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Dear Norman…

To anyone with a vaguely libertarian perspective observing the relentless creep of regulatory politics into ever more aspects of civil life, it has long been self evident that as a practical matter the statist right are largely interchangeable with the statist left. After all David “I see no liberty” Blunkett was simply standing on the shoulders of Michael “there is something of the night about him” Howard, no?

Hence the recent remark by the dependably dismal John Major that he likes being in coalition come as no surprise to me whatsoever. Indeed the only thing that ever so slightly raised one eyebrow on my part was his willingness to left the mask slip.

And with this in mind, I left a comment on Norman Tebbit’s blog in response to this:

“I respect those who are working in UKIP, but I would hope that you would respect us Eurosceptics in the Tory Party too.”

“Well I would respect you a lot more if you were not aiding and abetting the people who have turned the Conservative party into a party of Big Euro Statism… but the fact is they could not have done it without folks such as yourself helping to keep a critical mass of genuine conservatives voting for the party despite profound unease with the likes of Cameron, Major et al.

If you are hanging in there because you seek to take over the Tory party (re-take really) and drive out the twerps who now freely admit they are ideologically fungible with the left (something I have been pointing out for a decade, so Major’s remarks are hardly a revelation to me)… ie you remain a Tory so you can do a UK version of the Tea Party… well great, that is certainly something I could get behind… but if you are just going to be enablers for people who frankly do not share your conservative views, then with all due respect Norman (and I do mean that) you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution, and that is a great pity.”

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12 comments to Dear Norman…

  • The problem for any noble politician (if we persume there is such a thing) is whether to wallow in the sewage of major parties or stand alone, ignored and without any influence at all.

    I personally think the Tories are a lost cause- they became one the day they beheaded their own party in the Thatcher coup- but clearly others think they can be redeemed and stay in the poo where they may be able to exert some influence. They may be correct. It’s a hard choice.

  • Indeed that is the thorny decision for any person of principle in the sewer of practicle politics.

    But given where we are now, it is hard to argue that it worked for Tebbit even if he did it for all the right reasons… and John Major’s words show that the end state of keeping people voting Tory even then the Tory they were voting for had antithetical views has done nothing more than at best slow the rate of collapse rather than actually turn things around.

    In fact I would argue that far from slowing the rate of collapse, keeping the Tory party together has actually been the prime enabler of our current state by denying the UK any meaningful opposition. If Norman and folks like David Davis had ‘Tea Party’ed’ the Tory party even as late as five years ago, things might be different now.

    They didn’t and as a result we are screwed.

  • Kevin B

    The Tory party was an institution and as an institution it was marched on.

  • peter

    “The Tory party was an institution and as an institution it was marched on.”

    Sorry, I’m only a visitor round here. Is that one of your resident agitprop nutters? Sites do seem to collect them.

  • Kevin B

    OK then peter, come up with your theory as to why the Tory party is actually a Euro-socialist party.

    (Or, I suppose, some convincing evidence that it isn’t.)

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    I’m confused, Ian.
    What are you upset about in tory party history?
    So what if they beheaded Thatcher? If there are no objective moral principles, then they can’t have betrayed them, can they? If there is only subjective morality, then hanging onto power by whatever means is laudable, surely? Or, at least, nonobjectionable?

  • Peter,

    It seems you didn’t get the allusion. Kevin B was referring, tongue in cheek, to the Gramscian “March through the Institutions”.

    I thought it was both witty and subtle, in as much as only the most informed about left wing strategy would have understood it.

  • “If there is only subjective morality, then hanging onto power by whatever means is laudable, surely? Or, at least, nonobjectionable?”

    Nuke: The idea you attribute to IanB – that the choice among standards may be arbitrary – does not, of itself, require tolerance. IanB may believe his value system derives from a subjective standard, but that does not mean he cannot then act on that standard against others who threaten his value system.

  • James

    In fact I would argue that far from slowing the rate of collapse, keeping the Tory party together has actually been the prime enabler of our current state by denying the UK any meaningful opposition.

    Plus, when the Tories’ social democratic policies fail, the BBC, Guardian et al will all be up in arms about the failure of “free markets”, and “rightwing policies”.

    Most Samizdata readers probably aren’t fans of him, but alone among MSM rightwingers, Peter Hitchens has been excellent on the general uselessness of the Tories.

  • Nuke, according to my logic the natural conclusion of Humean subjectivism is maximising individual freedom of choice, since no man can demonstrate a right to rule another (since no man’s rules are objectively superior to another). I thus approve (subjectively) of others who are more individualist.

    I thus object (subjectively) to the derailment of the individualist trend of Thatcherism, which was weak by my standards, but still the most individualist major party in the post-war period. By deposing Thatcher, the Tories took a deliberate path back to overt oligarchic collectivism. To which I object.

  • Having spent a significant amount of time trawling through the comments to Lord Tebbit’s piece, it appears that your comment has been mislaid.

    Shurely shome mishtake?

  • Paul Marks

    When I am trying to be tolerant (not in my default mode of rage) I judge politicians are prepared to say PUBLICALLY and how they are prepared to VOTE.

    If a politician (regardless of party) is prepared to say publically that X, Y, Z, powers must be returned from the E.U. – and that, if not, we must LEAVE the E.U. then good.

    If they are prepared to vote against giving money to the E.U. – and against accepting yet more Euro commands, then good to.

    There are some Conservative party members of Parliaement who are prepared to do all of the above.

    But sadly – only a tiny minority.

    The rest tend to say wonderful things IN PRIVATE, but are prepared to do nothing in practice (for fear of upsetting Cameron and co).

    And that is worthless – utterly worthless.