Sunday, May 10, 2015

The innate good sense and moderation of the vast majority of the English people

A comment on the recent outright victory of the Conservatives in the British general election below.  The Conservatives won despite the deck being stacked against them -- including a gerrymandered electoral system, the BBC and most of the entertainment industry

The outcome of the General Election was a Victory for England. Chesterton’s ‘secret people’ have spoken.

As I predicted on Tuesday, voters simply couldn’t countenance the terrifying prospect of an extreme Left-wing Labour government propped up by a gang of marauding Scottish Stalinists.

The result was an emphatic reminder of the innate good sense and moderation of the vast majority of the English people.

And with all due respect to our fellow citizens in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who also rejected the Life On Mars retro-socialism of Labour and the SNP, this was an English victory.

Call Me Dave is a lucky bunny. This result owed nothing to the lacklustre Tory campaign and everything to the small-c conservatism of the English electorate.

Tony Blair understood that, which is why he won three elections. Ed Miliband didn’t, which is the reason he suffered such a humiliating and thoroughly deserved drubbing.

Cameron is also fortunate still to have a fearless free Press, willing and able to alert their readers to the impending calamity. That’s why Labour and its self-serving celebrity supporters were so keen to bring Fleet Street under State control.

As I predicted on Tuesday, voters simply couldn’t countenance the terrifying prospect of an extreme Left-wing Labour government propped up by a gang of marauding Scottish Stalinists.

The Left already dominate the airwaves, especially the BBC. Without an unshackled, vibrant newspaper industry, voters would be subjected to an unchallenged, constant bombardment of anti-Tory propaganda.

Cameron’s victory hasn’t gone down at all well in New Broadcasting House. As the Conservative majority mounted yesterday morning, the BBC’s Huw Edwards adopted the demeanour of a man who had just learned that his dog has been run over.

We were told that this was the first election which would be fought and decided on social media. But governments aren’t chosen by the shrill self-publicists who shout at each other on Twitter.

They are chosen by well-informed voters putting a cross on a ballot paper with a stubby pencil in the privacy of a polling booth. The spectre of a Miliband-Sturgeon tyranny concentrated minds and ushered the undecided into the Conservative column.

That’s why I was pretty confident that despite the opinion polls, sanity would prevail and the Tories would be returned as the largest party.

Even so, no one anticipated that the victory would produce a working majority. As a result, Cameron no longer has to deal with the duplicitous Lib Dems [Liberals], who found themselves on the receiving end of a richly warranted wrecking ball.

They have nobody to blame but themselves. They could have been rewarded for their contribution to five years of fairly stable Coalition which delivered Britain’s remarkable economic recovery.

But instead they reverted to type, bickering and back-biting and boasting about how they prevented the evil Tories from ruining the country, slashing public spending and selling off the NHS.

There were so few of them left standing yesterday that when Cameron was making his way to the Palace, ITV was reduced to interviewing the disgraced former Lib Dem MP Mark Oaten, whose political career spectacularly hit the fan when he was discovered consorting with rent boys and indulging in ‘an act too disgusting to be described in a family newspaper’.

Nick Clegg [Liberal leader] seemed to think he was entitled to remain in government whoever won the election. Others, such as Vince Cable, were openly flirting with Labour.

Oh, what joy it was to watch Saint Vinny suffer his Portillo moment. His eviction by the people of Twickenham was right up there with the defenestration of the appalling Ed Balls.

Gordon Brown’s former bagman [Ed Balls) was bounced by the voters of Morley and Outwood, in Yorkshire. It means we will be spared his infuriating bombast and juvenile hand gestures, not to mention the nightmare of him being handed the keys to Number 11 Downing Street [the treasury].

If the result of the General Election had gone the other way, Balls would have become Chancellor of the Exchequer, spending and taxing like there was no tomorrow.

Labour thought that peddling the politics of resentment and division would be enough to get them over the line. Fortunately, that theory seems to have been tested to destruction.

Much now depends on how Cameron uses his slim majority and whether his backbenchers behave themselves.

The last thing we need is a re-run of the early Nineties, which was marred by running battles over Europe between John Major and some of his own MPs.

And while we’re on the subject of Europe, spare a thought for Nigel Farage, who deserved but failed to get elected in Thanet.

His 15-year crusade to secure a vote on Europe has been heroic, in the face of concerted and often violent intimidation.

The good news is that with no Lib Dems to stop them, the Tories can take a chainsaw to our unsustainable levels of public spending. And soon.  Fortunately, the SNP isn’t in any position to prevent the Government balancing the books.

For all her noisy posturing about building a ‘progressive’ alliance with Labour and the other fringe headbangers, a Conservative Government in Westminster suits Nicola Sturgeon down to the ground.

So what’s in all this for the English voters who have given Cameron his majority?

Not only will we get the EU vote the other parties would have denied us; the Human Rights Act will be scrapped; the low-paid will be taken out of tax altogether, millions of hard-pressed middle-income earners will be taken out of the 40p band and the top rate won’t rise to an enterprise-sapping 50 per cent.

We’ve also been spared the mansion tax and the bullying bureaucracy and attack on civil liberties and free speech which would have come with a recovery-wrecking Labour/SNP set-up.

For that we can thank the sensible voters of Middle England, however reluctant many of us may have felt when voting Tory.



The history and sociology behind the recent British Conservative victory

Tony Blair, of all people, saw it coming. As long ago as January, he told The Economist magazine that the 2015 election campaign would be one ‘in which a traditional Left-wing party competes with a traditional Right-wing party, with the traditional result’.

‘A Tory win?’ asked his interviewer.  ‘Yes,’ Mr Blair replied. ‘That is what happens.’

Whatever you might think of Mr Blair, he proved a much better soothsayer than the vast majority of pollsters and pundits.

For Thursday’s election was not merely a disappointment for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party. It was a disaster, a catastrophe, an utter debacle to rank with the very worst defeats of the Eighties.

The seeds of Labour’s defeat were, I think, sown at the very moment when, on September 25, 2010, Ed Miliband was announced as the party’s new leader. As I wrote at the time, the problem was not so much his goofy manner and geeky personality, but the fact he had so comprehensively refused to learn from those previous defeats.

Mr Miliband’s appeal to Labour activists, and especially to his patrons and paymasters in the giant trades unions, can be put very simply.

He stood for the leadership on the basis that he was not Tony Blair, that New Labour was dead and that he would rekindle the Left-wing spirit of the Seventies and Eighties.

Moments after Mr Miliband’s shock victory over his more moderate brother David, the former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, who led his party to crushing defeats in 1987 and 1992, was heard to exult: ‘We’ve got our party back.’

Well, Mr Kinnock certainly got his party back on Thursday night — an unashamedly Left-wing party, suspicious of business, hostile to the free market economy and dedicated to the principle of state intervention in business and the biggest utility companies.

And the reaction from the British people was exactly the same as it was in the Eighties: crushing rejection.

To an outside observer, it simply beggars belief that Mr Miliband failed to learn the lessons of history. Indeed, right from the moment he became Labour leader and proclaimed his fealty to the old-time Left-wing faith, Blairities were queueing up to warn that he was leading his party back to the dark ages of defeat.

‘Economic competence counts, leadership matters and you cannot win from the Left,’ Tony Blair’s old speechwriter Philip Collins remarked yesterday. ‘These things are rules in politics, carved in stone.’

Almost incredibly, however, Mr Miliband believed that he could rip up the rulebook. For reasons that seem to me utterly unfathomable, he believed — and still believes — that Britain is crying out for old-fashioned Left-wing policies, and that fate had chosen him to lead us into a socialist, redistributive future.

Yet even a cursory glance at the history books would have told him that no Labour government has won a majority on an overtly Left-wing platform for decades. Indeed, the last Labour leader to do so was Harold Wilson in October 1974 — and his majority was just three seats.

In fact, even that Wilson victory was a pretty poor model for Mr Miliband to follow. It is true that Labour at the time espoused some hair-raisingly socialist policies, from 83 per cent income tax to the nationalisation of land.

In reality, Wilson did not believe in his party’s Left-wing wheezes and many were quietly abandoned over the next five years. Indeed, by the time Labour faced the electorate in 1979, his admirably pragmatic successor, the more conservative Jim Callaghan, had started dragging the party back to the centre ground.

Yet such was public exhaustion with the endless strikes, inflation and economic chaos that the British people turned instead to Margaret Thatcher’s gospel of individual aspiration, hard work and self-improvement.

It is a mystery to me why, for so long, so many Labour politicians stubbornly refused to learn appropriate lessons. Instead, in Opposition after 1979, the party lurched crazily to the Left.

By 1983, when Ed Miliband was a politics-obsessed teenager, the Labour Party had lost its mind. Led by the veteran Left-wing activist Michael Foot — a highly intelligent, principled and decent man, but a preposterous candidate to be prime minister — it had become a national laughing stock.

Mocked by one of Foot’s own frontbenchers as ‘the longest suicide note in history’, the Labour manifesto promised to scrap nuclear weapons, pull out of the European Union, re-nationalise British Telecom and British Aerospace, reverse council house sales and even create hundreds of Labour peers — ironically enough, to vote through the abolition of the House of Lords.

The result was a total disaster. Across England in particular, voters recoiled from the prospect of full-blown state Socialism. Even with unemployment running at more than three million, Mrs Thatcher coasted to re-election while Labour slumped to a pitiful 209 seats — only 23 fewer than Mr Miliband’s dismal total on Thursday.

Then as now, ordinary people were not interested in Miliband-style classroom tirades about inequality and injustice. They just wanted a decent job, a steady wage and reliable public services.

Inside the Labour Party, a few bright young MPs, elected despite the Tory landslide, started to draw the obvious conclusions. Two young men in particular, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, began to see that what ordinary voters wanted was not socialist rhetoric and state ownership, but a government that understood their everyday anxieties and shared their aspirations.

It took an awfully long time, though, for the rest of the Labour Party to catch up. When Foot stepped down, his replacement, Neil Kinnock, was another Left-winger, an outspoken Welsh firebrand who never managed to appeal to Middle England.

Even so, Mr Kinnock was, in my view, a far more effective Labour leader than Ed Miliband. Starting from a very low base, he managed to improve Labour’s tally to 229 seats in 1987, then dragged them to 271 in 1992, a far better showing than Mr Miliband managed this week.

And though he made no secret of his socialist principles, Mr Kinnock nevertheless recognised that his party had to change. Not only did he ditch some of his more extravagant commitments, such as the abolition of nuclear weapons, but he refused to back Arthur Scargill’s miners’ strike in 1984-85, to the horror of some of his union allies.

Indeed, it is telling that some of Mr Kinnock’s most notable rhetorical triumphs came when he was lecturing his own party on the need to face the modern world — such as when, in 1985, he issued a blazing denunciation of the Militant Tendency councillors whose crazy Marxist policies had reduced the proud city of Liverpool to the level of a banana republic.

It is true, of course, that Mr Kinnock never evolved enough to win over many middle-class voters, and history records that he lost two elections in a row. Even so, he had at least begun to coax his party away from Left-wing lunacies and back towards the centre ground.

That task was, of course, completed by Tony Blair, who won over business, seduced the City and loudly proclaimed his enthusiasm for the free market economy — and was promptly rewarded with three victories in a row from 1997 to 2005.

What Mr Blair recognised is that people are simply not interested in academic lectures about moral and political philosophy. They are naturally offended when high-minded intellectuals descend from Planet Hampstead to harangue them about how empty and miserable their lives are.

Far from being obsessed with inequality, most people respect hard work and often admire those who have done well for themselves. And far from being attracted by demagogic weirdos such as Mr Miliband’s court jester Russell Brand, most people regard them with total contempt.

Mr Miliband, encouraged by his paymasters in the trades unions, never grasped this basic lesson.

Instead, he committed himself to a platform made up in equal parts of old-fashioned state intervention, naked populist bribery and seminar room jargon, for which he has rightly paid the ultimate political price.

Indeed, I was struck that even in his resignation speech, the Labour leader fell back on the old empty waffle about the inevitability of ‘progress and social justice’ and ‘the issue of our unequal country’.

This is the sort of stuff Labour leaders came out with in the Eighties. It is the sort of stuff their Left-wing activists love to hear — and, of course, the sort of stuff the British electorate contemptuously rejected on Thursday.

The fact that Mr Miliband does not appear to have understood why he lost so heavily is enormously telling.

He remains today what he has always been — the dutiful son of a Marxist intellectual, hostile to the market, indifferent to wealth creation and utterly out of touch with the basic instincts of most British people.

If Labour are serious about challenging in 2020, they will need to find a very different kind of leader, who understands the anxieties and aspirations of ordinary voters. But if they turn to yet another union-backed intellectual preaching the hackneyed gospel of student union socialism, then the nightmares of 1983 and 2015 will simply be repeated.

You might think it shouldn’t be so difficult to learn the lessons of history. But as Ed Miliband has proved, when it comes to politics, even supposedly clever people can be astonishingly stupid.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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