Skip to main content

Polly-morphous Politics

I am getting very confused about the British Conservative Party- although not, I suspect as confused as the party members themselves must be.

Apparently the Conservatives should ditch Churchill and listen to Polly Toynbee, according to one of David Cameron's advisors, Greg Clark.

Polly Toynbee is so consistently wrong in her analyses that it is almost comical to think that anybody, still less her political opponents, should take her seriously.

Yet, there is a kind of mad logic in the idea. The Conservative manifesto in the 2005 general election was a collection of policies that were often mutually contradictory. The spending commitments did not match with commitments in taxation or borrowing. Quite literally, the Tory manifesto did not add up. The party did not have the courage to present to the electorate what politicians usually call "tough choices". So perhaps we should not be surprised to find them so "elastic" in their other ideas about policy.

The post-Labour world is going to need a radical shift in the ethos of government- it is going to need crunchy decision making in order to reduce the burden of the state upon the citizen. It is rare that I find myself in agreement with the Daily Telegraph, but the threat to personal privacy from the latest raft of child protection laws put forward by the Blair government is very real. It goes to the heart of the problem with the current administration. Yet, where are the Conservatives?

The fact is that the Tories have bought into the ideology of Blairism so much, that they can no longer oppose this bloated, illiberal government with its ill thought out, inconsistent and incontinent legislation. All the Conservatives offer as an alternative is that "it is our turn at the cookie jar". I have no idea whether the Tories really want to listen to Polly Toynbee or not, but I do know that they want us to think that they listen to her. They want to seem unthreatening- the problem is that they have thrown the baby out with the bath water.

They have lost their key, anchor principles.

The intellectual fire has now long gone from the Conservatives. They have lost the intellectual coherence that gave Thatcherism its real impetus. The mind behind the last manifesto - David Cameron- truly would, in the words of Lord Saatchi, "say anything to get elected". It is sloppy and dishonest politics- and it is no wonder that the creeping disillusion with British politics has become pervasive.

David Cameron is not a "Liberal Conservative", because Liberalism has core values and principles. It is hard to avoid the question: does David Cameron have any principles that he would not trade?

The fact that the MP who wants to give Polly Toynbee a Tory platform, Greg Clark, is the member for the famously arch-Conservative seat of Tunbridge Wells is just another irony.


Popular posts from this blog

Trump and Brexit are the Pearl Harbor and the Fall of Singapore in Russia's Hybrid war against the West.

In December 1941, Imperial Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. After the subsequent declaration of war, within three days, the Japanese had sunk the British warships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, and the rapid Japanese attack led to the surrender of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941 and the fall of Singapore only two months after Pearl Harbor. These were the opening blows in the long war of the Pacific that cost over 30,000,000 lives and was only ended with the detonations above Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"History doesn't often repeat itself, but it rhymes" is an aphorism attributed to Mark Twain, and in a way it seems quite appropriate when we survey the current scene. 

In 1941, Imperial Japan, knowing its own weakness, chose a non-conventional form of war, the surprise attack. Since the end of his first Presidential term, Vladimir Putin, knowing Russia's weakness, has also chosen non-conventional ways to promote his domestic powe…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…

The rumbling financial markets

Security specialists use a variety of ways to address the risks that they face: and these risk assessments are made in the certain knowledge that the actors in the system hold only incomplete information. Although much mocked at the time, Donald Rumsfeld’s categorization of “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns”, is now generally recognized as a succinct summery of his strategic quandaries.
By contrast, actors in the financial markets have a more sanguine assessment of the risks they deal with: they divide them into two kinds of risk: quantifiable and unquantifiable. Unquantifiable risk is not generally considered, since there is usually no financial profit that can be made except from pure supposition. Therefore for the purposes of the financial markets, any given event is priced relative to its level of probability, that is to say its quantifiable risk. 
Depending on the market, higher levels of risk generally carry higher prices, lower levels generally lower prices. Clearly such an…