The latest suggestions this morning is that our 300 year old Freedom of the Press is to end today, with David Cameron backtracking on his opposition to statuary underpinning to press regulation. For those who love this country and freedom in particular, this is a truly heart-breaking moment, as big a betrayal as entering the European Union was in 1973. We all know that this is just the beginning: that press control will be slowly and remorselessly extended. Amongst those celebrating in triumph today will of course be the European Union itself, who want to control the press for their own ends. Even without further regulation, the implied threat of it will lead inevitably to newspapers self-censoring their reporting.
Once again, the Left has won, and this time won very big indeed.
And once again, Tory myopia and cynicism is the fundamental cause: in typically Tory fashion, Cameron just didn't think through the consequences of the Leveson enquiry when he announced it as a way of getting him off the hook about his relationships with key figures within News International. He should have first asked himself as to how it could be exploited by his enemies. But, to understand the vision and likely actions of others you first have to have imaginative vision yourself, and no one could accuse Cameron or the Tory party in general of possessing that quality.
The inability to think strategically is the reason why, no matter how many short term battles the Tory Party wins, in the end it loses wars. You could apply this moral to issue after issue throughout Cameron's woeful premiership, where he has laid the groundwork for long term total defeat on issue after issue.
For example, right from the beginning of the coalition Cameron and Osbourne seemed to join in with the prevalent mood of banker-bashing, plainly scared of being associated with rich City financiers that had done the country so much harm. Well, some the banks certainly deserved all of that, but what Cameron and Osbourne completely failed to do was mount any kind of spirited defence of free enterprise and capitalism in general, pointing out that whatever it's faults, it is by far the best way we have of generating wealth and happiness. The result? We now have gone back to the culture of hatred and envy of wealth creation that blighted this country's prospects so badly in the 1970s. When Labour get back into power, it will very easy for them to exploit this new found animosity against "the 1%" and extend state control still further over our lives.
Or take the issue of Gay Marriage. Plainly, there are now very strong risks that Cameron's "reform" of the Institution will be exploited by a combination of militant atheists, gay rights activists and hard-line islamists to weaken it's Christian foundation still further, as well as attacking the role of the established Church in our society.
Just as significant as what Cameron has done is what he has failed to do given a golden opportunity. A glaring example of this was his reaction - or lack of it - to the 2011 riots. As the country recoiled in horror and shock at the widespread carnage and social disorder, he had a once in a generation opportunity to make the case for rolling back the liberal, permissive agenda which had been steam-rollering all before it since the 1960s. The Left saw the threat to it's project instantly, which is why there was such a desperate, almost manic rush to analysis in the Left-wing press. They found that the coalitions "cuts" were to blame, naturally.
And what was Cameron's response? Nothing, zip, zero. His lazy, dilettante mind quickly lost interest in the subject once the initial panic was over. Thus, the Left wing narrative became accepted as gospel.
Similarly, in 2011 Cameron could have stood firm following his rejection of the Fiscal Union treaty. For a moment, the momentum was with Britain, rather than with the European Union. Legally, he could have stopped the Fiscal Union countries using EU institutions and begun the process of our disengagement. Instead, he folded and lost the initiative. Now, the EU has grasped ever greater control of the City of London and threatens its very survival.
The lessons of for any prospective Tory voter reading this is that the party has proved itself a truly hopeless guardian of the national interest in the long term. Although the party has had - and has - it's share of visionary thinkers: Churchill, Thatcher, Powell, Joseph and these days people such as Douglas Carswell, for the most part they are sidelined and ignored. The true history of Tory leadership is in the main one of cowardice and short-sightedness. Unfortunately, elements on the authoritarian, utopianist Left - and, of course, the European Union - do not possess such deficiencies. Possessing a definite long term vision as to the kind of society they want to see and the tenacity to pursue it, they have managed to change the country out of all recognition, irrespective of who was in power.
UKIP was, of course, born out of frustration with Tory myopia over the issue of the European Union. Now we are a broader based party, let us take on board the salutary lesson of the Tory party and the pathetic spectacle it has become. Let us remember that it is not enough to be anti something: that without a definite positive vision for the kind of Britain we want to see and the courage to see it through over the long term, we, too, are doomed to lose.
Monday, 18 March 2013
Leveson: Yet Again the Pathetic, Myopic Tories are Outfoxed, Outflanked, Outfought.