Sunday, February 20, 2005

Root Causes

Our future PM notes that the Countryside Alliance is now bulking up Conservative canvassing. That is good, but it just emphasises how rare this sort of thing is. On the dark side there's no end of supposedly-independent organisations ready to carry water for the Left. Of course, one reason for the disparity between the L3 and Conservatives is simply this: we have jobs. Still, there's something more to it than that. While IDS can write about the internet enabling people to punch through the Metropolitan bubble, his fellow Conservative MPs are busily planning to cut their own members out of the leadership elections. You can see why they'd want to though, they wouldn't want to be stuck with a loser like IDS when they could have a real winner like Howard. Ahem!

That the Conservative Party lacks the supporting infrastructure that is SOP for the Republicans over the water is, at least in part, a deliberate choice by the Party. As a result, not only are the Conservatives deprived of resources and bodies, but there is also a psychological dimension to all this. Back with Peter the C: here he is pointing out how the Conservative Party has managed to end up to the left of the public on key issues. Of course, it may be true that the Conservative Party is too far to the right of the public on other issues, but that just rams home the point that this is a Party that has become detached from the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus. The Party has been seduced by the Metropolitan elite to the extent that they have no faith in their own philosophy, such that they won't say what they actually think. This mean that on issues such as crime, where all the indications are that the public supports a hard line, the Party soft pedals. Meanwhile, the same reluctance to explain the Conservative philosophy on areas such as healthcare and the like leaves the ground clear for the Left to explain what the Tories really mean.

That last point is important. Unlike US Republicans, the Conservatives have been conscientious objectors in the Culture Wars, yet trying to promote Conservatism in a Liberal-dominated culture is doomed to fail. Conservatives must engage with the underlying culture. To take one example, here's JohnJo on the cultural aspects of gun ownership.

Yes, yes - you may hate guns, think they're evil, whatever, but the general point remains true: JohnJo argues that campaigning for greater gun ownership in a fundamentally hoplophobic culture is a losing proposition. Instead, gun owners must try to take on the culture, breaking down taboos and confronting stereotypes. Whatever the specifics of gun ownership and the like, this is exactly the type of thing the Conservative Party should be supporting.

Needless to say, the Left - Gramscian as ever - has long recognised the benefits of fighting KultureKampf. Consider, for example, the role of supposed 'consumer groups'. Has anyone ever heard of a report from these people claiming that everything is just ducky, let alone one arguing for less regulation ? On the contrary, these people serve a dual role. Of course, they provide a figleaf for further governmental obtrusion into private business, but there's more to it than that. These people seek to cast the world of private business as a snake pit, with all the cards stacked against any ordinary bloke like you, so you'd best stick close to Nurse. Just as long as the Conservative Party will not call organisations such as the Consumers Association what they are: unrepresentative groups of extremist left-wing zealots, then they will face an uphill struggle promoting greater personal responsibility. Und so weiter across the board.

Finally, consider this: Conservative grandees often sneer at the American Right precisely because they don't hesitate to fight the war street by street. It's too chaotic, too ranty, full of loudmouth idiots like Coulter and Rush, instead of the refined, civilised, even cultured Conservativism that prevails in Britain. But just look who's in power.

No comments: