Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The UK's abandoned conservative voters

The Guardian is a left-wing British newspaper. One of its columnists, John Harris, feels sorry for rank-and-file British conservatives. Why? Because they don't have anyone to represent them.

In the recent Eastleigh byelection, a lot of conservatives could no longer stomach voting for the so-called Conservative Party, led by the decidedly non-conservative David Cameron, and opted instead to vote for the UKIP. The rise in the UKIP vote has led some commentators to talk about the disenchantment of many voters with the political elite of all the mainstream parties.

Which prompted the left-winger John Harris to write:
... this is essentially a story about conservatism, with a small and a large "c", and the fact that in England, no mainstream party truly understands or gives convincing voice to it.

...Whether they warrant a big or a small "c", most conservatives want to be led by one of their own – and in any decently functioning democracy, that is surely the least they deserve.


  1. Since when has The Guardian ever had anything good to say about conservatism? This is a new one...

    Interesting observation in the article about the SNP. It has a 58-year-old leader who embodies "cultural continuity" rather than "gimmicky change", but the SNP is in no way ethno-nationalist or right-wing, so they're really just fakes on that front.

  2. I fail to see how the UKIP is a conservative party. It's a libertarian party - in our present situation that's infinitely preferable to government tyranny, but it's not something I can give full support to. UKIP may be the best option, but true conservatives are still abandoned by the political system.

  3. It has been known for a looooong time that in the USA, the Republicans do not really represent conservatives (especially at the Presidential level). The Republican "leadership" does not understand or give a convincing voice to conservatism. The rise of the Tea Party indicates that most conservatives want to be led by one of their own here, too.

    Angelo Codevilla put it this way in a piece that is worth reading in its entirety:

    "For generations, the Republican Party had presented itself as the political vehicle for Americans whose opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes makes them a “country class.” Yet modern Republican leaders, with the exception of the Reagan Administration, have been partners in the expansion of government, indeed in the growth of a government-based “ruling class.” They have relished that role despite their voters. Thus these leaders gradually solidified their choice to no longer represent what had been their constituency, but to openly adopt the identity of junior partners in that ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves."

  4. I think it has started to dawn that to affect real "change", excuse the loaded word however it is what it is, will inevitably require violence. Honestly the State shall hold none barred to goal of unlimited power. If allowed to be sole wielder of violence any cause it does not support shall only recieve martyrs.

  5. Anon,

    I'm not so sure. And even if the system collapsed into violence I don't think we can assume that the result would automatically be an improvement for traditionalists.

    Personally I think there are two key things that we need to achieve to get things happening. We need to fix the flaws in the opposition to liberalism in two ways:

    a) Be much clearer about avoiding *both* the left and the right wing versions of liberalism.

    b) Reject the idea that traditionalism will re-emerge organically in the absence of political ideologies.

    The problem with (b) is that it discourages traditionalists from engaging in the necessary, hard-slogging tasks of building up institutional and cultural influence. People who believe in (b) are more likely to perceive themselves as standing above the clash of political ideas, and instead embodying within themselves as individuals a culturally superior position.

    It's true that traditionalism cannot be an ideology in the sense of beginning with a single intellectual proposition and seeking to transform society according to the logic of this proposition.

    But traditionalism can certainly be a principled and clearly articulated philosophy with clear and consistent aims.

    And traditionalists can certainly accept that in any society there are likely to be challenges from a variety of sources that have to be met; in other words, even if we lived in an existing traditionalist society, we would still have to be vigilant in defending culture and institutions and ideas.

  6. UKIP is not conservative. The party is avowedly anti-European, but rather than fighting for the UK, it is whole-heartedly trans-atlanticist. Given the option, UKIP would dissolve the UK and make it a part of the USA - complete with the rule of Marxist kommissar, Barry Soetoro. Don't trust UKIP! As for the Guardian, the paper is written by and for Marxist internationalists. God help the UK!

  7. Backing UKIP is a good tactic to destabilise the two-party-preferred system, which is a step in the right direction. But it is indeed preferable for disturb that equilibrium with a truly conservative party, not a libertarian one, which will only contribute to the radical individualist model of society. The problem is that most genuine conservatives are too busy living conservatism rather than doing the politicking that is required to gain office. That last point is the biggest obstacle to any conservative renaissance.

    PS: government grew in the US under Reagan. It most certainly did not get smaller.