Reasons to Vote Green – From An Historical Perspective

green party

The ice cap at the North Pole melted, and you were worrying about the budget deficit?  Sea levels rose around the world and you were bothered about bankers’ bonuses?  The world’s food supply failed to keep up with population growth and you were focused on immigration controls?  How are future generations going to look back on our obsessions.  Will our current pre-occupations seem as irrelevant to them as the medieval disputes over simony or transubstantiation? Continue reading Reasons to Vote Green – From An Historical Perspective

Reasons To Vote Conservative – Historical Perspective

conservative partyThe Conservative Party’s origins go back ultimately to the royalists of the English Civil War – though the descent is not a linear one.  They have also acquired DNA from the Liberals with and without capital Ls and from intellectual influences like Edmund Burke.  They have always been about supporting the establishment, but have often done it in some highly creative and unexpected ways.  In particular they managed to play a large part in the creation of a mass democracy at the end of the nineteenth century and went on to become a mass party with a huge membership during the twentieth.  One might have thought that they were deliberately doing it to prove Marxist notions of class interest wrong.  But the strongest vein in the Conservative Party has always been pragmatism, and that is usually the best explanation for whatever it is the Tories happen to be up to. Continue reading Reasons To Vote Conservative – Historical Perspective

Prince Andrew – What Do You Expect with HIS Family Background?

Prince_Andrew

Things get pretty mixed up over the course of 1600 years, but there is a smidge of the blood of Alfred the Great in the veins of Prince Andrew.  In fact he has some kind of relationship to most of the occupants of the English throne.  And while some of them are admirable human beings, the plain fact is that there are some monsters in there too.  They really don’t constitute a great advert for family values in the round.  Some of them took mistresses in a raffish and charming way, like say Charles II. Others would stop at nothing to get what they wanted.  Henry VIII even started a new religion so he could marry who he chose, and later was quite prepared to cut former wives heads off to avoid all the bother of a divorce.  George II managed to devote almost his entire energies during his reign to his mistresses. Continue reading Prince Andrew – What Do You Expect with HIS Family Background?

The Nazis Were Socialists, Not Right Wingers

An unusual viewpoint expressed in a Youtube video making the rather remarkable assertion that the Nazis were socialists.

If you can’t be troubled to watch it – it is only 5 minutes or so but boy are they long minutes – here is a quick resumé of the gist of the argument.   Fascism and Nazism both came out of socialism, and simply reconciled the idea of socialism to that of nationalism.  Nazism was similar in many ways to communism, which is defined as being the extreme left.  In particular you had a cult of the personality of the leader, collectivist solutions to problems including welfare systems and a large degree of state intervention and were very authoritarian. Continue reading The Nazis Were Socialists, Not Right Wingers

The UK General Election in 1983

1983 General Election

I didn’t vote in the 1979 election because of some reason or other that I no longer remember.  I wasn’t too fussed by the outcome of it, though I think I would have voted Labour had I managed to get to the polling booth.  I was vaguely disappointed that the Conservatives had got in, while being quite pleased that we had a woman prime minister. Continue reading The UK General Election in 1983

Margaret Thatcher – Right About Nearly Everything By Niall Ferguson

 

Just before sitting down to right this review I listened to the news.  A delivery company went bust on Christmas Day.  The venture capital firm that owned it no doubt calculated that this was the most advantageous point in the year to go bust.  The positive cash flow of the festive season would have swelled the money in the bank giving them plenty of scope for spending it in creative ways before the receivers moved in.  It wasn’t such good timing for the workers who found out that they were out of work via the media.  One twist was that the distinctive green and yellow vans were not all owned by the company.  Many were owned by the drivers who were technically self employed, subcontracting their services.  So that will cut the redundancy bill.   In other news it turns out that the UK is poised to regain its economic position ahead of France in the size of the economy. Continue reading Margaret Thatcher – Right About Nearly Everything By Niall Ferguson

Enoch Powell – The Dangers Of A Classical Education

Enoch Powell - Dangers of a Classical Education

Enoch Powell has become one of those figures about whom the myth matters more than the reality.  The basic facts are that he was a reasonably successful Conservative politician until he, apparently inadvertently, made a speech which articulated the feelings of many British people about the dangers of immigration.  He became too hot to handle for the Conservatives.  He was sacked and ended his career representing the unionists in Ulster.  By all accounts he was a highly intelligent man with a strong sense of honour who commanded the respect and affection of those who knew him well.  Whether or not he was actually a racist is almost impossible to tell.   He probably didn’t know himself – but learning Urdu is hardly the typical behaviour of your average racist. But whether he was or not, his rivers of blood speech was certainly music to the ears of people who definitely were racist.  And it definitely wrecked his career and left him to be remembered as a bogeyman. Continue reading Enoch Powell – The Dangers Of A Classical Education

UKIP are good for democracy

UKIP_are_gppd_for_democracy

We have been here before of course.  In March 1962 the Liberals sensationally captured the supposedly safe Conservative seat of Orpington.  On the very same day elsewhere in the country they turned in a swing of 22% in a safe Labour seat, leaving the official opposition looking distinctly short of voter support even though they did manage to hang on to their seat.  A new dawn had arrived of three party politics. Continue reading UKIP are good for democracy

The Smashing Orangey Bit In The Middle

Orange Book

At time of writing the Liberal Democrats are gathering in Glasgow for their last conference before the 2015 election.  Conventional wisdom amongst the political commentators and pollsters is that they are looking at an election where they are likely to lose about half their seats.  Even that isn’t as bad as it could have been.  Had the proportional representation measure they proposed early in the parliament gone through they would have struggled to get anyone back to Westminster. Continue reading The Smashing Orangey Bit In The Middle

Israel – A Romantic Project

balfour declaration
His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine would have made perfect sense in the nineteenth century.  Nationalism was all the rage.  Everyone wanted to be in a nation.  The British and the French were there already.  The Germans and Italians were working on it.  Nationalism was opposed to hereditary monarchs and their empires and so was in a way a force for progress and revolution.  Why shouldn’t the Jews get in on the act and seek to create their own homeland?   Zionism was really just a logical extension of what was the general spirit of the age.  As to the people who were already there in Palestine, well the rights of natives weren’t really on anyone’s mind at the time.   Continue reading Israel – A Romantic Project