Wednesday 14 April 2010
Conservatives are Carnivores
Some of you may have heard of Phillip Blond. For those who have not he is loosely what passes for an intellectual in these debased times. In his capacity as a self-appointed Socrates he is the director of ResPublica, yet another ‘think tank’ or, to put it another way, a refuge for the otherwise unemployable. Thinking is a harmless enough occupation for those who can find no other, but Blond ambition, sad to say, has also been adopted as something of a guru by the Conservative leadership.
The problem is not that he thinks but what he thinks, and what he thinks is arrant nonsense, a belief that one can have conservatism without conservatism; one can have, to use his own expression “Red Toryism”. He’s to be found pontificating in the latest issue of Prospect, urging David Cameron not to lurch to the right in the face of wobbly opinion polls. In this he reacts to Tim Montgomerie, the creator of the excellent ConservativeHome website, who last month called for “more red-meat Toryism” and “less red Tory nonsense”.
Yes, indeed, Blond is a Red Tory. If you really want to know more about that particular oxymoron then you could do no better than have a look at his recently published Red Tory: How Left and Right Have Broken Britain, though I’m making no recommendation here. Would you like a taste of the Blond style? What about this then;
Given the emergence of such a new ethos, it might well be that at the limit, issues of fair pricing, proper remuneration for work and quality of workmanship could become issues of local rather than central jurisdiction.
You can have three hundred pages of similar Blondisms, as he plods along in an utterly tiresome way in a pilgrim’s progress towards the Red Tory citadel. The whole thing is nonsense; dull, tedious, second-hand ideas, presented in the most laborious fashion possible; an attempt to seek depth in pots of prolix prose, the sort of thing that would have brought George Orwell out in a rage. It really is a case of never use one word when twenty will do.
It’s difficult to believe that Blond could ever have been taken seriously, with his absurd and vacuous borrowings, his confusion over so many issues, particularly in the area of economic and social policy. If the Party fails to win the General Election it will be in part thanks to the hesitancy and lack of clear direction introduced into its programme by Red Toryism. When it comes to Conservatism we should all be carnivores.