Thursday 8 June 2023

Is there a Future for British Conservatism?

London town. Wednesday 14th June. What are you doing? If you're about the capital and at a loose end, why don't you come and join me and Ruth Garland to talk about the Conservative Party as part of the Culture, Power and Politics research seminar series? Here are the deets:

The Conservative and Unionist Party of the United Kingdom has experienced a prolonged period of crisis and transformation, from pro-austerity technocrats under David Cameron to nationalist populists under Johnson. Current PM Rishi Sunak struggles to hold the different factions together amid the demographic and political fracturing of the UK. Can the Tory party reinvent itself once again, or is it in terminal decline? Can the Party still rely on media support or does the rise of digital media and a more volatile political-communicative landscape undermine their ability to set the media agenda?

When and where: Ridley Road Market Bar, 49 Ridley Road, London, E8 2NP 18:30-20:30. Free, no advance booking, all welcome.

Should be a good session and very much looking forward to it!

Image Credit


Blissex said...

«Is there a Future for British Conservatism?»

Just to point out that is a very different question from "Is there a Future for the British Conservative Party [and its currently dominant factions]?".

Consider 1997-2007: the present and future of Thatcher's Conservative Party was very bleak indeed, but the politics of thatcherism continued to be triumphant, and continue to be to this day.

As usual I am not a party-partisan, and I don't care about personalities and gotchas either (least of all the Punch-and-Judy spectacle of Westminster), but I care more about the class politics they obfuscate... Note: even if "personnel is politics".

JN said...


Sure, even if the Tory Party collapses completely there's always the Labour-right and the Lib Dems (perhaps in coalition!) to take over and change as little as possible.

Blissex said...

«there's always the Labour-right and the Lib Dems (perhaps in coalition!) to take over and change as little as possible.»

Indeed and my usual thesis is that is more or less "The Establishment" long term plan:

* Before 1918 with wealth-based suffrage electoral competition was only between tories and whigs.

* With 1918 the Labour Representation Committee spoiled that neat arrangement.

* Their problem is that the whigs are socially on the left, economically on the right (except for some fringes that are also economically on the left), while most voters are economically and socially on the right (tories), or socially on the right and economically on the left (social-democrats).

* So most whigs have infiltrated the Conservative party or the Labour party to gain votes from either group to achieve mostly whig policies.

* Unfortunately the tories inside the Conservatives and the social-democrats inside Labour are sometimes rebellious and try to take back control (see Corbyn and Johnson).

* So the obvious strategy of the whigs is to cut down to size both Conservatives and Labour (mostly by running vicious press campaigns against the remaining tory and social-democrat leaders).

* The dream they pursue is to ensure that most future governments will be Con-Lib or Lab-Lib coalition, so the "extremist" tories and social-democrats will be prevented from deviating from whigh globalist woke thatcherism by the threat of the exit of the Libs from the coalition.

Usual lucid point written by Tony Benn remarked in 1993-05-19, as to his last NEC meeting:

“I think, candidly, what is happening is that the party is being dismantled. The trade union link is to be broken; the economic policy statement we are considering today makes no reference to the trade unions. Clause 4 is being attacked;

PR is being advocated with a view to a pact with the Liberals of a kind that Peter Mandelson worked for in Newbury, where he in fact encouraged the Liberal vote. The policy work has been subcontracted. These so called modernisers are really Victorian Liberals, who believe in market forces, don't like the trade unions and are anti-socialist.”

JN said...


Regarding the Tories, I don't think they're being successfully moderated by anyone, given their 'hard' Brexit, Truss/Kwarteng's economics, Patel/Braverman's approach to immigration, etc... Plus the USA's drift ever further right and the British ruling class's tendency to imitate whatever their American counterparts are doing.

But regarding Labour, yeah, the party is very obviously ruled by a fifth column who are totally opposed to parliamentary social-democratic reformism and trade-unionism: political tendencies of which, Corbyn is equally obviously the perfect representative, the direct political heir of Keir Hardie and Jean Jaures; IE, moderate, but genuinely principled. But that isn't recognised as legitimate these days. Whether disingenuously or out of honest ignorance and stupidity, the mainstream of British politics and journalism apparently can't tell the difference between Corbyn and Lenin.

I suspect that as neoliberalism and climate change continues to absolutely fuck the majority of the population over the coming decades (even in 'the West'), we will see the re-emergence of a real 'hard left' that today's 'centrists' can scarcely imagine even in their nightmares. IE: A left that doesn't give a shit about being nice or reasonable, but will just fight to win, by any means necessary. And that isn't necessarily a good thing. Basically, people who will make me and you look like 'centrists' by comparison.