Thursday, June 4, 2009

After the Labour Party Debacle: Picking up the Pieces in the UK

Here is a terrific article from the British magazine The Standpoint entitled "Brown's Britain is Bankrupt." It is actually a conversation featuring Labour backbencher Frank Field and political philosopher Jeremy Jennings and moderated by Daniel Johnson. Frank Field was elected in 1979 and he became a member of Tony Blair's first cabinet, only to end up resigning in frustration. (He must have been doing something right!) He has since become a prominent critic of New Labour from the backbenches and has been continuously re-elected.

The reason the article is so exciting is the obviously conservative (not neo-conservative) ideas that Field enunciates. He talks about the Victorian age postively because of its emphasis on rearing children well. He dissects the horrendus "Equality Bill" that is currently being considered. He talks about reducing the size of government and allowing for more personal responsibility and the development of civil society. He actually thinks it might be a better society if more people went to church. (Radical thinking indeed!) He is a kind of socialist, but one who seems to be able to name and critique most of the weaknesses of contemparary leftist politics.

Here is a tidbit from Field to whet your appetite:

"Two things are happening when looking in the mirror. One is we've looked in it and it's all pretty shocking, because I think probably lots of people hadn't realised how representative the House of Commons was of the outside world. Therefore, we have shattered what was all part of this: that people in public life aspired to it, somehow their characters were ones we looked up to. And I don't think after the last few weeks that they could say that.

It does come back to what I think is the central problem we have as a society, that somehow if we on the centre-Left raise character, that we were somehow trying to promote a moral means test, so that we could fail people. Instead of thinking that this was the great engine force which changed Victorian into Edwardian England, into Georgian England — something glorious — there was then a backlash against it, and everything was going to be mechanical. And of course we can change the laws with MPs and with bankers, and of course we can enforce them and put them under the criminal code. But all of that is a glorious demonstration of failure, isn't it? You want people to have freedom and behave properly, and have a sense of order about their life and know what their duties are. That's what's so shocking about the last 18 months, isn't it?"

It is food for thought. Read it and think about how great it will be when New Labour is finally defeated and the UK has a chance at recovering from the nightmare of Blair-Brown and their clumsy and heavy-handed attempts at social engineering.

1 comment:

David said...

I imagine you'll register a wry smile at big Gordon's 'too little too late' attempts