Sean Gabb was invited to explain to the youngsters in David Cameron’s British Conservative Party why their party has been out of power for the last twelve years. Gabb’s answer: You didn’t deserve it – and you still don’t. And if you do come to power next year –- as polls presently suggest you might -- it won’t be because the electorate likes you, but because they now hate you less than they do Gordon Brown’s Labour Party.
It’s not the only parallel with NZ politics.
There is much in Gabb’s observation that NZ’s National Party supporters would do well to digest, particularly those who still hanker for something much more radical than the tepid agenda on which their heroes campaigned, and has been signalled so far. To paraphrase Dr Gabb, John Key’s Nats did nothing at all in their campaign to acquire a mandate for radical change, without which any sort of radical change would lack legitimacy.
To put that same point negatively, to make radical changes without that mandate would look like dishonesty, and would dishonour for decades any radical changes that might be made. (For evidence of this, see Douglas, Roger: policies, reaction to.)
The question is probably moot in any case, since there’s no evidence of any backbone anyway, either in the UK Tories or the local breed, which means the guts of Gabb’s advice would have have fallen on deaf ears.
And the guts of his advice is this: You can’t co-exist with The Establishment, you have to fight it.
The meaning of this is that you should not try to work with the Establishment. You should not try to jolly it along. You should not try fighting it on narrow fronts. You must regard it as the enemy, and you must smash it.
There are several simple reasons why this is so necessary, not least because
Over the past few generations, a new Establishment or ruling class has emerged… These are people who derive income and status from an enlarged and activist state… They are not always friendly to a Labour Government. But their natural political home is the Labour Party. They will accept a Conservative Government on sufferance - but only so long as it works within a system that robs ordinary people of their wealth and their freedom. They will never consent to what should be the Conservative strategy of bringing about an irreversible transfer of power from the State back into the hands or ordinary people.
Thatcher understood that in her day. Labour understands that still. And the Marxians and their Gramsci-ite followers have understood it for years – hell, it was them who made it happen. But today’s Tories don’t, and never will.
There are two ways of doing politics. One is to listen to focus groups and opinion polls, and offer the people what they claim to want. The other is to stand up and tell them what they ought to want, and to keep arguing until the people agree that they want it, or until it is shown not to be worth wanting. I think I know what sort of politicians will run the next Conservative Government. What sort of politicians do you want to be?
What sort of politicians do you want?
You can read the full transcript of the speech, and a link to the Tories’s reaction to it, at the UK Libertarian Alliance blog.