the frames of reference and underpinning assumption people hold (meta-context) before you can expect them to even contemplate acting differently.

    I do my bit by setting up and running a blog like this and urging people to ‘think different’ and look beyond the arid limitations of party politics. Others can do their bit as their talents and inclinations dictate.

  • Tomahawk

    There is some truth in what Philip Gould says, but it is not the full story. We have to recall that Blairism was itself an accommodation with Thatcherism, as the Labour Party spent a decade abandoning policies such as nationalisation, unilateral nuclear disarmament, the restoration of trade-union rights removed by Thatcher, etc. The complaint about Blairism from the Left has always been that it bought into neo-liberal economics and globalisation, which it did. Blairism is undoubtedly different from Thatcherism, but is closer to it than it is to Old Labourism.

    The problem facing the Tories since 1997 is that Labour did things that a Conservative government would have done, especially in relation to the public services (policies that were bitterly resisted by the Labour Left). So, the Tories could either back these policies, grumble about them or propose more radical versions. They chose a combination of the latter two strategies, but because voters did not trust them on the NHS especially, the fear was that they wanted to privatise everything. ‘Clear blue water’ is fine — provided that you are in the centre and your opponent is extreme. If it’s the other way round, be prepared to lose elections.

    So, Cameron’s accommodation with Blairism is essentially rhetorical and image-based, although it is more substantive in terms of maintaining the NHS largely free at the point of delivery. But because Blairism was itself an accommocation with Thatcherism, it would be better to see Cameron’s strategy as being a reclaiming of Tory policies from New Labour (especially choice and competition in the public services) and a refusal to be pushed out into the right-wing wilderness. ‘Clear blue water’ may open up — if Gordon Brown is perceived as shifting Labour to the Left.

    has anyone else detected a note of, “Oh, Christ, what have we done?” in recent Telegraph editorials?

    Yes, I’ve noticed a distinct change in the tone of recent Torygraph op-ed pieces — music to Cameron’s ears! A good thing too — his modernisation will be credible only if the right-wing dinosaurs come out against him. (It also happened with the Grauniad and the Indie in the 1990s when they realised that Blair really meant it when he said he’d govern as a New Labourite.)

  • Old Jack Tar

    So, Cameron’s accommodation with Blairism is essentially rhetorical and image-based

    Right, yeah, sure. All of which fails to answer the question: what is the point of voting for the Tories if a less regulated economy and (especially) society matter to you? I have just spoken to two Tory chums of mine who have been trying to lure me away from UKIP for several years, seeing it as a mental aberration on my part. Yet one has just said today he’ll be voting UKIP and the other said he will be voting LABOUR (and he almost choked on the words). Interestingly I showed him Mr. De Havilland’s article explaining why it was important not to reward the Tories and he totally agreed. He is (or was) about as Home Counties Tory as you can get. So it will be interesting to see how Cameron can win if all he can do it cannibalise the Labour vote whilst losing this core vote.

  • Tomahawk

    All of which fails to answer the question: what is the point of voting for the Tories if a less regulated economy and (especially) society matter to you?

    By the same token, you can ask why anyone voted Labour in 1997, since most of its policies were similar to those of the Major government. Blair’s strategy was to seize the centreground and wait for his Tory opponents to abandon it (which they did, at least in terms of image and rhetoric banging on about immigration and gypsies, etc.). Cameron’s strategy is similar – to plant his party back in the centreground rhetorically and image-wise, and wait for Labour to abandon it. Who’s to say he won’t succeed? Gordon Brown is not an old-style socialist, but a lot of people in the media and in his party think he is – it’s the perception that matters here. Moreover, the parliamentary Labour Party is already losing cohesion and discipline, a process that will not be reversed by Blair’s retirement: this always happens to parties when they have been in government for a long time. So, provided that Cameron can convince voters that it’s safe to vote Tory again, he could well deprive Labour of its majority in 2009/10, and may even form a coalition with the reformed Lib Dems.

    To vote for UKIP is to throw your vote away.

  • Old Jack Tar

    That still begs my question of why would anyone who opposes the panopticon state (to use a samizdataism) should care just so long as the Tory party loses? I am really not voting for UKIP but rather voting against the Tory party (after 40 odd years of voting for them) and my gag reflex prevents me voting for Labour or LibDems, so UKIP it must be. For the first time in my life, I have actually become an activist rather than just a voter.

    I vote UKIP as the best way to damage the Tory party so it is hardly a vote thrown away. My hatred for what Blairism stands for (and hatred is not too strong a word) means breaking the Tory party so that viable political opposition becomes possible again is the ONLY reason left to vote. In some measure this site is what helped me crystalised my views on that, even though I am still more of a “small c” conservative than a libertarian. I am active with the Countryside Alliance and I am doing my damnedest to kill off the tribal attatchments to the Tories by people with whom I have almost no philosphical or social differences. David Cameron is now making my job much easier.

  • Tomahawk

    OJT

    You’ve missed the boat. The time to kill off the Tories was 2001-2005. They had absolutely nothing going for them, voters didn’t trust or respect them and the Lib Dems looked as though they might eventually supplant them. But the Tories never imploded in the way that the Canadian Tories did in 1993 — although they never rose much above 30% between 1992 and 2005, they never fell below it either. Now that they’re concentrating on the centreground, they are likely to win more new voters than lose existing ones. After all, that was the calculation Blair made in the Labour Party — and he was right.

  • Bernie

    I disagree with voting for UKIP as a way of informing the Tories of their mistakes. I think it better to cross out all the listed candidates and write “none of the above” on the ballot paper. Or just not vote at all. Any genuine votes are seen as evidence that “democracy is working”.

  • Old Jack Tar

    Now that they’re concentrating on the centreground, they are likely to win more new voters than lose existing ones.

    We will see. I am doing my best to make sure that is not the case and I unless you move in Tory circles, I doubt you are in a position to know if that is the case either.

    Bernie, but voting UKIP can make them lose marginal seats, voting none of the above cannot. Voting Labour or LibDem however is likely to push them even more left.

  • Verity

    Melanie was on the Beeb this a.m. talking about Dave. I got this link off her Diary. It takes you to the link to the Beeb. I couldn’t get it to work, though, but you might. (Link)

  • guy herbert

    Yes Gould is vile, but I think this is out of context. And the context indicates the hope. Why does Gould write the letter? Not to crow over the Conservatives or the destruction of the constitution, but to attack this piece by Neal Lawson, Labour has run into the sand and can’t depend on Brown to dig it out which sets out an agenda for the liberal left, suggesting Labour should change its political agenda to meet Cameron on different ground. (Neal, incidentally, is a civilised socialist and firm opponent of the Head Boy’s surveillance fascism. I might find his egalitarian vision unappealing, but I don’t fear a Compass concentration camp.)

    I suggest Gould’s letter is an exercise in steadying the Blairite troops: “We have won the battle, keep up the pressure to sweep the enemy from the field. It was the New Order that gave us this victory. Do not abandon your posts.”

    It is a good sign: that the deep faults in the Labour Party are opening up. When New Labour had nothing to fear from the Conservatives, its grip on the Labour movement was maintained by emphasising how fearsome they were, how the horrors of Thatcherism might return if MPs and activists did not do what they were told.

    Now the problem is different: as Cameron starts to look like Blair, that means attention cannot be diverted from Blair’s corporatist agenda by suddenly pointing over the worried lefty’s should and crying, “Oh my God! Norman Tebbitt!” The ranks are growing restive, hence the totemic education problems. The chamaeleonic tendencies of the LibDems cannot cope, and it is breaking down.

    The plain meaning of the words is undoubtedly correct. New Labour does not fear the Conservatives. That Cameron has decided to transform his party’s strategy, indicates that he does accept Blair’s strategy has been victorious, and cannot be fought on the old terms. But it is still not an electoral threat unless the Tory lead is more than 10 points. New Labour does not fear the Tories: it fears loss of control. It fears its own side will turn upon it and tear it to pieces.

    Thus, Gould’s task is as herald of the next phase of revolution. It is a familiar story: the move to be negotiated is from urging the advance to a new and better world, to maintaining that the current state of things is perfect and always was.

  • Luniversal

    Admin says “Sod off” and that is official.

  • Verity

    Guy Herbert – That’s an interesting take.

  • Lascaille

    Personally I think that the UKIP are totally spent.

    They only rose to the limelight thanks to the Kilroy fiasco, and now that he’s abandoned the party, half their voters go with him to… his party, which I’ve forgotten the name of, which has essentially the same principles as UKIP.
    They also do not have a coherent policy regarding pretty much _anything_ apart from the EU.

    I would hope that a strong right-wing NeoTory party could come to the fore, but, consider – we have been a 3-party state since the days of the Whigs and Liberals, and without proportional representation it is extremely likely that we will see any change because people do not like to feel that their votes are being wasted.

    I would rather write to my Tory MP and express my feelings.

  • because people do not like to feel that their votes are being wasted.

    And for the reasons both my and Gould’s articles make clear, a vote for the Tories is a vote wasted unless you really are a Blairite. It is clear that the Tory party is now just another European style social democratic statist party just like Labour.

  • Mike

    ‘This is the moment of New Labour’s victory.’ Good God, I’m amazed its taken you moonbats this long to spot it. The whole of Cameron’s campaign (vindicated by the membership’s vote), his lead in the opinion polls, his acceptance by the media powers that be, showed that he was moving onto Blair’s territory. It is exactly the reverse of what Blair did in the 90’s ‘tough on crime..’etc etc etc. From a guy whose answer to our social problems to arm everybody with a 6mm hangun (would that be subsidised Mr Perry, or would you just allow the gangsters who run our sink estates even more freedom with their weaponry?), it kind of sums up the clueless rantings that are far too commonplace on this blog. I suppose with UKIP in turmoil lacking any credibility and the Lib Dems temporarily leaderless PdH must be feeling a bit rudderless at he moment.

  • Verity

    Lascaille mentions his intention to write to his Tory MP, which raises in my mind the question – I wonder what the Tory MPs are thinking. Have they figured out that the young master slunk in under a false prospectus? Do they care? Are they furious? How about the MPs who voted for Davis?

  • Chris Harper

    “It is clear that the Tory party is now just another European style social democratic statist party just like Labour.”

    It is more a matter that the Europers have scored another victory and the Tories are now Christian Democrats, opposing Blairs Social Democrats.

  • GCooper

    Mike writes:

    “I suppose with UKIP in turmoil lacking any credibility…”

    Still whistling in the dark, eh, Mike?

    My impression from UKIP is that they are rubbing their hands with glee as more and more disgusted Conservatives have been joining in recent weeks. Some turmoil!

    The number of converts won’t be sufficient to win anything but, as Perry de Havilland suggests, it’ll spell curtains for Cameron’s putsch .

    Do keep whistling, though, if it helps keep your spirits up.

  • Good God, I’m amazed its taken you moonbats this long to spot it.

    Except that this is what I have been saying all along.

    You certainly do not need any help from me to make yourself look like an idiot… a “6mm handgun”? Stick to what you know, whatever that is.

  • Mike

    ‘You certainly do not need any help from me to make yourself look like an idiot’ Looks a bit pot calling the kettle does that Mr dH. And OK it should have read 9mm. Good luck to you, you crazy gun toting Moonbat you!

  • Alex Douglas

    I suppose with UKIP in turmoil lacking any credibility and the Lib Dems temporarily leaderless PdH must be feeling a bit rudderless at he moment.

    So let me get this straight: Perry has been saying supporting any party is a waste of time and in the week he is pretty much proved right by the leader of the Conservatives, about whom his scepticism was shown to be entirely justified, Perry must be feeling “rudderless”?

  • Sark

    Mike is such a childish ass that I cannot help wondering if he is really a Samizdata black bag operation persona designed to make Tony Blair’s supporters look like idiots.

  • Mike

    ‘at least vote UKIP or even LibDem.’ I think you’ll find these were Mr Perry’s comments from a few days ago. But of course, ‘democratic empowerment’ is just a fantasy to you guys. I think Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Saddam probably felt the same way too. Fortunately, Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher (and good old Enoch Powell) didn’t.

  • “answer to our social problems to arm everybody with a 6mm hangun (would that be subsidised Mr Perry,”

    Upgunning to 9mm won’t make you any less of a wimp.

  • Yet again, you need no help from me to make yourself look like an idiot. Go back and read the entire thing where I point out that because there is no difference between them, clearly voting for which ideologically identical klepto gets their turn at the top is pointless.

    And for those who cannot kick the fanatsy that democracy empowers, even when the aprties are the same, I urged them to at least not vote Tory in the delusion they are any different.. let then blow their vote on the UKIP or LibDems instead on the simple basis they are not the Tories. And as kindly pointed out, I have just been proved right about the Tories, so please, run along now.

  • Adriana

    Fortunately, Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher (and good old Enoch Powell) didn’t

    And that’s relevent to politics in Britain in 2006 how exactly?

  • Mike

    I must say I’m getting a better class of put down tonight. Love the way you guys just go straight to the insults. 9mm was Mr dH’s original suggestion tough guy. And as for the organ grinder to this blog ‘let them blow their vote on the UKIP or LibDems instead on the simple basis they are not the Tories,’ then advocate a vote for the candidate with the best haircut, or the nicest shoes (Galloway and Griffin can be rather dapper). Whatever takes your fancy. And maybe Churchill, Reagan and Thatcher have no relevance to anything Adriana. You may very well be right about that.

  • Old Jack Tar

    Given the dramatic collapse of the Tory party as an ideological opposition, why are you guys wasting time with some Blairite troll?

    The serious questions that need to be pondered are what is the best way to resist what is happening? If the civil liberties disaster that is looming cannot be averted, what is to be done next?

    Throwing rocks and turning cars over might relieve the tension but we obviously need a better long term idea of how exactly people who intend to refuse to cooperate on the ID card issue and the rest can put up some sort of opposition in the absence of any “official” opposition.

  • Ron

    Take a look at this Roy Hattersley article:

    Children do not belong to their parents

    Which side (Hodge or May) would Dave take, I wonder?

    Further reading at Hattersley: It’s no longer my party (2001)

  • Verity

    Ron, thank you for that chilling, Sovietesque link.

    I believe Dave would agree with every word of it, although he may be caught in a bit of a bind over who owns his disabled kid.

    Really, in a sense, the state does, doesn’t it, as they provide the ambulances and medical assistance “free”. Maybe special diets, too. Probably drugs. So they basically dictate how this kid is treated, if I’m not wrong.

    On the other hand, the kid is an asset, as Dave sees it, and people should own their own assets, shouldn’t they? Otherwise they’re not assets?

  • From Ron’s link,
    “As Ms Hodge pointed out, we abandoned that view when society agreed that the “state had a duty to intervene to help children escape disadvantage, neglect and abuse”.

    Margaret Hodge is a wealthy Trustafarian with more than enough money and clout to keep her children out of the clutches of the state.
    Her council oversaw a massive child abuse scandal These are the people the state gives your children to.

  • Verity

    Yes, RonBrickf – but why not stop it?

    Are you powerless before the state?

    If yes, who let this happen?

    Why is the state more powerful than the electorate?

    In any negotiation, the person with the money is the most powerful party. That means millions of people in the aggregate with money, and the state with none, allowed the state’s demented demands to be made lawful.

    You’ve got the Soviet Union in Europe, but with better cars and pre-washed lettuce. Have a nice life.

  • Simple Verity,
    They have the police and the courts and for another thing we are too prosperous,or rather have too much debt. Default on taxes and you will lose your house,PAYE have no option but to pay or lose jobs.
    Not easy fighting the state head on.However more people are disconnecting,institutions are withering on the vine,the balck economy is growing.
    Do you honestly think that Goulds ideas will resonate with millions of chavs,they won’t give a toss.

  • Verity

    Aren’t the chavs on welfare? Or skyvers? Am I wrong?

    “Institutions are withering on the vine”? Institutions don’t do that. They put down roots and they flourish.

    British citizens allowed it to get this far. That is my point. Why did the British lack the vigilance that is required to remain free?

    They gave in bit by bit. Why? Because they had been trained to count on the state during WWII. To give them rations. To give their children milk. To give them instructions in case of bombing. The BBC. Whatever. At this point, the state took (socialist) control of their lives. The NHS (we’ll take care of you; don’t worry).

    They’ve never shaken this dependency off and nor have they shown the will to.

    I can see that WWII was profound – being attacked by air, when Britain had always been confident of their ability to repel invaders by sea (except the Danes). But it strikes me that Britain has never come out of that WWII zeitgeist, to use a word I don’t understand but sounds about right.

    Except for those few bracing years of Maggie, British people have stayed locked in a WWII mindset. The government knows best. Sixty years and many state-educated generations later.

    Of course, the government, being feral, will never stop gnawing at the throats of the citizens.

  • permanent expat

    Well, friends, you all know only too well how this has come to pass……….and how it is doomed to continue unless something fairly radical takes place. Lots of opinion expressed complete with Greek prefixes but what the hell are you going to do? The debt-ridden, PC-harried, over-regulated island is firmly in the creepiest of Socialist hands……and of course they cannot lose an election when such a large proportion of the grateful & non-productive sheep hold Grace-&-Favour posts in the Social Services etc. It is the Socialist dream: A VOLUNTARY captive electorate. If you can hear a whirring noise it is centuries of my ancestors spinning in their graves.

  • permanent expat

    Right on, Verity.

  • GCooper

    I see the prediction made by Andrew Ian Dodge (or is it IAD?) a week or so back has come to pass. David Campbell Bannerman has been elected chairman of the UKIP and is busily extending a welcome (as the website headline puts it): “New UKIP Chairman extends hand of friendship to disaffected Tories”.

    It will be interesting to see if a new figurehead can sufficiently expand the appeal to worry the other parties. With the LibDems in rehab, Za-NuLabour suffering premonitions of Bliar withdrawal and the Tories shedding traditional supporters at a rate of knots, now is certainly the time.

  • Sane and Rational

    Grumble, gripe, whinge, moan…. Zanu-Lab…. Bliar’s a communist…. ruled by EUSSR…. grumble, whine…. oh no! Cameron!…. bleat, bleat…. unmarried mothers…. chavs on welfare…. BBC…. bring back hanging…. hang Nelson Mandela!…. Maggie Thatcher milk snatcher, good on ‘er!…. oh yeah!!…. UKIP soaring! Up from 2% to 3%! Nearly there, one more heave! …. Anyone got General Pinochet’s phone number??

  • Hrm. What is it with this thread and trolls?

  • guy herbert

    There’s support for my theory concerning New Labour’s strategic response in today’s Observer interview with Tony Blair. (Not available online.) The line is near identical to that adumbrated by Gould. Note, too, the chosen medium. This is aimed at Labour supporters.

    It really does help if you are observing politics not to assume one’s opponents, one’s friends, or the problems to be solved, are passive and simple. Gould may be odious, but he is NOT feeble-minded. Blair isn’t ever claimed as an intellectual, but he is formidably wily.

    The first step to getting somewhere for those of libertarian orientation (and their ultra-conservative fellow-travellers) is to grasp not everybody agrees, not everyone can be persuaded in the same way, and not everyone can be persuaded tout court.

    Our ideas are not automatically obvious and appealing. They can be made more so; but they can also be made less so, and at that quite a lot of our friends excel. You don’t catch Blair and Cameron spitting venom in the mattoid manner caricatured (only slightly unfairly) by Sane and Rational.

    Their appeals are elliptical and deliberate. Which is why one needs to analyse the rhetoric and the content together, and try not to project one’s own presuppositions onto it.

    I’ve been making the case that Blairism is closer to fascism than any other recognisable political doctrine for a while. (Since long before I’d heard of Samizdata.) But it is a soft facism, a cult of the victim, rather the the hard fascism of blood-spattered heroism. So it has features in common with Christianity as well as a strange provenance in the New Left. Understanding this is a precursor to fighting it, since one must understand and counter its public appeal.

    The public does like it, folks. And the consumer is king in politics, too.

    The other precursor to successful counterattack is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of one’s own position. Cameron (who leads a coterie of noticeably libertarian-inclined younger Tories) it seems is building a strategy on neutralising political weaknesses by dramatically declaring them abolished, at the cost of accepting policy weaknesses. He does not care what you think, any more than Blair cares what the Socialist Campaign Group thinks, because he know core Tory supporters are not going to change their votes in large numbers, just as Blair always knew he could rely on the core of Labour voters. Leaks to UKIP on the one hand or LibDems and minor socialist parties on the other, really aren’t important–though in Blair’s case the cumulative effect over a decade and a half has been weakening. That is a political calculation.

    Perry’s culture-war is an essential concomitant. It isn’t the same kind of struggle, and it doesn’t take place in the same sort of space. But the rational argument and eclecticism espoused by the Samizdata creed is important. Spreading libertarian ideas means talking to people who don’t automatically agree with us in an engaging and entertaining way. People who want a bunch of loons gibbering agreement with one another about an imagined universe can find plenty of conspiracy sites and forums a couple of clicks away.

  • guy herbert

    Anyone else perplexed why Ron thinks contraception for 13-year-olds relevant to this discussion?

  • Anyone got General Pinochet’s phone number??

    And as the government wants to introduce ID cards with panoptic data pooling, has abridged trial by jury, habeas corpus, privacy rights and double jeopardy, presumably you want the number of a Chilean fascist because you think WE are the authoritarians? Try to make an intelligent answer, if you are capable, as to why exactly you are an apologist for such an illiberal government or are you really just a worthless troll?

  • Guy, yes indeed, but it is important to note what you describe quite rightly as soft fascism has been present in the conservatives too for some time, particularly when you look at the social policies of people like Howard and the economic policies of Heseltine et al.

  • Chris Harper

    Mike,

    Just to let you know –

    The term ‘moonbat’ is a slur used on some non left wing blogs when talking about the weirder crazy lefties. Used in both the UK and USA and apparently derives from Monbiot.

    The lefty term used to slur the non left is ‘wingnut’, supposedly derived from ‘right wing nut’, and is a term used to describe anyone who isn’t a complete friuit loop.

  • guy herbert

    Perry,

    I agree that the Tory party has had more than its fair share of corporatist authoritarians, but those individuals have been more in the direction of traditional corporatism or hard fascism (even down to the military backgrounds and associations in several cases) and it has not been systematic, just reactionary tics among generally the most anti-intelectual and unstrategic portions of the stupid party. (They are the ones most likely to have private views favourable to the surveillance state, too. Authoritarians all through.)

    The point about New Labour is that its soft fascism is the strategic, willed choice, of some very able–brilliant, in fact–political operators. And to the extent that it is an individual foible it is one shared by key front-bench actors, often religious authoritarians too, playing out with utter sincerity the profound strategies of master manipulators such as Mandelson, Gould, Mulgan, but also feeding back into the system and promoting in their image. Christianity is an important component of the ‘soft’ bit of soft fascism, in my analysis. It too is a cult of the victim that promises to uplift those who deem themselves deserving but slighted.

    The Prime Minister is the heart of this. I call him the Head Boy in these columns for a reason, not out of gratuitous insult. It would be an interesting exercise to check how many other ministers held the same position, and which ones.

  • guy herbert

    Mike,

    I thought ‘fruit loop’ strictly only applied to gay separatist fanatics…

  • guy herbert

    Ron, Verity,

    Don’t children own themselves?

  • Chris Harper

    Mike,

    I have worked as an Information Technology professional for nearly thirty years, and have learnt from bitter experience the importance of terminological exactitude in all my dealings, in all circumstances.

    If the intention is to communicate ideas, clearly and precisely, then the Humpty Dumpty approach to language, where a word means precisely what you want it to mean, rather than what everyone else believes it to mean, creates only confusion and misunderstanding.

    An individualist meta-context is fine, but although I reject the authority of the state over my life does not mean that I fail to recognise the very different authority of the professional.

    I would be a fool if I rejected the authority of the plumber in her field, and, in this case, that of the lexicographer in his.

  • Chris Harper

    What happened to Mikes last post? The one to Guy and myself?

    It disappeared.

  • Bugger… I did a site rebuild and must have killed it.

  • permanent expat

    Allende’s number you, clearly, already have.

  • Ron

    Guy Herbert >>Anyone else perplexed why Ron thinks contraception for 13-year-olds relevant to this discussion?<<

    It was an NHS story adjacent to the “Tories and the NHS” story, in the context of the “Parents do not own their children, the State does” item a little earlier. I suppose a mild tangent to another mild tangent becomes a big tangent when combined. Anyway, not all Sunday’s papers are online yet at 2am – with a bit more choice I’d have been a bit more choosy.

  • I think us libertarians are going to have to cleave in to two camps – like bellybuttons – we are innies and outties.

    I was an outtie – self liberating, avoiding the state at all costs, having no dealings with it, making no payments to it, nor demanding anything from it. Abandoning the body politic to rot.

    But you know the body politic doesn’t rot, it just carries on growing and interfering.

    So I’m now an innie, and in Cameron I see something more than just the possibility of a mildly sympathetic party grabbing power. He is going to do and say whatever is necessary to gain power – that is what is infuriating the right. Politics is the art of the possible, no democratic politician can expect to gain power on a libertarian agenda. But the cause of liberty can be furthered through engaging with sympathetic politicians and influencing the political debate. Pragmatic libertarians should seize the opportunity rather than whinge on the sidelines.

    Ideological purity is all very well but what will you achieve?

  • GCooper

    guy herbert writes:

    ” Leaks to UKIP on the one hand or LibDems and minor socialist parties on the other, really aren’t important…”

    Is that so? I seem to recall the regular lambasting of UKIP voters by Euan Gray, among others, who insisted that it was UKIP votes that had inflicted considerable damage on the Tories in the last election – not in total, but in marginal seats, where a detailed analysis showed votes lost to the UKIP had proved critical.

    Given that the next election will be even closer – and it is hard to see how it can fail to be – anyone casually dismissing votes lost to either the UKIP or the LibDems could well end up looking a little hubristic.

  • GCooper

    Guido Fawkes writes:

    “Ideological purity is all very well but what will you achieve?”

    It all depends how far into the fetid swamp one has to crawl to become an innie doesn’t it?

    Since Cameron’s appointment, the argument that people should hold their noses and swallow the medicine has been advanced (with varying degrees of politeness) by a range of commentators. But it is probably significant that the most vehement of these have been disaffected Blairites.

    Generally speaking, guilt by association may be unreliable, but probably not in this case. Given the dawn of the chocolate orange inspector, the awful prospect of a burgeoning Green fascist influence and one or two other curtsies to the authoritarian Left, it is hardly to be wondered that some on the Right, as well as some libertarians, simply feel Cameron’s swamp is likely to be far too deep and noxious to invite the happy camper.

  • Euan Gray

    regular lambasting of UKIP voters by Euan Gray, among others, who insisted that it was UKIP votes that had inflicted considerable damage on the Tories in the last election

    Perfectly true. UKIP is never going to win a single Westminster seat under our current electoral system, since as has been noted above it has no coherent policy on anything other than Europe, which isn’t enough to get elected. However, the votes attracted by UKIP in the last election were in some 20 or so constituencies greater than the margin of defeat for the Conservative candidates. An absence of UKIP would not have resulted in a Conservative government, but it probably would have resulted in a smaller Labour majority.

    However, what UKIP supporters fail to realise – or perhaps more disturbingly actually do realise and consciously desire – is that their party is incapable of achieving anything other than a prolonged run of Labour governments.

    There is no electoral appetite for anything approaching a libertarian policy in this country. Some people deny this, and cite Thatcher’s administration in support. They forget, though, that Thatcher’s government was one of the most centralising in British history and did more than any government since Attlee’s to concentrate power in state hands, and indeed bequeathed to Blair the tools necessary for him to do what he has done. Thatcher may have been many things, but libertarian she certainly wasn’t. It has been noted by many others that the principle object of UKIP seems not to be to create a more liberal order but simply to destroy the Conservative party, possibly in retaliation for the dumping of Thatcher in 1990.

    All very well, but that isn’t going to achieve what some around here think. There will not be a meaningful mainstream liberal/libertarian party in the UK, because this type of policy simply does not attract votes. For this same reason, the Conservative party is not going to lurch rightwards to meet the challenge of UKIP and thus create a right opposition to a left Labour administration. Indeed, the past two election results show precisely what happens when the Conservatives attempt to do this – you get a Labour government. Such is the price of insisting on ideology rather than pragmatism.

    Another touted possibility is that a broken Conservative party might be replaced by a more libertarian Liberal Democrat party. This is unlikely, to say the least. The LDs are made up of the tofu-munching do-gooder wing and the classical liberal wing. COMBINED they attract a fair number of votes, but split each would individually not attract enough. As the prospect of power becomes brighter for the LDs, one would expect to see factionalism and a battle for the soul of the party, and this is exactly what is happening now with the assassination of Kennedy. Have them holding the balance of power and this would only get worse.

    As with Labour in the 1980s, the only thing preventing a change of government in the UK is a fractured opposition. Then, Labour sought ideological purity in a clearly socialist manifesto, and it bombed. The government prospered not because it was particularly popular – Thatcher was and remains a divisive and often hated figure – but because there was no credible opposition. So now, the (Labour) government prospers because the opposition has sought ideological purity in a variously Eurosceptic and arch-reactionary policy which has itself bombed. People instinctively mistrust ideologically driven parties in this country, and the lessons of recent history should be abundantly clear on this matter.

    Those arguing against the attempt of the Conservative party to recapture the political centre betray a stunning lack of grasp of political reality – the plain fact is that any party wishing to win any election in any state must position itself around the centre of the political consensus in that state, with a bias one way or the other in certain respects, those respects depending on the particular needs of the time and the state in question.

    The consensus changes over time and with changing circumstances. What was the consensus in the 1970s ceased to be so by the early 90s, and the early 90s consensus no longer holds now. It is impossible to devise an ideology, a policy or a manifesto that is good now and for ever. Things just don’t work like that.

    It remains the case, though, that there are only two parties in the UK which are sufficiently widely perceived as being capable of governing. Destroy one and you will simply give the other a free run. In time, a replacement will come along, but it will not be radically different that the one you’ve just destroyed – if it wishes to succeed it too will of sheer necessity position itself around the middle of the consensus, which by then might well have shifted a little. But the principle never changes.

    Today, it means that voting UKIP or LD helps Labour. If you cannot grasp this elementary political reality you are destined to be eternally disappointed.

    EG

  • Verity

    Every word that GCooper wrote!

  • guy herbert

    EG,

    There is no electoral appetite for anything approaching a libertarian policy in this country. Some people deny this, and cite Thatcher’s administration in support. They forget, though, that Thatcher’s government was one of the most centralising in British history and did more than any government since Attlee’s to concentrate power in state hands, and indeed bequeathed to Blair the tools necessary for him to do what he has done.

    Hear, hear. Facing those closely related facts (with the small emendation, “any government *before* since Attlee’s,” since centralising increased in pace thereafter) is essential for anyone who wants to do something for the cause of liberty in the UK.

  • guy herbert

    GCooper,

    If a party is making big gains in the centre, losses of fringe people don’t matter. So Euan Grey is right that voting for minor parties helps Labour, but if Labour itself is in trouble–i.e. the Tories are actually taking votes from Labour that went to Blair in ’97–it matters less.

  • Verity

    permanent expat writes: The debt-ridden, PC-harried, over-regulated island is firmly in the creepiest of Socialist hands.

    Philip Ghoul.

  • Tomahawk

    Guy, this was good:

    Our ideas are not automatically obvious and appealing. They can be made more so; but they can also be made less so, and at that quite a lot of our friends excel. You don’t catch Blair and Cameron spitting venom in the mattoid manner caricatured (only slightly unfairly) by Sane and Rational.

    Pity you went and spoiled it all with this nonsense:

    Blairism is closer to fascism than any other recognisable political doctrine for a while.

    There I was pondering the similarities between Islamism and fascism, but no, it’s Blairism we need to be frightened of! Just trying to think where the national/religious chauvinism comes in to it…

    Perry

    Why don’t you run a popularity poll on General Pinochet among your regular commenters? You might be in for a nasty surprise. I bet Verity and GCooper wept buckets of tears and flew into fits of rage when the General was arrested in London in 1998.

  • So Euan, let me summarize… you think we should continue to vote Tory even if that means we will get the same policies we got from Blair? Is that really what you advise?

  • Indeed, the past two election results show precisely what happens when the Conservatives attempt to do this – you get a Labour government. Such is the price of insisting on ideology rather than pragmatism.

    I must have been in some alternate reality for the last two elections then. The Tory party went to the… right? And what policies would those be?

  • Euan Gray

    you think we should continue to vote Tory even if that means we will get the same policies we got from Blair? Is that really what you advise?

    I advise that you pay more attention to political reality than ideological fantasy.

    I must have been in some alternate reality for the last two elections then

    Would that be the alternative reality in which more than infinitesimal numbers of people are attracted to libertarian ideas? Or the one in which the political and economic priorities of the late 70s still apply in the early 21st century? Or the one in which isolationist Europhobia is a mainstream opinion?

    The Tory party went to the… right? And what policies would those be?

    Principally Europe and immigration/asylum. A counter to the “threat” of UKIP and acknowledged by senior Tories to have been an absolute bloody disaster in electoral terms.

    The terms “right” and “left” only have meaning in relation to the political centre in the state under consideration. What is centrist in the US would be noticeably right-wing here, for example. You may consider that ideas such as withdrawal from Europe, flat taxation, privatising education and healthcare and so on are not particularly extreme, but in the context of the current British political spectrum they are on the radical right.

    EG

  • I advise that you pay more attention to political reality than ideological fantasy.

    Ah, as I thought, you do not have an answer but as usual take an amazing number of keystroke to say that.

  • RAB

    Ok let’s try a new idea.
    Let’s found a party whos main principle is getting out from under BIG govt , limiting immigration to those who actually want to be here, for the right reasons, quitting Europe altogether apart from trade.(and we traded, or smuggled goods even in times of war against Spain & France). So let’s take the “they will take their ball away and wont play with us anymore” arguement out to the firing squad post shall we!!? Britain thinks globally, and always has, until small minds like Bliar/Cameron turn up and try to grab POWER without thinking about Who they represent, but have fantasies about the ideal citizens they would like to make us.
    Model Euros is what they want us to be, and we just dont get it. And why should we?
    We vote for competence and clarity, on the basis of the lies political parties tell us.
    We end up with fudge and downright foolishness.
    The trouble with all this debate on left and right is that it is being conducted in the MSM from the centre and not from the heartlands.
    I know people of exteme left and right views who are completely comfortable with their views and policy positions.
    If all political activity is to be conducted around getting the vote of people too stupid to know their own minds from one announcement of political initiative to the next, from one party or another, then we are in deep shit.
    Oopps! We are in deep shit!
    The reason that UKIP is derided is that it is Nationalist and has no personalities for the media to vampirise.
    Kilroy was there but now he’s gone. I always make it a point to not vote for orange people , be they Rajneesh or Kilroy Silk.Can anyone recall the name of any UKIP candidate or MP let alone the Leader?
    Well why is that?
    Because the MSM will not take them seriously. Everyone knows how our media works on this site, even the trolls.
    UkIP need a personality , but a real one , not a phoney one, like Silk. It could also do with a name/image makeover, but fundamentally, however flakey I feel some of these fellow travellers to be, I think I will vote for them at the next General Election, because there is no way I could vote for Cameron in the words of GCooper, that the little shit is lying through his teeth just to get elected.
    Believe me, the hard core voters have not been spoken to properly for a very long time. They feel they have been forgotten. Only those who can be enticed to change , like bank accounts, with the promise of a free CD or discount card are courted by the political number crunchers.
    I bet you could put an anti European arguement to a coalition of Libs/LABsand CONs, plus a realistic domestic social policy and win a landslide, with an entirely new party.
    The media will not listen of course, unless it’s called the BBC World party. That one’s in govt already.

  • Euan Gray

    Ah, as I thought, you do not have an answer but as usual take an amazing number of keystroke to say that

    I’ve already given the answer in my first post and repeated it in the second one – forget ideological fantasy, focus on political reality. In the first post I have explained why I think this is necessary, complete with historical parallels illustrating the principle.

    So, do you have a coherent objection and/or a plausible alternative plan?

    EG

  • No, that is a non-answer. Your meaningless ‘political reality’ would have people who are opposed to Labour policies vote for the Tories so that the Tories can implement Labour policies, as if changing the ruling party was somehow a meaningful end in and of itself.

    I have already come up with a solution: destroy the Tory party so that they stop acting as a source of false hope for people opposed to Labour. Only then can any serious opposition start to form.

  • Euan Gray

    Let’s found a party whos main principle is getting out from under BIG govt

    Fine. But you need to propose an alternative to “big government” that (a) works and (b) is acceptable to enough people.

    limiting immigration

    Ah, yes, always with the immigration…

    to those who actually want to be here

    Perhaps you could show which people have been forced to settle in Britain against their will, and are prohibited from leaving? Or could you say what the “right” and “wrong” reasons are? And who decides right and wrong here, and on what grounds?

    Britain thinks globally

    But has neither the ability nor the money nor the desire to ACT globally, at least not unilaterally. Britain is a small and not particularly wealthy country.

    The trouble with all this debate on left and right is that it is being conducted in the MSM from the centre and not from the heartlands

    And these heartlands would consist of whom, exactly? Let me guess – middle class, middle aged white men? Talk of “heartlands” is often a euphemistic disguise for narrow petty nationalism and reaction.

    I know people of exteme left and right views who are completely comfortable with their views and policy positions

    Hmm. So do I. But I don’t know anyone who holds a view or policy position yet is completely UNcomfortable with it, interestingly enough. The question is how many other people share the view, not how much sense it makes to the individual holder of the view.

    The reason that UKIP is derided is that it is Nationalist and has no personalities for the media to vampirise

    No, it’s because it has no coherent policy other than on Europe, is made up of people perhaps most charitably described as eccentric and appeals to the crass reactionary and chauvinistic instinct of about 0.5% of the population.

    I think I will vote for them at the next General Election, because there is no way I could vote for Cameron

    Then all you will achieve is to increase the probability of a further Labour administration, cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    the hard core voters have not been spoken to properly for a very long time

    Ah, this will be the middle aged, middle class white men again, no?

    I bet you could put an anti European arguement to a coalition of Libs/LABsand CONs, plus a realistic domestic social policy and win a landslide, with an entirely new party

    I bet you couldn’t. You can’t even do it with an established party, so the chances with a completely new one are slim to nil. Whatever the merits of an anti-EU (not the same as anti-European) case, it will inevitably attract racists, xenophobic Little Englanders, arch-reactionaries, chauvinists and those who think England still hasn’t come to terms with the Norman Conquest. Sadly, people like this tend not to go for a realistic social policy, being often of either the hanging-and-flogging or let’s-legalise-everything varieties – both of which are electoral turnoffs (esp. the latter).

    The media will not listen of course, unless it’s called the BBC World party

    It could alternatively be because such views are shared by only a tiny number of people. The fact that they don’t get regular airing in the media is not indicative of conspiracy, merely of irrelevance.

    EG

  • Euan Gray

    No, that is a non-answer. Your meaningless ‘political reality’ would have people who are opposed to Labour policies vote for the Tories so that the Tories can implement Labour policies, as if changing the ruling party was somehow a meaningful end in and of itself

    It isn’t. No party can gain power without winning the centre, and this effectively means the Conservatives winning the votes of moderates who deserted to Labour or to other parties or who didn’t bother voting at all. An ideologically-derived policy will REPEL people like this, and thus will condemn the party to permanent opposition. Politics is about compromise, it is after all the art of the possible.

    destroy the Tory party so that they stop acting as a source of false hope for people opposed to Labour. Only then can any serious opposition start to form.

    Yeah, right.

    Destroy the Tory party and there is NO serious opposition for some time. This means another Labour government. When the successor party establishes itself, it is going to take the opposite wing of the centre to that held by Labour, but it won’t be all that much different that the Conservatives. Historically, there are usually few really major, fundamental differences between the two main parties in electoral systems such as ours, or at least not when there is credible opposition.

    If you think that destroying in the Tory party will somehow give rise to a strongly Euro-sceptic, semi-libertarian, pro-individualist & anti-state party significantly to the right of Labour on most issues (which I assume is what you mean by “serious” opposition), then you’re still in your alternative reality. It isn’t going to happen, Perry. It simply isn’t. There is insufficient electoral demand for it, to put it very politely.

    All your prescription would achieve is the replacement of the Conservative party by the Insert-name-here party with a pretty similar policy, but with a decade long gap of continued Labour administration in between, for want of any actual opposition. Basically all you’ll do is change the name of the party, but political reality and electoral necessity will mean that the broad policy platform wouldn’t change too much. It couldn’t.

    EG

  • Tomahawk

    Euan – well said. It’s good to see on this site some people other than just the usual phobes n’ grumblers.

    Perry

    I have already come up with a solution: destroy the Tory party so that they stop acting as a source of false hope for people opposed to Labour. Only then can any serious opposition start to form.

    When you have a largely two-party system, it’s inevitable that parties that want to win elections will normally gravitate to the centre ground. Radical parties can usually win only in crisis situations. Therefore, even if you destroyed the Tories, the party that replaced them as the main challenger to Labour would soon start tracking to the centre – that’s what Labour did after it supplanted the Liberals.

    So, what’s left? You could argue for PR – that’s what helped the Ukippers do so well in the European parliamentary elections in 2004. Or you could just argue against liberal democracy, period. Perhaps you’d like one of those “benevolent dictators” so beloved of undergraduate economics textbooks – although they normally turn out to be like General Pinochet.

  • Tomahawk

    Euan – I didn’t see your 8.35 post when I put up my 8.44 post, but we’ve made essentially the same point.

  • And again, you cannot answer my question of why anyone who opposes Labour’s ideology should vote for another party which shares the same ideology.

    That is why I try to alienate as many people as possible from the whole system. Eventually people will start looking for other ways to see their interests supported.

  • Perhaps you’d like one of those “benevolent dictators” so beloved of undergraduate economics textbooks – although they normally turn out to be like General Pinochet.

    What is it with you and Pinochet? You are the one who supports the most illiberal British government for a very long time, so please stop projecting your mindset on me.

  • Euan Gray

    And again, you cannot answer my question of why anyone who opposes Labour’s ideology should vote for another party which shares the same ideology

    Labour is no longer an ideological party, and arguably hasn’t been since the dropping of Clause Four. The Conservatives have never been an ideological party – the idea of conservatism is fundamentally one of pragmatism and thus is antithetical to ideology.

    In any case, it is inevitable (as both I and Tomahawk have described) that in a FPTP representative democracy one will have two major parties which are broadly similar in general outlook but with differences of emphasis on specific policies. This is how it works.

    You will have a choice between two such parties, selecting to generally but not exclusively favour (say) private enterprise over state industry, or harder law enforcement over permissiveness. Most people will choose one or other of these. There is also the choice of the extreme parties if you insist on ideological purity, but these rarely do well simply because so few people share their views – I think most people instinctively recognise that life isn’t a black and white matter. In a democracy, it is necessary to accept that if one cannot like it one must lump it.

    It is true that tyranny of the majority (or at least of the largest minority) is likely to be a result, but nothing is forever in this world and this type of generally democratic process has served pretty well for a long enough time. The majority changes periodically.

    The parallels between the current situation and that obtaining in the 1980s with the parties’ positions reversed are striking. I assume you were not dismayed by the succession of Conservative governments in the 1980s – what we have now is the flip side for basically analogous reasons. If you liked one, you really have to accept the other as the price.

    That is why I try to alienate as many people as possible from the whole system

    It’s well enough known that you refuse to vote – not that this stops you advising others how to vote, of course. Supposing (taking a trip to Perry’s alternative reality once again) that you managed to alienate almost everyone from the electoral process. With what, exactly, would you replace it? And how would you preserve your alternative system?

    EG

  • Ron

    One possible way that the Tories could accommodate UKIP to both their satisfactions is to work out how many plainly Europhile Tory candidates/MPs there are and give them the right to deviate from official Tory policy (still effectively ‘In Europe, not run by Europe’ as far as I can see) and run as official “Pro-Euro Conservatives”, with the right to be as federalist as they like.

    Then the Tories could allow the *same number* of *ex-senior-Tory* UKIP candidates to join Cameron’s “Top 140″ candidate list as explicit official “UKIP Conservatives”, with the explicit condition that UKIP will not run any candidates as such, but instruct all their members to vote Conservative, to maximise the chance that these “UKIP Conservatives” will form part of a reigning Government.

    Thus UKIP wins by effectively getting itself 20 (?) MPs at minimal financial cost instead of loads of lost deposits, and the Tories gain by picking up most of all the UKIP votes (apart from Perry).

    Win-Win for both of them. Which is why they won’t do it.

  • Euan Gray

    and the Tories gain by picking up most of all the UKIP votes

    The Tories will gain more votes by reclaiming the centre. Even if they lost all the actual and potential UKIP votes, they’d gain far more from disaffected Labour moderates and they would get the Tories who didn’t vote at all last time to come out next time. THAT’S why they won’t do it.

    EG

  • guy herbert

    Tomahawk,

    There I was pondering the similarities between Islamism and fascism,[...]

    There you find yourself in the almost the same camp as Verity (tho’ I acknowledge you are distinguishing Islamism from Islam)–with me thinking the comparison is fatuous. Compare 20th century Arab nationalism and fascism, by all means, but the emphasis on violence shared by hard fascism (in my typology), and most (but by no means all) Islamist groups to be all that’s in common to me.

    Perry,

    I can understand that you react badly to your tail being twisted, but the central thesis being put forward by Tomahawk and Euan Gray, viz —

    Destroy the Tory party and there is NO serious opposition for some time.

    Seems to me to be so obviously true that I can’t see why you are resisting it.

    The corrollary is that this would be a Very Bad Thing. I’m much more scared of the heirs of Blair than Tomahawk, plainly. But even a Labour Party that returned to a continental Social Democrat model (as nice people on the left usually assume on scant evidence that it would under Brown) in power for a decade and a half more, seems to me undesirable.

    How does that make it easier to leave a then more United Europe? Or unpick a culture by then even more deeply soaked in statist presumptions, and more tightly locked within collective institutions? Even if you do seriously think Cameron is a Butskillite, then a slow drift from individualism is surely preferable to a gallop?

  • Simple. If you allow the Tory Party to turn into Labour party, then how is that actually better? You are acting as if there is a real choice on offer. Have you not been reading what the leader of the party has been saying? Blunkett = Howard and Blair = Cameron. That is no choice at all.

    Sorry but I have no interest in playing this game of charades.

  • Euan Gray

    If you allow the Tory Party to turn into Labour party, then how is that actually better?

    Which of these is better:

    1. Labour and Tory generally similar on the fundamental issues with differences of emphasis on certain aspects, and thus with credible opposition;

    2. Tories radically different than Labour and ideologically sound, but completely unelectable, and thus with no credible opposition.

    This is the question, really.

    Many regular commenters on this blog are not libertarian, to the extent “libertarian” actually means anything. In fact, I suspect libertarians are pretty much a minority compared to the reactionary conservatives, possibly on a numeric par with more pragmatic conservatives like me. Nevertheless, I think the same message is applicable to both the reactionary and the libertarian:

    Nobody seems to want your prescription.

    In Perry’s scenario, there would be an endless run of Labour and Labour/LD governments. The only alternative would be a radical right-wing party espousing the kind of policy that may float Perry’s boat but seems more likely to be a rather large iceberg to the majority of voters. For the life of me, I cannot see how an idelogically pure but unelectable opposition helps anyone.

    Even if we actually got into such a mess, and even if no centre-right party arose (although in reality it would), what will your comment be when we have yet another Labour government? You’ll have the opposition you want, yet people won’t vote for it.

    What then? Do we have to change the people because that’s where the fault lies?

    EG

  • Verity

    Well, GCooper, you see what you did when you raised Euan Gray’s ghost? Now he has a new best friend in Tomahawk.

    Although I make it a point not to respond to Euan Gray’s dissertations, I want an answer to this question re this:
    xenophobic Little Englanders,. Euan Gray, where do you find either a xenophobe or a Little Englander in today’s Britain? I believe you would be very hard put to find either.

    Apart from the 500,000 properties in France owned by English people, and the tens of thousands who have holiday homes in Florida and the hundreds of thousands who have homes on the Costa del Sol and Murcia in Spain, Italy and Cyprus and Greece – there are millions more who take a cheap flight for a holiday overseas every two or three years and stay in hotels. Or go camping. Or take a weekend break overseas. In fact, the Brits must be the travellingest people in the world, outside the Ozzies. And then, of course, we have the thousands who go to beautiful Pakistan to marry a cousin or sign up for a course in terrorism.

    This is a real question: where do you find either an xenophobe or a little Englander in today’s Britain?

    The fact is, you cannot answer those of us who have rational concerns about Europe, so you try to diminish us by calling us names and suggesting we are part of some nest of loonies who are frightened to go outside Britain.

  • Julian Williams

    If Cameron’s Tory party is a version of New Labour it unlikely to last long.

    The New Labour model has appeared to work well and the electorate are fairly happy. The economy has conitnued as before, taxes feel the same, more money has gone into the NHS.

    So Cameron, being a moron, wants to play to the electorate and give them more of what they think they want. And as a result the Tories are doing well in the polls.

    But the success of Labour’s policies is an illusion, so in it all going to end in tears, debt, inflation and jobs on the scrap-heap.

    At which point Cameron, being a moron, will change his policy to be the next thing focus groups tell him the electorate wants.

    Unfortunately Cameron is only a symptom of what is wrong. it is the electorate who are sick and the politicians we are getting are feeding that sickness.

  • Euan Gray

    This is a real question: where do you find either an xenophobe or a little Englander in today’s Britain?

    Why, in the UKIP and on the foaming-mouthed wing of the Conservative party, of course. And many other places – I meet enough people like this not to imagine they are an extinct breed, but I don’t meet so many as to assume they are a significant population.

    I do not mean this as a personal remark, but some of your recent assessments of British (and esp. Scottish) people and culture have been so risibly wide of the mark that’s I’d be surprised if many took them at all seriously.

    The fact is, you cannot answer those of us who have rational concerns about Europe

    I can and have done in the past and doubtless will again in the future. However, it is not the case that the only possible answer to these concerns is withdrawal.

    Also, one has to consider the irrational concerns about Europe so often displayed hereabouts…

    EG

  • Euan Gray

    it is the electorate who are sick

    What do you propose? Deprive rootless cosmopolitans and other undesirables of the vote?

    EG

  • Dwight

    Also, one has to consider the irrational concerns about Europe so often displayed hereabouts…

    Yup, more Euro-cattle eager to be branded. Y’all who can see where these laughable fools are going should get the hell over to the other side of the Atlantic where there are people who are not willing to lie down and take it up their pragmatic ass.

  • Tomahawk

    where do you find either an xenophobe or a little Englander in today’s Britain?

    At the Ukippers’ annual conference.

    Perry

    You don’t seem to understand that party competition is dynamic. Labour moved to the centreground in the 1990s because it knew that if it didn’t it would lose to the Tories. But let’s suppose your wet dream came true and the Conservatives were destroyed as a viable alternative government. Then, there would be nothing compelling Labour to remain on the centreground because it would know that even if it shifted to the Left, voters would have no credible alternative government. You would instead have a dominant party system, in the manner of Japan or Sweden for long periods, with the same party in office doing more or less whatever it wanted — and I doubt it would pop many of your libertarian advice pellets.

    You call it a game of charades. In fact, two-party competition is more like a perpetual tug-of-war — the fact that each team is close to the centre doesn’t mean they’re standing around doing nothing. But when one team gives up, the other is not going to remain near the centre for long.

  • Dwight

    Also, one has to consider the irrational concerns about Europe so often displayed hereabouts…

    Yup, more Euro-cattle eager to be branded. Y’all who can see where these laughable fools are going should get the hell over to the other side of the Atlantic where there are people who are not willing to lie down and take it up their pragmatic ass.

  • Euan Gray

    Y’all who can see where these laughable fools are going should get the hell over to the other side of the Atlantic where there are people who are not willing to lie down and take it up their pragmatic ass

    Yes, but it’s such a terribly long flight to Colombia, isn’t it?

    EG

  • guy herbert

    So Cameron, being a moron…

    He really isn’t, you know. It is perfectly possible, and quite frequent, for intelligent people presented with the same information to come to radically different views of the appropriate actions. (Look at Perry and I, who share quite a lot of values, failing to agree on a core topic of this thread.)

    It is quite common to suppose the contrary and that someone who differs from you is bad, stupid or mad, and this is exacerbated by groupthink. I first came across it among academics–“I’m respected in my field. You just don’t understand the subject”–so I think of it as The Scholar’s Fallacy.

    Just because David Cameron doesn’t do what you’d do doesn’t mean he isn’t smart. It’s just possible he has better information, too. David Davis might not have come across in the same way for the media, and would have been handicapped thereby, but he too had signalled he would have embarked on a major repositioning for the Tory party. If the public hates the product, it is the only thing to do.

    Where to reposition it is a more interesting question, but the LibDem and (more discreet) Labour turmoils suggest that currently it is moving in a satisfactory direction. Thre’s no reason to suppose an unique solution, and it might be good without necessarily being the best. But we’ll only know whether it works or not, not whether there was a better alternative.

  • But when one team gives up, the other is not going to remain near the centre for long.

    That is what I am counting on.

  • RAB

    This site can be very frustrating!
    About an hour ago I re- Fisked everything that Anola Gay fisked at me and lost the lot due to some techie gliches.
    Bugger, sad , never mind! Why do these spambot thingies not work properly.
    I am certainly not going to type it all out again.
    You can all just imagine it.
    It’s probably better that way! Eh V&G?

  • Verity

    Guy Herbert – I certainly am not one of those who think Cameron is a moron. I just think he’s slippery. Wide boys are usually quite quick thinking.

    Euan Gray – Could you give me some quotes from all these bonkers Tories and UKIPpers that you seem to run across? Most of them simply do not wish to be run along European lines, judging our government and our constitution superior. I do not think this believe causes foaming at the mouth.

    By the way, a lot of people who have homes on the Continong agree that this is a bad move for Britain and that Britain’s system of government is superior.

    You seem to be getting a little isolated here, Euan Gray, ranting and raving about xenophobes and “little Englanders” and foaming Tories and mad UKIPpers. A wee bit paranoid, if you’ll excuse the observation. I think you need to calm down.

  • Julian Williams

    Maybe he is not a moron, maybe he a clever shifty politician who will win power. But he seems to be a politician that follows the crowd and shallow thinker.

    Hague wore a baseball cap the wrong way round and was labelled, Cameron says silly things about chocolate oranges and has labelled himself silly.

    It also looks like Cameron has committed to the centre ground of 2005 just at the moment when it is about to shift. His commitments to keeping the NHS largely unchanged is so expensive he will have to commit most of his future budget (and our taxes) to maintaining a public service that is beginning to be resented by his natural supporters.

    I agree there is a lot of group think on this site about Cameron, he certainly raises people’s blood pressure and stimulates a reaction!

  • RAB

    Yes John
    Just on basic instinct we didn’t take to him.
    On policy, sheesh what can you say! The more he says the less we believe even more.
    We saw the same in Blair and have had to endure 8 years of the slimy freeloading little fart.
    Will something kick this crazy consensus politics up side the head?

  • Verity

    He sounds wonderful!! No wonder he’s being labelled “controversial” in Scotland.

  • Verity

    RAB – “We saw the same in Blair and have had to endure 8 years of the slimy freeloading little fart.”

    Oh, RAB, no need for circumlocutions on this blog! Tell us what you reall think!

  • GCooper

    That’ll teach me to go out for the day…

    Reading the above on my return raises two immediate questions.

    The first, is Tomahawk capable of composing a post without gratuitous insults?

    The second is. exactly what direct, personal experience has either he or Euan Gray of UKIP members, about whom they speak so freely?

    Before the last election I decided to get to know some of the local UKIP people in my area and found they were very far from the juvenile caricatures above. It was a small sample, I admit. But at least it was a real one and not taken straight from the pages of the Guardian.

  • Verity

    GCooper – I am still waiting to hear from Euan Gray, who accuses Britons who disagree with him regarding the value of the EU versus the cost (monetary and political) to Britain of being in the EU of being foaming loonies, foaming UKIPpers, foaming Tories, scaredy xenophobes and dismissive Little Englanders.

    He hasn’t answered my points about the millions of Brits who live overseas, or the millions of Brits who routinely take vacations overseas and weekend breaks, too, making the xenophobic Brit a rara avis indeed.

    Or my point that many of the Brits who have homes, either permanent or holiday, on the Continent are those whose enthusiasm for the EU is the most restrained.

    Euan Gray cannot seem to understand that we can like le Continong without wishing to be governed by it. We would rather be governed by the laws laid down by our own ancestors. Not theirs.

    He wants people who want out of the EU to be ignorant and uninformed, because that’s the only way his argument works.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    ” I am still waiting to hear from Euan Gray, who accuses Britons who disagree with him regarding the value of the EU versus the cost (monetary and political) to Britain of being in the EU of being foaming loonies, foaming UKIPpers, foaming Tories, scaredy xenophobes and dismissive Little Englanders.”

    Yes, quite. I’ll have a few comments to make on that, should Mr Gray deign to respond. They will be based on direct personal experience of the UKIP members with whom I was in contact, when I was trying to decide how to vote in the last election.

    My greater complaint, though, is with Tomahawk, whose suggestion that I am a supporter of Gen. Pinochet is precipitously close to actionable.

    This sort of grubbing around in the bottom of the grab bag of Leftist insults may pass for debate on his former home (which I gather was Harry’s Place), but it really isn’t up to the (usually) more rigorous climate here.

    Either way, it was clearly completely uncalled for and absolutely unjustified by anything I have written.

  • Verity

    GCooper – weak people often choose strong fantasy names. Native American! Brave!

    Tomahawk. This little guy’s never met a Native American in his life and hasn’t the faintest clue how “they” feel about anything. In the aggregate. Them.

    He knows nothing about the tribes. Does he think he’s a Chicasaw, Choctaw or Navajo? An Iroquois or an Apache? Does he know anything about any of them other than, in politically correct terms, he is ROBBING THEM OF THEIR CULTURE?

    I am shocked. Shocked.

  • permanent expat

    I’m a bit late coming to this ongoing jolly but never mind. Pinochet (shock,HORROR!!) although not someone I would wish to number among my few friends, saved Chile for later less radical regimes & it is now a fairly prosperous country by all accounts. Only a died-in-the-wool fellow-traveller (& I sniff one or two here) would be crass enough to have supported Allende.
    I understand that, naturally, this discussion is parochial in extremis but to those of you believing that the formation of a new party isn’t “possible”, remove your Schauklappen and look at Germany (OK different system, I know) where disaffected Socialists, especially in the former DDR, recently formed “Die Linke” at the drop of a hat…..with big name leaders like Oskar Lafontaine & Gregor Gysi. Are there no big names in the wretched island who have the guts & charisma to do the same for the Libertarian cause?

  • RAB

    Thomas Bach would push Buffallos off a cliff in pre-conquest times, say 1690, because he thought it was the thing to do. Conservation? are you joking! This is the Indian Nation working out pal! Have you got a problem?
    That’s how we do it round here, in these times. Kill thousands to feed a few.
    Then the Europeans turned up with horses.
    Oh friggin revelation! we can hunt on horseback!(they had not seen horses to this point. But took to them with some alacrity! )
    Then we can make war on our neighbours!
    the Indians proved to be quick learners.
    Unfortunately they didn’t follow through
    With anything Native that the rest of us wanted , well apart from myths.
    There is a skeleton that is about 10 thousand years old.
    It might prove that the current indiginous americans were not the first to inhabit the continent.
    The Indiginous Indians figured this out real fast, having got archeological remains, they hid them. Oh with official sanction, behind a wall of ethnicity and wanted them re-buried again.
    Why? well they were “US” not “YOU” surely?
    Maybe not!!!
    Let’s see!

  • RAB

    Bugger that’s 1492 for heavens sake ! Mea Culpa!

  • Verity

    RAB – The native Americans had been “making war on their neighbours” long before Europeans brought the horse to America. It’s part of the human condition.

    Re the horse, Moctezuma – he judged correctly in human terms, not knowing how quickly horses could move men and supplies. Had the battles with the Spanish been without horses, he would have won. But, of course, life isn’t like that. The Spanish had horses and could cover more ground in a day than, as intelligent as he was, he could have dreamed of.

    Interesting how things work out.

  • Tomahawk

    FFS Verity! Are you on crack, you silly old moo?! The irony is that while you take everything so seriously, no one takes you at all seriously. You belong in an episode of Little Britain. Oh, I forgot, you’re already there: they based the projectile-vomitting WI woman on you. LOL!

    It’s noticeable that neither you, Cooper nor DRAB have anything useful to say on the topic of this thread. Euan and I have provided a lot of arguments about the centripetal tendencies in out party system but it has elicited nothing more from you lot than the same old recycled rants.

  • GCooper

    Tomahawk writes:

    ” Euan and I have provided a lot of arguments about the centripetal tendencies in out party system but it has elicited nothing more from you lot than the same old recycled rants.”

    Whereas, in fact, all you have done is continue the one note samba you began when you arrived here – banging on about Cameron being the natural heir to your fading hero, Bliar.

    Well, that and hurl around the sort of personal abuse that suggests you may have some serious personality problems.

  • Euan Gray

    Verity, GCooper:

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I did not say that everyone in UKIP or everyone who has concerns about the EU is a xenophobic Little Englander. What I actually said was:

    Whatever the merits of an anti-EU (not the same as anti-European) case, it will inevitably attract racists, xenophobic Little Englanders, arch-reactionaries, chauvinists and those who think England still hasn’t come to terms with the Norman Conquest

    It is manifestly the case that people like this ARE attracted to the UKIP platform, but it is also the case that some sane and reasonable people are attracted to it. I think there is nothing inherently xenophobic about opposing a federal Europe, although it should be pretty obvious and unsurprising that a policy opposed to a foreign politico-economic arrangement would inevitably attract people who actually are xenophobes.

    As for quotations, there are numerous examples of chauvinistic, racist and xenophobic utterances of the various candidates, MEPs and so forth scattered around the media and on the web, as I am sure you are very well aware.

    All of that, though, is a distraction from the fundamental points, which are that a new ideological and principled individualist-right party is not going to come into being any time soon, and that encouraging people like UKIP & preventing the Conservatives reclaiming the centre will have only one effect – more Labour governments.

    EG

  • GCooper

    Euan Gray writes:

    “Please don’t put words in my mouth. I did not say that everyone in UKIP or everyone who has concerns about the EU is a xenophobic Little Englander.”

    And here’s a quote from one of your comments made several weeks ago:

    “The party needs to neuter UKIP, not by adopting its policy but by showing it up for the band of loonies it is and this will be done by taking it on in open debate about things other than Europe. A little muck-raking and black propaganda wouldn’t hurt, either…”

  • Euan Gray

    You can have a band of loonies which simultaneously contains non-loonies, you know.

    However, I assume from your lack of meaningful response that you either cannot or will not address the substantive issues being raised.

    EG

  • My thoughts on Cameron are in my latest Tech Central Station piece.

    The trouble is continuing to vote Tory despire the fact they have turned (back?) into a Christian Democratic party is that they leaders will take a higher vote as validation of the direction the party has taken.

  • Euan Gray

    leaders will take a higher vote as validation of the direction the party has taken

    Err…yes. That’s rather the point, isn’t it?

    EG

  • permanent expat

    Tomahawk is a P-40

  • GCooper

    Euan Gray writes:

    “However, I assume from your lack of meaningful response that you either cannot or will not address the substantive issues being raised.”

    In your absence, perhaps you have forgotten that, other than in exceptional cases, I ignore your wars of attrition.

  • Euan Gray

    But you had responded in this case, so I think it’s reasonable to assume it’s not one of your exceptional cases.

    I don’t you actually have an answer to the points though, do you? The uncharitable might assume that you were just responding on the easy bit, although you haven’t really even addressed that.

    EG

  • Verity

    Euan Gray says: “As for quotations, there are numerous examples of chauvinistic, racist and xenophobic utterances of the various candidates, MEPs and so forth scattered around the media and on the web, as I am sure you are very well aware.”

    No, actually, I’m not, which is why I asked you politely to supply some. Today’s political candidates are anodyne and careful of not “offending” those sitting taking notes waiting to report the speaker for some imaginary offence. I have not heard a chauvinistic (let’s not be beastly to the Germans), racist (by which I assume you mean anti-Muslim although Islam isn’t a race; and no candidate with one remaining brain cell would make a comment that could, by any stretch of the imagination, be taken as racist) or xenophobic (we all have too much respect for our European “partners”).

    So I would appreciate you complying with my courteous request that you produce such quotes as they are apparently so plentiful that you must know where to lay your hands on them easily.

    I do not know any Brits who don’t go abroad frequently, including the unemployed and football hooligans – admittedly often one and the same, because they love abroad. But most of us, as I said, want to live by the laws laid down by our own ancestors, not the Huns or the Froggies (who we nevertheless adore).

    Quotes please, otherwise I will be confirmed in my opinion that you are an opinionated old blether.

  • esbonio

    I must admit I find the aggressive objections raised to UKIP by some on this site quite intriguing. Is it simply because of their policies, the main one of which (i.e. withdrawal) seems quite coherent even if one does not agree with it. Or is it because they do pose a threat to the Tory Party. If you do not like UKIP, its policies or its supporters, fair enough but why all the heat and light? I say this as a member of the Tory Party who voted Tory at the last election. My wife however (who used to support Labour) has been voting UKIP for some time and is nowhere near the crass sterotypes that have been offered by some here. I think a little less stereotyping would go a long way in raising the quality of the argument.

  • Verity

    BTW, Euan Gray, and this is my last comment to you because I don’t enjoy getting tangled in your endless fussiness, if you want to label people xenophobic and racist, you would be better of directing your attention to the French. They seldom go outside their own country for holidays (except to a French territory) and they are very suspicious of foreigners.

    The Brits are positive sluts for “abroad”. There’s nowhere they can’t turn into a holiday destination. I guarantee they will be the first ones looking for holiday homes on Mars.

  • Verity

    esbonio, thank you. I too am intrigued that people who can dismiss the LibDems with a shrug will suddenly run around the room with their hair on fire at the mention of UKIP. What is so incendiary about UKIP? The mere mention of it incites them to make large, exaggerated gestures and wild statements, whereas those same people can discuss Labour or the Conservatives and maintain their blood pressure.

    It is, now esbonio has pointed it out, interesting that UKIP provokes such a violent reaction.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “It is, now esbonio has pointed it out, interesting that UKIP provokes such a violent reaction.”

    It is, yes, and I can only conclude it’s motivated by fear. Little else can account for such febrile attacks.

    My experience talking with UKIP members in my area included meeting a charming retired couple, who avoided the vile English winter by driving a camper van down through France to the Med, stopping at the excellent French camping sites (they appeared to be Francopohiles) and a company director in the electronics business, who does a large part of his trade in Germany.

    Of the famed “Xenophobes” and “Little Englanders” I didn’t encounter one. No doubt they exist – but so they do in both the major parties. And possibly in quite similar proportions.

  • GCooper

    GCooper writes:

    “Francopohiles”

    Umm… or even Francophiles.

  • GCooper

    Meanwhile, to further reinforce Perry de Havilland’s line of thought, the following is currently squatting on the BBC News Online front page:

    ” Conservative leader David Cameron reveals a U-turn on student finance and pledges no more grammar schools.”

    And the difference between the two parties now is…?

  • Verity

    GCooper – Francopohilia sounds like a condition that Zanu-Lab should legalise and promote as a healthy alternative lifestyle at once. Tony Blair could be photographed shaking a Francopohile’s hand, to show that it isn’t catching.

  • guy herbert

    Andrew’s TCS piece is as fluent as he always is, but one boggles rather at the comparison at the end:

    Is Cameron truly boxing clever? Or he is in fact nostalgic for the consensus politics of Edward Heath’s Tories of the 1970s?

    The interesting thing about Heath in this context is he was elected on a free-market manifesto but proceded to govern according to a sort of ad hoc corporatism.

  • Great post, Perry. Keep ‘em coming.

    And the difference between the two parties now is…?

    After careful analysis, I think I have a definitive answer. One is spelt L-A-B-O-U-R and the other is spelt C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E.

  • esbonio

    I went to a very old grammar school (founded the same time as Cameron’s Eton give or take 20 years). It went comprehensive whilst I was there. Of course there were big changes that followed but it remained a good school if not perhaps the same as before and I managed to get into Oxford just like Cameron did from Eton.

    My brother and sister who failed their 11 plus both went to a comprehensive and it was not very good to say the least. It certainly did not do my sister any favours who hated it but despite a poor education my sister has not suffered as a direct result. My parents saw fit to send my brother to a different comprehensive with believe it or not a boarding house. It was tough but I believe it was the making of him.

    As a result I have slightly mixed views about comps and grammar schools. On the one hand I believe that the grammar schools gave far better chances to the underprivileged but talented few than comprehensives do. I am not in favour of their continued abolition as they keep standards high (just like the top public schools do). On the other hand I am not sure that an exam taken at 11 should have such profound influence. The real issue i think is to raise standards in all schools. Either way I assume Cameron’s position on grammar schools does not mean he is anti public schools?

  • GCooper

    esbonio writes:

    “Either way I assume Cameron’s position on grammar schools does not mean he is anti public schools?”

    One can only assume he is in favour of them. Thus ensuring that only those who can afford to pay for the best educational opportunities receive them.

    Much like so many in Za-NuLabour, of course.

  • The Godfather

    UKIP has the right instincts over the EU and the state, but setting up UKIP as a credible political force is a bit like asking a small chain of newsagents to take on Tesco and Sainsburys. They don’t have the infrastructure and the membership to follow through effectively (although the major parties are finding memebership more of a struggle at the moment). Forget the fact it contains too many of the potty Patrick Moore element, this is why UKIP is not a credible alternative.

  • Verity

    UKIP is young, and it is surviving in the jungle of British politics, which in itself demonstrates pretty robust health. Through the years, it will find its feet and probably go through some changes. I think it has done damn’ well for a new party. I believe it will still be around, and will be stronger, in 10 years from now.

  • permanent expat

    “Potty Patrick Moore element”………..??????
    Hell’s bells! Pottiness is endemic to both the major parties…..(sorry, Libdems, you’re included too) Patrick Moore may be a little eccentric but because he’s brilliant he doesn’t merit the gratuitous insult. The Godfather could maybe do with some potty-training.

  • Verity

    My god, you’ve got a gaping-mouthed, swivel-eyed loon like Cherie Blair galloping around an Aussie department store like a contestant on supermarket sweep because they had invited her to choose a free gift and delusional enough to bill herself as The First Lady of Downing Street – and you’re saying the brilliant Patrick Moore is “potty” because he’s not conventional? You’ve got an ignorant, wide-eyed loon like LibDem Jenny Tonge sticking up for suicide bombers and you’re condemning UKIP because it has a couple of eccentrics who also happen to be achievers? What has the mad Jenny Tongue ever accomplished?

    Didn’t the bizarre Mo Mowlam address Jerry Adams as “babe” in a phone conversation that was, unfortunately for her, recorded? Didn’t Tony Blair plan on wearing a floor-length astrakhan overcoat (doubtless with matching hat) to go swanking off to Moscow to meet Putin until Alastair Campbell wrenched it out of his hands?

    And you’re saying UKIP’s full of loonies because Patrick Moore is an eccentric? It used to be OK to be an eccentric in Britain.

    These are dangerous people. I seem to remember that the dreaded Cherie, the wife of the prime minister of Britain, also excused terrorist bombers. The Labour Party is stuffed with fruitcakes and moonbats.

  • permanent expat

    Spot on, Verity……..as usual. Maybe “…..in the distant future, in a faraway galaxy” the British people will finally wake up to the appalling disaster into which they have sleepwalked, nudged & directed by the Death Star Nanny State and, to mix films a tad, find themselves in (shock, horror)………..THE MATRIX.
    Get out of that one, pundits……. Res non verba!

  • HJHJ

    A lot of the above comments have been rather unnecessarily personal.

    For what it’s worth, I disagree with Perry that liberty, etc. can now only be fought for outside the democratic (party) political process. I might agree with him were he to say that it need to be heavily augmented outside the normal party political process in order to move the party political debate in the ‘right’ direction by increasing public awareness of alternatives to the current status quo . There are groups such as “Reform” that are trying to do this (they’re probably not exactly to Perry’s taste, but you get my point).

    As you know, I’m a big sceptic when it comes to Cameron, but I haven’t given up all hope as a result of his recent announcements. When he said what he said about the NHS, I nearly despaired, but looking at it again, and seeing as no-one has succeeded in changing the NHS much since its inception, his announcement that he accepted its principles may not be as bad as it first appears. He didn’t rule out the NHS becoming little but a commissioning body of independent providers. He didn’t rule out breaking the unions and medical monopolies, he didn’t rule out removing centralised wage structures and several other major reforms. Despite his acceptance of its basic principles (which will leave us with a highly unsatisfactory healthcare ‘system’ in many ways) but which he may have deemed (wrongly, in my opinion) to be electorally necessary, if he achieved the other major reforms that he didn’t rule out, he will have done more good than any other NHS reforms have ever achieved. A future government could then go the whole hog, once the supply side monolith is broken up.

    On education, I have never understood why the right are in favour of state grammar schools (and by implication, secondary moderns) and the left in favour of comprehensives. They are both systems imposed ‘from above’ and are basically socialist in this respect. The right and libertarians should argue that nobody should impose any system that they prefer on anyone else. The independent sector in the UK offers a complete mixture of types of school, completely uncoordinated by any higher body and most people recognise that they are superior to the state sector and give (those parents that can pay) plenty of choice. We should be looking at ways to get rid of any system and give everyone the same choice as is currently enjoyed in the independent sector, not arguing over what type of schools system we should, in our infinite wisdom, impose on everyone else.

  • RAB

    Well purely on education HJHJ,
    Why the right favour Grammars and the left Comprehensives, is for what they do.
    Not because they are imposed from above.
    All laws are imposed from above.
    Do you remember anyone discussing with you whether Cannabis should be a B or a C class drug, and should it go back to a B again? Or even why it should be illegal (given all that is bad for us and legal/taxable) at all!?
    The thing about grammars where, statistically speaking, they raised more intellegent working class kids out of the poverty of their limited asperations than the Comps do now– By a ratio of about 34%

  • HJHJ

    RAB,

    When it comes to schools, we are discussing policy, not laws and there is no need, in the case of schools to impose constraints on behaviour unless, of course, you are a social engineer like Gordon Brown.

    The point is that imposing grammar schools is as much social engineering as is imposing comprehensives. Somebody gets to decide what percentage of children can go (should it be 10% or 25% – does this remind anyone else of NuLabour central targets?) and then everyone has to put up with the system. It’s as bad as imposing comprehensives.

    You may quote a “ratio of 34%” (a percentage isn’t a ratio, btw) better at helping bright poorer children, but I could equally quote figures that demonstrate that overall results in the UK are marginally better in areas with comprehensives as opposed to grammars/secondary moderns. But it’s irrelevant – quoting statistics doesn’t get away from the fact that either system is imposed and no system would likely give better results still.

    I have no ideological axe to grind on selection vs non-selection, I just don’t want to deny anyone the choice. Personally, I passed the 11+ but elected to move outside my education area (in those days education authorities even laid on a taxi for me to go to my school of choice) to go to a comprehensive that had a better reputation than the local grammar school. For my daughter, the LEA effectively told us that she would have to go to the local girls comprehensive (no choice as 7 our of 9 of their schools are over-subscribed and the other two are awful), so we chose an independent girls selective school. We liked equally a nearby Quaker non-selective mixed independent school – the choice ultimately was made on cost grounds.

  • The grammer/comprehensive matter is rather like discussing which regiment the state will sent conscripts to join as if that was really important, rather than discussing the issue of conscription.

  • HJHJ

    I agree Perry. Unfortunately this is only rarely pointed out.

    It’s ‘grammAr’ by the way.

  • Daveon

    Verity, while I know that you have, your responses here leave me wondering if you really have ever been abroad…

    Brits are famous for creating homes from home. Have you seen the southern coast of Spain where many Brits go? Or other resorts? I remember walking between the villages of Playa De Los Americans and Los Christianos in Tenerife with my parents in the very early 80s – they were sleepy little fishing towns. By the time I went back at 18 it was Blackpool along the whole coast.

    I’ve seen Malia old town in Crete – a nice greek town, and the new town which is basically Blackpool – a mile and a half of English pubs just with extra sun and sex on the beach in the morning.

    I’m not 100% on where in Mexico you live now, but friend’s from Texas have made jokes about the even lower tax colony that Texas created over the border.

    You might live abroad but I get a strong feeling from your posts that you do your level best to limit your interaction with those funny ‘for’n’ johnnys.

    I can image you in the Raj or living some out colonial outpost of empire like Durban.

  • SP

    Daevon: What you say about the British living abroad may well be true; I don’t know one way or the other, but if so then it works both ways. Lye, close to Stourbridge, has a high muslim population and when I walk through the high street I usually feel as though I’m in another country.

  • RAB

    Yes everybody does.
    Birds of a feather etc.
    I have never seen an intregrated muslim community in any country that Islam was not the majority faith.
    The best travelled people in the world are the Brits and the Germans and even in our happy European holiday destinations, we generally mutually exclude each other , be it language difficulties (there is this myth that Germans speak English better than the English speak German, well i can say that if true , it is only marginal) In fact when I have on occasion tried to speak to Germans in their own language and they just shy away. Could be me I suppose, but the Dutch get on with everybody and can speak their language, especially English.
    Why is no one in the educational establishment looking at the way the Dutch learn forign languages?

  • Daveon

    My german is pretty marginal but my experience is that Germans are the inverse of the French. My french is also pretty marginal but I’ve found them willing to put up with my accent and poor language skills to get a point across in broken French. Germans, OTOH, seem to get annoyed instantly and either speak english or give up.

    My wife spent most of the year working in Frankfurt and found the same thing, so she gave up learning German dispite being fluent in 3 other languages. It didn’t seem to be worth it.