BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Today the counter-conservatism arguments of British Socialists tend to go something along these lines, put especially eloquently by Phil (a sociologist who blogs for the Far Left) …
“Toryism is a dishonest project. Socialism can come out and openly declare itself to be the movement of the immense majority in the interests of the immense majority. Conservatism has no such luxury. To declare yourself a party explicitly concerned with protecting minority power and its right to the unearned wealth made by others is suicidal politics. Instead, we’re treated to a politics that talks highly and haughtily of tradition, a politics of individuality and freedom – though the Tories block the substantive realisation of either. Toryism is suspicious of anything smacking of collectivism, arguing conservative politics are the natural expression of the human condition, and zealously guards property rights as the well spring of liberty. Each of these ideas make for nice fairy tales, but only the deluded believe them and the cynical affect their profundity. They are shrouds wrapping around class rule, hiding its ugly aspect but increasingly unable to do so. The politics don’t work because what the Tories claim and what millions of people, particularly the young, experience are fundamentally at odds. If that wasn’t bad enough, the organs of the press the Tories have relied on for so much throughout the 20th century are collapsing, and voters are making their own way. They’re connecting their own dots. When politics is failing, and their media is failing, so the dishonest core of Toryism burns more visibly. The lies cease taking on fancy shapes in conservative political theory and, that most moronic of oxymorons, conservative values. Common sense is no longer a useful accelerant – all that is left is outright falsehood. Lies, lies and damned lies, the dishonesty of the Tory project come out into the open, like a black sun emerging from a cloud, and everywhere it throws shade and chases away clarity. Some welcome the darkness and worship it, but when millions are on the move they are finding their way despite the murk. The Tories know this too. The decibels struck by their lies grows shrill in proportion to their mounting terror, and a dawning realisation there may be no way out.”
Forget “Toryism” for a minute and let’s cut out all the subjective bias from socialist Phil’s words. Let’s instead deal with plain old conservatism.
There are some perceived truths here, which conservatives – Tory or not – need to embrace before red-pilling their political opponents with conservative sense and pragmatism…
First, “to declare yourself a party explicitly concerned with protecting minority power and its right to the unearned wealth made by others is suicidal politics”.
Second, “and zealously guards property rights as the well spring of liberty ….they are shrouds wrapping around class rule …. what millions of people, particularly the young, experience are fundamentally at odds.”
Third, “the organs of the press the Tories have relied on for so much throughout the 20th century are collapsing, and voters are making their own way.”
In short, these three perceived truths are what the populist Left are building their policies and arguments around. To those who have nothing material to conserve, these messages are vote winners. Negative messages that inspire voters to desperately seek alternatives… right now, in the UK, the only viable alternative as an organised political entity happens to be Corbyn’s Labour.
What are the solutions?
To the first point, explanations that income disparity/inequality can be bridged by increasing levels of philanthrocapitalism, that social spending is in many areas worthwhile, and that poverty historically decreases not under socialist alternatives but under free market capitalist conditions (encouraged by governments through lack of market-meddling).
To the second point, home ownership. Modern pre-fabs (which can be quite beautiful) accessible to the young and long-term homeloans allowing the impoverished youth to own their own homes – to get on the housing ladder.
To the third point, a rise of conservative publications and delivery mechanisms not seen as old media, who have the chutzpah to red pill those tempted by destructive socialist heroine.
Conservatives have an opportunity (and the pockets and imaginations) to Saatchi-refine their messages into simple red pills. So far, they have failed to achieve that goal; perhaps failing to embrace the correct delivery mechanisms or daring to enter on the gutter level of social media where pill-delivering opponents wallow (the Tory meme deliverer Activate hilariously has a code of ethics which Momentum trolls must adore). Perhaps because conservatism is pragmatic – it works. It’s a less emotional, more complex message to deliver than socialism but it’s the conservatives who have humour and history (socialism’s failures) on their side.
Conservatives are trying. They must try harder before 2022 and the next General Election.
In the UK Corbyn’s Labour will triumph – or the Tories or populism will beat socialism back into its less than popular box. If it’s populism, we are yet to see the party in a position to achieve that task, or the Labour centrist revival to combat the increasing dominance of the corrupt Labour Far Left.
The Conservative Party’s problem – a problem shared by the mainstream press – is that whenever it exposes Labour for the barrel-scraping entity that it currently is, illumination is interpreted merely as political attack. Tories also tend to fall back on conservative intellectuals of the Scruton variety – who are brilliant – but too tweed and not sufficiently banzai for the 2020’s.
Conservatism could either clean up over the next years or suffer the indignity of the year zero generation experiencing the failure of socialism for itself under a Corbyn Government, which will cost us all dear but ensure a conservative revival not seen since the 1980’s on these islands in its wake. The only other disruptor out there is Islamism – how that clash develops in the UK could make overnight conservatives out of even the die-hard-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend leftists who seem nowadays not to care about gays being thrown off buildings or their sister comrades being enrobed from head to toe in oppressive darkness.