Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The Dave Party continues its long march towards self-parody. They have appointed another diverse! Parliamentary candidate with a history of Labour activism. Yep,we have been here before with Tony Lit, but what this latest fiasco lacks in originality, it more than makes up in sleaze.

New Tory - in every sense of the word - PPC Helen Grant has been selected for a safe seat despite her previous history as a labour activist and would-be labour councillor which she, gosh darn it, got kind of confused about when explaining it all to the selection committee. But get this: her excuse is that she wasn't specifically asked about any previous activities.

Hey,that's reassuring. When exactly did caveat emptor become the standard for selecting MPs? Let's check the state of play here: if a suburban shopkeeper wants a shotgun, Mr Plod will be snapping on the rubber gloves for the prostate exam, but we have to metaphorically wrestle would-be MPs to ground before they'll disclose embarrassing information.

Seriously, let's try a little thought experiment here. Your great auntie Marge leaves you a big inheritance, and you decide to get that nose job you've always wanted. You go and see a surgeon, and just to reassure yourself, you ask if any of his patients had died on the table and he says, well, it depends how you define death.... you'd be out of there in a flash. There are certain jobs where full disclosure really has to apply.

Needless to say, Grant can't provide any details of where she was on this particular road to Damascus when she suddenly realised she was a conservative. Well, Tory anyway.

It's not like you can confuse left and right. Even if you're fuzzy on the details, the basic question of collectivism vs individuality is easy enough to grasp. Ditto, by 2006, when Grant supposedly saw the light, Nu lab were approaching a decade in office. We'd already had Rose Addis, a 'good day to bury bad news', tax hikes and the like. Grant is either sleazy, or just mildly retarded.

On the other hand, the Cameroonatics have mounted a passionate defence of their new heroine, pointing to her five-star CV and demonstrable record of achievement....

I kid! I kid!

Nope, they've called all their critics bigots - it's what I like to call "The Margo James Defence'. You know, you have to wonder about a procession of fantastically well qualified individuals that no one can cite any positive arguments for. Nope, it's all about how rotten we are for unfairly depriving them of their God-given right to a seat in the house. And thus was refuted the charge that the Cameroonatics have an elephantine sense of entitlement.

Talking of our House of Dumb heroine, in a move worthy of James herself, Grant's given a long interview to the Daily Mail talking at great length about her youthful victimisation by racist thugs, and how she refuses absolutely to play the race card.

Yet,that's what I always do when I'm trying to keep something quiet, give a long interview about it in the national press. I'm not totally up on modern etiquette, but as a rule of thumb, gaining credit for not trading on your race does kind of require that that you refrain from wearing a badge proclaiming "Ask me about my claim to racial victimhood".

What it's really all about it is the death spiral of modern politics. Richard Nixon put his finger on it when he claimed there were two types of people who went into politics: those who wanted to do big things and those who wanted to be big. The Cameroonatics are almost entirely of the second sort. Hence they don't have a problem with Grant, Lit et al. People change jobs all the time, right ?

At risk of stating the obvious, the job of being an MP involves slightly more than merely being an avatar of diversity. Ultimately, Grant will be one of the 646 people who gets to decide on trivia such as whether or not we go to war. I think we're entitled to be a little nervous about someone who didn't know she was a conservative until two years ago. Indeed, Grant herself is the perfect ink blot test for conservatism. If you can't see the funny side of a metropolitan lawyer being the pin up girl for diversity! in politics, no, you aren't a conservative.

The flip-side of that is the Nu Tories contempt for the base. Of course opposition to James, Grant and the rest of these lightweight wannabes is cast as bigotry. It's not just tactics, they really do believe that principle and bigotry are just two sides of the same coin. Far better to be an eye-rolling metropolitan sophisticate sniggering about the grass roots over the canapés. Why get bogged down in labels like 'conservative' or 'leftist' anyway ?

Well, let's hear what the great Rush has to say on a similar topic:
I think what the McCain people don't get here is that those of us who call ourselves conservatives also consider ourselves a movement. We're not politicos. We don't go issue by issue and say, "Okay, we support this, can it help us here, do this," we're movement people, and we're sick and tired of having Republicans elected who are not movement people.

We believe in conservatism. We believe in it as a governing ideology. We believe in it because it's the founding principle of this country. We want it to take root, and we want it to soar because when it does, people soar, country soars. S-o-a-r-s. And to sit around here, we're not making calculations on the basis of one political issue to the next.
Exactly. Grant, James, Lit and the rest of the smug metropolitan - but diverse! - shysters are looking for a chance to score some easy money and get on TV. The rest of us in the conservative movement are aiming a little higher. It'd be great if the Tories were actually pushing conservatism, but it's Helen Grant's party now - at least until she realises she's a Scottish Nationalist - and the conservative movement will have to look elsewhere. But that's OK. Liberals are obsessed with political power as the natural consequence of their worship of the state. Conservatives recognise that the ebb and flow of elections is just one aspect of the wider culture.

Whosoever wins the next election, they'll have to deal with this sort of thing. Does anyone think the Cult of Dave offer any answers ? Sure, winning is nice, but not at the expense of defining conservatism down to vanishing point.

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