Sunday, June 03, 2007

Conscientious Objectors in the Culture War

Good news: VC winner Tul Bahadur Pun can come to Britain, after all. Actually, scratch that - it's not good news. Good news would have been not getting into this situation in the first place. It's sickening that there was ever any doubt about it.

But anyway, we've won and the Left has skulked off like a bunch of, well, Liberals. The only thing is this: I can't help feeling there's something missing, some element absent. Ah yes - while the Right was rightfully enraged by this case, Britain's soi dissant premier party of the right was, metaphorically speaking, downing pink gins back in Bombay. Doubtless, Rifleman Pun's heroism wasn't nuanced enough for Call Me Dave's bright young things. Besides, there's that nasty testosterone allergy to consider. Yet still the Right won. Hmmmm....

It's a paradox of British political life that the elite of the Left, the cult of centralisation and conformity, dedicate a lot of their time to pandering to the grass roots, while the top brass of the Right, the trust the people side of the spectrum, treat their own supporters like a bunch of ignorant morons. There's the corollary to that too in the way the Tories wall themselves up in the Westminister Village, while the Left is out in the country actually advocating for their agenda. All of which is by way of saying that Liberals will go to war over the history curriculum for primary school kids while Call Me Dave can't go a week without defaming his own party's members.

But here's the thing: it doesn't matter. For all that Letwin et al might talk about switching the Tories focus from economics to social issues, they've been overtaken by events. They're already irrelevant on social issues. The Tory Party left Rifleman Pun high and dry, but the Right rescued him. Or, to put it another, whether Call Me Dave likes it or not, there really is a Tory grass roots movement coming into existence.

Cameron's strategy is predicated on the idea that the super-brains at Tory HQ need to decouple themselves from those looney toon right-roots, but I'm thinking he's just got it the wrong way round. If agonising about tax rates is your thing, then maybe there's still a reason for you to vote Tory, but when it comes to the culture war, all the action is anywhere but the Tory Party. Au contraire, in so far as Cameron's tenure as Tory leader has been marked by a series of capitulations on social issues, the Tories are now to the Left of large chunks of the Labour Party. All of which just rams the point home. For all that Liberals pretend to stand up for the guy in the street, the real diagnostic characteristic of these people is contempt for the public, whether it's in the form of Old Labour's union thugs, the sleazy lawyers of Nu Lab or Blu labour's Eton Rifles. The good news is that it doesn't matter. Just as the Left cultural agenda first made inroads into British life during the Thatcher years, so even in these days of Liberal consensus, the right can still fight the culture war succesfully. At the end of the day, what kind of cause is it that actually needs David Cameron's support ?

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