Monday, July 23, 2007

Still not getting it...

You might have noticed that your humble Devil did not crow over the Ealing and Sedgefield by-election results. There were several reasons for this; first, NuLabour were always going to hold Sedgefield. Let's face it, had Blair ever thought that the seat was in doubt he would have put himself into a nice safe seat; it's a trifle difficult to be Prime Minister when you haven't even been elected as an MP.

Second, despite the Tories bigging up their candidate, Ealing Southall was also never really in danger. The Conservatives expected a bigger swing to be sure, but then how could they? Not only have they have alienated a good number of their core members but, more importantly, they don't really have any concrete policies. Those who vote like to know vaguely what they are voting for; the Tories may well have hoped that they have ditched the "nasty image" but, in the absence of anything to put in its place, people will revert to the default. In other words, with no concrete "nice party" policies, the Tories are still the "nasty party".

Third, of course, UKIP did not have any kind of breakthrough either, gleaning 0.78% of the Ealing vote and 1.92% of the Sedgefield vote. Which makes it all the more irritating that Jackart seems increasingly to be following in Iain Dale's footsteps, in both his willingness to bash UKIP and to follow his tribal Tory instincts. And, y'see, I wouldn't mind but he does rather let those instincts blind him to some pertinent facts.
The people who have taken the most delight in the failure of the Tories to create what would be a stunning by-election coup are our fellow travellers on the right, UKIP. These can be regarded in the same light as the Militant tendency in Labour. Most Tory activists agree with their analysis, but can't stand the people Whilst I rather like the Fragrant Trixy, and the less fragrant, but still cool DK, I cannot stand their hostility to a party whose instincts are the same as theirs.

Well, cheers for the compliment (I think) but, really, I do get tired of repeating myself: the Tories do not stand for the same things as UKIP.

Do I have "hostility to a party whose instincts are the same" as mine?

Well, yes, there is some hostility but it is derived from contempt: it starts out with my standard contempt for all politicos, moves through my more focused contempt for the Tory stance on the EU—"no, really, we're EUsceptic. Oh, yes, well, we may have taken Britain in in the first place, lying through our teeth all the way; then, in the main, campaigned to remain in the EU during the 1975 referendum (lying all the way); shackled the country to the ERM because we were desperate to join the Euro; then rammed the Maastricht Treaty through Parliament, ignoring the widespread calls for a referendum, and lying, lying, lying through our teeth all the way; and we may talk about repatriating parts of our law (such as the Social Chapter) which no longer exist in that form and thus promise things that we know that we cannot do simply to gain power. But really, we're EUsceptics."—and finishes up on my specific contempt for certain members of the Tory inner circle (Cameron and Letwin especially).

The EU is the single most important item on the agenda but even Jackart accepts that the Tories are still consistent liars on this issue.
The Tory party is disengaging itself (slowly) from the EPP, to reflect the electorates view that they want a Europe of Nation states (not on the menu, I know), but don't want to pull out entirely.

What Cameron and Co. espouse is not on the menu; they know it. We know it. And so the Conservatives continue to lie about the EU; in this way, if in no other, they make a mockery of the principle of reforming the party.

And for what reason? The overwhelming majority of the British public are EUsceptic. If the Tories even promised a referendum on membership, this would boost their votes far more than any of the rest of their pathetic, centre-ground posturing. And yet they will not promise such a referendum—a policy which would, after all, almost certainly rid them of the thorn of UKIP at the very least.

What, then, do they (and the other parties) know that we do not? Why the continued support for this deeply undemocratic and economically useless "empire"?* These are questions that are poisoning political debate; this is why people stay at home: they believe that our politicos are deceiving us even before we get onto Home policies.

And, to be sure, many UKIPpers loathe the Tories but it is the kind of hostility that you have towards the best friend who slept with your girlfriend. The conservative wing of the almost suicidally diverse party that is UKIP feel, rightly or wrongly, that the Conservative Party have betrayed them in an intimate and personal way.

But the point that Jackart has really missed here is that I don't share the Tories' fucking values. Why? Because I'm a libertarian and the Tories have been socially authoritarian ever since the government were so laissez faire that it barely mattered who you voted for. The Conservatives are social authoritarians and have been for decades; they don't share my values at all.

The leadership certainly do not; all that has happened is that they have, for the moment, cast aside their adherence to economic liberty too. Jackart would argue that politics is the art of the possible but, you see, I'm not a tribal Tory and I see no point in having a government that is as authoritarian as our current one.
Their gloating at every Tory setback and monomaniacal obsession with Europe...

Tories will, of course, say that Cameron is an old-style Conservative and that what he is saying is merely for expediency. Well, in that case the Tories will be liars as soon as they are in office and I'm fed to the back teeth with liars and hypocrites. (But then, with every day that passes, the idea of slaughtering every last man-jack of them seems more and more attractive.)
To which you might say "Cameron espouses the same policies...blu labour... foam... rant". Indeed many of you swivel-eyed fuckers probably will. You can't have it both ways. Either he's all spin and has no policies or he's got lots of policies and you disagree with them.

Don't be ridiculous; it is not as clear-cut as this. No, Cameron has not published clear policies, but we are starting to see in which direction his policies are heading; the Tories are as keen to model society in the image which they desire as the NuLabour are. One could argue that you personally find the Tory vision better than the Labour one, but I despise both.

Because the Tories want to do it through the "Third Sector" rather than government departments is of no moment at all; we all know what happens when charities become overly-dependent on state hand-outs—they become, effectively, government departments, with all of the box-ticking bureaucratic mentality and wasteful inefficiencies of any other state department.

Yes, I will admit that I was heartily amused when I saw that an unknown number of Tories had written to Cameron asking him to resign. And it is not simply because he was elected to piss off the party faithful (a task that he has carried out most effectively) but because he is actually not what is needed right now: Cammy-baby was elected to oppose a master of presentation, to be a media competitor in the style of Blair. NuLabour have outflanked him and, although we know that the new PM's "end-of-spin" government is itself mere spin, Brown's perception is that of a serious, principled heavyweight rather than glib media whore.

But in the end, of course, we will only see how effective Cameron is when we see hard policies and the Tory share of the vote in either a genuinely marginal by-election or a general election.

In the meantime and as I have said before, I shall continue to be a member of a libertarian party that can take votes off Cameron: in this way, I can be far more effective at steering the Tories my way than I would by shouting within the empty, vacillating heart of the British Conservative Party.

Now, my dear Dude, you may think that I am a hopelessly old-fashioned sort of a chap, with ludicrous and unobtainable ideals but I find it a sad commentary on the politics of today that I should be called a "swivel-eyed fucker" because I refuse to leap on the bandwagon and support a political party whose principles and principals I despise.

I have never been a member of the Tories, and I have never voted for them: I have only ever put my cross next to their box because I loathed them slightly less than the other two. At heart, the Conservative Party is, like NuLabour, merely another bunch of slippery, hypocritical, corrupt and power-hungry cunts eager to model society and individuals' lives to fit what the party believes to be the correct mould; they are, all of them—Tories, LibDems, NuLabour—scum on the surface of a rotting and foetid pond.

UPDATE: it has occurred to your humble Devil that there is, as usual, a far pithier way of putting across the idea that I'm trying to express.

None of the main parties believe in small government because, fundamentally, the politicos believe that they have the right—nay, the duty—to model society in their image, to force people to conform to goals defined by politicians, rather than to allow individuals the freedom to pursue their own aspirations.

Ultimately, what I am attempting to convey is that the core beliefs of all of the three main parties are so far from my central philosophy that it is a matter of supreme indifference to me as to which particular bunch of lily-livered, venal, know-all meglomaniacs actually gets into office.

* Quoth Mr Barroso, President of the European Commission.
"Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of Empires. We have the dimension of Empire but there is a great difference. Empires were usually made with force with a centre imposing diktat, a will on the others. Now what we have is the first non-Imperial empire. We have 27 countries that fully decided to work together and to pool their sovereignty. I believe it is a great construction and we should be proud of it. At least, we in the Commission are proud of it."

How lucky we all are.


Mark Wadsworth said...

I think that the magic words are "small government". From there all else follows.
- Less laws and regulations.
- Fewer people to enforce them.
- No EU (the biggest government of all).
- Lower taxes.

("building more prisons" does not follow automatically, but it's the only social engineering that works).

If by a happy coincidence the illiberal laws against drugs, fox-hunting, prostitution etc. were swept aside as well, so much the better.

C4' said...

Marvellous piece DK as always.

Ed said...

Indeed an excellent piece. I also can't stand social authoritarianism or the idea that it is the government's job to mould society. I also think that the "benefits" the EU brings could be brought without cost to our democracy and without having things we dislike imposed on us. But I believe that I can perfectly well argue this corner from within a big tent Conservative party.

The Left realised that they would never be in power if they spent all their time attacking each other so rallied behind a team which consisted of a nice looking front man and a Scottish Presbyterian socialist who would actually run the show. The formula worked as you may have noticed.

I commend you for standing up for your principles but our system is ruinous to small parties and even if that does change it won't be to the benefit of UKIP supporters because the Eurofederalist LibDems would hold the balance of power most of the time.

Unfortunately it's all about least worst options.

Jackart said...

The Tories are not about small government as you or I understand it, but they are about smaller government.

True the Tories took us into Europe, but would that the Labour party opposed make you vote for them now? The Tory Party is sceptic with a few federasts sticking out like boulders left by a retreating glacier. EPP is just the start. You think there'd be a back-bench rebellion if a Tory government offered a referendum? (like what they're... um... campaigning for now)

That the rhetoric of the main parties is the same doesn't mean the solutions are the same.

Cameron is a Tory with liberal social views - he's pledged to scrap ID cards and isn't making hay with the 24 hour drinking for example. Yes he could be more radical economically, but he's an improvement on Brown, and I'm afraid the "Sharing proceeds" pledge is the best you'll get past the electorate.

The fact is a radically smaller state is not popular and unlikely to be unless demonstrated in a watered down form by a major party in Government. That ain't going to be UKIP is it?

So the Tories are (pretty fucking) far from perfect, but they're the best we've got.

Idealogical purity is for adolescents. I have my views - and they only coincide with declared party policy at the margins. I vote because I think the Tories will do a better job, as they've always done, and cost a bit less

Vote UKIP, get socialism.

Nose, Bite, Spite, face.

Devil's Kitchen said...


"You think there'd be a back-bench rebellion if a Tory government offered a referendum? (like what they're... um... campaigning for now)"

The Tories are campaigning for a referendum on the EU Constitu... sorry... EU Reform Treaty, not our membership of the EU per se. The Tories have not said that they will campaign against the Reform Treaty and, were it to be perceived to be a referendum on remaining in the EU, they would most certainly not do so.

And, as I said, the EU is the single most important issue facing us, and we are running out of time.

"So the Tories are (pretty fucking) far from perfect, but they're the best we've got."

Yeah, and there lies my general dislike of politics. Still, it would be nice if they were better, wouldn't it? I mean, I don't see, for a start, that they are for smaller government at all. Instead they want to use private charities to control us now: as you said, the methods are different but, as I said, the end is the same: control.

"Idealogical purity is for adolescents."

I admit that we will never have the ideologicaly pure government that I want. Hence I water down my radical views: hence Libertarian UK.

"Vote UKIP, get socialism."

Except, of course, as I keep pointing out to you, UKIP actually gain a lot of votes from the Left too.

And those they take from the Right? They aren't Coservative votes: they are votes that the Tories have failed to win.


The Nameless One said...

And those they take from the Right? They aren't Coservative votes: they are votes that the Tories have failed to win.

Precisely. I agree totally.

The arrogant assumption of Cameron that the Tory party will always have the votes of those who are right of centre regardless of that party's rhetoric or policy pledges may cost him dearly at the next election.

lahgbr said...

How very much I agree with you, again, DK. What the redoubtable Mr. British Dude and other Tory supporters seem incapable of grasping is that while the Conservatives remain pro-EU it is completely pointless for anyone who believes in British identity and parliamentary democracy to vote for them. Unless we regain our independence of action and legislation from the EU-reich there is little purpose in discussing the finer points of social legislation, ID cards, degrees of smallness of government, etc., since we are effectively slaves to an unaccountable, faceless bureaucratic dictatorship that doesn't give a shit what we think either way. UKIP are the only party who clearly state this and have the straightforward aim of leaving the EU. Therefore I, and I would have thought any other genuine conservatives, should support UKIP, until and unless the Tories come to their senses.
Mr. Hughes.

Trixy said...

In most elections UKIP take votes from the old Labour vote, actually.

So ner.

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...