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Tories for Socialism

Which is more reprehensible? A genuine belief in socialism and Gramschian deconstruction or a willingness to pay lip service to the ideas in order to curry favour with a particular constituency?

Either way, ‘Conservative’ MP John Bercow, once regarded as a radical free-marketeer, opens his heart to the Guardianistas in an article which is, shall we say, thought-provoking:

“For too long, Conservatives have ducked expressing their belief in social justice for fear of being disbelieved or derided. This taboo must now be broken”

Translation: Don’t be silly, we were socialists all along.

“Social justice is not about stopping people from becoming too rich; it is about stopping them from becoming too poor.”

Er…can you just run that one past me again, John?

“Although Labour ministers have not achieved as much as they would like, they clearly care even if they cannot always cope.”

Attaboy, John, you give ’em hell. Gosh, Labour must be terrified of you.

“So what is needed? First, review every benefit to ensure that it is focused on the most needy. Simplicity, transparency, targeting, fairness, effectiveness – these are the criteria against which policy must be judged.”

The Tories will throw even more money at the Welfare State than Labour will.

“The government cannot be the only supplier of assistance but should work with charitable groups, churches and community leaders.”

We will nationalise all the people.

“Discrimination is inimical to social justice. Conservatives should reject it without qualification. The case for equal treatment is not about political correctness, but about human decency. Where pay inequalities between men and women result from differences in skills or qualifications, this must be addressed. However, where inequalities are down to cowboy or chauvinist employers, Tories should side unequivocally with the individual whose right to fair treatment has been infringed.”

Yes, the Tories will hunt down those evil capitalist hoodlums wherever they’re lurking and flay them alive. You thought New Labour was tough on enterprise and freedom? Hah! Wait till you see NuTories in action.

“The first step to changing this negative perception would be to declare that helping the poorest pensioners, for example, should be a vastly higher priority than cutting taxes for the middle classes.”

Oh tsch, tsch. Surely there are loads of good excuses to plunder the middle class to the point of penury and not just pensioners?

“It is vital that Tories should aspire to govern Britain as it is, and not Britain as it was. That means valuing equally rich and poor, public sector and private, urban and rural, male and female, young and old, black and white, gay and straight.”


” We must share the commitment of our fellow citizens to the ideal of social justice and demonstrate to millions of doubters that Conservatives will deliver it.”

The Tories must fully embrace state socialism and convince the electorate that only the Tories will deliver it.

Pitiful, eh. Now all you non-Brit readers have some idea of what we have to put up with in this country. Is there any wonder that we sound just a little jaded from time to time?

11 comments to Tories for Socialism

  • I _used_ to think we had it bad…

  • John Howard gives me the shits a lot of the time, but thankfully he’s not this spineless. Here in Australia, the Labor types pretend to be conservative. That’s bad, but not half as bad as what you’ve described.

  • Sounds just like the way Republicans talk here in California.

  • Rumour has it that Mr Bercow (former chairman of the FCS if my memory serves me correctly) may not be a Conservative for very much longer.

    I think his wife is a Labour Party activist.

  • I heard him speak in Edinburgh a few months ago when he gave a quite different message. I wonder why he changed or does it depend on the audience?

  • The last few times that I have heard a member of the Conservative Party on Any Questions or Newsnight, I have searched for evidence of the Thatcherite discourse. There was nothing spoken that I would recognise.

    Heath and Gilmour appear to have influenced another generation of wets who get dizzily drunk on imagining what the state could do if they were in power.

    Since most of the Tory Party is a lot drier, I would expect further ructions. If we can see this, then some backbenchers must be very pissed off.

  • Byron

    You’re certainly welcome to move to America. Maybe if all critically rational libertarians congregate in one country, there will be enough political critical mass to win some major elections and exert our philosophy more directly.

  • [yawn]

    “From now on, any definition of a successful life will include the concept of service to others.”

    I heard those words dribble out of George Bush’s mouth in January of 1989. I cannot tell you how personally I took them.

    You want “jaded”? I’ve got your “jaded”, pal.

    “If your children ever discover how lame you really are, they’ll murder you in your sleep.”

    (Frank Zappa — 1966)

    …except for George Bush’s children, I guess.

  • LuminaT

    I will have to vote for ‘genuine belief’ on reprehensibility, though lip service is bad enough.

  • Paul Marks

    Someone should send Mr John Bercow a copy of F.A. Hayek’s “Law, Legislation and Liberty” (Volume II “The Mirage of Social Justice”).

    Still perhaps the second paragraph of the footnote on page 153 of Michael Oakeshott’s “On Human Conduct” (Clarendon Press 1975) will do.

    “And there is, of course, no place in civil association for so-called “”distributive”” justice; that is, the distribution of desirable substantive goods. Such a “”distribution”” of substantive benefits or advantages requires a rule of distribution and a distributor in possession of what is to be distributed; but lex [lex is a latin word that Oakeshott used for the law of a civil association] cannot be a rule of distribution of this sort, and civil rulers have nothing to distribute.”