Thursday, November 22, 2007

Shuffling The Deckchairs On The S.S. Conservative

I’ve said before that as a blogger I actively strive not to be topical. Of course, there will always be things that you do want to comment on immediately, but I generally find that the hecticness (or in my case, the strange form of anti-hecticness I cultivate) of life will intervenes if you want it to.

Nevertheless I’m quite glad that the appearance of Liberal Conspiracy has brought the future of the left into the blogosphere. It’s a subject that had been playing on my mind in any case, inspired by Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank’s appearance on News 24’s Straight Talk. But through it all, I found myself asking one simple question;

Why on Earth would a lefty be most concerned about the realignment of the left?

As I’ve said before with reference to grammar schools, most questions can be considered from exactly the opposite directions. For all the stress on the left about the disunity of the left through the twentieth century, is it not more remarkable that the right stayed united during that period? That there was no response to the Conservative acceptance of the Attlee settlement in the 1950’s? That Thatcherism did not cause a more fundamental rift with the One Nationers in the 1980’s? That neither Goldsmith nor Farage have persuaded the Eurosceptics to jump ship in the Major/Hague/Duncan Smith/Howard/Cameron era?

In reality, few ideas have been more persistent in British politics than that of the Conservative Party as a natural home for people who can plug away diligently if boringly and eventually get made MPs when they reach a certain weight; a quick glance at the Tory back-benches during PMQ’s provides all the evidence one could need of the mass of mediocrity that approach has proudly produced for many years.

What both the liberals and, particularly, the “socialists” must now recognise is that we cannot wait around in the hope that the Tories will go ballistic and have a Lloyd George/Asquith style split. We have already had the Cuban Missile Crisis in that respect and, when given his moment of destiny, Michael Heseltine spectacularly failed to deliver the knockout blow to Thatcher over Westland.

So our answer to Liberal Conspiracy is a simple one; if you really want to realign British politics for the better, you are going to have to come over here and start listening on PR. We are different from you and we are different from them and you aren’t going to get anywhere until you stop fighting it and start embracing it.

No comments: