Here it is (I’m not sure about the title). If you want more examples of the appalling arrogance of those who felt that 22% of the vote did not earn a party the right to media representation, here is Tim Montgomerie 6 months ago; very prescient, is the only lukewarm praise I can give him.

I don’t particularly enjoy being as purely party-political as this; you have to trust me that my style is to look at the issues and then see where the politicans stand.   You have to see some of my sniping as the disappointed effusions of a would-be-Tory.  Unlike some,  (UPDATE) I don’t think a vote for the Tories could “never be justified”

In fact, out of curiosity I joined the LSE Conservatives in 2006 , and  I felt that if the Cameron rebranding went on as it seemed to there might be a fair chance of them winning over my vote (apart from a bright chap called Paul Church, I found most of them to be the sort of buffoons who sat around chortling ‘wouldn’t it be fun if we could get in Boris to speak, hurhur’).  If they had made more of the right calls over the last 18 months, and stuck to their rebranding, my job in opposing a bunch of people whom I have always found to be decent, intelligent and humane when I have met them individually*, would be much more difficult.

But they don’t stick to the rebranding.  From the FT:

Financial regulation, tax and climate change were the most controversial areas of policy for would-be Tory MPs, a Financial Times investigation has found, with a number of candidates unconvinced by the party’s direction.

Anyway, when you take a wonk who finds real fault in some policies, combine it with some personal knowledge of the qualities of the LibDem leader, and mix it up with the arrogance of the Tory backlash, you get the sort of irritated effusion you can read on CiF today.

*UPDATE: If you want a good example of this decency, Iain Dale displays it today. Not that the most popular blogsite in the country needs another inward link, but I browsed his site expecting more of the same, hoping to gloat myself, and was pleasantly surprised.


17 thoughts on “Latest CiF piece: the outrage of the entitled

  1. “And surely they don’t think that their Big Society was enough? It sounds awfully nice…………..”

    In what was can the Tories Big Society vision even be thought to ‘sound nice’?

    Semi-compulsory membership of a neighbourhood group based on an understanding of ‘community’ which doesn’t even touch the surface of reality, and ‘organise’ by people who are using up the equivalent around 10% of all the Trust and Foundation grant money in the country, that could actually be used for something for something useful, sounds terrible.

  2. “Unlike some, I don’t see a vote for the Conservatives as proof of moral degeneracy, wilful self-interest or blind tribal stupidity.”

    Er, do I?


    I just think that voting Tory can never be justified because it (however marginaly) increases the likelihood of Tories having power. And there’s always a better alternative than Tories having power.

    So don’t put words in my mouth. You’re not entitled to ascribe any assumptions about the VOTER to me whatsoever.

  3. Just to expand: a friend of mine from university – Ronnie – is an old One Nation Tory. He is very intelligent, and very erudite. He thinks hard about his views, and can argue for them. I think he’s wrong about everything, but I respect him and I understand why he votes the way he does, and why he is a member of the party that he is.

    He is not morally degenerate, wilfully self-interested or blindly tribally stupid. And he votes Tory.

    Also, it’s a bit much extrapolating from one brisk comment. Especially when that comment was trotted-out in response to people accusing me of being a Tory. Which for obvious reasons I find quite annoying and hence is an illusion I wish to disabuse people of.

    In sum, retraction please.

  4. I find it quite worrying that you take my political views to be that crass, actually.

    Yes, I have tonnes of tribal loathing for the Conservatives as a party. Yes, I hate a lot of their figureheads. And I think a lot of their voters are idiots. But it doesn’t follow that I adopt a stupid, teenage view of everyone who votes Tory.

    I’m not RM, for crying out loud.

    1. Honestly, I don’t think you or your views are crass! I will put it on the record now: I think you have some of the most interesting views on the web. But you did write that people should never support the Tories, ever …

      I was sure you did not really think that – but I had no other example of a viewpoint that I know is held out there.

      I will put it on the record now. Pauls’ views are not crass. LIke him in that comment, I was putting down a quick comment that cannot capture a complexity of viewpoints.

      But you do say that “voting Tory can never be justified” which is very interesting. I think plenty of people could justify giving their votes to the Tories, and I did in 1992 – and possibly will again some day. It is possible to regret many of the consequences of Thatcher while still thinking it is better that she and not Foot won in 198 (though Jenkins wd hae been nice …)

      When I get the time I will amend the post so that it says ” a vote for the tories is never justifvied” instead of “proof that the voter is X” because I can see that the two should not be conflated, and apologise for the linkage.

  5. Incidentally, I think there is still clearly a difference between us which remains interesting. I don’t think someone voting Tory must be ‘wrong’ about something . He can have a different view of what matters – set of values – or conception of how the same good things might be achieved, which given the infinite complexity of our social-political system is quite possible – and no person has the right to say he ‘knows’ which one is right, obvious.

    but, finally, he may think the vote is in his interests. “This may hurt 51% of people but it helps me” – do we honestly condemn people for voting that way? It would seem a little harsh. If a small businessman saw that the Tories were going to introduce an outstandingly business friendly package for him would we not be losing something if we asked him to think like an indifferent social planner with impeccably egalitarian views?

    I am genuinely interested in what you think (because you are not crass, you see). And because I have not made up my own mind yet

  6. Giles,

    Of course i can accept that people may vote Tory out of justifiable self-interest or even with the best of intentions. But from where I stand, Conservative governments are always worse than some alternative, so voting Conservative is – ultimately – unjustifiable from my perspective. Of course, others will disagree. I think they’re wrong. Can I “prove”that they are wrong? Manifestly not – those sorts of “proofs” are out, unless one thinks that a) it’s a transcendental metaphysical fact that Tory Governments are always bad, and b) I somehow have privileged access to that fact. I think neither a) nor b). However that doesn’t diminish my conviction. To me, Tory Governments are A Bad Thing. And that’s all I need to stake my claim. I can happily accept that others disagree – and prompty disagree with them in turn.

    But no, I dont think we’d be ‘losing something’ if Mr Small Business voted not out of self-agrandising self interest but out of a regard for the good of others (this is the non-scary, non-totalitarian and very interesting thought that you find in Rousseau’s Social Contract, which has sadly been misinterpreted and caricatured into idiocy by people like Isiah Berlin). Of course i accept that this is unlikely to happen in real life – and bad consequenes are very likely to follow if we try and force people to be wholly other-regarding; i wouldnt want that, though encouring less selfishness is a different thing from scary coercion – but it seems to me just obvious that a world in which people vote out of regard for the good of others rather than the good of themselves alone is a better one.

    Now a different question arises: do we actually get good consequences if people vote in self-regarding ways more than other-regarding ways. Interesting parallel with basic political economy: it’s through people having “avarice” and wanting to accumulate stuff for themselves and their nearest and dearest that supply-and-demand gets going, manufacturing takes off, and eventually all the vast benefits of economically advanced society are afforded to us. That is -as Bernard Mandeville put it in the early 18th Century – there often seem to be Public Benefits arising from Private Vices.

    But I don’t think it’s the same with voting. I don’t think that voting selfishly has a wonderful tendency to result in publicly/socially beneficial outcomes. Hence, I’d rather Mr Businessman voted with reference to his neighbour and not just to his bank balance. Though I accept that may never happen, and the best approach may be to construct institutional structures deal with and chanel self-regarding behaviour which may have socially-damaging consequences.

    Like electoral reform, perhaps, which gives the Lib Dems and Labour the upper hand and keeps the bastard Tories out for as long as possible.

    Neat, yes?

    1. See, I knew this would provoke an interesting response. I can’t regret my putting in that cheeky little link now.

      Being more of an atomised individualist than you, I think I would probably keep with my view that we would lose some good consequences if people tried to vote from an enlightened, veil-of-ignorance position each time; because I think that so much information is tied up privately that would not otherwise come out (appreciating that a dumb vote is not very informative). I appreciate this all the more sitting inside the Westminster bubble, full of all sorts of people who think they know what is right, and how to get there – but lacking quite a lot of first hand experience of how, for example, an economic surplus is created, how people think in the private sector, and so on.

      When I hear of someone wanting to express a very different view from mine – say, on immigration, where I could be justifiably accused of Panglossian optimism about how things pan out – a part of me wants to say ‘you ignorant so and so’ – but I am also prone to ask what it is I don’t know. I get uncomfortable frequently about my own views. Likewise, if I found a businessman objecting strongly to some piece of wise regulation, a part of me might want to say ‘you selfish/irresponsible/etc’ but another part wonders what it would be like to be in the worrying position of running a small business. What a soppy liberal; but as a result I am always somewhat awed by those with the sheer self-confidence to express views of such certainty as you can manage.

      Have a nice day. Tom says hi.

  7. I take it you don’t believe taking 17.4% of the vote & beating the “Liberal” Dems into 4th place entitles UKIP to some coverage also. Shome mishtake shurely?

    1. No. I think a pragmatic approach should be to look at the vote share in the election that is actually coming up, rather than in another election entirely. Similarly if a new party started and was polling 20% in the polls, it ought to deserve representation, even though it got zero in the previous Euro poll.

      I understand that UKIP are at 3-4%. Given this, the amount of representation they manage on things like Qustion Time is quite remarkable.

      Have a nice week Neil. Good luck with the Five Year plan for 10% growth.

  8. “What a soppy liberal; but as a result I am always somewhat awed by those with the sheer self-confidence to express views of such certainty as you can manage.”

    Well in the business of politics, given that it includes making – or at least, hoping to influence – decisions that affect other people’s lives profoundly, one better be certain as hell that what one is doing is right.

    Now, that doesn’t mean just ignoring everyone else. That’s the road that leads to Stalin (or, er, Brown). But it does mean having the courage of one’s convictions and taking into account that others have courageous convictions and that they may have very good reasons for them which need to be considered.

    However when it comes to putting one’s prefered policies into action, it’s no use being wet and sayign “oooh but everyone has their own opinion”. It’s decision time, so you better be damned certain that you think you are doing the right thing – even if at some level you accept you must ultimately be uncertain about a)what the right thing is and b) whether you are in fact consistently promoting it.

    Otherwise, you’re just slyly absolving yourself of the responsibility for making that final decision – or perhaps worse, abandoning/forfeiting the responsibility so that others take it off your hands; others who may be very shady indeed.

    Nice to see the Balliol-CF production line is continuing to churn them out. Bit of a gamble opting for a historian* though…

    * I am only technically a historian by faculty-allegiance these days. I have done barely 6 hours of actual nuts-and-bolts history in an MA degree that eats about 50 hours of my time each week.

    1. I find it ironic: with your approach you should be aiming for executive responsibility somewhere, and I should be aiming myself into academia

    2. Though I would add: we are not trying to put policies into action, and have all the time in the world to investigate the causes of heterodox opinion …

  9. OK my post above is sort of incoherent as stated. Hope you can work out what i think I mean.

    Got to run to Barrats and berate someone for selling me crap shoes that broke.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s