Monday 24 April 2017

The Left are wrong - Britain is becoming more Left Wing, not less so

John Redwood, long since a marginalised backbencher, actually
proposes Right Wing policies
Much is made that over 55% of the population at the last election voted for 'Right-Wing' parties such as UKIP and the Conservatives rather than the remaining left-wing parties.

Apparently, according to all lazy political journalism, this makes it hard for a Left-Wing Government ever to gain power again, as the popular consensus is not in their favour.

Currently too, the world (well, twitter!) is full of lefties decrying May as the new Thatcher and some sort of hard-right dictator like President Erdogan of Turkey (see Chuka Umunna etc.).

However, none of this is actually true. The Conservatives have been happy winning elections with Labour policies for years, just as in the early 2000's Tony Blair won elections with Tory policies. After all, smart politicians recognise that it is power that matters, not promises or ideology (which is why Corbyn and co are so utterly abject, having decided that truism is no such thing).

Indeed, we are yet to see the Tory manifesto but I suspect it will be very light on detail given the short-notice and supposed room needed for manoeuvre with Brexit due.

What we have seen is the ludicrous and poorly thought out appropriation of Ed Milliband's price cap on retail energy. A commitment to the triple lock ended, a commitment to reducing immigration neutered, the retaining of the very left-wing policy of foreign aid commitment retained and a hole where tax policy might be.

Where are the Thatcher privatisations? Where is the expansion of the market economy? Where is the reform of public services so desperately needed? Where are the tax cuts for anybody instead of endless tax rises?

In fact, where are the Right Wing policies? Any at all, from any of the parties? UKIP, Brexit apart, are full of Left-wing economic nationalist policies like Le Pen in France - who is also mis-leadingly referred to as a right-wing nationalist.

This move by the Tories to the 'centre' is no such thing, it is part of the steady move to the Left begun by Cameron in 2005 - look how happily George Osborne sits as a member of the metropolitan elite, he was the architect of the Tory strategy for over a decade.

Someone please help me out, who would I vote for if I wanted Market based, capitalist ideas to vote for in the forthcoming General Election?


Electro-Kevin said...


DJK said...

Is the pension triple-lock left wing or right wing? Surely, left-wing (if you have to think in those terms), so ending it is good? Surely not unreasonable to hint at raising taxes since there is a budget to balance and given the demands of Brexit, there will be very little government attention left for the sort of revolutionary change to the funding of the NHS, or pensions, that would be required to reduce expenditure.

The (lukewarm) support for the 0.7% foreign aid budget is presumably to keep opposition from the BBC at bay.

Anonymous said...

We were all brainwashed by Bliar and very few people have come to their senses since his reign. Cameron and Osbourne just carried on along the same track.

Anonymous said...

....sorry Osborne....

Anonymous said...

I assume May is counting on the fact the right wing element has no one else to vote for, so is setting policies to go after the moderate Labour votes (moderate and Labour does seem a bit of an oxymoron though).

Blue Eyes said...

Well CU you know perfectly well that there is no pure free-market option to vote for.

Nit-picking: you put an end to the triple lock in with Ed Miliband's silly energy price promise. Totally different issues. The triple lock was lefty populist nonsense so abandoning it is to be applauded. The energy price thing is lefty populist nonsense so is to be derided.

What is so dumb about the energy promise is that a) the argument against it was won before the 2015 election so why bother resurrecting it and b) goes against these rumours we hear of a light-touch manifesto (which andrew and I are hoping for).

Abandoning the 0.7% target is UKIP policy along with banning specific items of clothing and legislating on banning certain types of dispute-resolution services. Why would a serious party of government adopt such things?

As for your main point, it would be great if we had a major party pushing for small government and free markets, but you have to try and win an election on issues that voters understand. Not many swing voters are that interested in Hayek and Friedman.

As always you have to vote for the broad brush not individual policies. Do you think that May's government are more likely or less likely to adopt policies closer to your own views than Corbyn's government? That is the only way to decide.

Unless of course you want the Dutch system?

Blue Eyes said...

PS enough slagging off Blair! His main thrust (in 1997 at least) was that if you want to have good public services you need a thriving economy. Second was that to maintain middle-class support for public services they need to be good enough for middle-class voters to want to use them.

To add to that, most Tories believe that the state should give a ladder up to people who grow up in disadvantaged households. See the 1944 Education Act, for example.

andrew said...

Others may correct me but I think you are seeing the proof that in a complex system there is no such thing as a free market as the supply chains and externalities are so long and complex they cannot be be well regulated without a government in the middle and even then, Reading the economist on us and eu based airlines, it looks like quality of regulation counts more than freeness of market

dearieme said...

To win an election with Tory/Whig policies when the electorate is stupid, ignorant, partly foreign, and vaguely socialist would need a political leader of considerable gifts. There doesn't seem to be one available.

On the other hand, if May brings about the destruction of the Labour Party I will forgive her much.

CityUnslicker said...

Andrew - could not agree less. But then again, I never agree with anything I read in the economist either. Government is the centre of making everything more complex through over-regulation. The way to stop this is to get government out of things unless it has to do it for public good.

Hence, leaving the EU is a good thing, it means less government.

BE - living in kent with Michael Fallon as my MP this is a purely hypothetical post. Of course I want May to win from the current selection.

But she is not right wing at all.

DJK - raise taxes, from their historical all time highest levels! please apply detergent to your mouth with some urgency!

Nick Drew said...

I come back to the diagnosis (simplistic, I know) that she's just a bit thick. Thick politicos of all parties are prone to fall for "the government must do summfink about it"

In that vein I can just see her approving the f*****g Swansea Tidal Lagoon ...

there's just a hope that some of these manifesto rumours are just kite-flying by hopeful lobbyists trying to build up a head of steam

Anonymous said...

OT but funny, Byron York tweets

"Have we seen much commentary urging French voters to make history and elect first woman president?"

Bill Quango MP said...

That is funny. The Penners should have "Casser le plafond de verre" on t/shirts.
Galleries Lafayette has a very nice glass ceiling to hold a rally in.

Charlie said...

Ending the triple lock is only right. It's a very expensive way to buy the grey vote and patently unfair in a world of zero interest rates and tiny (if any) pay rises for those who are actually working to earn a living (which seems to be a smaller percentage of the working-age popluation with each passing year).

The energy price rise furore died down after Milliband lost the 2015 GE - I see no reason to steal this idiotic policy from Labour. It even fails basic maths. £100 a year on average for 26m households is about a billion more than the annual profits of the big six. What is May going to do, force them to operate at a loss?

I articulated my lack of enthusiasm for the 0.7% foreign aid commitment by hijacking a previous comments thread :-) There are far cheaper ways of exercising soft power than borrowing money and sending it to countries that have a space programme or a dictator with a garage full of Ferraris.

I agree with the sentiment that the right has nobody to vote for, and attribute this to the successful reappropriation of the terms right and left in order to paint the former as baby-eating monsters and the latter as the saviours of civilisation. The terms are currently meaningless for the purposes of most political discussion.

What we need are politicians with thicker skins. In a world where any special interest group can get a pet issue into the news with a snappy hashtag, we need politicians who can tell people that the state has no business intervening to solve pet issue x by spending money raised from taxation, rather than carefully managing their image from one news cycle to the next, terrified that a noisy cabal of economic illiterates will out them as... horror of horrors... a conservative.

If only I could come up with a snappier hastag than #spoilyourballot

Steven_L said...

The way I see it, in a FPTP system, a single party can only win by effectively being a coalition, and therefore based on compromise. If we had a PR-type system where 40% of the votes cast meant 40% of the seats, the parties would all look different but we'd still get a coalition based on compromise, a similar set of policies to what we had under NuLab, ConLib and the new shiny rebranded tory party. One way or the other folk will still be disappointed.

And I would say Le Pen is 'right wing' in the sense that she advocates, and clearly believes that, some people / cultures have a lot more merit than others. She is a nationalist-socialist, and that is 'far right' or 'hard right' whereas Corbyn is a left-wing socialist and believes (for some reason that I don't and probably could never understand) that all cultures / people are just as deserving as one another, except 'the elite' who cause all the worlds' problems.

andrew said...

Cu :-

"Hence, leaving the EU is a good thing, it means less government."

Brexit is just a process of moving govt around.
Very explicitly so, otherwise the great repeal bill becomes unworkable.
So will the UK end up with less govt on brexit? - no, chances are a bit more.

I am not overly pro or anti govt.
On balance anti as if govt goes wrong we all suffer, but if a company goes wrong only the suppliers / customers of that company suffer.
However the last crash illustrated that there are some companies that are a bit governmental.

Blue Eyes said...

Well it depends who we elect. Which is why this rather negatory attitude from CU grates a little.

SL is right of course and as usual. The Tories have generally been the most diverse with Wets and Dries and the rest. At the moment the polls are suggesting that May's Blue-Collar Centrism is reaching parts of the country which hated the Tories post-Thatcherism.

You can't enact market-based polices from the opposition benches. And if clear-headed consistent ideology was popular it wouldn't be May and Javid et al. forming the next government.

CU if you want your views to hold more sway you might have to pucker up and join the Tory party.

CityUnslicker said...

BE - the country is moving to the Left. My point stands. The narrative of Corbynistas is this is a hard right-government.

It is no such thing, the policies we will have to wait and see but I have a feeling Red Ed would have been able to stand on them - Ed Milliband who was, you know, lefty.

SL and BE discussing how FPTP works is all very enlightening for me, but nonetheless, the commentary I see is how the UK is steadily becoming more right wing overall and that this upcoming election will ensure that is the case.

This is patently untrue, the exact opposite is happening. We have more regulation, higher taxes and more socially liberal laws than ever before ( and more debt!).

I do get there is nothing I can do about it, except point out that the Country/Society is not becoming right wing, far from it.

Blue Eyes said...

Maybe. All of this is relative though. Is the state more "left wing" than it was, say, 30 years ago? You asked where the privatisations were coming from but huge amounts of stuff which used to be done by the state are no longer. The energy bill propos nonsense is tame in comparison with what used to happen. Nick can worry about a Severn Barrage but in by-gone eras the state would have just decided. See the massive cover-up of the cost of the nuclear industry for example.

Mrs T was partly able to fight the coal unions because she could appoint the head of the coal board and the electricity board and decide what fuels our future power plants were going to use. That would be anathema now.

We no longer have to beg the state for a telephone or wait for the state bin-men to finish their strike. We can choose what airline we fly on and even the building of our warships gets put to tender.

So yes the country is probably more lefty than it was in April 1996.

Blue Eyes said...

Also bear in mind that a lot of the commentariat and general metrolib types think that the Leave vote was a massive swing to the hard-Right, so any party implementing that decision must also be hard-Right.

Anonymous said...

The country is becoming more socially liberal and living standards are falling. You can't buy a house, but there are fewer laws against organising an orgy than organising a workforce in a union.

"You get gay marriage, and we get a "flexible labour market"... heh heh heh..."

Suff said...

Blue- and why do all those metrolibs think that Brexit is a swing to the FAR RIGHT ( and not just back towards the centre) because the state, the socialist media and the whole bed wetting PC brigade, have drummed it into you, that if you disagree with anything we say, then you must be F@(£ Ing Hitler. They've used that argument to close down discussion or debate on any policy.
At what point did right wing, free market, fare trade, non protectionist, libaterianism become become associated with racist. Any sensible discussion on immigration must be far right.
Why can't we have a centre right party? Because there are too many people dependent on the state. Directly employed, on state contracts, protected employment environments, benefits...... Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

Oh and the first stage to any sensible energy policy, should be to hook up a dynamo to Orwell's grave :-)

Blue Eyes said...

It's funny because all the hard-line antis on here got exactly what they said they wanted - under a Conservative government. Cameron the treehugger arranged the referendum that the grumblers said would never be allowed. The same grumps then said that the "Establishment" would never allow Article 50 to be triggered. And yet a beliefless thicko who twists in the wind actually did it. Now they say that the election is a stich-up to turn the country more left-wing. You'll understand if I take that with a pinch of salt.

andrew said...

This characterisation of 'hard right' and 'extreme tory' etc is (understandably) a meme that is being consistently pushed by the snp and lab and as you have observed has gained traction in many places including rather less forgivably the BBC.

Blue Eyes said...

And if the polls are to be believed, nobody is taking the slightest bit of notice.

Steven_L said...

Now they say that the election is a stich-up to turn the country more left-wing.

It's all an EU conspiracy to bring Bliar back, you'll see!

Suff said...

To quote someone who often writes on here " can you please read the article before going off on a deranged ramble" :-)
I read it as the media stating, that the world was going into a jackboot frenzy, while in reality, it was the politicians and their media who had spun off, so far to the left, they have lost contact with the populace, and are stupefied we are dragging them back to the centre. That's my take on it but feel free to be as offensive as you like, if it differs from your view.

Charlie said...

BBC reporting this morning that the boss of Centrica said that the government "don't believe in free markets".

I would be interested to know who he has in mind... anyone?

CityUnslicker said...

He has in mind Mrs May, Charlie. Stealing Ed Milliband's shit policies is not a conservatvei sign.

Suff- Ignore BE - you read it right!

andrew said...

Au contraire

Re-using old policies rather than trying to make up new ones is a sure sign of conservatism.

After all, new policies are almost certainly bad ones.

Just a shame they chose bad old policies.