Monday, 21 May 2012

The Crumbling Pillars of the Political Class

Our good friend Dan Hannan is at it yet again, exhorting some kind of pact or merger between UKIP and the Tories.

The obvious unworldliness of it hardly bears examination:  exactly how, after slandering UKIP in the most offensive terms as 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists', would Cameron explain away a pact without it being depicted as a totally humiliating climbdown? And wouldn't such a pact risk - horror of horrors - 'contaminating' the Tory brand amongst Dave's  achingly fashionable friends? More to the point, why would UKIP want to risk being contaminated by the taint of Toryism?

Be that as it may, Hannan's thinking is based on a flawed analysis, namely that the emerging split in the Right of British politics (essentially the de-merging of the classical Liberal and Tory traditions) would give the Left a more or less permanent monopoly on power.

This analysis wholly ignores the likely effect the eclipse of Toryism would have on the Left of British politics, namely the collapse of the anti-Tory tribal Labour vote.

The Right like to rant and rail that the Tories have betrayed their core constituency - and so they have - but that is nothing to the betrayal that the Labour Party has enacted on the indigenous working class. It was once famously said of the  Labour Party that it  'owed more to Methodism than it did to Marx', representing as it did socially conservative working class voters who believed in a measure of economic redistribution. Dominated as it now is by decidedly non-Methodist middle-class Guardianistas,  the Labour Party has followed a social agenda in recent years which could hardly be more inimical to working class interests, fuelling mass immigration, family breakdown and the destruction of national identity. Consequently a large section of what were once Labour's natural supporters simply support the party out of tribal hatred of the Tories, or fail to vote at all.

The journalist Peter Hitchens, no friend of UKIP, nevertheless came up with an outstanding metaphor to describe the current party political situation: he likened the Labour and Tory parties to a pair of crumbling pillars, each holding each other up by virtue of the hatred each set of core supporters had for the other.  Of the two pillars, the Labour Party is perhaps in the stronger position, having as a backstop the powerful vested interests of the public sector unions. Nonetheless, collapse of one pillar would inevitably lead to collapse of the other.

It is now possible to see the circumstances for such a collapse coming into view: if UKIP continue to chip away at Tory support to the extent that the Conservative Party loses the next general election badly, the perception may gain ground amongst working class supporters that a Tory majority government is no longer to be feared, with the result that a vote for the Labour Party is no longer essential.

Waiting in the wings to capitalise is the newly formed alliance between the sectarian English Defence League and British Freedom Party, standing on an unashamedly politically-incorrect, anti-Islamic, patriotic, pro-Christian platform which includes withdrawal from the European Union. Whatever one thinks of the EDL and BFP, they are not as heavily tarred with the charge of racism as the BNP is, and are thus more likely to make significant inroads into Labour's bedrock support.

As the situation in Europe deteriorates by the hour and it becomes clear that our rotten Political Class lack the inclination, the courage or the foresight to deal with what could rapidly spiral down into a truly catastrophic situation, we could be on the verge of the greatest re-alignment of British politics since the 'Strange Death of Liberal England' in the early 20th Century.

So, Dan, thank you all the same, but please don't ask again, as refusal often offends. In the not too distant future, marriage with you Tories would likely prove, in the words of Marshall Petain, "fusion with a corpse".