Review by David McDonagh
7th October 2007
What happened in 1997 is that it was time for a change, and Blair was felt by the public to be very fresh, and still fresher than the superior Hague at the next election. In 2001, although it was almost a carbon copy of the election beforehand the general feeling was almost the exact opposite of the election beforehand. It was then felt to be not time for a change. Blair had to be given a fair run. In 2005, he had caused quite a bit of unpopularity by his invasion of Iraq but it was still thought that he was better than was Michael Howard. By then he was gaining from being a well established leader and the Tories had got the jitters from the runaway success of New Labour. But the story that they were in terminal decline needed a snake for them to fall down and a ladder for the Liberal Democrats to come up to replace them as the official opposition. In 1918, we had that with a major extension of the electorate and with the Liberal Prime Minister not being the leader of his party as Asquith did not relinquish it so there were, in effect, two leaders of the party. That was a snake that the Liberals fell down and the ladder that the Labourites claimed was in their canvassing of the new electorate that Arthur Henderson was capable of exploiting. There is nothing remotely like that today and while there is not then the Conservatives will be safe from extinction. But the media seem to unaware of that. So does Sean Gabb and other authors like Geoffery Wheatcroft and Peter Hitchens who also feel that merely losing elections in a row can lead to the demise of any party in the position of the official opposition. Without a replacement that is not likely.
Hague was widely felt to be too young for the job of Tory leader back in 1997, and he was too in that he made all the young man's errors, like clearing out the old guard completely. This aided and abetted the rather silly ideas in the media, that the Tories would need to be out for four elections themselves and the odd idea that what is done in one election, somehow, cannot be reversed the next. But the idea that it could not took the form of a dogma on the media, and the utterly inept comparison to the Labour Party, and a similar need to change completely, has been repeated, day in day out, since May 1997. The need was for a clause four repeal moment, the grub street hacks repeated in their best robotic fashion, as if incantation could pump truth into it. Yet the Tories had nothing like clause four, nor any similar unrealistic idea to begin a new society, but were merely conservatives. The me-too tradition in the Tories adopted this asinine outlook from the media about themselves, and they begun on the rather paradoxical programme of modernising a Conservative Party. This has made them a puzzle to the electorate.
Sean Gabb writes mainly as a libertarian or a classical liberal. There is no clear need for a liberal propaganda group to conciliate anyone, nor a need to think of anyone as an enemy. Liberalism is anti-politics rather than politics, and tax cuts is the way to getting the state, the chief anti-liberty institution, to ebb. Liberals want as less activity as possible and many [the anarcho-liberals] want none at all. The libertarian Alliance is an alliance between classical liberals and anarcho-liberals.
Sean Gabb tells us that the Conservatives have lost the argument. But traditionally, the Tories did not argue. They were non-ideological. In the 1970s, via Keith Joseph reading the pamphlets of the IEA the Conservatives did become ideological in a big way for the first time but it was liberalism not Toryism that he then embraced for the first time. He said he was not a Tory up till then but ironically he rather ceased to be a Tory at that moment of his conversion to the classical liberal idea.
I do not think any argument has been lost. However, it is true, as Bryan Caplan has it in his latest book, that most people are ignorant of economics, and the basic facts of any organised science or study. However, Caplan tends to err in holding that democracy gives people what they actually want, and even in the idea that the USA is a full democracy. On that see the classic book _Political Parties (1911) Robert Michels who explains that politics will always be an oligarchy.
Everyone should know that nearly all people are conservatives. They are the clear majority in any class of five year olds intake almost any school. That class of children will see a few from amongst them go radical in the next 70 years, but still more of the few radicals in it will go conservative over that time, no matter what the status quo is. We even saw it with Mao in China, and today they still love that mass killer, and it will take a fair while before the likes of Jung Chang and her husband will discredit him. But their book _Mao (2005) will make a dent in that Mao worship fashion in modern China in the long run. But there is no future that is not largely conservative. Argument can change this a little, but not much, in that it will aid the crossing back and forth of the few that do abandon the place they were in at five years of age. However, conservatism is a principle of sociology (p5). This means that most change will be slow.
Sean Gabb tells us that an argument has been lost and that Blair was not a conservative leading the wrong party, but all leaders tend to be conservative in some way. Callaghan clearly was, so was Wilson or any other Labour leader. But it is true that Blair and his friends had an urge to modernise. They, maybe, do not truly like the monarchy, but it remains, for all its recent troubles, too established to get rid of, but the other things the Labourites want to get rid of, like the House of Lords, is less wanted by the public.
I tend to reject the romantic outlook of "struggle" of certain [usually imagined] classes for the enlightenment appeal to one and all. The liberal idea is not anti-conservative. Indeed, it will become conservative insofar as liberal values are accepted as part of the status quo, but otherwise not. However, it sees no enemies but rather holds that debate is over ignorance on one side or the other with the aim of mutual correction. Debate is trade rather than conflict. The outlook of the liberal idea is one of the eighteenth century enlightenment rather than the romantic reaction to it that began with Rousseau, was adopted by the Whig Edmund Burke and taken up by the war party after the is called French Revolution got underway in 1789.
I note here that there is a romantic word in the book's title viz. "revolution". There has never been any actual revolution, but romantic historians feel there has been many, so they tend to write it into history. Sean Gabb rightly says (p6) that things, usually, do not change much at elections, and nor do they do so at what dull-witted historians imagine to be revolutions. The word "revolution" came in with the 1688 adoption of William and Mary, but, in this pristine sense, it meant a return to the status quo ante, which does seem to be the author's chief aim in this book, but, in 1789 it was held to be a move to a new epoch rather than a return by completing the revolution. This was a new romantic meaning and it would have been better to say that it was going off at a tangent, but the pristine analogy from geometry got forgotten . And Marx, being a pure romantic, adopted this new linear meaning and he built his main theory on it. This romantic theory failed to fit many of the main facts, and instead postulated unrealistic ideas All of history was class struggle, said Marx and Engels. I fear Sean Gabb has swallowed that romantic claptrap, as he ends the introduction with the romance that "the true key to understanding lies in the analysis of class interest" ( p.7) . Keynes knew better when he wrote at the end of his silly 1936 book:
"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."
Sean says quite a few good things, like that Major could be seen as New Labour and Blair just more of Major (p5), so that there are few new things with Blair. I will tend to adumbrate each chapter and then end with a critical review. My headings below are those of the chapter headings of the book.
It is not true that there is a move to end democracy (p6), which never quite existed in any case, as Michels explains. It is true that the EU is not so democratic in the short run, but the intention is to rectify that when it can be done. Democracy has its uses for liberals in that it is one means to tax cuts. Even Sean Gabb sees a use for it to return to the status quo ante. So democracy deserves one cheer, I suppose.
Democracy is also believed in more than it need be owing to ignorance in the class of politicians; who seem not to have read Michels, and so do pander to the public more than they need to. The fact that they do not need to is not exactly good news for any radical who is bent on some change that is practical. Indeed, the market gets lots of liberal eulogy just because each firm in it really does need to pander to whatever people might want to pay for, and thus it cannot rule us, and thus it suits social liberty quite well. Liberals hate the state just because it sets out to rule us rather than to serve us, as well as the fact that it also makes for big social problems, like war and mass unemployment as well as less liberty. The institution of the state and the relative software of politics does set up the war of all against all, for nothing political can be free as it is about coercing others, ipso facto. Democracy itself is the attempt to push others around. A vote will be a vote against other people. But it is, in the limited representative form it can exist, is not being edged out, even by the long run aims of the EU; though I grant the short run objective facts about that are not as democratic as it might have been had the aim of the superstate proved to be more popular. It is an ebbing of democracy by default, rather than by ideology, or EU intent, and they will reverse it when they feel they can viz. when the EU becomes popular enough [if it ever does].
There are, today, true clients in the pristine meaning of that word. Have you ever looked that word up in a big dictionary? Mine says it means dependants or surfs of the ruling class viz. what Charles Murray calls the underclass. They have their own little special overclass viz. social workers and the like that they give rise to and who in turn attempt to give rise to them or at least to maintain them (p6). But it does not seem like any conspiracy or essentially clashing interests to me, but simply ignorance. Like politicians, social workers are rarely wittingly out to cheat the general public by higher taxation on a jumped up excuse but rather they usually truly think that they are needed.
REVOLUTION FROM THE TOP
Revolution is now a part of the jargon of Romance or the anti-enlightenment outlook. It now refers to a linear going onto a new epoch but in its pristine usage in 1688 it meant exactly the same as reactionary does today viz. a return to the status quo ante or to complete the revolution (p.8).
Sean Gabb says there is more to the ruling class than mere government members and that the civil service aid in the running of the state as well as many others who aid in maintaining the status quo. All those make up the ruling class. This may well be the case but is it the case that they do not have a common interest with one and all in cutting down proactive coercion as much as we can and as soon as is possible? On the face of it, it would seem that we largely common interests in society.
All government rests on opinion, as David Hume said. But the current ruling class are out to control more of society by the state and thus we see a rise in state power and thus in taxation to pay for it. This is, maybe, more owing to folly rather than to conspiracy but Sean Gabb feels it is largely the latter (p.8).
Most people feel that there has been a need for more growth in the state owing to the propaganda of the Fabian Society, maybe the most successful propaganda group of all time. Mrs Thatcher's greatest favour to liberalism in her love affair with the creed, from the leadership of the Tory Party, was to flatten this Fabian idea, and end the run of the consequent achievement, by showing that the state could be rolled back, in principle, even if she never quite did so in fact. She did enough to shatter the myth of the widely imagined need for increasingly the states share of society year by year, the slow progress towards complete socialism that George Bernard Shaw felt was so crafty. That a woman that might have been a heroine of one of his plays did the deed might well have amused the old socialist.
Sean Gabb seem to have in mind a conspiracy, and it seems to be at one with the rather all too open Politically Correct [PC] movement (p.9). He gives as an example the PC instruction in the museums (p.10) that downgrades traditional values and replaces them with a PC outlook of the bad old days when equality was not even held as an ideal. The PC agenda of all the races being represented, of disapproval of traditional Britain, of the Green outlook in care for the environment and that man is a sinner who Nature will punish if he is not humble are all cited as the aim of making a new man (p.10).. All the places that get taxpayers money carry this PC message (p.11). The author feels that this ought to be reversed.
The BBC make programmes that spy on the police force to hunt out their PC sins, like racism (p.11). Their superiors say that they feel sick that such sins occur (p.12). Sean Gabb is sceptical and feels there is no more to this sickness than mere cant, and he clearly seems to be right there. The police chief says he will plant his own informers to bring any racism, or racist, in the police force to justice, by which he means to following the PC mores. The author notes that, already, ones the BBC caught will never be able to lead a normal life again, as now few will give them a mortgage or a reasonable job (p.13). It is fair for the police to do to each other what they have been doing to everyone else but is it fair that they should be doing it at all? The author thinks not. However, if we are to have unjust statutory arbitrary laws then they ought to apply to the police too.
In a similar spirit, Jan Lester has called for the magnificent seven in the new Brown government who have openly confessed to smoking pot in July 2007 to take their punishment under the statutory law. His letter to the police reminds them that they now need to knock on the door of the seven new members of this cabinet and to bring them to face the same rules as they feel it is right to subject the general public to, for they cannot consistently be above the law even if it is arbitrary statutory law. But, of course, common sense tells the police chief that they can. This is indeed a class privilege for the new cabinet ministers.
But this privilege is not extended to all. The PC rules are broken by the Church of England in that the Church has always held any sex outside marriage to be a sin, and also that only two of the opposite sex can marry. On the Bishop of Chester saying that homosexuals should not indulge but to mend their ways, and that they, maybe, should seek psychiatric aid in doing so, was to break the PC rules on inclusiveness of one and all (p.14). He was warned, but no further action was taken this time. But the cabinet ministers were not warned.
A woman was told that it was inept to call the driver who knocked her over "fat" as it might hurt his feelings (p.14). This distracted the police from pursuing the driver. PC trumps traditional crime. A bonfire night celebration of 2003 in Firle in Sussex burnt a Pikey guy, the local name for gypsies. The Commission for Racial Equality saw it as an incitement to racial hatred, and persecuted the offenders. Ten of the offenders were arrested, despite abject apologies made, and they were charged under the Public Order Act 1986. They faced a seven year sentence in gaol (p.15). Nigel Farage attempted to stand up for free speech here, and he said he would burn effigies of Heath, Major and Blair but the police told him he would face seven years if he did so (p.15-16). He had to content himself with looking at the 8 498 burglaries in Sussex, only 15% of which had been cleared up. This traditional crime had been replaced by the new PC crime. But there were eventually no prosecutions in the Firle bonfire case. The PC rulers have the wisdom of going gently in their re- shaping of society. They are true Fabians at heart.
Sean Gabb says that this is not a clean break from the past but that now the ruling class are bent on making Britain into something it has never yet been (p.17). And this seems to mean only the PC agenda. He then say this relates to Marxism (p.18). I am not clear that it does. But it is true that many in the Communist Party of Great Britain did exchange PC for traditional Marxism in the 1960s and '70s, especially Eric Hobsbawn and his fans at the Marxism Today journal. But they ceased to be Marxists in any meaningful sense.
PC is a totalitarian movement with its special sins that it knows we all indulge in, just as St Augustine knew we all indulged in sex; or that at least we mostly wanted to. To this end, England has been wilfully destroyed since the1950s by PC fools that hate the 1950s, that our author seemed to be fond of. In this it has scotched many liberal freedoms and replaced them with a uniform outlook that it has got most people to vaguely accept. Equality is its chief ideal. But this movement is open rather than a conspiracy, and has a lot of support, though most people remain largely indifferent to it.
THE MARXIST ROOTS OF THE REVOLUTION
Marx held that it was the mode of production that shaped things viz. wage labour and capital or that we all need a job (p.19) rather than the capitalists controlled things through the state though a hegemonic ideology. He held that ideology was passive but that progress itself will open up a new mode of production and when it does then we will get a linear revolution to a new society.
There can be no contradictions in society, but only in a text, or in a thought, so Marx abuses the meme of contradiction and so do, as a result, many sociology students (p.19).
Sean Gabb does well to see why Leninism is not Marxism viz. that it swaps the idea that the workers are exploited by the capitalists [by which it means the entrepreneurs!] for the idea that rich nations exploit the poor nations, and note that this is immediately way nearer to current common sense than is pristine Marxism; but not one whit nearer to the truth (p.19).
However, it is false to hold that Marx thinks the bourgeoisie have control under capitalism. Indeed, he hates capitalism just because the market is anarchic and so controlled by no one but out of control. He feels that control is the one thing that communism will allow, and that that is a strong reason to think that it will be superior to the anarchy of the market (p.20). Thus supporting it makes for progress.
Engels idea that the workers had false consciousness when they accepted the dominant ideology of the ruling class was an inept apology for a clear counter example, of course (p.20). It passed off this counter example as an example of the theory in the minds of many, but not in plain fact.
Sean Gabb seems to hold that the Marxists have substituted PC for Marxism and I think that was clearly the case with one section of the Communist Party [CP] in the UK in the 1960s, and 1070s, but the clear fact is that PC itself bears next to no relation to Marxism, whatsoever. The rather silly leaders of the CP, like the historian Eric Hobsbawn and his younger friends, like Martin Jacques, who became the editor of the ineptly titled Marxism Today, were as perverse in pushing what we now would call PC ideas onto the CP in the 1960s much as David Cameron is pushing exactly the same PC claptrap onto the Conservative Party in the 2000s (p.21).
Sean Gabb says that this move towards hegemony did not begin in 1968 and if he means what we now call PC, and that seems to be what he is referring to, then he is right, as it was being pushed back in the nineteenth century, at least, and maybe had its origins back further still (p.21).
The rise of the PC left is rather like that of the Greens, to which it is similar and in talk of Global Warming denial just recently, in the spring of 2007, we might even say that they are now fused together as one. With the Greens it was clear what happened. In the late 1960s, many young scientists were Greens, and many of the older ones were not. There were some establishment support outside of science for the Greens, that became manifest all too soon, but next to none within science to begin with. The support was made clear when the first issue of The Ecologist "A blueprint for Survival" was issued as a Penguin Special in 1971, but the edition of Nature that attacked it was ignored by the Allen Lane press. What has happened since is merely that the younger scientists have grown up, and are now at the helm of science, so today most scientist are Greens. Similarly, the youth became nominally Marxist in the late 1960s, and they are at the top of the Labour Party today. No big surprise there. That is now they came to dominate teacher training courses, and the like (p.22). It is not some gift they had for getting to the helm. Rather it is an automatic process. And their rule is superficial in that their ideas are open to refutation.
Sean Gabb says that they have given up their old economic analysis but that their basic assumptions remain intact and in a footnote he indicates that those are the pattern-seeking and system-building cast of thought (p.23). But that looks nebulous to me. In embracing PC they actually abandoned Marxism.
The author ends a bit better by saying that they thought back then that justice was a sham, and they act as if it is so today, they felt that tolerance back then was repressive so they are now intolerant, they thought that there was no objective truth back then so they have no regard for the truth today but the main thing here is that they used to think that all was really political and now they are trying to make all things so today by attempting totalitarianism (p.23).
THE HEGEMONIC IDEOLOGY
Although all the ideas may not fit into a coherent whole, the lot the author mentions in the first paragraph here might be deemed to be Politically Correct [PC] ideas. Even the EU is PC in its bogus claim that it is a solution to war. In fact, it is a warmongering project with the aim of combining nations into one state just so the resulting new state can compete in war with the best, if not actually be the best. I once got Edward Heath to admit this in reply to one of my letters to him at the House of Commons in the 1970s (p.24).
PC is the root out whatever is deemed to be unpleasant in life by mere mores; it is like a belief in more-magic. It attempts to rule out debate and it seeks to persecute those who dissent.
It is true that multi-culturalism is anti-nationalistic, as it sees nationalism as a cause of wars. It also sees that it is almost intrinsically racialist. It is certainly exclusive. But one unintended part of the mass immigration, that PC favours, is that it broke down the idea that we were one family in a nation and thus adversely affected institutions like the NHS and the welfare state, as the population were no longer all at one anymore. This was a by product of the attempt to break up the nation to a large extent and that was, presumably, a major PC aim as the author suggests (p.24).
It is true that diversity of race is shown in library photographs and anywhere that is publicly supposed to represent the public as a whole and to the exclusion of white males; which PC is set against, maybe on the idea that they have been too dominant in the past (p.25-26).
History in schools the last 25 years or so, or maybe 35 years, has been about Germany under Hitler and Russia, or rather the USSR, from 1917 to 1955 or thereabouts (p.26).
PC attempts to rule out any opposition. I recall Nick Ross warning racists not to phone in to his Call Nick Ross radio 4 programme in the late 1980s, and then after the show he proclaimed that it was refreshing not to have any racists call in. He claimed to be a bit surprised that there were none! He seemed to have forgotten his warning. Similarly, many of the elite feel very proud that the UK has no capital punishment, but they forget that it took a Private Member's Bill to get its abolition through parliament, as no political party would have ever dared to embrace it otherwise. In only one poll [in 2006] did its abolition get a majority [51%] whilst in most opinion polls it has had up to 80% favouring the death penalty in the UK (p.27).
Enoch Powell came way earlier than Le Pen and Irving to fame, and so cannot truly be said to have suffered by association with either of them as the author says (p.27).
A Gramsci like project just seems to be a PC project (p.28).
The PC label I heard for gypsies is travellers (p.29). I was asked in a survey, in the 1980s, whether I disliked travellers and it took me some time to understand the question. Many of the euphemisms of PC may not be even understood by the public for much of the time.
It is true that PC endorses any amount of black pressure groups against white men and so this endorsement of 20 000 black physicians in the USA is typical (p.30). This is seen as redressing the balance for the past. The whites have to suffer for the supposed sins of their fathers. The societal need to run some group down tends to pick on the white men or even the Jews, though the latter still feel it is safe to respond in defence.
Sean Gabb makes a good point in noting that it is odd that a trained police chief should truly feel sick on merely hearing common place racist remarks from the police. The hyperbole is clearly figurative, and kow-towing to the PC outlook (p.32). It is made clear that PC is usually also sheer cant and humbug.
PC encourages conformity and self selection way stronger than Chomsky imagines the bourgeois culture does, as Sean Gabb rightly says (p.33). It is true that black crime on whites, especially in street muggings, is deliberately ignored owing to the PC outlook (p.33). And that media soaps, like Eastenders on BBC TV (p.34) and the Archers, on radio 4, pretend that the impossibilist PC utopia of that the Indian academic at Hull, Bhikh Parekh, hopes for, is already here today in London and in Ambridge (p.35). It is also true that they will be reluctant to give any funds to traditional stage productions, such as the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (p.36). This is not only the case with state funding, but also largely the case with big firms in giving to charity too, as they feel that ethnic minorities are more clearly in need of charity and that they can bear any resulting resentment amongst the host population. The PC outlook is general. It may be known to offend, but any such offence taken is deemed to be mean at best, and maybe also immoral by the PC moralisers. So it is taken to be largely costless, or even a merit to face up to.
Sean says that the USA managed to cope with mass immigration as it had a policy of assimilation rather than of Multiculturalism and Political Correctness from 1870 to 1970. But he feels that the multi racial or cultural meme is not going to work. We will not have the utopia that Dr Parekh hopes for where all feel at one, despite the differences and all cultures are valued equally, but instead it will lead into a society of strife and resentment between the opposing ethnic nationalisms of all the various groups. The destruction of national identity will not make people love each other, says Sean Gabb, as we are pack animals by nature so group loyalties will always survive (p.38). The resulting conflict will ensure greater state powers in reaction to them. Laws will go further in controlling speech and in countering what used to be held as private matters of likes and dislikes. As J.S. Mill said in _Considerations of Representative Government (1861) "Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities" (p.39). Many line up to eulogise the gains of the multicultural society but we are told that its main result looks like being the creation of a police state (p.40).
This result is a boon to the police and to the ruling class, for governments like to govern. The former leftist rebels now rejoice in making the mere traditional opinions of many people a crime, and they have got rid of court rules like double jeopardy, in order to repeatedly put on trial the supposed killers of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager attacked and murdered by a mob at a bus stop. Mrs Thatcher noticed how like the late USSR the UK was becoming owing to the advancing PC movement: "Thus the utopia of multiculturalism involves a bureaucratic class presiding over a nation divided into a variety of ethnic nationalities. That, of course, looks awfully like the old Soviet Union" (p.40).
Dissent lives on, on the Internet, in what is left of private life, but in public no one will admit to being racist yet at the same time the racist reaction is growing such that the British National Party look near to making a breakthrough (p.41). So Sean Gabb feels there is a contrast between what people say and how they might vote. But, whilst that fact of a possible gap does look true, the idea that the BNP could make a breakthrough looks utterly remote; indeed, it is almost impossible for any third party to replace one of the main two parties for the political fabric of Britain is one of a two party system. All other parties are merely for protest votes. The possibility of the nominal Liberal Party, the third party, ever becoming a major party again is never likely to happen. It fell into third place in a highly usual time of 1918, when it had, basically, two leaders and it also faced a doubling of the franchise. There was a slight chance with the SDP split in the Labour Party in the early 1980s, but it was only ever a very slight chance. The boy Steel, as he was aptly called, messed it up by ignoring Cyril Smith's call to get the Labour rebels to join the Liberals. Instead they went west on the idea that a new coalition politics were due, and the slight chance was lost. It ought to be clear to all that permanent coalition politics is not the future for they make it all the clearer that to vote in any election is futile as the coalition would win every time. The BNP are merely wasting their time. So is the UKIP. The latter should have remained as a one issue pressure group, like the very successful Anti-Corn Law League of the 1840s. They might, then, have got the UK out of the faltering effort at the warmongering superstate that is the EU.
However, it does not look to be the case that the BNP could ever make a breakthrough. It could be the case, if people voted as they personally feel, but instead they still feel a public duty to support the traditional big parties. Most voters, oddly, do not agree with them, and they are not voting as regularly as they used to vote, in any case, but insofar as they do vote, they vote for an elite that do not like their actual outlook or opinions one bit. We have the oddity that there is a mutual contempt between the ruling elite and the masses and a factor in this oddity is that the masses do not even take much interest in what the big parties say in their manifestos. So it is an unwitting mutual contempt to a large extent. And nor do the masses like what the elite they vote for thinks one bit; it is an odd mutual contempt, especially amongst Labour voters. The Tony Martin case, where Martin shot a burglar as he was making his escape and killed him, bought about a large and popular support amongst the masses for Martin, but this was alien to the outlook of most on both sides of both houses at Westminster. Some Labourites thought all the support was all from Tory voters, but it was not particularly the case. The great gap between the elite and the voters was brought out when one ageing MP, Stephen Pound, came onto the Today programme, radio 4, a programme on par with the Guardian in being for the Labourite elite and those who might be thought to be in tune with them, and he was under the delusion that the callers would not back Tony Martin. He could not but express his utter disgust when they all too clearly did do so. And that was the radio 4 listeners, as self selected as Guardian listeners. The Daily Mirror readers, self selected as lower class followers of Labour, would have even less sympathy with Pound.
Sean Gabb feels we have already had a revolution and are now in the reign of PC terror, but that big some change is due to put it to an end. This seems to be the take over of non-whites as they already rose by 40% in the 1990s (p.43). They will be a majority by 2100 if not by 2040 (p.44). It could well be, and the fact that they used to use to say that mass immigration was not so bad in the 1970s, viz. that more where leaving the UK than new immigrants are entering it, reinforces this result as it is whites who usually leave and until the Poles began coming to the UK in the last few years, , there are now over a million recent arrivals from Poland in the UK, it was usually non-whites who arrived. That five million British people have left the country aids the PC progress (p.53).
Ever since 1945, there has been a contempt for Britain within Britain, usually amongst those who think of themselves as left wing. It is a major part of the outlook that we, now, call PC, but a less hostile form of it flourished in the colleges amongst more educated "left-wingers" before the 1939 war. For example, it was held by JBS Haldane, amongst many other intellectuals and top academics. Back then, it was often seen as a harmless fad, but with the shake up of the war, and the Labourite victory in its immediate aftermath, this PC movement began to get more adherents, and to carry out mass propaganda, especially on racism, that became its big mortal sin. PC laws followed in the 1960s to oppose the masses on their habitual racial discrimination, and the propaganda continued to try to win many of them over. Today, quite a few have been won over. Many of them are even in the Libertarian movement. But most of the public simply see PC as alien, and laughing at "PC gone mad" is a national past time, that even has many published books to aid it. However, many people do agree that the PC mores are basically morally right and they usually tend to accept that they are basically wrong when they flout it in their own activities. Christianity showed that even sex outside of marriage can be successfully morally condemned, so the mere banning of all sorts of discrimination by the secular movement of PC is small beer by comparison. However, we should not imagine that sex stopped owing to the moral outlook of Puritanism and nor should we think that PC bans normal discrimination in everyday life.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
It is noted by the author that, all of a sudden, people like Jack Straw have been making noises somewhat like Enoch Powell might have made, and Straw has been joined in this by Trevor Phillips, Polly Toynbee, (p.45) Ruth Kelly, and Hazel Blears (p.46). The recent influx of the Poles has made moaning about immigration less of a racist issue and, indeed, many of West Indian stock have not been slow to moan about the recent Polish immigration.
PC is taken by Sean Gabb as an ideology through which the elite can rule, but, in reality, it is an end in itself rather than a means. The 1950s are seen as bad just because it was not PC in privileging the various minority groups, and the majority one of females too. The outlook of PC can be seen in Tom and Jerry cartoons, where the mouse outwits the cat; and even in Christianity, that Nietzsche called the slave morality [as much of it was fostered by the Stoics, many of which were slaves; though one of the later Stoics was a Roman Emperor ]. Can the Green outlook replace PC? It, too, is an end rather than just a means of ruling. It condemns many things that people like, but remember that Christianity condemned sex itself by following St Augustine on his interoperation of Genesis. All those creeds are sado-masochistic, in that some impose sanctions and most bear them but they are not a mere means to rule. It looks like we are going to get both PC and the Green outlook fused. Already, there has been the PC move to close down free speech by putting out mores against "Global Warming denial" and there were many attempts on the UK media to put it on par with holocaust denial in the Spring of 2007.
The author tells us that the right in the Conservative Party are like Quislings, meaning that they are cowards in some way, or that they are too "me too" in outlook towards the Labourites. The right are Quisling for, like Quisling, they share the outlook of those they conform to (p.49). They all see PC as an end rather than a mere means. In the last 50 years, the only setback PC has had has been the PC label itself, that ironically enacted the more-magic against PC itself, with the same robot-like denial and an opening up to more free speech around 1990, or so, than had been "respectable" [the PC meme that some speech is not respectable] since the 1950s.
William Hague (p.52) was PC, as was John Major and any likely leader of any big political party likely to be, nowadays. PC would have continued if Hague had won out, as it did under Macmillan and Butler, who were both PC well before we had the label.
However, Hague did mess it up for the Conservatives back in 1997. He messed it up by clearing out the defeated cabinet completely, and that was way too much. It was an own goal as sure as Teresa May's daft speech that too many think that the Tory party is the nasty party. It gave weigh to the more feeble ideas on the media. This was as big a hit, an even bigger one, that the election loss itself; as it greatly conformed it, and greatly consolidated Blair's long eight year honeymoon, that the media were keen to foster. Next, Hague decided to stand down should he lose, that was not taking the task seriously enough. And clearly, such a change of leadership was bound to damage the party. As it happens, Iain Duncan Smith, who replaced him, like Kinnock and Michael Foot for the Labourites, tended to do worse as leader than he seemed set to do before he was elected. Then Hague brought back Portillo, who advised accepting the minimum pay laws, another massive own goal, that, once again, endorsed Blair. Portillo had been training to turn himself into the Tony Benn of the Tory party, in that he had no end of daft ideas that were all calculated to damage the party; all summed up under the heading of modernisation, a natural heading for Labourites but a perverse idea for the Conservative Party. He was backed in this by the utterly thoughtless Francis Maude. Mrs Thatcher had once thought that Arthur Scargill was the enemy within but those two fools were the real enemies within the Conservative Party and they were way more damaging to it than Scargill could ever be.
Hague made up for this crass error by good opposition at the despatch box in the House of Commons, but the honeymoon went on and on. It was still there at the next election, but that was nothing to do with policies as Cameron, Portillo and Maude assumes, but owing to the love of New Labour and the extraordinary honeymoon itself, that the Tories had fostered. The solution, as Maude and Portillo saw it, was to fan the Labourite bonfire of conservative values still more, by throwing them out of the Conservative Party so that they could be used to fuel the bonfire. The Cameron team are right about Brown being an election loser, despite his bounce as the new Prime Minister, and that seems to be about the only thing they do get right. But of late, they seem to agree with the hacks in the media that they are even wrong on that, especially on the eleven point lead that Brown had at the end of the 2007 Labourite Conference. Brown's honeymoon is not likely to last, and even the rebarbative John Reid might have been better for Labour than will be Brown. He will be a Callaghan to Blair as Wilson. The man who loses out after a successful Labourite leader. But Hague might have won in 2005 if he had been serious enough to stay on, despite the folly cited above. But that would not have upset PC, not even one iota. Clarke would have even more clearly have done so on the anti-Iraq ticket, had he beat Smith to replace Hague, but that would not have upset PC either. Yet Sean Gabb feels that it is going to be a party winning at an election that will be needed to break PC. Yet he says that things often do not change at elections. It is not clear why he thinks that is the way to end PC.
Sean Gabb simply assumes an election victory of an anti-PC party and then he gives us a reasonable programme for ending PC after such a victory, but the real work of ending PC would be in the campaign that ended in such a party coming to power. He tends to assume that it would be a new party but that in not one whit likely, as there is a permanent two party system in the UK and it takes very exceptional circumstances for an established party to relinquish one of the top two places. He assumes that there is a broad coalition of traditional Conservatives and Libertarians, a sort of Libatorian alliance, as Jan Lester might say, though he usually means by Libatorian a Conservative that likes, and even joins, the LA. There are a few such people. But there is no such mass movement. And even if there was, it would need to capture one of the two main parties to stand any chance at all of winning an election. That is not impossible but the dream that the Conservative Party will soon break up is not far off being politically impossible.
I do not say that the things recommended by Sean Gabb are inept. but they could only be done in the wake of a crippled, if not an already dead PC outlook. He seems to think that such a political programme is a prerequisite of getting rid of PC and that seems to get things the wrong way round. He recommends ending the BBC, getting rid of the Foreign Office but, oddly, replacing it with what might soon be another Foreign Office rather than with nothing, as Cobden might have suggested, and he wishes to retain whole layers of social workers that back the PC outlook today. He says will retain many aspects of the welfare state, and even the HNS that pristine liberals are said by the author to not quite to understand! Liberals would become conservatives for once we establish the liberal order but it seems fair to say that Sean is a Conservative today, and to that extent not quite a libertarian but Libatorian. I confess that it is true that I do not understand the need to keep many of the things the author thinks it politic to keep, but I agree that it is politics if not quite that it would be politic. Pristine liberalism is, basically, anti- politics. As the whole climate would be in the election win, the reforms mentioned would only be a consolidation of the election victory, if it was ever such a victory was gained. The real work that needs to be done is what would be to get the more conservative outlook that the author wants is to get that election win (p.52ff). That will involve winning over one of the two main political parties, or even both of them. That is what we now call PC did, and it is that which needs to be done to defeat it. Using state coercion to put it down can only be done in the aftermath of doing that and for once it can be done it may no longer need to be done.
The frontal attack is what the author calls his post election reforms but they will be after the war has been won (p.54). Getting rid of whole government departments and the BBC might be easy then, but the whole problem is how to win that election in the first place. All those moves are imagined in the aftermath of doing what truly needs to be done if PC is to be got rid of.
PC is not a matter of a ruling class but of a liberal heresy that has backfired, an ideology that is now on top. All the old liberal memes like tolerance have been reversed. Tolerance now means to shut up and bear stupidity, whereas for J.S. Mill it meant tolerance of criticism, and of rude debate to eliminate any stupidity that may be found. Even Marx was a liberal insofar as he followed his dictum never to let intellectual error go uncorrected. So PC is a parasite in the dominant liberal outlook. It retains the old syntax [words like tolerance] but gives them a new semantics [i.e. meaning, understanding] thus re-making liberalism, ironically, into a quasi-witch-hunting totalitarianism, that employs a thought police set of Commissions. PC replaces the non coercive force of reason by criticism in free debate with government bodies backed up by law against elementary civil liberties like freedom of association and freedom of speech. It is the propaganda war that has to be won before the institutions that today aids PC can be reformed, or made defunct. So far, the very label of PC has been the one setback that PC has suffered.
Whether we privatise the BBC or get rid of it hardly matters if we grant the big thing; an anti-PC election win (p.56). Similarly, what they teach in schools never did matter much (p.57).
It is not clear to me why the liberal criticism of welfare was all that bad. Where is the failure of political understanding there (p.58)? It is not made clear in the book what the liberals lack in their understanding of NHS and the like as far as I can see. They seem to understand it all too well.
Ending all this PC information gathering might be good but, again, to get where we can do it is the big thing (p.60).It is true that this information is often biased against pet targets (p.61). And those targets are those that seem to be the top dogs of former times.
A NEW ORDER OF THINGS
It is a fact that liberals are not Tories. So we might expect liberals to want to get rid of regulation whilst Tories would not (p.63). Tories will not be completely at home in a free market but it serves the liberal ideal of personal liberty very well. Similarly, liberals are not much concerned with big firms like Tescos nor at home with the collectivist idea of class or group think. Liberals hold that we are all individuals.
Limited liability shares the risk. How is that illiberal (p.63)? Sean Gabb is impressed with the collectivist outlook of Kevin Carson. He thinks there is something in this class idea, but it looks empty to me.
I have never seen any example of brainwashing. Like the myth of a true believer, that gives so much satisfaction to the unreflective, it helps people to bypass the need to comprehend a case they oppose and to provide effective criticism of it (p.65). Instead they go in for the ad hominem fallacy of saying the adherents are irrational. That is one way of saving time, but it should not be very effective.
It is not clear that the court system in law is right to impose its daft ancient restrictions. Science would never do anything so perverse as to make things subjudice, where no one is free to discuss things under consideration by the courts. Nearly all of the distinctions of jurisprudence seem to be merely silly. Many of them flow over into debate, where they even more clearly do not belong, but fools still feel they must be right e.g. the lawyer's idea that one side carries the burden of proof; which is clearly a defensive ploy (p.68).
Why we bother about a single vote in an election is not clear, as a vote is a very insignificant thing (p.70). Standing as a candidate in an election is of way more import. So is a letter to the Times.
Foreign policy is tantamount to warmongering, as Cobden saw back in the nineteenth century (p.71). So getting rid of the Foreign Office is a good idea, but why replace it with another busybody organisation (p.72)?
As in the supposed victory in a General Election imagined in chapter five, chapter six imagines a movement of liberals and conservatives that might win the said election, but both are unrealistic today. What happened in the 1840s with Cobden and Peel and in the 1970s with the IEA and Keith Joseph is certainly an adoption of many liberal ideas both times by the Tories, but never a fusion in either case, though the Peelites did form the Liberal Party out of the Whig Party on leaving the Tories in the 1850s. However, at no time has there been a mass movement of Libatorians such as is imagined by Sean Gabb in the book. There is no coalition that can see the need for compromise between liberalism and Toryism today but only the fact that the Tories tend to be more liberal in the classical sense than does the Labourites, or even the nominal Liberal Party. Moreover, the real enemy of a ruling class that is behind PC is not real either, as PC is a general nebulous fashion rather that a class interest of any sort. It is not that there is even more dissent to PC in the Tories than there is in the Labour Party for dissent to it is little and only on the fringe in both (p.73ff). Most of the dissent to PC is among the voters and non-voters in the masses though.
The compromises Sean Gabb imagines on immigration control, and the like, between libertarians and traditional conservatives seems to refer to no movement at all that exists (p.74). But it is true that Civitas, that was once part of the IEA, has recently gone anti- immigration, and David Conway has been on the media canvassing to end immigration, but that will be seen as abandoning liberalism in a John Gray style by most libertarians, it would seem rather than a change in liberalism itself. Similarly, many now say that Hans-Herman Hoppe, whose books I have not yet read, has abandoned libertarianism (p.75). So as with the earlier chapter, on what is to be done, the whole problem for Sean's plans seems to be the fostering of a movement that the two chapters simply assume to exist already. To say that there may come a time when libertarians and traditional conservatives may find themselves seriously divided (p.76) is to assume that there has yet been a time when it was not the case. There has never been such a time. If they ever do unite in the way imagined in the book then the danger of such a division may loom, but they have yet to unite. But it is assumed, in the book, that there is such an alliance already [the alliance of the LA is between classical and anarcho-liberals rather than with conservatives and liberals] in the form of a movement and that it is already big enough to win an election. That seems to be false on both counts.
However, if such a movement is ever to realistically win an election it needs to be, mainly, inside one of the two main parties. If it attempts to set up a new party then it will doom itself to mere futility.
FEASIBLITY OF COUNTER-REVOLUTION
I said at the outset that I rejected romance with its silly struggles for the earlier enlightenment outlook that it reacted to and that it appealed, or rather, it attempted to appeal, to one and all. "Class" is romantic jargon, as is "revolution" and all the rest. Sean Gabb says that he does not like the petty squabbles in the Conservative Party, and in the UKIP, so he might join me in rejecting the daft romantic outlook and reject tribalism completely, to look at memes rather than at people. However, this section is where the author shows a romantic indulgence, and so all this is a preface to my more critical contribution below.
The book looks more like a pamphlet than a book. That might be fine on the face of it, if Sean Gabb said all that needed to be said, but the author says, once or twice, that there is not enough room to go into things, and that looks odd in a small book. The recommendation to read the author's own Historical Note No. 31 instead of him reproducing it, also looks a bit odd in a small book (p.78).
The adoption of the romantic "class" meme brings in its wake the "who gains" meme, which sometimes makes sense, but not often at the level of a whole society. But the thesis is that that there is a ruling class who gains from Political Correctness (p.77), but that is most unrealistic. PC is an end that costs money to maintain, as is liberalism and all its other rivals, rather than a means of gain. And it is diffuse, rather than related to class rule of any kind. It does privilege groups, but they are not ruling class groups. E contra, the idea of privileging them is to make up for their supposed past victimisation.
The two earlier examples that the author gives of cultural revolution does not look apt. Henry VIII was a ideological Catholic and his reform was not against any ideology. His son was more ideological, and he may well have gone further had he lived. Mary was only keen on restoring the creed and had no aim to undo any of what her father robbed off the monks. In what sense did Elizabeth complete any "revolution" as is said in the book (p.77)? As usual with this romance word, it seems to be a constituted blank that refers to nothing at all.
Nor is the 1641 example given of a cultural revolution one whit clear (p.77). The reader may wish to read No. 31, but he will have bought a book that does not make itself clear. "Why did the author not reproduce what he had said elsewhere?" he might ask.
We are then told that parliament can do all things, including changing the nature of mathematics (p.78), though the author is at a loss how it could be enforced [viz. how it could be done!]. Clearly, there are many things that the lower House cannot do. What is de jure is not always de facto. The God-like power of the lower House is as unrealistic as God is. There are many things the state can never do and Mises showed that to abolish the market in the mass urban society is one of them as the economic calculation argument makes clear. Thus the late USSR had a market economy of sorts, as the state only had the power to paint it black or white but not to get rid of the market.
The author then faces up to a present impossibility (p.79). It is not likely that we can even get a single Conservative elected today! But this admission makes his whole book look a bit silly.
Sean Gabb then says that his friends have a bizarre idea of taking over the Conservative Party (p.79)! What is so bizarre about the idea of true Conservatives taking over the Conservative Party? Clearly, it is possible if Harold Wilson was right that "a week is a long time in politics". When the author says that his aim is to win a General Election and use parliament to reform the UK, then, clearly, the first step in this plan needs to be to capture one of the main two parties. The third one is no good, as we are in a two party system. It will take something very exceptional to change that. Last time it happened it took a lack of organisation, two leaders and an electorate enlarged to be very much greater than it ever was before to bring the Liberal Party down in 1918. . And then Henderson had his work cut out for the Labourites to canvas that extended electorate, but he was up to the job. There was another chance for it to happen again in the early 1980s, and the Liberal Party might then have effectively killed off the Labour Party, had it insisted that the SDP joined them rather than set up on its own; but the chance was slight in any case. Such chances need not come along at all. So it is as plain as the nose on Sean Gabb's face that one of the two main parties needs to be captured to follow the plan of chapter five. As the Tories have a "me-too" conformist to the mere times as a tradition that they think is clever, I'd favour the Labour Party [as it changes slower, and is less "me too" in outlook] in the author's place, but that is more perverse than winning the Conservatives to their nominal ideals. And Thatcherism removed a lot of the "me too" outlook out of the Conservative Party, and with it the mass membership! Principles will never be a mass taste.
But instead of facing up to that task what do we find? The rather silly idea that the Conservative Party is on its last legs (p.80),an idea way worse that the idea in the early 1980s that the Labour Party might be, as there was a slight chance of that, but there is no chance at all that the Conservative Party will ever go west any time soon. Peter Hitchens feels that if he repeats this exceedingly stupid idea often enough it might become true, but there is exactly no reason to think there is anything in it. In any class of five year olds, there will be a majority who are conservative and more will join them in the next 70 years than will leave them. The chance of a Conservative Party ending soon is next to nothing. The likes of Peter Hitchens and Geoffery Wheatcroft repeating such claptrap in the media hardly helps to mitigate the utter stupidity of the idea. Lately, Peter Oborne in commenting before the 2007 Tory Conference at Blackpool, has joined this mindless curious. He did so on the weekend after the Labour Conference when it had an eleven point lead in the polls, but after the Tory Conference the following week, it was down to 4 points in one poll, and to none in another.
Wheatcroft, in particular, thinks he is being wise when he says, in his 2005 book, that the Tories would do better, when on about the EU, to go on about the lack of democracy rather than the danger to sovereignty, that he feels is a remote jargon word with next to no meaning to many people in Britain today. But this is still the case with democracy too, it too is still largely a jargon word, but Wheatcroft has drifted into thinking that it is not. Moreover, sovereignty means the nation that so many men have been all too willing to die for, but would they die for participation in a boring committee, or to vote in some general election, that democracy means? There is a great deal of unwitting irony when Wheatcroft says that the Tories are out of touch.
"Anyone who thinks the time is now right for starting a new political party is at least mad" (p.79) says the author. Right. But this needs to be pitted against the ideas put that it almost refutes, not the least the daft ideas about the Conservative Party.
Then we get the null set meme of brainwashing (p.79). There has never been any such thing? We all have belief mechanisms that results in our rethinking all we think, thus any ideas we hold needs to be acceptable to our future reasoning powers. If aliens from outer space were to plant arbitrary ideas in our minds, the ideas will need to survive a test later, as we think them over, and if they are truly alien then they will not last long in our outlook. Even the most enthusiastic advocate of hypnosis will repeat the dogma, that we can find in every book on the topic, that all suggestions have to be in line with the subject's thinking to get accepted. This was a great disappointment to my teenaged self, who looked to that art as a means of making a few unacceptable suggestions to some teenaged females. If the Maoists had brainwashed the USA soldiers back in the 1950s then it would have only taken them about a minute to reject the creed they had put into their brains by their enemies.
It is currently impossible to break into the main parties, we are told (p.79). This idea needs to be placed alongside the true statement of Harold Wilson that "a week is a long time in politics". What looks difficult at one time, need not be for long. We might contrast this idea that things are closed with the later statement that we are not facing a monolith like the late USSR (p.85). The latter half of this contradiction that the author has is the true half.
We then get from the author the very odd idea that the UKIP is a device, or a conspiracy, out to draw wind out of the sails of the BNP (p.79). This non sequitur is put as a conclusion from the premise that the UKIP is full of squabbling factions. But any political party can be like that.
We are then told that the movement is a coalition, (p.79) but what movement? A mass movement is exactly what is lacking; even within the Conservative Party itself. Moreover the author does not only know this, but he also openly admits it. He calls it a present impossibility. But, clearly, that is the best place to start to build up a conservative movement, if that is what Sean Gabb wishes to do, and it is his avowed aim so, presumably, it is what he wants to do. It is no use saying that the way ahead is now closed. If the Conservative Party is now "a shambolic fraud" (p.80) then that makes it all the easier to reform, for a case can then be made for its reform way easier against a weak fraud than against a strong case. The idea that the Conservative Party needs to die first, as the author says, is a silly unrealistic indulgence for an anti-conservative, but for a conservative it is quite perverse.
Whether all ideas are taken up and neutralised by the main political parties or not depends on the advocates and the viability of the said ideas (p.80) but it should not be too difficult to undo any unrealistic neutralisation.
Votes are so flimsy that it hardly mattered when J.S. Mill thought it best to give many to college educated men, as ten votes are not much more effective, as a say in things, than one vote is. So it matters not much whether people vote for the Conservative Party, or any rival to it (p.81). We are not on about much when we are on about a mere vote.
We are then told by the author of the Fabian strategy but that the one the author favours relates more to the Roman General than to the propaganda group, (p.81) but, actually, it clearly is the strategy of the propaganda group that is being recommended. They took it from the Roman general, of course. Then we get that romantic jargon word "struggle" (p.82) yet we are told, almost in the same sentence, that even the internal disputes in the UKIP or the Conservatives is so tiresome. Not much appetite for much struggle then! Anyway, this Fabian strategy will replace the need for the "revolutionary" one, I suppose.
It is true that the mores are now set against the BNP (p.82). It is a mean form of opposition; totalitarian indeed, to attempt to see to it that BNP members cannot get jobs, and the like. Instead, their ideas should be dealt with.
As those measures have been extended to those who question global warming, so they might be to Eurosceptics, says the author (p.82); but there seems to be just too many of the latter to make it feasible at the moment. PC will take on the masses on race and sex but not on the EU.
As the ideology is unrealistic it may not last long, we are told, as it is not only making war on us but on reality itself (p.83) but so was Christianity with its war on sex but that did not stop it lasting a few thousand years.
I was not aware that the LA stood for a return to anything in the past, but the author says it is (p.84)!
What of a new organisation to control or monitor the British media (p.84)? It does not seem to fit in well with liberty.
My advice to Sean would be to realise that the avowed aims of chapter five and chapter six require the prerequisite command of one of the two main parties; neither of which will be dying off soon. Either one will do for his aims. But that is clearly the only means to what the author calls the revolution, or is it the counter revolution? In any case, this task of winning over one of the major parties is the only practical for anyone with the aims stated in chapters five and six to do. Sean Gabb can then leave the fund gathering to others (p.85ff), as, presumably, the fund collecting processes of the major parties are not what is wrong with them. But the author does see fit to ask the reader for money for his quest. The main faults with the book is that it fails to live up to the subtitle of "How the Conservatives Lost England And How To Get It Back" for we are not told how it was lost but simply that it, now, is lost. Also, we are not told how to get conservative England back, but just that we could get it back if a coalition of conservatives & classical liberals won an election. But such a movement does not exist. Sean does not seem to notice that it is in the getting of that electron win that is the whole problem.
Sean is also proud of having a bogus class theory and thinking that Political Correctness springs from that, when it is more nebulous and diffuse in fact.
Sean is, now, sick of the Conservative Party. Yet to win any election it has to be with either that party, or with the Labour Party. So Sean seems to have no real desire to even make any effort to complete the revolution and get back to the status quo ante. But that aim has never been an LA aim, to my knowledge. The LA is an alliance of classical liberals & anarcho-liberals, but, owing three things, 1) to the impact of Cobden & Bright on the Conservative Party in the 1840s & 2) the 1970s impact of liberalism, via the IEA on Keith Joseph, on the Conservative Party; and 3) the killing off of classical liberalism in the Liberal Party by Joseph Chamberlain and Charles Dilke in the 1880s, many liberals have thought that the Conservatives are more liberal than the Labourites or the nominal Liberals during the 20th century, and also since. But the LA does not pretend to be a conservative group.
I think Sean is right about what might be done if such a majority is gained, but Sean's first move is to forget his proud rejection of the only road to his aims, viz. capturing one major party, or the other. He now needs to chose which one, and then get on with it viz. with the job of converting it to his own outlook. Anything else is not relevant to his declared aims. But he prides himself in rejecting this activity! So he, thereby, resolves to do exactly nothing relevant to his avowed aims; and it ought to be said that the LA itself is not particularly relevant to them.
The third party will not do, even though it has the right name, as the UK is a two party system & the third party is merely there just for show or for mere protest votes. So Sean needs to rethink his book and to revise out the saidabove absurdities in it.
© 2007 – 2017, seangabb.
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