Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Clegg and Cameron are pissing off Middle England



This article of mine appears in the First Post.

Neil Clark: You know the Tories are in trouble when the Telegraph and the Morning Star agree.

Here’s an extract:

The most interesting thing about British politics at present is the way that the ruling coalition's extreme neo-liberalism has put it on a collision course not just with the 'old' left, but with conservative Middle England. Aside from the Morning Star, there has been no daily newspaper more unrelentingly critical of the new government than the Daily Mail - the authentic voice of the country's small 'c' conservatives.


You can read the whole of the article here.

8 comments:

Peter said...

There has long been a glaring fissure in rightist politics in the UK which has been inadequately exploited by the Left. The fissure is between Conservative traditionalists and free-market neo-liberals. Whilst welded together into one party - the Tories - they actually have quite different politics because the promotion of market values is inevitably corrosive of traditionalism, whether that of family, community profession or party. Indeed the reason why the EU is such an incendiary issue for the Tories is just that: it puts at war the traditionalism of nationhood with the neo-liberalism imperative to a single European market. More widely, the Thatcher of 'Victorian values' was directly in contrast with the Thatcher of hedonistic consumerism fulled by credit. It is precisley this gap which Cameron seeks to bridge with his notion of 'the Big Society' - an attempt to patch the destructiveness of neo-liberalism by reference to a kind of Burkean conservatism of 'little platoons'.

In modern UK politics this fissure has shown up endlessly - for example, in pursuit of the neo-liberal hegemony of the market, Thatcher smashed the industrial working classes whose social conservatism had much in common with hers. Then again, Blair's speech about the forces of conservatism was taken by Tories as an attack on their traditional supporters when in fact it was an attack on Labour's traditional trade union support.

If Labour were smart they would seek to form a 'progressive alliance' not by appeal to the Thatcherite poujadiste class but by welding together what remains of Old Labour support with the home counties conservative traditionalists represented by the DM.

Peter Guillam

jock mctrousers said...

Yes, but what can they - or we - do? We can't let these unelected yahoos run on like this for 5 years! But if you read any pronouncements from or involving the entire spectrum of the laughable left from Labour to the 'revolutionaries', most are quite leisurely talking about the prospect of getting Labour led by one of the bug-eyed turnip brothers back in power in 5 years - maybe! We don't have 5 years - there'll be nothing left of our society by then! And anyway, I wouldn't vote for the turnips if the election was tomorrow. Diane Abbott at least acknowledges what EVERY serious economist says - that there is NO 'debt crisis'- but then she says that Labour were going to make cuts nearly as big anyway - so are they necessary or not? NO!!! But you can't trust Labour an inch, and everyone knows it now. THAT is our real problem - no-one any more believes that our vote will make the slightest difference, that ANY politician will do what they were elected for rather than what the banksters tell them to.
The longstanding treachery of the so-called 'labour movement' is the reason all of us, including the middle-class conservatives, are now faced with the prospect of impotently watching a bunch of crypto-fascist gangsters dismantle our society.
The lib-dems must be the weak link. We have to find a way to chip that away and bring this lot down - REAL QUICK, but we still have to replace them with something. Excuse me for ranting.

Mr. Piccolo said...

Great article. Many socially conservative people are not really all that supportive of economic liberalism, but vote for right-wing parties because of social issues or because the left-wing parties stopped caring about the interests of regular people. Even in the United States, polls seem to indicate that even most Tea Party members are supportive of government programs like Medicare and Social Security.

An "Old Left, "Old Right" alliance makes sense. Free market radicalism breeds social decay and undermines things social conservatives care about, like family life, tight-knit communities, manners, religion, and culture.

While some might point out that the social revolutions that have upset social conservatives occurred during the heyday of the post-war consensus, I think it is important to note that the revolts were often directed against leaders like Charles de Gaulle, who was farther to the Left on economic matters than most world leaders today.

I think it has been discussed here before, but I don't think it is a coincidence that so many counterculture types from the '60s transformed in yuppies in the '80s.

Gregor said...

Interesting article, but I'm not certain about how the one-nation Tories would really form any meaningful group and how they can stop their knee-jerk hatred of the left?

For instance I noticed an article by Christine Odone attacking 'left wing luvvies' for supporting creepy child-molestor Polanski. As this petition was organised by Bernard Henri Levy, it just demonstrates how British social conservatives are pretending to believe that neo-liberal/ neo-con right wingers are left wing because they don't really have the confidence of their convictions to openly acknowledge that the biggest danger to Western societies is capitalist consumerism.

It's a weird charade that is like moving a chess piece backwards and forwards to postpone losing. But lose the social right most definitely will if they continue to attack 'new labour socialism' and 'left wing luvvies' when British society is in increasing danger.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Peter, totally agreed. it's great to hear from you and I hope all's well.
Jock: agreed,after five years of this govt almost everything will be privatised. the debt 'crisis' is being used as an excuse to privatise the British state.
Mr Piccolo: many thanks.
on the subject of de Gaulle and those who protested against him- did you ever see my TAC essay on 'The Children of 68'?
http://neilclark66.blogspot.com/2008/07/children-of-68-1.html

"Always distrustful of the power of money and market fundamentalism, he introduced a mixed economy, a welfare state, and presided over the biggest rise in living standards for ordinary people in French history. “He was a man who did not care for those who owned wealth; he despised the bourgeois and hated capitalism” was the verdict of de Gaulle’s biographer Jean Lacouture.
"
As you say, de Gaulle was farther to the Left on economic matters than most world leaders today. But the 'new left'- the 'left' that supports global capitalism and the right of the world's richest countries to 'intervene' all over the globe against sovereign states, destroyed him.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Gregor:
Good point- there is nothing more infuriating than hearing pro-capitalist, pro-globalist neo-con/neo-liberals being labelled 'left-wing'.
You hear this a lot in connection with the bombing of Yugoslavia- with conservative commentators claiming that it was a 'left-wing' war. It was a war for corporate profits, and that certainly isn't 'left-wing'.

Mr. Piccolo said...

@Mr. Clark,

Thank you for the article. It is too bad we don't have more leaders like de Gaulle today.

DBC Reed said...

Sign o'the times is the gathering revolt about the uncertain future of the planned A11 dualling between Barton Mills and Thetford.Conservative MPs from miles around are falling over themselves to plead that it be exempted from the cuts.When the cuts begin to bite at a local level into cherished middle-class projects you can expect A) the Lib dems to disown the Coalition B)the Conservatives to lose their nerve.