There is a basic political problem which all parties face. A happy and successful society has to combine three very easily understood concepts. So let’s call them the Three Things:
- Economic efficiency
- Social justice
- Individual liberty
The relative importance of each of the Three Things to an individual is what defines their own political perspective. The relative level of importance of the Three Things to a consensual group of people is what defines a political party, and the adherence to the will of those people in achieving the Three Things defines the success or failure of a government and country, and shapes the happiness of its peoples.
Economic efficiency relates to the idea that whereas there are significant justifications for inequalities of income and wealth, there should not be such enormous disparities as exist today. Capital exists to serve needs. That’s all.
There are needs which are absolute, such as food, housing, health and safety, and second class needs, needs that satisfy individuals’ desire for superiority and status such as consumer goods, luxury cars, designer clothes, smart phones and a whole raft of gadgets goods and gizmos which burn capital. These needs tend to be insatiable. No matter how much money an individual has, they always want more.
Social justice relates to a notion that as a society of individuals, with an infinite number of personal objectives as to what level of personal wealth and status is ‘enough’ get together and compromise in an unselfish and enthusiastic spirit that essentially loves our fellow man and tries to give a leg up to those less fortunate or less able than ourselves. We give and take. We all do better.
Individual liberty is the notion that we generally tolerate everybody and that there is excellence and appreciation of both the ordinary and the eccentric. We prefer to give unhindered opportunity to the exceptional and to the inspiring but we allow people to do and believe in pretty much what they want to as long as they do not interfere with other peoples’ lives or liberties. It’s not Libertarianism in its truest sense though, because achieving the Three Things needs a degree of state intervention.
What has become apparent in the years since WWII – and it’s almost certainly due to the fact that there has not been the external shock of global war that changes everything – is that society is progressively becoming more selfish, more self-absorbed and poorer. In the pre-war years political debate was carried out in pubs and in church halls. The threepenny pamphlet made a generation of people post WWI thinkers rather than malleable consumers of junk news and junk politics. Libraries were vast, free, and warm.
The war galvanised the nation into fighting, quite literally, for its survival. Everything changed. The soldiers that read the pamphlets and debated in pubs pre-war shaped the government post-war.
So, post the shock of WWII, a gentler more conciliatory style of politics emerged. But it was not the politics we see today. Yes, there was a welfare state, but no, there were no benefits scroungers. Yes, there was an NHS, but no, not for cosmetic surgery or sex-change operations, and yes there was public housing, created not just for the poor, but for ordinary people.
Politicians too, were not all of the same class as they tend to be today. There were the toffs of course, the trade unionists and the grammar school kids in all the political parties, however the standard of debate and the overriding will to get on with sorting out the country trumped, to a greater rather than lesser extent, the absurdities of extreme political dogma. It had to.
Now, looming large for the first time since WWII, we face an existential threat to our hopes for a happy and comfortable society: extremism that dislocates the compromises needed by all, to achieve real progress and growth. We have the threat of being forced to remain in a federal Europe that overrides both our individualism and our national sense of unity, and we have a non-stop influx of newcomers into our country, most of whom are worthy, but also with too many bad apples that would wreck our peaceful and productive society and coexistence and feed off an infrastructure straining to breaking point.
The new political extremists, and Britain’s true enemies, are those in the Momentum faction of the Labour Party, those who would wreck a café or disrupt every university talker who they oppose, and those in the Conservative party who will gladly strip away the capital that benefits our people and divert it into the hands of bankers, financiers, the super-rich and global corporations that use our infrastructure and keep our people as sad, impoverished, uninspired and increasingly angry vassals.
These new extremists hide under the cloak of inclusion, but mean to divide and rule. Momentum goons want to subvert individual freedoms and go back a hundred years to restart the myth that extreme Socialism works. Under a cloak of nonsense regarding gender identity, by stirring up race hatred where none exists and by passing off homogenisation of cultures as diversity, they are successfully devising a construct to break up the fabric of society, just as Stalin wanted the state to wipe out religion. First they shut you up, and then they shoot you behind the ear.
The Tory goons, under the false cloak of free enterprise and a free market economy, want to keep wages down and prices high (in collaboration with the EU) whilst they rake in salaries often hundreds of times those of average workers and hoard, rather than invest, capital. The scale of it is now staggering.
Far from building a classless, productive, cohesive and ambitious society, they encourage jealousy, avarice, hoarding, greed and the class and race hatred that they purport to loathe.
But, as I said a couple of days ago, there is a place for a new political order. A third dimension.
Let’s make it ours.