Free Life Commentary,
Issue Number 136
7th May 2005
The General Election Result:
A Brief Comment from the Right
by Sean Gabb
Though I have been strongly urged to do so, I am reluctant to comment on the result of this general election. There is no lack of instant commentary in the establishment media, and the weblogs are filled with little paragraphs. If there is any purpose to these commentaries, it is to discuss things that are not discussed adequately or at all elsewhere, or to discuss things from a point of view that cannot be found elsewhere. Of course, I do have something to say on the result. However, I am still not sure what this is; and I have little doubt that most people are as bored and tired by it all as I am. I will, then, be brief, confining myself to three points that I do not think will be found in the establishment media.
My first point is that the Conservative campaign strategy was exactly as I predicted last autumn. It was a solidly Quisling Right campaign. The Conservative leaders implied promises that they did not in fact make. They made promises that amounted to nothing or that they had no intention of keeping. Any reasonable interpretation of what they said during the campaign about Europe or government spending or the regulatory burden or immigration showed a lack of inclination to do anything that might offend the Enemy Class.
The purpose of the campaign was not to reach out to the wider electorate with a vision of how to recover the country, but to inspire the existing core vote, while doing nothing to obstruct a spontaneous collapse of the Labour vote. On these terms, the campaign was a success. I believe that Mr Howard could have won, had he gambled on reaching out with a positive vision. But he did well enough with the strategy he did adopt.
The second point is that I must give up on urging the destruction of the Conservative Party. Its present leadership is not fundamentally interested in personal freedom or national independence. But while its destruction would clear the way for the emergence of a more genuine conservative force, it cannot be destroyed. I grant that the Conservatives have just raised themselves from the political grave. But I believe just as much that it was ordinary conservatives who chose to drag them from that grave. I underestimated the panic that many conservatives feel when they see what is being done to the country, and their willingness to vote even for the Quisling Right. We could have voted in larger numbers for the UK Independence Party – I did vote for it. But I do understand the force of the point that the Conservatives entered the election as the only party able to destroy Tony Blair.
So they remain. And they are stronger. And it must be accepted that any hope that they can be replaced as the political vehicle for conservatism will be in vain. I think there is a good argument still for voting for minor parties in elections other than for Parliament – such does bring some pressure to bear on the Conservative leaders. But they are now confirmed as the only party of alternative government. If we are conservatives or libertarians, we have no choice now but to work with them as best we can, hoping they will toss us the occasional scrap from the table of power should they ever be allowed to sit again at its head.
My third point is that, whatever compromises they desire to make, the Conservative leaders may find themselves pulled into a more radical strategy. The Blair Government has just been re-elected with about 35 per cent of 60 per cent of the total possible vote. This means that four out of every five adults in this country did not vote Labour. Moreover, the Government majority in the House of Commons – at least, so far as I can tell – is created by its Scotch Members. Its democratic legitimacy is weak in the United Kingdom as a whole, and doubly weak in England. Add to this that the loss of its steamroller majority places it at least occasionally into the hands of the dissident Labour Members, and add further that the Ministers – I think particularly of the absurd and monstrous David Blunkett – are generally despised and despicable creatures of the Prime Minister, and that the Prime Minister himself remains discredited by his Iraqi adventure, and we have a recipe for a strategic weakness in government not seen since the last years of the Major Government.
This may force the hand of the Conservative leaders. On the other hand, it may confirm them in their belief that they have only to wait for the now very likely implosion of Labour support. I do not know.
I will conclude by saying how I personally regret that Mr Howard did not choose a more dangerous strategy. When he took over, I allowed my hopes to rise too far: I am embarrassed to read my commentaries on his appointment. Even so, he did show himself a capable leader, and that must be respected.
© 2005 – 2017, seangabb.
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