Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Right All Along

I tried to tell you. We are to become a colony of the European Union, still bound by its laws while having no say in their content; we are to become a vassal state of the European Union, obliged to pay tribute to the imperium. Both of those arrangements will be "for a transitional period". Of course.

Like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, Liam Fox probably did not even vote Leave. Neither Johnson nor Fox would have been given his current job unless Theresa May and Gavin Williamson had been absolutely satisfied as to his Remainer credentials. Williamson will be the only candidate to succeed May. The last Conservative Leadership Election, fully 13 years ago and counting, really was the last Conservative Leadership Election, ever.

As for the Visegrád Group, why did they ever join the EU, something that they did as recently as 1st May 2004? In Vienna today, Viktor Orbán's alliance-building with the Austrian Third Lager has vast implications. Yet these are the people to whose legislative will we are to remain subject.

The recent Academics Ball reminded us that the Third Lager was not without is grander, more refined and more cerebral side. We associate right-wing intellectuals with the Continent, and to a lesser extent with the United States. The Right in the English-speaking world complains endlessly that it is excluded from academic life. Do not believe a word of it.

Those academics who decide to become rich and famous in late middle age by appearing to turn right always were like that. They probably think that they have been keeping their heads down until they had been given tenure or what have you. But the reality is that everyone always knew. As much as anything else, overly extravagant professions of liberal or Marxist opinion are always telltale signs of something else.

Bored of the relative poverty, the relative obscurity and the relative pretence, each of them eventually publishes his edition of The Book. Jordan Peterson's is the latest Book, but it is always the same Book. The flavour of the month is called that for a reason. Adolescent taste is fickle. Luckily, though, the target audience is always too young to have read the last Book, the last write-up of right-wing tabloid boilerplate in vaguely academic language. Six months ago, no one had ever heard of Jordan Peterson. In a year's time, few will remember him. But he will have been a pop star for about as long as most pop stars had ever lasted.

On the Continent, and to a lesser extent in the United States, there are continuous, living traditions of out and proud right-wing academia and wider intellectual life, from apprenticeship to the Olympian heights. But in Britain, in the American academic and artistic mainstream, and in what was once the Old Commonwealth, there is an insistence on pretending to have been pretending to have been a liberal or a kind of Marxist until the obvious is stated as if it were some sort of male menopause.

That said, all sorts of things go on under the deliberately faulty radar. The Ulster Institute for Social Research, the seat of the Mankind Quarterly, is hosted by the perfectly respectable University of Ulster. The London Conference on Intelligence is held at the world class University College London, which is ostensibly, and not accidentally, the last institution on earth where anyone would ever think to look for such an event.

And the four ancient Scottish universities are major centres, both of the wider study of Roman law, and of wider Reformed ("Calvinist") theological scholarship, each of which covers a very broad range of opinion and culture, and each of which gives those institutions a high degree of integration into the academic life of the Continent. Watch that space.


  1. Showboating, Mr. Lindsay. You could have entitled this one "Laura Pidcock Could Not Have Written This". Well done. I love it.

    1. I had not given her a moment's thought.