FLC132, Tax, Public Spending and Everything Else: The Sorry Truth about The Conservative Hidden Agenda, Sean Gabb, 25th March 2005

Free Life Commentary,
Issue Number 132
25th March 2005

Tax, Public Spending and Everything Else:
The Sorry Truth about The Conservative Hidden Agenda
by Sean Gabb

After several weeks of appearing to do well, the Conservatives have, by general agreement, just wrecked their pre-election campaign. Apparently, the Deputy Party Chairman – a man called Howard Flight, of whom I had previously never heard – gave a speech last Wednesday evening to a closed meeting. During this, he promised his audience that the true scale of spending cuts intended by a Conservative Government would only become clear after winning the general election. This promise was somehow reported to the media – first rule of speaking to a closed meeting: there is no such thing as a closed meeting: every statement is as much on the record as if made in a television studio – and the man has had his political career ended as a punishment. He has been sacked from his job and deselected from his seat in Parliament. His colleagues are now running desperately from studio to studio, putting on their usual headless chicken performance.

If I still had any intention of voting for these people at the election, or any hope that they would win, or that they would do anything worth calling conservative if they managed to win, I might share the dejection of my Conservative friends. But I long ago gave up all hope in the Conservative Party, and I am instead in my rather gloomy way amused. The Government and its Enemy Class allies in the media are glorying in the revelation and are speaking solemnly about the Conservative “hidden agenda” of real spending cuts. The evident truth, however, is that so far as the Conservatives have any hidden agenda, it is not to have an agenda.

The Conservative strategy for winning the next general election has two elements. The first is to hope for the Labour vote to collapse. There is some reason to hope for this. The white working classes are beginning to realise that Labour is not their party. Its economic interventions are determined far more by the desire of big business for cartelised markets than by the stated wishes of ordinary people for security. The rest of its domestic policy is dictated in part from Brussels, and for the rest by the needs of a politically correct cultural revolution that is stripping us all of our ancient liberties and our national identity. As for its foreign policy, this is run wholly from Washington, and the most energetic and patriotic young working men are regarded simply as potential cannon fodder. At the same time, the Moslems, who are most cohesive and electorally important group among the ethnic minorities, have been alienated by a war of military aggression against Iraq. Why this war was launched my Moslem friends cannot agree. Was it the security needs of Israel? Or was it the greed of the big oil companies? Or was it some hubristic stab at empire by the American ruling class? There is no agreement on reasons. But one consequence of the war has been a disengagement of the Islamic interest from Labour. The more politically active of these two vital members of the Labour electoral coalition are looking round for other parties to support. Many of the rest will not vote at all. Labour may therefore go into the next election sure only of firm support from within the public sector; and while this has been greatly expanded since 1997, it is still not a decisive electoral force.

This element in the strategy, however, is one over which the Conservatives have no control. The second element is within their control. This is the traditional “Quisling Right” approach. The Conservatives are hoping to mobilise their own core voters to turn out by implying promises without making them and by making promises that they have no intention of keeping. The two key issues among core Conservative voters are immigration and Europe – and when these people complain about the former, let us be honest, they are not thinking about Poles getting off a coach to find work as builders or waitresses, but about dark faces in the street, regardless of how they got here. This may be an uncharitable prejudice: it is, even so, a burning issue among increasing numbers of people, and there are votes to be had in promising to do something. Nevertheless, it is perfectly clear that, behind their tough rhetoric, the Conservatives intend nothing of substance on either issue. 

The promise to renegotiate some of the European treaties is backed by no commitment to withdraw from the European Union if the stated demands are not met. It amounts therefore to an undertaking to behave like an aggressive and foul-mouthed but paraplegic beggar – all demands for performance, without the means to compel it. How anyone was able to take the Conservatives seriously on Europe would defeat my understanding, if large numbers did. Fortunately, large numbers do not take them seriously, and my understanding remains undefeated.

As for immigration, even if seriously intended, the quota system would be unworkable. There would be institutional pressures for the limit to be exceeded every year: there would always be “exceptional” circumstances. The proposed points system, whereby better educated immigrants would be substituted for the mass of welfare claimants who presently are coming in, would be corrupted in no time. If a genuine British passport can be bought for £2,000, how much for an Indian MBA? Or for a Chinese degree in computer science? And there are no significant proposals to deal with secondary immigration by dependants. And the Conservatives are barely talking about what for many is the far greater problem of tertiary immigration via the higher birth rates of the immigrants already here.

Labour may play along with these Quisling Right initiatives, by warning of the costs of leaving Europe, or denouncing the Conservatives for “playing the race card”. But we can be assured that no changes are proposed in either issue to the established trends – or in any other issue of importance. For the Conservatives, political success means no more than that they sit in the official cars, and they preside over the next round of national destruction. That a Conservative Government should be a government of conservatives is no part of their strategy.

I tested this hypothesis, by the way, when I had dinner last month with a senior Conservative politician. I asked him if his people had any plan to abolish bodies like the Commission for Racial Equality and the Health and Safety Executive. Would they shut down large parts of the ideological and repressive state apparatus, thereby making our lives better and even paying for a few extra tax cuts? He pulled a sad face and said that nothing like this had even been discussed, and that, bearing in mind the sort of people who run his Party, he personally saw no point in trying to trying to get it discussed.

And so we are able to explain the otherwise inexplicable digression the Conservatives made earlier this month into abortion law reform. Why did they do this? Why, in a country where hardly anyone seems to care either way, were they talking about limiting the time for legal abortions? Were they copying the tactics of the American Republicans without considering the very different state of public opinion in England? The answer is no. This was a Quisling Right approach to groups previously overlooked. Though most people in this country would rather not think about it, there may be several hundred thousand Christians, Moslems and Jews who do care about the number of viable pregnancies terminated because they are inconvenient. Were they to win the next election, the Conservatives would, of course, leave the law unchanged. But the issue was raised and discussed; and while most electors have probably forgotten it was ever raised at all, many within the targeted groups now think the Conservatives have promised to change the law.

This was a smooth and probably successful raid on an electoral interest. What happened this week was of the same nature, but failed. It was another Quisling Right approach, this time to a group that was thought to favour cuts in government spending. The assumption is that most ordinary people like to see about half their income taken and spent on their individual and collective ruin. This being so, cuts must never be promised in public. The most that can be discussed is how to trim the rate of increase in spending to below the rant of general economic growth. But some groups are known even by Conservative politicians to want lower taxes, and these must be kept on side. Hitler used to specialise before 1933 in making different promises to different groups in closed meetings. Either he was brighter than our Conservatives – and this would not be hard – or closed meetings were more closed in his day. Whatever the case, the Conservatives have had their Easter break ruined.

And they richly deserve their present embarrassment. They are political frauds. By continuing to exist and to show some prospect of being able to win an election, they attract funding and votes from genuinely conservative parties. Yes, this Labour Government is dreadful. Yes, Tony Blair is personally and politically the vilest wretch who ever lied his way into the House of Commons, and his colleagues are a gang of traitors who deserve hanging from the nearest lamp post. But this is not good enough reason for thinking that another Conservative Government would be in our long term national interest. We need to destroy New Labour. Before then, though, we need to destroy the Conservative Party. The Enemy Class media has its own reasons for kicking the Conservatives down. But this media should be regarded in this respect as objectively allied to the forces of conservatism. 

I know some of my readers will think my closing sally disrespectful. But I really cannot help myself. The Conservatives have been crucified today. Is it too much to hope they will not be resurrected on the third day?

© 2005 – 2017, seangabb.

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