Saturday, 11 December 2010

Mainstream Conservatism vs Liberal Conservatism - and other matters

Tim Montgomerie, Conservative Home, posts further on his debate about the above and which way the Conservative Party should develop - which set in process various trains of thought. As a result this post may well ramble - for which I offer my apologies in advance - consequently topics will go hither and thither.

Montgomerie, again, does not seem to appreciate the problem that the Conservative Party have, purely as a result of Cameron's 'Liberalism' and his belief in 'central control' which is evident in his governance of the country and that of his own party. The most glaring problem that the Conservative Party has is that their policies are not sufficiently distinct, being more a compromise with socialism - and the socialism of the European Union.

The Conservative Party has a growing appetite for state intervention, an appetite which basically lays an axe at the root of what should be a fundamental principle of the Conservative Party - and one which Cameron supposedly proposes - namely small government, low taxes and freedom of the people to decide local matters. As with the question of EU membership, so with the remainder of the Conservative Party's present policies - it is impossible to fight the battles of freedom if it appears, as it so obviously does, that their faith in their core principle is half-hearted.

To digress slightly, let us consider the recent student's demonstration against univeristy fees and the subject of state intervention. Back in the 60s radical students were demanding control over teaching methods and curricula of universities. As now to a certain extent, then it was surely an instinctive attempt to re-assert the control of the sovereignty of the consumer, which state financing of higher education was bound to obliterate and was intended to obliterate. What is wrong with universities being self-funding - the market will soon dictate what courses are offered, as with most problems involving supply and demand.

As with the present Conservative Party, so with their MPs. We are repeatedly informed by the media that there is a group of "Eurosceptic" MPs - and yes they make the right noises in Parliament, but continually support their party when it comes to division lobbies. On this point it is worth noting that
on 11th July 1968 Enoch Powell gave an interview to the Daily Mail in which he said:
"A politician crystallises what most people mean, even if they don't know it. Politicians are word-givers. When they have spoken, individuals recognise their own thoughts. Politicians don't mould societies or determine destinies. They are prophets in the Greek sense of the word - one who speaks for another and gives words to what is instinctive and formless. Winston did this in the war. He crystallised a will which existed."*
Expanding on this theme, in his Local Association Yearbook - and published in the Sunday Times on 8th September 1968, he wrote:
"I have never believed it was the duty of a Member of Parliament to say and do on every matter what the majority of his constituents thought or wished, just because it was what they thought or wished. I hold the assertion that a Member is a representative, not a delegate; he owes to his constituents the service of his own judgement.

On the other hand, it is equally the duty of a Member of Parliament not to refrain from saying what a great number of his constituents wish and think, even though he agrees with them, just because it runs contrary to fashionable opinion or to the consensus of the elite or possibly to the current policy of his party. People rightly look to see their wishes and views voiced......and if, over a long period, they feel this is not happening a dangerous estrangement can set in between electorate, Parliament and Government."*
What Powell did not continue to say, but is evident from his words, is that where a Member of Parliament agrees with those wishes and views expressed by his/her constituents, he/she has a duty to vote against his party and that particular policy. This point is something that is so lacking in our politics today and one that, were it the norm, really would reintroduce one element of that trust in politics about which the Party Leaders repeatedly state they are passionate.

For Tim Montgomerie to begin what amounts to a thesis on the state of his party, I can but repeat the words I earlier expressed: first you need a Conservative Party - something which does not today exist, not in the meaning that most who take an interest in politics would accept. Therefore, if Tim Montgomerie wishes to change the direction of his party to that of being more centre-right then there is only one option: change the leader - assuming of course that an alternative one exists!

Reverting to the subject of Conservative principles - small state, low taxes and the freedom of people - let us look at the contradiction of Conservative policy, coupled with the requirements of the European Union. Together with Cameron, the EU believes in economic plans, yet if anything could be worse than one economic plan it would be 12 economic plans, all going at the same time. Such an idea has - and still does - produce the situation of bureaucracy running amok. Surely it is a fact of life that the economic life of this country - and any country, come to that - will be solved by individual freedom and competitive enterprise.

Still on the subject of trust in our politicians, coupled with the subject of the EU: It is a known fact that meetings of the EU Council are held behind closed doors. This begs the question to what Cameron has agreed without the knowledge of the British public? The question is posed because as readers will know I am presently reading Simon Heffer's biography of Enoch Powell. On page 594, Heffer notes Enoch Powell's address to the Netherlands Society for Foreign Affairs - reported in the Telegraph on 18th May 1971, in which a little known fact emerges. Given before Heath was due to meet Georges Pompidou, the French President, later that week, Heffer records:
"Regardless of what ballyhoo accompanies his visit, Mr. Heath will do his duty" Powell said that what Mr. Heath should tell Pompidou was that 'even if an arrangement could with your assistance be contrived at Brussels, I would lack the right to conclude it. To do so would be to mislead the countries of the Common Market whose partners we became and, even worse, to betray the confidence which the British people have given me. I will not do it.' What Powell did not know at the time was that his former shadow cabinet colleague, Christopher Soames, now ambassador in Paris, had engaged in secret talks with Pompidou's officials to ensure that he did not repeat the veto of his predecessor, de Gaulle. The assurances given included a commitment on behalf of Heath that Britain would, if allowed to enter, participate fully in the development of a European Union, including complete economic and monetary union.'" (my emphasis)
Regular readers will be aware that I have long held the belief that, legal and lawful democratic means having failed, eventually it will take a public uprising to remove our corrupt, lying, obfuscating, immoral, unprincipled and dishonourable politicians and thus cleans the entire political system - an idea in which Autonomous Mind also now appears to believe.

Politicians would do well to remember one simple fact of life: There comes a time when we all have to meet our Maker, likewise when the House of Commons has to meet its Maker; individually and collectively. There comes a time when this House of Commons must be unmade in order to be remade. The House of Commons cannot take that step as to do so would mean that it would have lost the power to reassert our faith in the legislative supremacy of Parliament and the sovereignty of the electorate. That power of sovereignty still resides with the electorate; they can use it still; and use it, one day, they will.

* These quotations from "Like the Roman", A biography of Enoch Powell: Simon Heffer


Anonymous said...

Just because of their social attitudes, the Tories are part of the Progressive/Marxist establishment now. A change of leader won't save them. They are doomed. They are SO on the wrong side of history. The Third Way, which is the LibLabCon's method, isn't about a golden medium between Methodist Socialism and Anglican Conservatism. It's a path halfway between Fascism and Communism.

In a classical Libertarian/Constitutional era, the LibLabCon will be viewed the same way as we view the Nazis or the Soviets.

Witterings From Witney said...

Anonymous: incisive comment and quite true. My point about a change of leader was purely to underline that if the party wishes to revert back to its roots then a new leader is a must.

However, what is also a fact is that this Parliament must be undone and a new one made. That is a given and how long it takes is up to the people.

TomTom said...

MP for Shipley meets Powell's criteria for a Member of Parliament to an incredibly high degree.

We are nevertheless back in the 1640s and even Prince "Charles" should take note his Stuart predecessors having been atop a powder keg.

Look at Stuttgart 21 and the mass demonstrations there - Europe is going into convulsions

Witterings From Witney said...

Tom Tom: Accept Philip Davies and one or two others which can probably be counted on one hand.

Anonymous said...

The young are so unsettled by the behaviour of our leader and by his lack of understanding, that even if he is right about paying for their own education (which is probably is), they will never follow him. A lot of these students also rely heavily on EMA as they come from broken families, where there is only one parent and no one to help them pay. They cannot get all get "paper rounds", a lot of those small jobs are increasingly taken up by the elderly, who need extra income too. Unfortunately, compassion does not spring from Tory HQ any more, nor a willingness to quietly explain the problems of our economy, to the disaffected youth

Voyager said...

Yes but how can increasing Government spending on the loan system to $21 billion be justified ? To introduce these fees the Government has to front-end loan the payment to Universities simply to replace the Teaching Budget they have cut 80%.

The reasons given by Osborne are fatuous. He is spending much more NOW to recoup possibly over the next 30 years with the risk of high rates of default.

This has nothing to do with spending cuts and everything to do with privatising universities

microdave said...

"Accept Philip Davies and one or two others which can probably be counted on one hand."

You will need two hands (just) to count them now!

Maybe this is a small ray of hope?

Witterings From Witney said...

microdave: don't be fooled - these "Eurosceptics" are tolerated and allowed to remain for a purpose - that of maintaining the Tories Eurosceptism.

Go read:

about halfway down - the comments in Singleton's post!

Fraid it is still only one hand!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the Powell quote, I had overlooked that and will make a note. I have long thought that Heath knew what the final goal was and this confirms it.
We have been sold down the river by so many politicians that the only answer is a complete clearout of the lot and to re start with new minds, not the professional class.