Saturday, 9 February 2013

Friends and Family

There is no byline on this, so I assume that it is by no less than Tim Montgomerie, his very self, in person. It certainly makes an interesting case. But it does so in a hopeless cause.

Rather, it is Labour that has now long enjoyed a commanding poll lead, but which came third or below in 211 constituencies in 2010, mostly places where it always does, and in most of those pretty distantly. However, the Coalition has changed the weather. The SNP will also be finished for at least a generation after the loss of the independence referendum in 2014. Imagine a formation which was fully aware that someone needed to keep Labour on track or else stand ready to replace it.

Properly organised and sufficiently funded, such a formation could expect to win in 2015 about one third of those seats, i.e., around 70. That would be enough to make a very significant difference indeed, even to hold the balance of power in a hung Parliament. But it could only happen if the unions, most obviously, stumped up the cash. And it could only happen if Labour, with little realistic hope of winning those seats, stood aside in that formation’s favour.

That formation could and should also fill a very British gap, for a party anchoring the Left while engaging fully in the battle of ideas at every level of cultural life and of the education system, while refusing to consign or to confine demotic culture to “the enormous condescension of posterity”, and while co-ordinating broad-based and inclusive campaigns for human rights and civil liberties, for peace (including nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological disarmament, and including against the arms trade), for environmental responsibility, and for the defence and extension of jobs, services and amenities. And that in a country in which fewer than one in four people identified as working-class this time last year, but, after a further 12 months of the present Government, three out a five do so now. This Parliament still has a year and a half of further such growth to go.

Attendance to what were once the largely ignored and marginalised phenomena of environmentalism, feminism, Third World liberation movements, the influence of tendencies such as Black Power and Black Consciousness, and the use of homosexuality as a mark of individual and collective identity, has opened up the space for attendance to what are largely ignored and marginalised phenomena today.

For example, the indispensable role of the State in protecting against the market everything that conservatives seek to conserve is emphasised by the traditions deriving from disaffection with the events of 1688, 1776 and 1789. Those offer perennial critiques of individualism, capitalism, imperialism, militarism, bourgeois triumphalism, and the fallacy of inevitable historical progress. That was the soil in which were planted the trade union, the co-operative and mutual, the Radical Liberal, the Tory populist, the Guild Socialist, the Christian Socialist, the Social Catholic and Distributist, and the many other roots of the British, Irish and Commonwealth Labour Movements.

Labour is reverting to its historical norm as the voice and vehicle of a many-rooted social democratic patriotism in all directions, inclusive of social and cultural conservatives as well as social and cultural liberals, inclusive of rural as well as urban and suburban voices, inclusive of provincial as well as metropolitan contributions, and inclusive of religious as well as secular insights. The 2010 intake is very largely “classic Labour”, the boys in their dads’ suits having decided to sit out the hard work of Opposition. But Labour still needs a friendly critic and a critical friend.


  1. The state does not protect everything conservatives wish to conserve-Britain's ancient liberties all derive from reducing the role of the state!

    Jury trial, the 1688 revoking of the press licensing laws, Magna Carta, habeaus corpus, the independence of the House of Lords from the Commons, the right to bear arms, free assembly, the ban on a standing Army etc ad nauseum.

    They all tell the state what it cannot do.

    True conservatism strives to reduce the role of the state, by building Edmund Burke's 'little platoons' in its place; the married family, the Churches, local communities, small businesses, charity not welfare etc.

    The role of the state is to defend the realm, keep our streets safe, keep our currency afloat... and get out of our way.

  2. ""inclusive of social and cultural conservatives as well as social and cultural liberals""

    How is it "inclusive of social and cultural conservatives"? It's leadership (including Jon Cruddas) is passionately socially and culturally liberal, as are all its policies.

  3. You know nothing about the tradition in which you purport to stand. Literally nothing, It is almost picturesque.

    The second part is drooling. Or screaming for attention because you are tired. Time for bed.

  4. If Labour does not win Eastleigh, your point will be proved.

  5. Funny, I was just thinking the same thing.

  6. That Ukip boy seems to be a Classical Liberal who like most of them these days thinks that that is Toryism. Historically and philosophically baseless, I do not need to tell you. He even celebrates 1688 and thinks that makes him a Tory, how pig ignorant can he possibly be! But virtually all professing conservatives in this country are now like that, especially after Thatcher, a Liberal alderman's daughter who killed off Toryism within the Conservative Party and therefore also within Ukip. Ukip was founded by a Liberal, like the the think tanks that created Thatcherism.

    The thing is, said Ukip boy and the rest of them should approve of the Coalition, especially since it based on the Orange Book. They should approve of gay marriage and I think most of them really do. Farage did until the very recent past and still takes the free market view of drugs and whoring.

  7. Lindsay Fan Boy (no wonder he's anonymous, nobody would want to admit it!) calm down old fella, you sound like you're on the verge of apoplexy. Have a glass of warm milk, and try thinking for yourself.

    You don't know anything about conservatism-or 1688.

    That Bill of Rights is the basis of the longest tradition of freedom and democracy in world history-and the basis for the Constitutions of the freest countries in the world today.

  8. You really do know absolutely nothing about what Toryism is or isn't. It began with Thatcher to you. And she, as the likes of Alan Clark and Enoch Powell explained, simply was not a Tory at all. Peter Hitchens is still explaining that to this day, if you would care to listen.

  9. Once again, your assumptions about me are off-base because you know nothing about what I believe, and your worldview is totally skewed.

    I can't stand Thatcher, the only thing she got right was her speech against the EU-and that was of course the reason she was removed.

    Thatcher had nothing to do with my admiration for Britain's tradition of civil liberties and that glorious 1689 document.

    I was simply pointing out that everything good about Britain (encapsulated in our tradition of jury trial, a right to bear arms and a free press) is based on small government, and on suspicion of state power.

    Everything bad about the Continent by comparison, is based on their unstinting faith in the state-encapsulated in the French Revolution.

    Being pro-Burke and anti-Paine doesn't make me a Thatcherite.