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Tony Blair’s cultural revolution has won, at least in the Conservative Party

17 January 2014

2:34 PM

17 January 2014

2:34 PM

As Rod pointed out the other day, Arthur Scargill’s purchase of his council flat illustrated the triumph of Thatcherism over its opponents; like any winning ideology it created the conditions for its followers to flourish and increase in number, and so securing the revolution.

That’s one of many things that Tony Blair had in common with the Conservative leader; New Labour created the conditions, through an expanded and often highly-politicised public sector, for Blairites to flourish and therefore for Blairism to triumph, not just at the ballot box but culturally too. Look at London, where a generation ago one could expect wealthy areas to vote overwhelmingly Conservative; today the cultural influence of Kensington and Chelsea has stalled while that of Hampstead and Highgate has spread, and the result is a new liberal middle class consciously hostile to cultural conservatism.

A sure sign of this triumph is that many new Tory MPs sound and act like Blairites. I was thinking of Elizabeth Truss’s comment in today’s papers about a lack of suitable toys putting girls off maths and science. Without wishing to rake over this old argument again, there is actually no correlation between a country’s maths score gap and its general sexual equality, and on this front Britain, Denmark and Finland are beaten by those bastions of feminism UAE, Qatar and Jordan.

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What’s striking though are her assumptions about the science behind sexual differences and the state’s role in children’s development; reading them you’d be hard pressed to guess she was a Conservative at all. Perhaps strangest of all is a Tory using ‘Victorian’ in a derogatory way in regards to teaching, when the Victorian period was one of huge progress in education, a lot of it independent of the state. (As I have remarked before, the Victorian age is the only one that is judged by the society it inherited, not the one it left behind. After all, would you rather have lived in 1837 or 1901?)

Then there was Anna Soubry and her attack on Nigel Farage, accusing him of ‘scaremongering’ and putting ‘fear in people’s hearts’. A lot of Tories would oppose Farage, but Soubry’s tone, that assumption that to disagree is not just mistaken but actually a sign of immorality, is very, very un-conservative.

When Tory MPs talk and think like this, it’s clear that Blair’s cultural revolution has been successful, at least in Westminster.

In fact so successful that it has become very difficult for small-c conservatives to create the conditions where they might win again. On the other side of the party some MPs have made the argument for stigma in encouraging couples to stay together or get married in the first place. Taking aside the issue of whether children are disadvantaged by their parents not marrying, the Conservative Party certainly is, since women who are married with children are more likely to vote Tory than unattached, divorced or single mothers.

The permissive society is also very costly, and without it much of the welfare infrastructure could be scaled down and the tax burden reduced, so that perhaps we might return to a pre-war situation whereby the median-earning breadwinner supporting a family paid no income tax at all (and therefore it would be easier for median earners to start families).

But that would be very Victorian, I suppose.

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Show comments
  • Liberty

    The rise of UKIP is a consequence of Blair[ism], the splitting of the Tory vote. So, now we are more likely to have a Labour dominated government with a rump LD in support. UKIP will get no seats but ensure that the Tories get no majority; after another bout of Labour/LD government plus PR they never will again unless they take us even closer to bankruptcy than last time and people will turn to Nanny [Tories] to get them out of it. Is that what UKIP want?

  • Two Bob

    Mr Blair… oh yes that pretty straight sort of guy…..

  • Eyesee

    The overriding culture of Blairism is to put yourself above all others. It has led to an increase in the victim-status cult, the arrogance in the NHS that kills, the binge drinkers and the greed of politicians and all other state sector sucklings in NGO’s and Quango’s. It infects the private sector and serves the Marxists too well. Blair was and is an immoral stain on the character of Britain.

  • foxoles

    Liz Truss – the minister who is so ‘conservative’ in outlook that she (following the teaching unions) wanted porn-related lessons in schools, for children as young as 10

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9707027/School-should-teach-pupils-about-dangers-of-online-porn-says-Liz-Truss.html

  • Eddie

    ‘I was thinking of Elizabeth Truss’s comment in today’s papers about a lack of suitable toys putting girls off maths and science.’
    Truss is just parroting the usual feminist fantasy, which is that it is social conditioning (parenting, upbringing environment, ‘patriarchy’ in society) that so influences boys an girls (whom these nitwits assume are the same in aptitudes, attitudes, interest and instincts) and means most in IT, science, maths and engineering are men, and most in caring roles (nursing, teaching, HR) are female. What an utter absurdity!
    I think Truss should learn some science herself – (David Attenborough is spot on with his opinion of how evolution has made human males and females different in aptitudes and behaviour), then she may well discover that, in general, boys and girls have different brains and different instincts, all from evolution, because males and females have utterly different roles in life. We are no different than human beings of half a million years ago. We have the same instincts.
    Girls are preparing for motherhood; boys are preparing for status – which will attract the females later on! That is why girls/women talk much more than boys/men (our school system is inherently feminised of course these days and geared towards innate female aptitudes – like nattering in groups and talking about emotions), whereas boys are way better at motor skills, and wanting to be the best, fighting to get there!
    Nothing stopping boys and girls choosing any toys they want, of course – but if you put 4 year olds in a room and watch what toys they go for, you will see all silly feminist gender theories collapse like a house of cards before your eyes. Instinct is instinct, and the male and female brains are different, because males and females are not the same or indeed equal in terms of ability in various fields: this is the reason why there are not many women at the top of business, or in techie jobs. Just accept it.
    This made me laugh! A good point!
    ‘Without wishing to rake over this old argument again, there is actually no correlation between a country’s maths score gap and its general sexual equality, and on this front Britain, Denmark and Finland are beaten by those bastions of feminism UAE, Qatar and Jordan.’

  • global city

    and that’s the point. Blair was a loon who scammed the general public… but then his fantasy was exposed…and once exposed a scam is dead, but the Tories piked it up just at that moment!
    ha, ha, ha!

    • HookesLaw

      Blair was very plausible in 1997. Amongst other nice things (being ‘different’ was one) he offered a kind of social market economy which was cosily morally better than those horrible capitalists.
      The media led public would happily have voted for Brown if he had given them the chance before the crash, so the tories still had their work cut out. Browns poll lead actually went up after the crash I think

      • global city

        I agree. The problem for the Tories is that they tried to play the same tricks, with ideas from the same ideological source as ‘the 3rd way’, which was rooted in cultural Marxism.

        Wrong ideological source, wrong scam at the wrong time… that was the fundamental problem with the Cameron ‘Modernisation’

        There are any number of revived and refreshed Centre-Right parties round the world that they could have used as a template or inspiration, but as I’ve written on here a number of times, the Tories have never actually been that sort of ‘right wing’. They are a patrician party, corporate and only interested in maintaining the power of the old elite, what ever ideological twists they have to make in order to do this. It is why they were so naturally attuned to the ‘post war consensus and the statist/elite led EU.

        Copying the Blair project just is it had been fully exposed as the sham it was was an error of massive proportions.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh dear. I thought this was going to be an insightful piece but no West identifies the dreary Truss and that sad Thatcher parody Soubry.

    Let’s deal with Soubry first. She’s spitting her false teeth out solely because UKIP are already campaigning and she’s sitting on the most minute of majorities (389 votes) in her marginal constituency (and she’s facing her extremely capable predecessor in the election). Soubry was just ranting because she’s going to lose her job (and she was embarrassed by the lack of knowledge she had about her department).

    As for Truss from her wiki page:

    Truss was raised in a northern, left-wing household;

    She read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Merton College, Oxford.

    Truss was President of Oxford University Liberal Democrats and expressed republican sentiments at the 1994 Liberal Democrats conference.[6][13]

    She’s a professional political cross dresser in the wrong party. That said she’s by no means the worst case of a selection catastrophe that the Tory party has had. After all picking Cameron on the basis of one speech takes some beating.

    NEXT!

    PS I do enjoy all this Blair worship in Westminster though. it provides all sort of optimism for other parties. After all Blair’s electoral achievement was to lose 4 million votes in 8 years (only 3 years slower than Major) and his legacy was to see another million disappear in 2010 (just like Major). Whilst Westminster clings to its liberal elitism the country has been rejecting it for a very long time. That rejection is hardening as UKIP demonstrates..

  • Raw England

    Ed – I’m a working class English, and you are literally the only writer/columnist in the entire *mainstream media* that knows the score (alongside Douglas Murray). I love all your articles. And, even though you’re obviously very moderate, and defeatedly resigned to the terrifying hopelessness situation, I can tell you wish you could be more politically incorrect (AKA factual) without fear of being arrested, or killed by a Muslim or other such foreigner.

    And yes, you’re right: the ‘conservatives’ of today are Marxists, Liberals and, as I increasingly find, not actually ethnically British at at all.

    • Toxteth O’Grady

      Peter Hitchens?

      • Raw England

        I do like Peter Hitchens, and I love his stoic Englishness, but I see him as a different type of writer, I suppose.

        • Toxteth O’Grady

          Agreed on the last point, though I do wonder if he was just avoiding a QT trap.

          • Raw England

            Very possibly.

    • Kitty MLB

      I am glad you call yourself English, The Left deplore that word,
      as much as they do the people who originate from this ancient land,
      we are all trapped within the EU, you see no individual identity,
      and those who are patriotic are as we al know ‘Little Englanders’-
      Yet this country was once Great Britain.

      • Raw England

        Hi Kitty.

        Yes. I feel no connection to Scotland, Wales etc now. The only bond we have with them is that we’re all ethnically British. But only the homeland, England, has borne the brutal, disgusting brunt of mass immigration and multiculturalism. Also, I feel very, very strongly about asserting our English ethnicity.

        And yes: we British have lived in these lands as one people for thousands and thousands of years. And we now have to watch as filth, including politicians in the highest positions of power, say we’re a nation of immigrants and so on.

        Democracy is long dead. The Communist, anti-nation EU dictates all. We’ve lost all power, literally and completely. And our cities are dominated by foreign majorities.

        Its bad. Very, very, very bad. In fact, there’s not really any words to express just how bad it is.

        • ArchiePonsonby

          You and Kitty are spot on, at least in this white English bloke’s eyes!

  • 2trueblue

    He certainly did, left us a vacuous uneducated population by courtesy of downgrading our education and the BBC repeating everything 10times. What exactly is his lasting legacy?
    Grew our youth unemployment, public sector, our use of consultants to advise him, child poverty….. The list is pretty long. Then he went off and what has he actually done for this world apart form make a lot of money for himself, having left the country broke. He was the most vain politician we have had in many a year.

    • alabenn

      You missed lying, deceitful and dishonourable cur who has left like all his crew, a mini me to carry on his treachery.

      • Andy

        He was trying to be a bit charitable !

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Evidently, Blair is cut to the quick about his “legacy” and the voters’ absolute detestation of him. So there is some justice!

      • arnoldo87

        Yes – they detested him so much that he won three successive elections. The last one two years after the Iraq war and at the height of the controversy over Hutton and the chaos in Iraq.

  • Tom Tom

    New Labour was a Communist Front organisation designed by Eric Hobsbawm and Ralph Miliband to co-opt Conservative voters and newspapers to the most extreme Left government in British history comprising more CPGB stooges than any previous Labour Government and proving why Labour had a ban on Communists for much of its existence.

    That the Conservative Party recruited so many Labour hangers on like Truss and Mensch and set out to humiliate its long-term supporters shows how devastatingly

    effective Miliband and Hobsbawm were

    • Chris

      That’s why we have UKIP 🙂

  • sir_graphus

    That is how it works, though; Thatcher dragged the electorate a long way to the right, and it took Labour 15 years to reinvent themselves as sufficiently free market and capitalist to get elected.
    Once in office, they dragged the electorate back to the left, such that the Tories had to move, through Hague, IDS, Howard, and at last Dave, towards the left to, once again, pick up the voters.
    Their job was to start moving the voters to the right, again. However, the voters have proved stubborn, and the coalition is a huge obstacle to this. So here we are, with Tories still having to make left-sounding noises to get elected.

    • Andy

      That’s the long and the short of it.

    • monty61

      I don’t see much dragging. Cameron is perfectly happy where he is.

      • HookesLaw

        Happy cutting hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs you mean and cutting benefits? Do you ever stop to think how disconnected with reality you are? Of course not. Life is easier in your very own prejudiced ‘bubble’.

        • monty61

          The article is primarily about culture. The culture hasn’t changed from the Blair era. Multiculturalism and ‘communities’ are in, responsibility is yesterday’s concept. The schools agenda is Blairism MkII, ditto the NHS. Osborne has doubled public borrowing – nothing very right of centre about that – and social conservatism is a dead duck. The Blairites have won. As I say, I don’t see much dragging. A bit of tacking to and fro to appease various pressure groups, but there’s no tow rope that I can see.

          • HookesLaw

            In other words you are totally wrong and have no excuses. Your comment about borrowing as opposed to the deficit (inherited at 160 billion) shows how you have to duck and dive.
            Is Cameron to the left of Eden or MacMillan or Heath or Churchill (who was once a Liberal)?
            Is he to the left of Willie Whitelaw who was an effective deputy PM to Thatcher who famously said ‘Every PM needs a Willie’? (something the selfish David Davis clearly forgot)

            In short you do not see very much.

            • monty61

              A Canadian-style bonfire of the spending commitments would have been a proper Conservative response, not the softly-softly trimming of Osborne which has gone after all the (wrong) soft targets of departmental salami slicing, and left spending still increasing on Landlord Benefit, on other welfare payments including expensive pensioner perks, and a real terms increase for the bloated, inefficient NHS (where instead of taking proper action the management deckchairs were expensively rearranged). Moral hazard everywhere as the feckless have been subsidised and prudent savers squeezed just as under Labour. Meanwhile Local Government is as bloated and self-serving as ever.

              Cameron is NO conservative.

    • Kitty MLB

      Excellent post.
      Yet its not that the voters are stubborn, they have had years of manipulation,
      and deceit, after decades of Labours country destroying rampage. There
      are some who are so politically deluded that they will still listen to Labour,
      and Labour have proved its always party before country and will never be honest about its mistakes.
      The coalition was always a huge obstacle , never in the national interest and going into one with a incompetent leftie Party like The Lib Dems show how much a fool Cameron was, even the messiah Blair said he would never trust
      The Lib Dems.

    • arnoldo87

      “So here we are, with Tories still having to make left-sounding noises to get elected.”
      Would you like to have a good think about that sentence, Sir G, and what conclusion we can all draw from it?

  • Kitty MLB

    It was a dark day indeed when that smiling dogmatic and deceitful man, Shakespeare’s smiling villain benighted
    our political scene, and an equally dark day when the Conservative Party
    drank from Blair’s poisoned chalice and anointed a leader in the same image.
    That Man, Blair and his economically, socially and morally damaging ideology
    wrecked the foundations of this country, some may say almost treasonable.

    • Andy

      Well yes, but the question is how do we destroy what he did and how do we create conditions that it cannot happen again ? The power of the Left, Fascist or otherwise, is based on its strangle hold in academic circles; the broadcast media, particularly the BBC, and the public sector. If you radically reform those areas you will begin to destroy the Left, and that is what you have to do. But you can only do so by holding power and being bold enough to use that power.

      • Kitty MLB

        Absolutely right, as you say our entire society is dominated by the Left, Blair set out to destroy Conservatism and to change the face
        of this country, and to have total control.
        Also as you say, you need to be bold enough to use power.
        Margaret Thatcher said being right was far more important
        then being popular, but now in our insipid, cloned world of politics
        everything is about image.
        Having a majority also helps, but having a majority with Cameron,
        is not the answer, because he is a Lib Dem at heart-
        nothing would be any different .
        Sorry for rambling. I must say regardless of his leader,
        I am actually impressed with Michael Gove- and the way
        he’s handing the teaching union beasts.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …beware… Little Boy Gove is empowering the central government beast, no matter what it says on the label. For his type, it’s always 2 steps forward, one step back.

  • 2trueblue

    I forget to add, Blair presided over the most corrupt parliament of our time.

    • monty61

      Surely that was Brown?

      • Tim Reed

        Blair, Brown…same sh!t, different pile.

      • 2trueblue

        Blairs time was when it all happened. Neither of the two were interested in cleaning it up.

        • HookesLaw

          I think the point is that Blair had Campbell and Brown had McBride. They both had Mandelson.

  • HookesLaw

    Has Mr West never heard of The Manchester Guardian?

  • 2trueblue

    Blair certainly won. He left a vacuous and uneducated youth behind his government after 13yrs. He downgraded and destroyed the educational system, made everything bigger and lost all control of what was truely important in life, quality. More single parent families were created during his time, youth unemployment grew, child poverty grew. The badge that bigger is better was certainly proven to be wrong. He has d no real idea what was good and sustaining, just follow the money, which he did.

    Of all the politicians during my lifetime he did more damage than most, and all in the guise of progress. He told a good yarn. What has he achieved since he left politics? Grown his bank balance, having massively shrunk ours.

    • sfin

      Aaaah! But he won elections! And that’s all that matters in the absence of anything approaching principle or conviction. To the PR spivs who now comprise the establishment Blair is genius.

      • HookesLaw

        its too easy and equally senseless to prattle on about PR Spivs.

      • 2trueblue

        When you have the BBC in your pocket you can twist everything. That is what he did. He has gone, unfortunately we still have the BBC>

    • Curnonsky

      Tony Blair succeeded in making politics a competition of feel-good marketing slogans, not policy, and of course enrichment of himself and his cronies. The enormously destructive effects of his rule on British society fall under the “collateral damage” heading.

      Margaret Thatcher may have been the greatest prime minster of the post-war era but Tony Blair might go down as the most influential, alas.

      • 2trueblue

        Blair had the BBC continually telling us how wonderful he and Liebore were, and as the party created their following everything was downgraded. A whole generation was reared in that time, and they were ill equiped to get the best out of life.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      You have forgotten his greatest achievement. He placed the British economy in the hand of the most catastrophic, monumentally hubristic (“no more boom and bust”) spendthrift and epically incompetent chancellor in British history. He delivered an eye watering structural deficit and a 7.3% contraction of the economy. Nice one Tone, hope you fall off your wallet.

      • 2trueblue

        Ah no, Blair then went off and decided he would become a Roman Catholic. Wonder if he trots off to confession?

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          On the basis that each confession would require 7 – 8 weeks, I very much doubt it. They could, I suppose, use a relay of a dozen or so priests working in shifts so it is technically feasible.

          • 2trueblue

            Or they could have not accepted him? Amazing that he left it until he was no longer PM, having secularised the country over his time as leader. I just don’t get it.

    • Kitty MLB

      Excellent post.
      Blair achieved what he set out to do,
      make everyone, poor, uneducated, and trapped- and this country a lesser place- and lest we forget Iraq.
      Whilst he also showed no responsibility, fame obsessed, style over substance
      and clueless in regards to understanding the words duty to serve.
      No politicians in the past were perfect, but they had principles,
      and saw being Prime Minister as a responsibility.
      Cameron knew about all the facts that you were saying about that man.
      yet it was he who called himself the heir to Blair.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Indeed! The scales fell from my eyes when Cameron not only gave Blair a standing ovation when the latter left the HoC, but urged his entire parliamentary party to do so!

        • Kitty MLB

          Oh yes I remember that, he was trying to encourage
          Mps to actually stand up, they looked quite shocked.
          I do actually feel very sorry for those back benchers,
          they probably spend most of their lives, with there head in their hands, wondering when it will all end.

        • HookesLaw

          Don’t be daft – the alternative was to sit sour faced and look totally stupid and petty. Blair had won 3 elections and was leaving – the victim of a plot, it was the Labour benches who were embarrassed.

          • Andy

            MPs didn’t do so for Sir Winston Churchill, and he was a far greater man than the odious Blair.

          • ArchiePonsonby

            See Andy’s comment below!

    • HookesLaw

      Blair was quite weak really. Whether you agree with his aims or not he allowed Brown to subvert them.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …yes, but Tone subverted your boy Call Me Dave, the H2B, who is even weaker still.

  • sfin

    Naughty Ed West!

    But not a bad recruitment poster for UKIP! And you are right that the tories sound just like new labour. On these pages we have David Skelton telling us that raising the minimum wage is “the right thing to do”.

    But is aping a vainglorious, megalomaniacal and utterly discredited politician healthy? Is using the fascistic left wing trait of rooting your opinions in morality healthy?

    I would argue not – it’s why I am an ex tory voter and there are many more like me.

    • Holly

      The only thing that was wrong with ‘New Labour’, was it was stuffed full of ‘Old Labour’ MP’s.

      • alabenn

        The only thing that was wrong with ‘New Labour’, was it was stuffed full of ‘Old Labour’ dinosaurs
        Who slowly like New Labour came to regard truth, decency and loyalty to one’s country as objectionable behaviour.

      • Tom Tom

        Oh no it wasn’t Holly. It was stuffed full of Marxists and Communists
        like Mandelson, Reid, Cook, Howells, Clarke, Johnson, Ainsworth,
        Miliband, Darling, Byers, Triesman, Brown, Straw…….

        http://pol-check.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/roots-of-new-labour.html

    • HookesLaw

      Mr West’s article is a load of bumtious twaddle, written with all the objectivity that comes with behing deputy editor of the Catholic Herald.

      • arnoldo87

        “bumtious” Hooky?

        Are you taking the p?

        • HookesLaw

          Like most of the rubbish from the usual band of kippers he talks baseless claptrap.
          As an example look below to read, ‘New Labour was a Communist Front organisation designed by Eric Hobsbawm and Ralph Miliband to co-opt Conservative voters and newspapers … blah blah blah …’

    • Tom

      //Is using the fascistic left wing trait of rooting your opinions in morality healthy?//

      Personally, I think rooting one’s opinions in ethics is incredibly important. For example, I think that freedom of speech is a moral issue – that it is immoral for the state to censor and control the press. I would argue that a coherent political philosophy or viewpoint should be based on a foundation of what one fundamentally believes is right and wrong for the State to do. At root, isn’t UKIP built on an ethical principle of self-governance, from which it derives the conclusion of the importance of national sovereignty?

      It is one of the reasons why I don’t really understand Ed West’s criticism of declaring political opponents (those with different opinions) immoral? If you are having any political debate or discussion worth having, shouldn’t you believe that there is a moral and immoral position to hold? For example, gay marriage. There are multiple different ways to regard gay marriage legislation as moral or immoral – you could believe that gay marriage is perfectly moral or amoral, but hold that the way it is introduced is immoral (bypassing democratic input). You could believe that gay marriage itself is immoral because homosexuality is immoral, but believe that it is moral to allow gay marriages as you don’t believe it is the business of the State to encourage or support only one idea of what ‘marriage’ is. Another such issue is free market capitalism. Again, I think that capitalism is based on a moral and ethical world view – that people have a right to their property, and not other people’s. As such, it is perfectly possible to consider Communism and a Communist supporter as immoral.

      In many ways, this builds on Roger Scruton’s earlier article about the philosophical underpinnings of conservative ideology. Personally, I would far prefer that politicians spent more time carefully considering the moral and ethical basis for policy, rather than going on whims and instinct.

      • sfin

        It’s a moot point and you put it well. I think there is a subtle difference between the moral applied to principle and conviction and the moral which closes down debate as in “what I believe makes me a good person ipso facto if you disagree with me you must be evil” – a good example, of course, being the immigration debate – or lack of. Another very good example was the Diana ‘grief fest’ in 1997 – this was entirely orchestrated by new labour and its compliant media and those of us who were alarmed at what we saw as alien behaviour were painted as immoral. The “forces of conservatism” speech, another example as was the extraordinary claim that new labour was “the political wing of the British people”. It was this kind of fascistic moralising which gave rise to national socialism in Germany and I don’t think Blair was any less dangerous.
        Tony Benn has principles and conviction, I disagree with most of them, but I don’t think he’s evil – we merely have political differences. Tony Blair, on the other hand is a genuinely evil man, in my view, and the fact that Cameron wants to ape this creature purely because he was an election winner fills me with contempt.

        • Tom

          I was going to mention Tony Blair. Although I don’t agree with what he stands for, and would argue that many of his positions are immoral, I would have to say the Clause Four moment is an interesting piece of philosophical reasoning. It distinguished between a moral end (empowerment and enrichment of the masses) with the mechanisms required to achieve it (policy). Now, one can argue that the political reasons for that change were to secure electoral victory, but the actual logical reasoning for the position is quite good.

          I would say that wishing to emulate Tony Blair in terms of rhetoric and speaking ability is actually laudable, but then I think even Hitler (Godwin) is a desirable role model in terms of speaking ability.

          WRT immigration, I can see how it is possible to believe anti-immigration people are evil, if you take the free movement of people as an axiomatic good. Likewise, if you believe that demographic composition and national integrity are axiomatically good, that pro-immigration people are evil. The two issues are really: firstly, is what one assumes is the motivator for being anti- or pro- the actual motivator, and secondly, is that motivator, that belief, a moral one.

          • sfin

            Another interesting read and you are very accurate in your examples and summary.
            Do the people own the means of production via the state? or more directly through share ownership? I believe that Blair was a statist and really favoured the former but saw that it was politically unfashionable, as Thatcher had created the latter, and ditched this principle only to achieve power. So the fact that he believes in state control isn’t immoral – it’s a political principle and you can either agree or disagree. The ditching of a principle as means to achieve power, I would argue is immoral. The lack of complete openness in any political debate (Europe being the classic example) is immoral. Countering a political argument with insults is immoral. Obfuscation and mendacity are immoral. The politicisation of impartial institutions is immoral All of these were hallmarks of the Blair premiership.

            • Tom

              I would disagree with your assessment: I think that it is immoral to believe that State control is a good thing, because I believe it contradicts the principles of private ownership, autonomy, and free market capitalism, which I hold are all moral goods.

              I think you may be confusing two different things: aims and methods. It is perfectly possible to agree with a moral aim (eg the enrichment of the masses) but disagree with the effectiveness of a particular mechanism for achieving that aim. In that sense, provided the mechanism does not violate some other moral good, it is possible to only disagree with the mechanism. However, if that mechanism does violate some other moral good, it is perfectly possible to believe someone is evil, despite the fact that one agrees with the moral worth of their ultimate aim.

              An example: say two people share the aim of wanting to reduce the number of Muslims in the UK. They both believe that is a moral good. Person A wants to do this by persuading Muslims to abandon their faith. Person B wants to do this by putting all Muslims in gas chambers. It seems perfectly reasonable for Person A to hold that Person B is immoral, because they advocate an immoral method to achieve a moral aim. It is also perfectly possible for Person B to merely ‘disagree’ with Person A, as they don’t believe their persuasion method will work. Now, Person C may hold Person A & B to be immoral, as they believe that the number of Muslims in the UK should be increased.

              • sfin

                It’s too simplistic to say that a political principle is immoral. For example, I agree with capitalism – but should something, fundamental to life, like clean drinking water be a commodity to be bought and sold? Hmmm not sure…
                Clinging to principles that have been proven not to work changes the principle to dogma – immoral. It is too fluid.
                My problem with the left is attaching moral to policy after event – disagreeing with the policy makes you evil – and that is an evil in itself.

                • Tom

                  Well, without wanting to get into a debate about specific examples, I think it is possible to determine whether a political principle is moral or immoral based upon one’s own ethical beliefs. I would say that the political principle of allowing genocide is immoral, fundamentally. Granted, there may be issues that are not immediately clear, such as your water example. However, there is no logical reason that complexity of a case prohibits a particular solution from being considered moral or immoral. It just means that it takes more thought and consideration to come to a conclusion. Arguably, I would agree that it would be shortsighted to declare someone evil for supporting the wrong conclusion in a complicated case, because it may be true that that person has not fully considered all the necessary facts. Personally, I think raising the minimum wage is a bad idea. I believe this for two main reasons; firstly, I don’t think it will work to improve the lot of the least qualified (removes the lowest rungs of the ladder), and secondly, I think it is immoral to impose restrictions on the free exchange of labour between consenting individuals. I can perfectly well see how my view (no to raising the minimum wage) would be seen as immoral – indeed, I can see how that conclusion must flow from the moral propositions of the left. For myself, I conclude that either my opponents are well meaning, but misguided, or they are immoral and don’t care about freesom of contract (or, theoretically, want to increase unemployment).

                  As you can probably tell, I’m not left wing, but without ethics I would be completely unable to make sense of politics & policy. Ethics are the standard against which policy must be measured.

                • Andy

                  Don’t you think the problem is that most people of the Left are basically illiberal. What we can’t control we must persecute. This mind set leads them to claim and believe that anyone who disagrees with them is either wicked or immoral or both. The trouble is they are the enemies of Liberty and it is they who are wicked, evil and immoral. That’s why they so quickly become totalitarian and repressive because they have no concept of Liberty and freedom. Their road leads inexorably to the concentration camp and/or the extermination camp and the Gulag.

                • sfin

                  Absolutely!

                • rubyduck

                  “What we can’t control we must persecute.”

                  Nice one.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Nicely put Andy. “What we can’t control we must persecute”. That is the very essence of the Labour Party and it’s sanctimonious illiberal supporters all of whom loathe democracy and freedom of speech.

                • Chris

                  What they do is latch on to a moral good or a virtue, and then whip it to within an inch of its life. Good case in point is compassion. They/ you must be compsaionate and this compassion over rides all else. This in effect becomes immoral in lots of cases as it is used to justify oppresion. Itis not balanced with other virtues.
                  Immigration is a good example – we must be compasionate and allow mass migration. Despite the harm this causes to the indiginous population and the lack od concern of whom you allow to immigrate (be they criminals or not). The bible balances this out with the passage regarding not throwing pearls to swine, for they will trample them under foot.
                  The left have morals. Just without context or structure. And this is deeply dangerous.

                • HookesLaw

                  There is a massive cost to providing water and its associated sewage. It has to be paid for.

                  It might be considered immoral if that supply were in the hands of an inefficient public service which gave more priority to being subservient to militant trade unions.
                  Under either scheme it would be immoral if the supply of water were not regulated.

                  Capitalism does not mean an absence of regulation.

    • Chris Morriss

      It certainly isn’t healthy. While Margaret Thatcher was naïve, Gordon Brown incompetent and David Cameron irrelevant, Tony Blair was the only recent PM who I think was genuinely evil. (John Major of course, was invisible).

    • Liberty

      The rise of UKIP is a consequence of Blair[ism], the splitting of the Tory vote. So, now we are more likely to have a Labour dominated government with a rump LD in support. UKIP will get no seats but ensure that the Tories get no majority; after another bout of Labour/LD government plus PR there never will again. Is that what UKIP want [I suppose that under PR UKIP will do better]?

      • sfin

        It wouldn’t be if the party that Cameron leads was, in any way, a conservative party. I believe that a lot of ‘conservative party’ supporters think that it still is – and that is a mistake. It has morphed, under Cameron, and as a consequence of the establishment struggle to occupy a mythical ‘centre ground’ into a social democrat party envisioned by such establishment figures as Howe, Hesteltine and Clarke (tory) as well as Blair, Mandleson and, to a certain extent, Brown (labour). This type of politics believes in a governing professional elite, purely representative democracy and are committed to the European Union. Ironically, they are sometimes called the ‘liberal elite’ but there is nothing liberal about them.
        In other words – it no longer matters which of the LibLabCon axis gets in – you’ll get subtly different shades of Blair. Even John Rentoul – the arch-Blairite Independent journalist endorsed Cameron over Milliband last week.
        UKIP are the last party with a manifesto which can be described as popular conservatism and are fundamentally libertarian in outlook.
        Tactical voting is playing into the hands of the liberal PR spivs in Westminster. Vote on policy. Vote UKIP.

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