Thursday, 17 June 2010
This is me bringing the old blog out of hibernation. I'll probably ultimately ditch this and switch horses, but thinking about what's what first. Or in other words why I ultimately felt pretty unsatisfied with this blog.
Those who followed my blog will pretty much know my politics: I'm economically 'old left', socially ambivalent (pro-life, against the right to sue for discrimination except in very compelling circumstances, no views on civil partnerships, in favour of legalising handguns, most drugs as well as prostitution), internationally isolationist, anti-war, in favour of multi-ethnic patriotism though against politicised multiculturalism and ghettoisation, and in favour of intelligent pan-Europeanism though fairly ambivalent about the EU, in favour of high immigration, but immigration in tandem with a sensible housing strategy (an area where the self-righteous left and atavistic right are equally bad). I'm generally libertarian in terms of civil liberties/ surveillance but think it worth noting that many social-democratic countries have better records in this regard than capitalist ones.
Whilst this is a wide list of my political views, not all of them hold the same weight. I don't even take caffeine after early afternoon, but can't see what we gain by giving the drugs trade to criminals. Likewise, I'd have no interest in visiting prostitutes (or indeed in becoming one) but can't see what society gains by putting vulnerable people from poor backgrounds under the 'protection' of savage pimps rather than the police. However, I think the priority should be in creating an egalitarian and happy society that prevents these things rather than in using statist approaches to the outcomes and for that reason would support dirigisme social conservatives.
My cultural tastes (which I hope to focus on more) might be less well-known: lots of (generally pretty naff) music from the 60s-80s, Brit films of the 60s-70s, books with lots of drama from Aeschylus to HP Lovecraft. I think I'll bring more cultural reviews in partially because I relate to Britain more through its popular culture than to the country Britain has become.
Anyway, I think my bitterness towards modern Britain came out too much. There is a lot that's very badly wrong with modern Britain, but I think it is possible to unintentionally multiply the historicist solecisms of the very people who are ruining our country. For instance, we keep hearing about what a rotten country that Russia is because of its history. In fact Russia was a deeply enlightened country during late Tsarism. But if you want to attack a modern country based on its history, just read accounts of people being hanged, drawn and quartered in front of massive, baying crowds in England.
But even then, on a more personal level I do love Britain or Scotland at least: though spiritually, linguistically, demographically and historically I see Scotland as largely Northumbrian (and whilst I have some sympathy for the Gaelic movement West of Kingussie, I find it positively creepy how they're inveigling their way eastwards). There is an open-mindedness and a sense of humour that doesn't exist in many countries. Yes, there are uniquely odious creatures spawned on the humid flatlands of the South and, being honest, reading George Orwell's views on Britain (i.e. a small patch of South East) leave me cold. But overall I think many Brits are really amongst the most open-minded and friendly people on the planet and the British language has a great flexibility and beauty.
I'm hoping that I might be able to make a contribution to debates on British politics which might be coming up whilst possibly also focusing on what I think the left should do. But as we don't know what our masters are scheming at present, it is difficult to know what to say.
Thanks to all the people who contributed comments to my blog; it is always encouraging to get feedback whether positive or negative.
(If this reads like a very badly thought-out-ramble it's cause I've been feeling really, really rough: summer cold/ hayfever combo).