The country has always been an egalitarian place. For a start, the planners haven't buggered it by creating monocultural ghettoes like the vast council estates of the metropolitans and the £1m villas of detached suburbia. In my old market town the cottage of a railwayman's widow nestled with the Tudor merchant's house of an FRS, and council houses (yes, we had them) were pairs or small groups of semi-detacheds woven seamlessly into the historical fabric. The pubs, the retailers, the amenities were used by all. Contrary to the caricatures, such small societies have the knack of tolerating and absorbing differences and varieties. My neighbour was curiously proud when Needham Market acquired its first Vegan - and the poor woman became the object of well-meaning but universal curiosity; "Are they allowed to touch newspapers?" asked the owner of the newsagents-come-toy-shop. Oh sure there were feuds, disputes and long-standing stubbornness, but we had five pubs (six if you included the bar of the Limes Hotel) and people spread themselves out. It was, if you like, One Village. There is little fertile ground for the Marxist politics of class hatred in such places.
Which brings us to Momentum. Everything that Labour promised in their campaign, every crazy giveaway and gift, every insane spending commitment, was not an end in itself but a lever with which to gull voters into building the bars of a Marxist central command State around themselves. Though their objectives were vile, it didn't mean that some of the persuasion-agenda stuff didn't chime with voters across the spectrum as laudable ends in themselves.
More social housing - why not? A young couple working in low-paid jobs should not be excluded from the possibility of a family life and a home, but of course neither should they have an absolute right to State housing. There's a median way. Rail fares - Villach to Vienna and Durham to London are both around 400km, but one will cost £29 for a single fare and the other £176. That's too great a difference. Training more nurses - for sure. Let's be flexible - there's room for not only SENs and SRNs but graduate Nurse Practitioners as well, for a variety of on the job, day release, full and part time training. Let's not be didactic.
The Conservatives, unlike the Marxists, don't have an ideology. However much Marxists try to impose one upon us. We're pragmatists, flexible and open to change. Agile, in the jargon of the modern management consultant. And this is where I fear those who are already projecting both their fears and their hopes onto Boris may well be disappointed. Just as they ditch their failed Leader, Labour may find that Boris has parked his tanks on their lawn.
Robert Tombs does a decent job of outlining the direction of travel in the Telegraph. No, Boris won't water down Brexit, and neither will he betray our Friends in the North. There is an obligation there. And an opportunity to destroy everywhere in Britain apart from the toxic big cities the poison of Marxist division. Tombs writes
Boris Johnson has a similar mission to transform the thin-lipped party of Cameron, Osborne and May – and beyond the borders of England too. This is a formidable task. But he has advantages: not only the spectacular own goals committed by Labour and the LibDems, and the desperate stridency of an SNP whose long-term hopes are threatened by Brexit.That will do for starters.
He can, and indeed should in the opinion of even conservative economists, borrow more to invest – investment in its true sense, and not as a euphemism for all state spending. He can launch a big infrastructure strategy. He can push forward improvements in schools and in training: the tools – which Labour wanted to abolish – are already there. Outside the EU, he can help deprived regions more effectively and he can bring down the cost of living by cutting unnecessary tariffs.
|Investment - the railway band was on hand yesterday for the official opening of a branch line electrification|