Sunday, September 28, 2008

One Party Britain

From today's Observer:

Senior Blairites could be offered jobs under a David Cameron government in the 'national interest', a leading Tory shadow cabinet minister reveals today, in a bid to poach some of Labour's brightest talents and split the party.
Michael Gove (pictured above), the shadow children's secretary, singled out Schools Minister Lord Adonis, but also warmly praised current cabinet ministers James Purnell and the 'outstanding' Hazel Blears.

'I have yet to find a speech of Andrew's outlining policies that I disagree with,' Gove said, adding that, even when Adonis issues press releases attacking him, 'I have the grim feeling I am reading something that has been written for him'.
He also identified common ground with Purnell: 'He, like me, is a strong believer in an interventionist foreign policy: not even everyone within New Labour and certainly not everyone in the Conservative camp [is].' Blears, he said, was unfairly underrated by her own side - 'the fact that she came bottom [for deputy leadership] tells you all you need to know about the Labour party'.

So there we have it- vote Conservative at the next general election, because you're sick to death of Hazel Blears, James Purnell and the other Blairites- and you could still get them anyway. Isn't our democracy wonderful!

As I wrote in the American Conservative back in November:

Britain's two main parties- the only two who, thanks to our first past the post electoral system, have a realistic chance of winning a general election, have converged to such an extent that their policies on the major issues of the day are virtually indistinguishable.

Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with consensus politics, if the consensus genuinely represents the view of the majority. But as the Guardian's Seumas Milne has observed, what is described as the 'centre ground' today in fact reflects not the dominant views not of the people, but of the political, media and corporate establishment. What percentage of the public support a neo-conservative foreign policy? How many people believe that allowing 'market forces' to govern every aspect of our lives, represents the best way to order our society?


Anonymous said...

Eastern Atlantic Union and Dollarzone East (after Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have gone their own way) here we come.

Roland Hulme said...

Haven't Labor and the Tories been virtually indistinguishable for the past decade?

Anonymous said...

To a substantial extent, but not quite like this. Labour borrowed a great many Tory ideas (your spelling of the party's name is appropriate to the extent that they have become a particularly fervent 51st State party), but the Tories at least made vain attempts to differentiate themselves in their darkest days, even if this was not (as it should have been) a return to one-nation Toryism so as to distance themselves from NuLab's neo-Thatcherism, but a retrenchment to the far-right (under William Hague's leadership, they practically embraced quasi-fascist survivalism, making heroes of people like Tony Martin whose spiritual home was not Norfolk but Alabama).

Now we are *that* close to a single neoliberal superparty which could conceivably stay in power forever.

KNaylor said...

Agreed. Even more odious is the way charlatans like Denis MacShane, MP for Rotherham, can promote drivel like this in response to Gordon Brown's conference speech (Brown's speech: Powerful stuff The Guardian Tuesday September 23 2008 )

'In contrast to the millionaires' row shadow cabinet front bench – the biggest collection of wealthy people outside Mayfair hedge funds – Brown invited Labour to remake the case for government. In contrast to the isolationist Tory philosophy with its visceral hostility to Europe, he delivered a speech in which the words global and international appeared more than in any prime minister's speech in years.'

The simple fact is that the Tories have not opposed the 'liberal interventionist' internationalism of those like MacShane but have supported both the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

Moreover, MacShane is a member of the Henry Jackson Society which contains Tory MPs like Michael Gove and Alan Mendoza. The come out with this pretense that the Tories are substantially different is obvious doublethink.

MacShane is resorting to false dichotomies and pseudo-politicking of the lamest kind merely to try and give the impression that there are real and substantial differences between Cameron's New Tories and New Labour on foreign policy when both are wedded to the messianic 'Democracy Promotion' agenda.

The Tories under Cameron are not anti-EU but against the social democratic model of France and Germany and preferring the neoliberal political economy no less than MacShane and also equally as Atlanticist in wanting Britain to be the USA's main advocate for a 'New Europe' that is welded into one huge politico-military bloc.

This is essentially a neoconservative vision but it is also better seen as a form of militaristic missionary liberalism that appeals to a cross party body of opinion.

Orwell's vision of Britain as Airstrip One in Oceania was never merely a satire of Stalinist totalitarianism as many think. It was also one on mass media mystification, the art of political lying and the prospect of the globe divided into vast and competing military blocs, the erosion of national sovereignty and entanglement in wars on the froniers of those clashing tectonic plates ( think of the Great Game over the oil and gas in Central Asia ).

Britain has now developed similarities with Oceania, where there are only manufactured differences, perpetual political choreography, and soundbites emitted from the telescreens like 'war on terror' 'the feelgood factor', etc etc.

Politics has become meaningless and choice reduced to two virtually identical parties offering different consumer packages to electors based on the same premises of private debt fuelled consumerism but as the bubble economy has burst there might be a nasty rise in social instability, violence on the streets and radical extra-pArliamentary opposition.

PS Get ready for the reaction to the Belarus election results....

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't take this story too seriously, Neil. It's obviously just a political tactic designed to split Labour and enourage defections - that kind of thing.

Anyway, Roland Hulme is quite right. New Labour has always been moderate conservatism with a few minor leftwing ideas bolted on...

KNaylor said...

Just to clarify ,Mendoza is a councillor not an MP, representing the Conservative Party. The MPs include Ed Vaizey and Michael Ancram.

Roland Hulme said...

Karl's comment is an example of why politicians like George Bush do so well - he keeps it short, doesn't use long words and sticks to populist ideas the crowds comprehend.

Anonymous said...


Labour's obsession with the social backgrounds of the Tory shadow cabinet, rather than anything genuinely politically relevant, shows how little they have to offer and to meaningfully distinguish them from the Tories. If Labour genuinely believed in an agenda of social justice and equality that distinguished them from the Tories, they wouldn't *need* to reduce politics to the level of the playground (and they certainly wouldn't need to pretend that the Tories are still "Little Englanders" in the traditional sense so as to save their own skins). Labour's crude obsession with class-based taunts will actually serve to strengthen the Cameron Party, as it will implicitly promote the myth that the Tories have returned to the values of the 1951-64 governments (despite this being utterly untrue in every sense).

A political timebomb will go off in 2010, and neither England nor Scotland will be the same after it (*especially* not Scotland, I suspect).

Anonymous said...

Eid Mubarak for all Muslim readers.

We are in one party country already. Blair was described once as a (disguised conservative) by William Gague.

Anglonoel said...

I'm more and more convinced after the next General Election that we'll have a de facto 'National Government' of Cameroonies, Orange Book Lib Dems and Blairites. If it happens, the expression 'Government Of All The Talents' will be trotted out, despite being a flagrant breach of the Trades Description Act...

ematejoca said...

BREAKING NEWS! - Barack Obama has replaced his Vice Presidential running mate, Joe Biden.

ematejoca said...

I am sorry to inform you that yes Teresa that is a joke. Doom is referring to Dr. Doom from the comic book/movie Fantastic Four. Latveria is his fictional home country which is located by Romania, Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia. I really am sorry for any mix up.


I am sorry. Next time I will be most carefully!