Free Life 33, August 1999, Editorial: Come out of Her, My People, by Sean Gabb

From Free Life, Issue 33, August 1999
ISSN: 0260 5112

Editorial: Come Out of Her, My People
Sean Gabb

Ever since I began attending libertarian gatherings in the late 1970s, I have been regularly accosted by young men in suits. 20 years ago, they were older than I was. Nowadays, they are considerably younger. The object of their devotion has been different every time, but their purpose has been constant. It is to tell me that such and such Tory MP is really "one of us", or at least is "sound" on some issue dear to my heart. The more distant names have sunk into deserved oblivion, but the more recent ones include William Hague, Alan Duncan, and Nigel Evans. The newest name – I heard it only last week – is Liam Fox. He is the Conservative spokesman on European issues, and it is being whispered to people like me that he is "deeply sceptical" about the European Union, and might at some point even say so in public.

20 years ago, I was thrilled by news like this. Ten years ago, it could fill me with hope for half an hour at a time. Today, I simply laugh at it. Some of these young men are wilful liars, hoping for a seat of their own in Parliament if their facility in lying comes to the attention of the Party leadership. Some are telling the truth as they see it. They believe in the libertarian cause. They are working virtually unpaid for their politician. Sometimes, they are giving their bottoms as well. In either case, I am old enough to see through the deception.

The Conservatives governed this country for 18 years. During this time, they broke every promise they made or implied. They promised lower taxes. They raised taxes. They promised a return to free enterprise. They made state control more efficient. They promised more individual freedom. They made the country into a police state. They promised to make the country respected abroad. They began its abolition by merger into a European federal state. They read out speeches and signed newspaper articles promising a new dawn of classical liberalism. Yet when finally driven from office, they left a state machinery so powerful and uncontrolled by law that New Labour has in some respects felt obliged to dismantle it. They promised us bread, and gave us a stone.

That is what the Conservatives did between 1979 and 1997. Yet still the young men in suits sidle up to me and whisper nonsense in my ear. Still there is the dribble of speeches and articles filled with promises to do better next time. Well, the time has come to stop listening to any of this. The last resort of the Tory loyalist, when challenged on all positive claims, is to say that another election victory for Mr Blair will complete the destruction of our freedom and our national independence; and that only the Conservative Party can beat New Labour at the next election. Both propositions are true. But neither is any reason for trusting the Conservatives ever again.

Those of us who care about what is happening to our country have a choice. We can involve ourselves in the Conservative Party and work hard for victory at the next election. Almost certainly, that election will be lost. Morally and intellectually, the Conservative leaders are embarrassingly inferior to their counterparts in the Labour Party. They are the more cynical of the suited young men from 20 years ago. They have lied and prostituted themselves up the ladder. Collectively, they form the most stupid and dishonest opposition we have seen since the rise of parliamentary government. With them in charge, we are more likely to see an alien invasion than a Conservative election victory.

But even if by some miracle they do win, we can be assured that they will betray us as comprehensively as they did in the past. A Hague Government – assuming, that is, he survives to the next election – would not take us out of the European Union, or cut taxes, or deregulate, or cast aside its police state powers over us. Why should it, when these are Tory policies that New Labour has simply inherited and turned to its own advantage? It would betray us, and many of us would be implicated in the betrayal, and involved in the wasteful but inevitable recriminations following the collapse of that Government.

Or we can accept that we have lost for the moment. As I said in my last Editorial, the water will close over our heads. And it will do so regardless of who wins the next election or the one after that. Our duty is to look to the longer term. We must build a genuinely liberal and patriotic movement outside Parliament that may eventually be able to recover the liberties we are now losing or have already lost. We have the Internet on which to organise and across which to spread our ideas. We have physical organisations like the Countryside Alliance, the Democracy Movement, and the UK Independence Party; and many more will be formed in the next few years.

Every minute spent working for Conservative victory is time wasted. Every minute spent on extra-parliamentary opposition buys at least hope of victory some time in the coming century. To those who still believe the Conservative Party can be made the instrument of our salvation, I quote the Angel of God: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues".

© 1999 – 2017, seangabb.

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