Why the Tories Aren't Really Conservatives

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  • [ – ] JonTheBemused reply That was a very interesting and informative video. There were some over-simplified points made, but that is not surprising given the medium and the length of your video. I would just like to make observations on a few points. These are not criticism, just comments, if you will. First, you did a great analysis of the roots of the Tory tradition. It might have been worth mentioning, if only briefly, that the Tory party (party in the informal sense) formed as the pro-Monarchy party in the 1670s. And that it was the Liberal Party, particularly under Gladstone, who were the party of free trade and low taxation, during the 19th century. While I agree with much of what you said about the roots of One Nation Conservatism, there was one major influence that you missed. The period from 1930 to 1945 is probably the most significant period in the modern political history of this country. The post-war consensus was a reaction to what happened during that time. Such as the hunger marches. ...more They echoed the slogan "A Land Fit For Heroes" after WW1, but which had not been delivered. This time it was to be done properly, and underpinned the development of the Welfare State. The welfare state was a direct response to the failure of the economic system before WW2 (I won't give it a name). Failures that had been present throughout the industrial period in Britain. And while you are correct that the capitalist system enables people to rise out of poverty, it is only for some people. But it makes the condition of those left behind worse. So we have this, so far unsolvable dilemma, that free-market capitalism simultaneously produces both the best and the worst outcomes. Capitalism may produce greater overall wealth, but it also creates great inequalities. These are a danger to the social fabric, as has been observed by the likes of Jordan B Peterson. So I would urge caution in the desire to rid ourselves of the apparatus of the state. For that apparatus didn't emerge from nowhere, or for no reason. We have had unregulated markets before: when the Industrial Revolution first occurred. And it was the manufacturers themselves who were instrumental in calls for its regulation by government (see the Factory Act 1833). So, you should realise by now that I am a leftie. But, I am actually in favour of conservative policies right now, in order to redress the balance. For balance is the key. Society is not hegemonic. It is diverse, with different elements whose interests can be in conflict with each other. No one chooses where they start in this division. Nor are the divisions simple and discrete. But social mobility for the few must not be done at the expense of those for whom it is not possible. Because the fundamental reality is that, even if anyone can succeed, not everyone can. And for those born in a post-industrial town in the North of England (for example), it is not practical for all of them to relocate to the prosperous regions in search of work (the fundamental flaw in Norman Tebbit's dictum). Next, I would like to quickly say that, as someone who had reached maturity at the start of the Thatcher era, in many respects she talked a much better game than she played. For example, she spent over a decade pushing low inflation as a priority, yet never got it under control, and implemented, for ideological reasons, policies which had a severely adverse effect on it. Also, although she privatised many industries, this was often done in a way which exacerbated the wealth inequalities within the country, between those who could afford to benefit, and those who could not. Especially as many who could not were simultaneously suffering from the elimination of the traditional industries their communities were built and depended on. This was definitely a result of putting too many eggs in one basket, but that was hardly the fault of people living and working there. And while Thatcher was hard on the working class, and on benefit fraud, she never addressed the more significant problem of white collar crime and tax evasion. This was a bias that was well known, and undermined her attempts at justifying her stance. Ultimately, Thatcher bears much responsibility for the current over-reliance of the UK on the financial sector. And while there is no disputing the problems from the militant activists in the workforce who caused so much industrial conflict, thus damaging our ability to generate wealth, Thatcher dealt with that. But our subsequent history, has shown foreign companies coming in and being very successful in the same sectors, such as the automotive industry. These show that, much as the problem lay with an overly militant workforce, it lay equally within incompetent management. This was known at the time, but never addressed. You cannot hope to solve a problem successfully if you don't diagnose it accurately. And we are left with the legacy of that. A management culture which, in general, is very poor compared to some of our major competitors. Nor did Thatcher make significant inroads in her proclaimed intent of rolling back the state. One of the fundamental problems is that, though many people say they are against the scope of the state, no one is against it altogether (for good reason). It is just the sectors of the state that differ between different political outlooks. Welfare, and much unwarranted meddling in personal issues, may be the territory of the left. But the military is the territory of the right. (In the UK at least.) Finally, a little note about today. I was very unhappy at the options available at the General Election. I would even have voted Conservative for the first time in my life, if that awful manifesto had not been produced. In the end, I ended up voting UKIP, just as a protest vote. I stopped voting Labour years ago. But the reason I found the Conservative manifesto so poor was nothing to do with economic concerns, the traditional division between left and right. It was because it showed so clearly the authoritarian, puritanical tendencies in the British "right". Tendencies that I have seen all my life, and which seem to lie at the heart of the Conservative Party. I suspect that you are correct to trace these tendencies back to the aristocratic traditions at the beginning of the Tory Party. But I have never liked them, and am increasingly coming to fear them. Whatever economic policies are adopted are irrelevant to me in comparison to these factors. IMO, what we need is for the enshrinement of Freedom of Speech in law (our version of the First Amendment), repeal of all hate speech legislation, the removal of all associated policies, implementation of the rule of law across all of the UK (suppressing Shar'ia), and the end of police no-go zones. I also want all laws that are discriminatory (such as any gendered language) to be changed, to address the actions of individuals, not demographics. And what we need is smaller government. Much smaller government. Dealing only with activities which require centralised control (such as the military and protecting our borders) or public oversight. I am not against private provision of public services, but I recognise the conflict that can arise between private and common interests in many spheres. And many key industries, those we may refer to as utilities, are often prone to monopolies or oligopolies. And remote communities will never be economically viable to supply, so require intervention in key areas (such as power and water supply). What people often don't know, or forget, is that in the past some nationalised industries were so bad, not because they were in public ownership. For public ownership does not preclude being run as a company. The problem was they were forbidden from operating like a company. From raising money in the market and using it to invest and improve their services (British Rail was a classic case of this). That is, the failure was build into the organisation, by government. Sorry for the extreme length of this comment, but it is very difficult to meaningfully address many of these issues without addressing them fully. Or at the very least, touching on the breadth of the topic.
    • [ – ] Severin_K parent reply That was quite a mouthful. You probably also guess that I'm basically a right-winger, and a fairly young one at that. I used to be a left-liberal, but I found it increasingly difficult to call myself "left-wing" in public because of the shitshow that the left started to become when I was a teenager (during the Brown/Cameron years). As I said in this video I intend make a "what conservatism means to me" video in due course, outlying what exactly my own conservative philosophy looks like. As for my voting intentions, I didn't vote 2015 because I such a horrendous cynic when it came to UK politics, but I voted UKIP in the last election, because I had the same problems with the Tory manifesto as you. I wanted to vote Tory for pragmatic reasons (i.e. ensuring Brexit and keeping Jeremy Corbyn out of power), but in then I couldn't vote Tory not just because of the manifesto, but because I learned about the things I had described in the latter half of my video. Regarding your commentary, the...morere was a lot I didn't know about the Tory party, but I kind of suspected that capitalism and low taxes used to be the liberal position. Then again, it was indeed my attempt at keeping the video from being too long, which would have made uploading it much more of a cumbersome exercise. I'm trying to keep my videos somewhere within the range of 15 minutes, as opposed to some of my earlier videos which have exceeded that (my response to Peter Coffin alone was 25 minutes long). Regarding Thatcher (and I intend to produce a video specifically about her), I think she's the last good PM we've ever had (great if you're right-wing enough to stretch it), mainly because she was willing to fight even her own party for principles. She had the kind of courage that is criminally absent in modern politicians. For better or worse her policies had the effect of improving the British economy and bettering the quality of life overall. That said, her government had its faults just as any other did.
      • [ – ] JonTheBemused parent reply Well, what I try to do is just clarify in order to address the natural instinct to simplify. That was why I said I was commenting not criticising. And that was why I wanted to point out that Thatcher had failures and flaws as well as successes and virtues. It is easy for people to be over-cannonised, just as it is to over-condemn them. People are messy. I don't deny Thatcher had good intentions, and I realise that she did what had to be done. It was really, really bad before she became PM. But as someone who came from a city on the wrong end of her policies, there was much to hate. For I saw the consequences first hand, in real time. So I am very conflicted on her legacy. And, as can happen, the consequences of her flaws can be seen to have played a significant role in producing the changes which lead, through Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron, to Red Theresa today. Not so much what Thatcher stood for, but what resulted from the backlash. And so we need to heed the lessons bo...moreth of the successes and failures of history. For following one without the other does no one any favours. And thus, I seek to be that annoying voice in the ear, urging caution. I just hope I don't become too annoying. ;-)
        • [ – ] texasGSDgirl parent reply American here - very helpful video (I needed the over simplification lol). I just wanted to comment that I have very fond memories of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher working together. I do understand that it wasn't perfect. On our side, Reagan cut taxes, which was such a boon to the average family, but the Democratic congress overspent with the result that Reagan is blamed for increasing our national deficit (unfairly in my opinion).
          • [ – ] Severin_K parent reply It seems to be a similar situation here in Britain, with many on the left and in the mainstream media blaming the failures of successive governments on Margaret Thatcher.
            • [ – ] JonTheBemused parent reply Just a quick note on the British situation. The problem was one of successive over-corrections. By the time Labour came to power in 1997, there had been 18 years of Conservative government. Especially towards the end, there had been years of complaint about under investment in public services: the NHS, schools, and so on. When Gordon Brown became Chancellor in 1997, he promised to keep to the spending plans already set by the previous Conservative government. And he successfully managed inflation and helped economic growth, by following the economic policy of the Major government. But, Labour couldn't help themselves. And once they started spending, they just kept at it. This was exacerbated by the crash of 2008, where Labour went straight for Keynesian solutions. Thus, there is some truth that Labour's spending was a reaction to previous under-spending. But only some. The rest is on them. But ironically, the severity of the crash in 2008 was a result of Labour adopting a p...moreolicy of light regulation of the financial markets. That is, too little regulation. People complain that governments are good at spending other people's money. The bankers are just as bad. Except in their case, it was risking instead of spending.
              • texasGSDgirl parent reply Seems eerily similar to what happened here. A large factor in our big Recession in 2008 (I am not sure how global that was) was the (way too far) relaxation of requirements to get a home mortgage. It drove home prices up dramatically while making it more likely that mortgages would end in default. And boy, did they ever! It is not charitable, after all, to allow folks to buy houses who are not ready/equipped for the responsibility of home ownership.
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