Thursday, 28 February 2019

Blues, Not Jews

The triumph of the Conservative Establishment over the Brexiteers is the triumph of the "I'm not political, I'm a Tory" tendency.

That tendency is perfectly embodied by Theresa May and by her closest allies, such as Philip Hammond, David Lidington and Damian Green, as well as by those Cabinet Ministers who had threatened to resign if a No Deal Brexit were not ruled out, namely Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke.

Now, I am sure that none of those people is personally anti-Semitic. But their political roots are in the situation after the First World War, when Toryism was redefined by means of one of the great acts of triangulation. In its own mind, it placed itself both between and above two opposite extremes.

One extreme was seen as Liberalism: individualistic, meritocratic (although the word had not yet been coined), bourgeois, commercial, American, Jewish. The other extreme was seen as Socialism: collectivist, egalitarian, proletarian, industrial, Soviet, Jewish.

To be any of those things very much or, in several cases, at all was to be an extremist, and defined by an ideology in the eyes of people who prided themselves on having none. Such has never quite ceased to be the case, and that tendency is now not merely ascendant again, but triumphant.

This, therefore, is the Government of Shamima's Law, whereby anyone who might be entitled to another nationality, whether or not they held it or wanted it, can now be stripped of British citizenship at a stroke of the Home Secretary's pen.

That has made merely provisional the British citizenship of everyone who would qualify under the Israeli Law of Return. That is to say, of every British Jew, quite expansively defined.

But even by that expansive definition, unless I am very much mistaken, no member of the present Cabinet is Jewish. Though few in number, British Jews are an educated and politicised lot, so it is quite unusual for there to be none in the Cabinet.

Think on.

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