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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Classic Liberalism vs. Classic Toryism

Once British socialism gave up the idea of the common public ownership of wealth production it started to die as a political ideology. I've no doubt the next election will see Labour reduced even further, to a regional rump in the NE and NW of the country. Labour has ceased to be relevant in the momentous tectonic shifts now gradually reshaping British politics. Mandelson's Red Conservatism and Cameron's Blue Socialism are nothing more than temporary and transitional central Statist stopgaps; as an erudite commentator pointed out here, we are drifting back to the UK's long-term political bipolarity between Classic Liberalism (Libertarianism) and Classic Toryism.

DK points to a post by Unity on Liberal Conspiracy, but as is also often the case on this blog, the real erudition is in the comments rather than the post that provoked them. Locke, Hulme and Burke get a thorough airing to the general good, Tim Worstall helpfully points out that Libertarianism is a US term for what should properly be called Liberalism in the UK (where liberal does not mean socialist) and there is an iterative recognition in fractional increments of the movement of the tectonic plates of our politics.

As both Labour and Cameron's Conservatives drift ever further towards self-annihilation, with the main parties according to Vernon Bogdanor now having a combined membership well below 1% of the electorate, with the public increasingly distrustful of central Statism, the political class in irrecoverable ordure and our Parliament at the nadir of its long and distinguished history, the national mood for change and reform is creating a political vacuum that this realignment of British politics is starting to fill.

Expect to hear much more on this in the coming weeks and months.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

I hope you're right, but at present I am not optimistic.

The current regime is still powerful enough to try to annihilate real competition - witness its current treatment of UKIP.

And while our ruling classes are studying their own navels (and their bank balances), real power has leached away to Brussels.

There isn't much point in having a renaissance of real politics if the social democrat concensus in the EU is actually making all the running. The phrase that comes to mind is "whistling in the wind".

Blue Eyes said...

I hope you are right, but I fear that the statists will be in charge for a long time. There is a strange "consensus" among many people (hence Cameron's awful position-taking on booze and all female shortlists etc.) that it is the state's job to sort our perceived "injustices".

Budgie said...

Yes, a good description of the state of politics but, I am afraid, too optimistic. Being liberal (not socialist, not Liberal) is, as you say, the British way of being anti, or at least suspicious of, the state.

However there is a streak of intolerance in Libertarianism that I find distasteful, with its disregard of traditional wisdom and the fact that we are social animals. So I am liberal, rather than libertarian.

Anonymous said...

"witness it's current treatment of Ukip" Whats been happening then? I must of missed something.

Budgie said...

Anon 19:45 ...

The Court of Appeal for the Electoral Commission ruled that UKIP must forfeit £367,697-00 of donations from Alan Bown because he was not on the electoral register at the time of the donations.

This is a put up job. Firstly Alan Bown was unaware that his name had been taken off the register and secondly the law was intended merely to stop foreign donations to British parties (Alan Bown is British).