BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
There are people who are always wrong – Carole Cadwalladr, Owen Jones, Peter Jukes, Polly Toynbee, Marina Hyde – and they serve a useful purpose in life in that you can set truth by their polar opposite. The dangerous people are the ones who are right only some of the time – the “almost right” – who lull you into trusting them but then make spectacular misjudgements at critical junctures.
Take Mr Tony Blair – someone who talks quite a bit of sense on certain matters (on Corbyn, on Clause IV, on the myopes of Extinction Rebellion) but who gets things awfully wrong on other issues like the countryside, on the definition of conservatism and on Iraq. Friends and relatives of British soldiers who died in Iraq would concur that there is danger in being “almost right” about the existence of weapons of mass destruction, not that Blair ever seems to have cared.
And so, characteristically, Blair’s recent article in the New Statesman about Labour’s ongoing slow motion suicide was “almost right”. After all, how can one disagree with Blair’s words on any of the following?
The thinking of the new left radicals across the West – which is really the rediscovery of 1960s Marxist-inspired left policy by a new generation – is largely redundant to answering today’s challenges.
Political parties have no divine right to exist, and progressive parties of the centre and centre left are facing marginalisation, even extinction, across the Western world.
The progressives’ problem is that, in an era where people want change in a changing world, and a fairer, better and more prosperous future, the radical progressives aren’t sensible and the sensible aren’t radical.
“Defund the police” may be the left’s most damaging political slogan since “the dictatorship of the proletariat”.
We are living through the most far-reaching upheaval since the 19th-century Industrial Revolution: a technology revolution of the internet, AI, quantum computing, extraordinary advances in genomics, bioscience, clean energy, nutrition, gaming, financial payments, satellite imagery – everything, every sphere of work, leisure and life is subject to its transformative power.
Give that man a cigar! What truth he spouts, I hear you say. But then what sane person can agree with any of the following of Blair’s utterances in the very same article?
The technology revolution … will require innovation, not the status quo; and the mentality of change-makers, not “small c” conservatives
The technology revolution is a challenge tailor-made for the progressive cause. It requires active government; a commitment to social justice and equality
Everything about the world we live in, and still more the one we are about to live in, cries out for a progressive response. In the future, those equipped for the tech revolution can succeed; those ill-equipped will almost certainly fail. This is the modern progressive cause. The 21st century technology revolution is the crux: the real-world change for good or ill.
Sadly, Blair, like Starmer, still doesn’t get it. They still think they are in the race and that the British electorate still slumbers. They do not understand that progressives are a living, walking joke – without them there would be no memes, no daily hilarity on social media, nor would we have a working use for the word hypocrisy. Despite sanguinary Venezuela and now their beloved Sweden, it is a fact that modern day “progressives” still pay open homage to socialism – they still lean left to change for change’s sake. Brits have caught onto them.
Progressives are now trapped and fatally bleeding in the postmodern car wreck of identity politics, their loudest voices are indistinguishable from the bitterest and nastiest of trolls, while Brits who used to vote for them now feel embarrassed, cheered by a sense of communal solidarity for finally seeing through the shallowness of their emotional blackmail and bullshit; streetwise now to the uselessness of idée fixe leftist ideology that abhors common sense and repels opportunities for trade-off. You can call someone ‘racist’ or ‘fascist’ without evidence maybe once but repeat the accusation and you’ve lost all chance of authority forever. No ‘technological revolution’ will save them.
Thanks to Brexit and the ongoing empowerment of the masses through social media, Democracy – certainly British Democracy – has changed for good. Spin is no longer invisible. Veneer so easily splinters. Electoral fraud is on the way out. Even pervs get exposed. Nowadays the cheap “progressive” actors in British politics – the Lammies, Creasys, Rayners and Watsons – live in hope of getting a DJ job on LBC or, at best, dream of following the cheapest of the lot, Campbell, onto breakfast TV.
As with his Prime Ministership, Blair had started his article off so promisingly…
Parties can very quickly become small fringe parties under the hammer blows of poor leadership and social and economic change. Look at the Liberal Party of Asquith and Lloyd George, reduced from 397 to 43 seats in just 18 years in the early 20th century.
Yet what is Blair’s remedy for Labour?
The construction of a new progressive movement should start with an open dialogue between like-minded Labour and Lib Dem members and the non-aligned.
Collective hair pull.
The reality is that Labour and the Lib Dems are like the Ceausescu’s exchanging words while being shot up against the wall. What is the point of members of either party “opening a dialogue”? No one is going to give them a reprieve – not after what they have done. In the eyes of the public, they are the Remoaners and the Britain haters – more bothered by the human rights of Palestinian terrorists; too preoccupied with their own pansexuality and taking a knee to give a monkeys about hard-working Brits or their families. At least small c conservatives – to pinch a Scrutonism – love something actual and want to retain it. Even Boris’ watered-down version of ‘conservative’ knows that national pride, houses and jobs matter – not whether buildings are racist or whether strapping great trannies merit a place on the netball team.
The small c conservatives that Blair writes off are the free-willed proactive defenders of both conservable good and the liberty to positive reform and progress. They are the rejecters of the very evil Blair embodies, of change for change’s sake and other imprudent idealistic alterations. Hardly the carpet-slipper wearing, anti tech buffoons Blair dismisses them as. Small c conservatives have so enjoyed chewing on Marxists for breakfast of late. They relish the arrival of AI and the technological revolution and shall enjoy chomping on universal basic income commies for lunch, alongside yet more champagne.
No, the future of opposition to the Tories belongs to a party that buries socialism publicly in a coffin and embraces technology and high-tech capitalism. One that ditches The Red Flag in the dustbin of history. In time another party shall rise in Post Brexit Britain, imbued with the pragmatism and common sense that – whether Blair likes it or not – stems from small c conservatism itself. A party which loves Britain and does not try to divide it, either from the union or racially. A party that disassociates from the emotional bulimia of Labour and the Lib Dems and incorporates the technological revolution in town and countryside while submitting to change for pragmatic progress – not for its own sake, or because of paralysing wokedom.
The irony of Tony Blair – the man who aped Thatcher writing in the New Statesman to complain about his party now being overrun by apes – is not lost on Brits who have got to see through him and his ilk. Blair’s time is gone. There is no chance of a revival. That line from Catullus’ sonnet five springs to mind:
“Let us live and love, nor give a damn what sour old men say. The sun that sets may rise again, but when our light has sunk into the earth it is gone forever.”
Adieu, Mr Blair. Best stick to your medium-term notes and loop trades. Your latest incarnation with a mullet is giving even the late Peter Stringfellow a bad name yet Peter never featured in Epstein’s black book.
Dominic Wightman is the Editor of Country Squire Magazine.