Labour might be stagnating, but the Tories aren’t
Contrary to popular
belief in the leftie circles in the UK, the Conservatives have done some
serious modernizing of their party, and I can do nothing but congratulate them.
There is this narrative in the British left that says the Tories are all old people
who will eventually die, and as someone who’s basked in those waters long and
hard I have to admit that I used to buy that story too.
However, that’s not the case. Sometimes in the past 30 years the Tories became
the party who speaks about jobs, while Labour are stuck in their old socialist
welfare narrative that was old in the 80s and it’s even older now.
This is deeply amusing since it actually places today’s Tories closer to Marx’s
teaching than Labour is.
Marx wrote at length about the lumpenproletariatt- the class that lives on
welfare and whose only contribution to society is their children. He also
explained in great detail how the lumpenproletariatt’s purpose is to actually
keep the working class in check by making them fear losing their jobs and
sinking to that level.
However in the past 30 years, around the time Thatcher
started getting the UK straight, something funny happened. The working class
had this interesting experience where some
of them realised that work does pay, that buying your own house is kinda nice
and that working and paying less taxes is better than paying more taxes in
lower paid jobs.
The others lost their jobs and chose to remain on welfare. And this is where
something interesting happened.
Labour learned that taking the working class for granted was a very bad idea. Turns out Marx was right and the best way to
make the working class happy is to make sure they have jobs and opportunities.
But see, when the system works to your advantage, you don’t want to smash it
anymore. Turns out that the working class preferred living well to the years of
discontent, and Labour were left behind to wallow in their own misery and
So Labour realised that it’s bad for them to have the working class do well. So
they changed their focus towards the lumpenproletariatt, who were unlikely to
do better and move out of the suffocating socialist embrace. Meanwhile, the
Tories learned the lesson, and evolved with the times. Today’s Tories talk
about equality and jobs and have learned that it’s a good idea to target the
aspirational classes. The times of the rich bourgeoisie and fat cats are kinda
gone- and a new generation of well
educated professionals prefer the ideology that rewards them for their success.
Meanwhile, all Labour has to offer is screams about welfare which may do well
with the losers, but only with them.
Instead of learning from the events unfolding around them that socialism
is dead and buried and it has destroyed every country where it was implemented,
they hand on to a charter that’s 100 year old and prefer to pretend nothing
happened ever since.
We’d like to pretend that the Conservatives are the ones who are prisoners to
dogma, yet Theresa May came out with a speech that is more left and more
Marxist than anything Jeremy Corbyn ever said.
This is also the reason why even after 6 years in power and the implementation
of austerity, the Tories are still taking votes from Labour. Because the
working class would rather have jobs, and in the days of the internet it has
learned that high taxes and lavish welfare only serve to punish people for
The Conservatives have managed to sell Austerity to the public and to make it
work. The results are seen, 900k people
off the dole and back into work is a great achievement. Hearing David Cameron
talk about the implementation of the Living Wage rang the bell on the old Tories and opened
the era of the Tories as a genuinely modern center right party.
Contrary to what Labour says, Austerity, when coupled with
solid economic reforms, works like a charm. Austerity worked for Ireland, it
worked for the UK and even Romania, the poorest EU country has managed to pay
off its bailout in 7 years and to have one of the highest rates of growth in
We’ve seen in David Cameron a Prime Minister willing to
admit when he was wrong and to change what wasn’t working. That is in and by
itself pure pragmatism, and I hope history does make this honourable politician
justice. After all, he made electoral
promises and delivered on them- and one should be unbelievably deranged to
think that’s a bad thing.
The Tories have managed to portray themselves as the party
of the successful working class versus Labour who’s been pushed into being the
party of the losers.
thought I would ever have to write this. While I don’t entirely agree with the
Tories on many things, it is the duty of the pragmatist to acknowledge a job
well done. Begrudgingly so, I tip my top
hat to the Conservatives. For now.
Even the excesses of IDS and George Osborne were not tempered by Labour- that
has been deeply irrelevant for 6 years, but by the Tory backbenchers who have
managed to surprise us with a nice crop of interesting political figures. Do pay attention to Jacob Rees-Mogg.
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