Friday, 30 August 2013

Postliberal Parliament

Practically all Tories are really Whigs. There is a continuous tradition of intellectuals corresponding to that of the Right on the Continent, and especially in France, with Roger Scruton as the pre-eminent living bearer of it. But its political influence is negligible.

At least, it is within the Conservative Party, which has been defined by the takeover of the bovine Tory machine by successive waves of Country Whigs, Patriot Whigs, Liberal Unionists, Liberal Imperialists, National Liberals, the Institute of Economic Affairs, Alfred Roberts's daughter, and now the Liberal Democrats.

On the other side, however, the pronounced turn to Postliberalism includes a decided openness towards the continuous critique of the liberal project (individualist, capitalist, imperialist, and so on) in Britain, in Canada as heirs of American Loyalism, and on the Continent, especially in France.

Tonight's Labour vote was a highly practical expression of that. I hope, against hope, that the Tory rebellion really was precisely that. That would be a truly seismic shift if it were.

In fact, why not? Tonight's victorious alliance manifests profound shifts on the Left over the last 10 years, and I am increasingly convinced on the Right, too.

The new centre ground is emerging, where the never-remotely-Marxist Left agrees with a non-Whig Right which hitherto hardly realised that it existed.

Opposition to wars simply to put the world to rights, is fundamental to that.

But it is not the only thing that is.


  1. It was a wonderful night.

    But don't get your hopes up that this means some miraculous revival of Burkean conservatism.

    It doesn't. We just won this time.

  2. That is remarkable enough in itself.

  3. The anti-war alliance stretched from UKIP to Respect, from John Redwood to George Galloway.

    It's been weird and surreal at times.

  4. In 25 years' times, possibly even only 15, it will seem normal.

  5. We need to follow this new direction to its logical conclusion and immediately pull out of Afghanistan.