Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tell It Like It Is

Have the Tories changed? No, not really. Their party used to be a dazzlingly effective means to putting posh boys into positions of power and influence, entirely regardless of their views, if any. It is now a laughably ineffective means to that same end. But that's all. The real change has been in Labour.

Labour used to believe in social democracy. It did so precisely because it had profoundly conservative social and moral values, not least a strong British (and therefore also Commonwealth) patriotism focused on the institution binding together each and both of the Union and the Commonwealth. All of this was, and remains, mainstream opinion in Scotland, Wales, the North, the Midlands, and the decidedly less chi-chi parts of the South. In some such constituencies, turnout last time was cas low as one in three.

So there is a huge gap to be filled by the restored party of those Labour MPs who defended the grammar schools as the ladder of working-class advancement. By a party tough on crime because most victims are poor.

By the party of the Attlee Government, which dismissed the European Coal and Steel Community as "the blueprint for a federal state", which "the Durham miners would never wear". Of Hugh Gaitskell calling the Common Market "the end of a thousand years of history" and a threat to the unity of the Commonwealth.

By the party of ardently Unionist Labour MPs from Scotland, Wales, and their adjacent areas. Of Roy Hattersely sending British troops into Northern Ireland in order to defend the grateful Catholics there precisely as British subjects defined by their liberties under the Crown (whereas citizens are defined by their obligations to the State and to the government of the day). Of Roy Mason running Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom, with terrorism treated as a plain and simple security problem. Of Harold Wilson guaranteeing the Anguillan people's right to be British, explicitly outside the American hegemony that had wanted to re-create there the brothels and drug dens of old Havana.

By the party of those Labour MPs (mostly Methodists) who resisted relaxation of the laws on drinking and gambling. Of those (mostly Catholics) who fought against abortion and easier divorce. Of those who voted in favour only after warning against exactly what has come to pass: abortion more common than having a tooth pulled, and one in three marriages ending in divorce.

That was the party in favour of the Welfare State, workers' rights, progressive taxation, and full employment. It dissuaded Truman from dropping an atom bomb on Korea, and it refused to send British forces to Vietnam. It opposed the Soviet Union and wider Stalinism on the same grounds, and with the same ferocity, as it opposed Fascism in the Iberian world and elsewhere, as well as apartheid South Africa and its Rhodesian satellite. It won elections on enormous turnouts and in the face of serious opposition.

Britain is crying out for just such a party today. So let's get on and build it.


Never heard of David Lindsay, but his contribution to one of Mad Dog Milne's CiF threads is interesting. I wonder how he gets on at Labour branch meetings with ideas like these ?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

An impassioned plea, with polished rhetoric.
Thats about all.
Content and truth-wise, a load of bollox.
Never figured your fond memories to be so disfigured, Laban.
If you tried that formulation now, you'd be
a)voter-less
b)bankrupting the nation in weeks.
You may well consider the current conservative party to be at bets a set of muppets. So do I.
But your longing for yesterday is mixed.
Moral issues, - I'm mostly with you.
International and economic, - man, you're way off.

Anonymous said...

Huh?
Got your lefty rose tinted glasses on today?

I hate the Labour party, but even I could make them look good if I selected a list of things they did which I agreed with and ignored the rest, but thats no way to make a judgement.

Its not just Labour who supported those positions you like, it was most of the country back then, the 2 main parties just dance around the center ground trying to drag it one way or another, and it is the Labour party that is certainly responsible for dragging the center ground to positions you complain about every day.

#1, Teaching very young children about sex. Labour policy
#2, Whole raft of gay, single-parent and sex-changers rights, degrading marriage. Labour policy.
#3, Over bearing regulation of our industry meaning we no longer have a heavy industry. Labour policy.
#4, Soft on criminals, when do you ever hear this coming from right on Conservatives?, Labour all the way.
#5, Mass immigration of cheap eastern European labour. Labour policy.
List could go on and on.
Now you might say you were talking about the way they were not as they are now, but if that was true why aren't all the Labour grandees complaining about whats happened?
They aren't, far from it, they cheer on the changes.
This was the goal, its just taken them a long time to achieve it.
Socialist is the wrong word for them, they are authoritarians who have worked to replace the natural cultural checks and balances on bad behavour with centralised goverment laws and regulations paid for by high levels of tax.

It seems like 90% of what you complain about after 2+ years reading your blog is Labour policy.

I totally dispute that the Scottish Labour party is still like that as well. Unionist my ass, they might want to have a say on what goes on in England but they certainly don't want to reciprocate.

67% want an English Parliament

CCTV said...

David LINDSAY

Anonymous said...

He's certainly right that the Labour Party have changed more than the Conservatives. It is today a party with middle class attitudes and middle class members. the fact it gets white working class votes at all is a mixture of lack of competition, tradition/inertia.

Rumi said...

I think you'd be surprised how common those views would be at Labour branch meetings away from the cool metropolis. They certainly were amongst the membership I used to come across in Oldham. But Anonymous 1 is right. Principled as these views are, they wouldn't win that many votes today!

Foxy Brown said...

I believe that the Conservatives, despite the liberal hoodie-hugging rhetoric of Cameron, would be a better option for the following reasons:

1) They are solidly English and would restore this emasculated group's battered pride. (I love all you Jocks out there, but the Scottish Raj does really need to be put to sleep).

2) They would prune the monstrous welfare state and the over-bloated public sector workers who are bleeding this country dry.

3) They would institute policies to promote the family.

4) They would restrict immigration to selected skilled individuals, although on that latter point our infrastructure cannot cope as it is at present and we do not have room or resources for educated and/or financially solvent migrants. So there's actually a case for halting immigration altogether.

But the voting populace don't want the Tories back in power if the YouGov poll in todays Telegraph is to be believed. If an snap election were called Labour would win by a landslide. How depressing is that?!

Anonymous said...

"Principled as these views are, they wouldn't win that many votes today!"

I just dont know. It might be more correct to say that principled as these views are, they wouldn't win that many votes from a London based media.

Lurker

Dave said...

Sounds good Foxy but do you really think the Conservatives would do those things?

Immigration was already out of control before Labour came to power, I can't see the Conservatives daring to upset their business interests.

I don't take too much notice of polls, they're very often based on an extremely small sample size and interpreted by the biased london media.
Although I'd agree that Cameron probably wont win, and I personally hope he doesn't, the last thing this country needs is the "heir to Blair".
I think David Davis or IDS! would have a much better chance.

Foxy Brown said...

Dave,

At grassroots level the Conservatives definitely have the Simon Heffer mentality. The Cameroonian incarnation of the Tories is meant to appeal to the chorizo-chomping metropolitan classes but Lord Snooty is beginning to become unstuck because he has spoken about the importance of marriage and stable family units, thereby attacking good liberal causes such as single mothers and gay men, the latter of whom within liberal discourse have the right to adopt children or employ a surrogate incubator to nurture a child to full-term.

He is also trying hard to win the votes of the various "ethnic communities" who are almost all concentrated in the larger cities, areas which the Tories have lost. Blair and Brown's encouragement of mass immigration means guaranteed political support from grateful people pleased to have been issued with passports, heaps of benefits and social housing. Cameron is fighting a losing battle here as he'll have to out-liberal Gordo.

William Hague should stand again as leader, he has a brilliant political brain and is very witty. His biggest mistake first time was the baseball cap at the Notting Hill Carnival - that killed any hope of him being taken seriously. But he's become like a fine vintage port and so should be given another shot.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, David Lindsay, the Lord Alfred Douglas of the blogosphere.

David is a romantic High Tory at heart, but is in denial about this (as about so much else) and fondly believes himself to be left-wing. He left the Labour Party last year, and if the Tories chuck out Cameron (as seems increasingly likely) I expect David will attach himself to the Conservative Party - though like all his romantic attachments, it will probably end in tears ..