"If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist."
Joseph Sobran (1995)
That statement sums up, neatly, the political situation in our country. In other words, bar the last classification, it is extremely difficult to determine the difference between our political parties.
First let us consider the future of the Coalition and the parties involved. For some time I have been of the opinion that Cameron, being a tad 'liberal' in his views, is currently in the process of forming a Liberal Conservative Party. Reasons: his 'pandering' to Liberal Democrat 'red lines' in the formation of the Coalition immediately after May 6th; his decision not to 'fully' contest the Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election; the apparent 'acceptance' by the hierarchy of the Conservative Party that it may be the future to stand as one party - an idea first floated by Nick Boles; and, the longer the Coalition lasts, the more Liberal Democrat ministers, PPSs and the Liberal Democrat Party get 'sucked' into a left-leaning Conservative Party - thus placing the Liberal Democrats in the same position as that of the Co-Operative Party to Labour - and thereby cementing Cameron's intention for a re-alignment of what was the Conservative Party.
It is possible to hold the view that the direction David Cameron is following is one with dangerous possible outcomes. He is obviously in danger of alienating those of his MPs who retain what may be called true Conservative opinions and also those Conservative Party members who are far from happy with the Coalition idea. The Liberal Democrat Party may well decide to rebuff Cameron's plan because, by retaining their 'independence' and 'identity', they could well present themselves as a 'moderating' influence to the electorate by publicly presenting themselves as a 'brake' on 'left' and 'right' government - which in turn could present the possibility of 'coalition government' for the foreseeable future.
It was, I believe, Nigel Farage who first coined the 'cigarette paper' analogy when comparing the Lib/Lab/Con, making the point that there was little to choose between them in respect of their policies, especially on membership of the European Union. What Cameron is in effect doing is to ensure that the choice, come a general election, will be between a hard left or soft left government. In respect of the quotation at the head of this post, it is this coalition of views by the Lib/Lab/Con - especially on the subjects of centralised control of money and social behaviour - that makes anyone of the 'Libertarian Right' labelled an 'extremist'.
Bruce Anderson has the op-ed piece in today's Daily Telegraph in which he believes the Coalition can slay the 'dragons' that escaped Margaret Thatcher. David Cameron will not slay anything for one reason - and that is he does not have the backbone that Margaret Thatcher possessed. Bruce Anderson writes that David Cameron is incisive - this the man who now almost has as many U-turns to his name as Eric Pickles has redundant U-turn signs. Anderson also writes:
"Most voters may not understand the specifics of coalition, but they like the idea."
Never mind the specifics of coalition, most voters are politically illiterate - how else does one equate the latest opinion poll findings that places Labour a few points ahead of the other two parties? This is the political opinion of an electorate that now supports the same party that 6 months ago they could not wait to evict from office? So we are asked to believe by opinion polls that the electorate now support the same party that through financial incompetence virtually brought our nation to its knees? Sheesh! It is no wonder then that Anderson can also write:
"In the present state of British politics, it is hard enough to foresee the recent past, let alone the longer term."
It is, also, no wonder that the electorate is unable to make an informed decision when they are fed 'pap' by a complaint media whose only claim to journalistic expertise is the ability to cope with the 'cut & paste' application provided by computers. Where is the requirement to hold government to account and to question? Witness this 'article' in today's Daily Telegraph, on the subject of the latest idea that the public should contribute to charity when using an ATM or their debit/credit cards? And the reasons behind this idea? Cynics may well, justifiably, claim that it is a method of 'covering' the shortfall caused by Coalition 'cuts' to public services - and they would not be far wrong either. Most 'charities' are now no more than government organisations to cajole and thus rely on public sympathy, whilst being funded in one form or another, by central government from the taxation system. How many of the electorate are aware of this? I would venture very few.
How many of the electorate have any idea how 'government' operates? Take a look at this and those readers of a perceptive nature will understand the point I am about to make. This document shows that actually how we are 'governed' is by the power of the Order in Council, taken into law via Statutory Instrument, with no debate or challenge in Parliament by those we elect, supposedly to 'govern' us - surely another example of 'democratised dictatorship'? Oh and did you notice that Simon Hughes is now a Privy Councillor? Once again the cynic in me surfaces and questions whether this 'elevation' was a means of ensuring that Simon Hughes does not cause too much 'trouble' in the future?
If ever anything demonstrated that not only does this country require a complete overhaul of our political system, but also of our democracy, then surely this post does. Come general elections - and between elections - politicians are ever present, proclaiming that they are interested in their constituents views. This can be put into perspective by remembering that P.J. O'Rourke also said that whilst politicians are interested in people, fleas are also interested in dogs!
The time for a revolution - be that peaceful or otherwise - must surely be nigh!