THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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The dangers of virtue signalling on the internet

Housing the politically homeless in our brave new political world

Fascinating though world politics is at present as the insurrection against PC sweeps the free-ish world, Britain is for once the most interesting place. Once upon a time in our country every little boy and girl who was born into the world alive was either a little (classical) Liberal or else a little Conservative. Then came Mankind's greatest catastrophe, Karl Marx. The Labour Party was sired as his bastard child on religious non-conformism. The mighty Liberals – in many ways the natural party of government in a trading nation that despised busybodies – degenerated into the apology for itself now comprehensively mis-named the Liberal Democrats.

I am a socially and economically liberal free market man who believes in minimum government and maximum individual freedom. I aspire (subject to removing the perverse incentives of corporate and individual welfarism) to global free movement of both goods and people so that every economic object and player can find its, his or her highest and best use. I believe that's the best hope not just for Britain, but for the entire human race if we aspire (as we should) to raise us all from material, cultural and spiritual poverty. 

The post-Brexit, post-Trump political battle lines seem to have been drawn up between "globalism" (a dysphemism for "free trade") and protectionism (the second most stupid idea in history, but still dangerously powerful among the economically illiterate). So it looks like we are heading back toward the old Conservative/TruLib™ or Tory/Whig divide. The realignment will take some time to work its way through though. Firstly, for example, the Labour Party (which still commands some tribal loyalty) needs to finish committing suicide. The new players, UKIP and the Greens, need to submit to the discipline of the electoral market and form consistent political and economic stances.

In many ways I am as politically homeless in this new alignment as I was in the old. UKIP is a strong candidate to replace the Labour Party, but I don't fit in its mercantilist ranks. The only thing I have in common with the Trumps, Farages and LePens of this world is that I believe when someone does move to another culture they should assimilate. I see NO obligation on a host country to modify any legal, ethical, religious, social or political norms to make new arrivals feel at home. 

I don't feel comfortable in the Conservative Party either. It's more inclined towards free markets than the other contenders but it's socially illiberal and inclined to build a scarily powerful state. Yes, it's a successful fighting force with a lot of internal cohesion and has been much strengthened as an electoral machine now that Brexit has removed the only threat to its unity. There is no doubt it will be one of the potential parties of government in the new order and in the likes of Dan Hannan it has some sound thinkers but I hunger for a home that is more authentically TruLib™.

The only element of my beliefs the Labour Party sometimes seems to  favour is free movement of, if not goods, then people. However that's certainly not from rational conviction. Labour fears/hates its traditional voters, now too sophisticated for its outdated Marxist schtick, and wants to ship in naifs by the million to replace them. Welfare recipients, rent-seeking intellectual idlers and other government dependents are its main voter base so it also wants to farm those unproductives. It therefore represents a perfect storm of cultural and economic impoverishment. Even if – as now seems unlikely – it survives, Labour is clearly not my party. 

I can't even muster the strength to explain why the Greens are not for me. Life is too short. Let's just say loincloths and camp fires are not my style. 

Which leaves the LibDems. Historically they have the right credentials. There are still some Gladstonians there, though they are not exactly in the driving seat. Once they stop grieving about Brexit and move from their present denial through anger to acceptance they have a real opportunity to be the party of free trade and an open, tolerant society. I see no signs at present that they even begin to aspire to the mantle of alternative government, but who knows? It lies in the street where Labour discarded it. Someone must surely pick it up?

Comments

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Tom

I think / hope that you underestimate the sea change in western politics that is currently in progress. The Left cried wolf (or rather cried racist, sexist, transphobic etc) too often and the people's patience snapped. The old media suicided over Brexit and Trump. Their credibility is shot and it's anyway the time of a new generation that does not get its news from the BBC and the dead tree press. Steve Bannon says the old media is Trump's opposition and he's partly right. The real enemy within is academia. There is no reason for taxpayers to fund the parasitical lives of cultural Marxist professors undermining the Enlightenment and the Rule of Law. Trump hinted, in the wake of the Berkeley riots, at defunding them. I was astonished to learn that the University of California is 50% funded by the federal government. I believed American universities were more independent institutions. Our own British universities are emphatically not. They are almost totally taxpayer funded serving students who are in turn taxpayer funded. We the people of this United Kingdom are funding freedom's enemies to brainwash our children into cultural self-loathing and economic suicide. That has to stop and I hope President Trump will lead the way If people want to study "Social Sciences" or other non subjects then let them pay for it themselves. All those professors who so despise money will no doubt teach for free.

markc

"believing that climate change is settled science."

Bah. "Believing that climate change is NOT settled science", of course.

The cup of tea worked.

markc

The LibDems........ oh dear.

I think the LibDem voters have become irreversibly ossified in their view of the world. A Party struggling for votes in the last 60 years changed its stance to attract a wider member base. Everything modern or global is bad. Just bad. Just because. They're still the beardy, sandal-wearing, hard-of-thinking folk from the 1970s, many of whom care desperately but want everything to be done without having to deal with the consequences of their solutions.

Perhaps there are some Gladstonians in there, but the time when they might steer the party in a Liberal direction are long gone. True Liberal thinking is fast becoming (has become?) as socially unacceptable as low taxes, fewer laws, criticising the NHS and believing that climate change is settled science.

It's in a sense the great triumph of the Left. They created a client State of their voters and members - by forginging the "cradle to grave State", importing voters from all over, employing millions on generous salaries and ludicrous benefits, and NewSpeaking "Capitalism" and "wealth" into dirty words, they made a vote for any other Party impossible to comprehend for a substantial group of the population. Inevitably, the other Parties moved increasingly to compete with the Left.

Then just as it all hits the fan for Labour - just as the shroud drops to the floor - we suddenly find that the spirit of the fiend has already gone and infected all those around it, giving us a Conservative Party which retains some traditional elements but as you say, also now wants to micromanage everyone and everything under the yoke of GCHQ and the Police. A Conservative Party which is more Socialist is some ways than preceding Labour administrations. A LibDem party which just *wants* without being able to articulate what it wants. The Greens....... the SNP....... the list goes on.

Sorry to rant on this cold and snowy morning but my frustration and sometimes, I regret, anger, are keeping me warm. A cup of tea is needed!

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