Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Well, thank you very much

Of all the surreal images left from Tony Blair's premiership, the sight of the Fettes boy in jeans and a donkey jacket at a trade union meeting has to be the maddest. It was so ridiculously insincere it actually contained a sincerity all of its own in its blunt condescension.

However, this moment must be Cameron's equivalent, as he pretends that his is the old fogey's party. Cue Americanised drivel about Britain's history being 'the oldest and proudest'. Some nations that weren't involved in the slave trade, genocidal violence against American and East Indians, rapaciously pillaging other nations, sending children to clean chimneys or starve to death etc might disagree. But then, saying that Britain has 'a complex and chequered history' might not get money to change hands, which is his sole interest in heritage. Aside from that, his party is the party of the old fogeys the way that New Labour was the party of the working classes.

It was the Tories who did the most to destroy British heritage projects. It was the Tories who did the most to support and economical system whereby drivel like Robbie Williams and the Spice Girls enjoy financial hegemony. Is it any wonder that Simon Cowell, the personification of all that's wrong with Britain, endorsed Cameron? After all, Andrew Lloyd Weber, his precursor in conveying vulgar drivel was a longtime Tory supporter.

Now heritage projects are guaranteed near total destruction under Cameron and Osborne because they have little market value.

It is curious that the reactionary Tories are now like the working classes, a major force which gets nothing but empty promises from 'their' party. Perhaps this will lead to a new drive for electoral reform. But I doubt it, given that most reactionaries like to blame 'socialism' for Britain's modern faults.

Anyway, chin up guys. Just as well we don't live in a socialist nightmare society like Venezuela where no doubt the nippers are taught to singe dirges about their great leader and his tractor factories, eh what? Just as well we live in the individualistic West where we have Big Brother, the X-factor and all those other life-affirming symbols of free-market victory.


  1. It is interesting how "socialism" continues to get blamed for so much, even though various muscular forms of socialism have been in decline for at least twenty years now. Unfortunately, many people simply think socialism = government doing stuff. If that is the case, are there any First World regimes that are not socialist? But at this point, the word "socialism" perhaps loses all meaning.

  2. @John
    Sweden actually has a higher state influence in the economy than Venezuala. But as with the Swedes' state measures to produce more blond sprogs, the Neo-liberals don't take quite the same hysteric approach to Nordic countries opposing their ideology. (Incidentally, I am with Sweden on both accounts: I just think that it highlights the hypocrisy of Western neo-liberalism).

    As for the wider question of the state, and 'libertarians' saying they would vote for John McCain because he would impose 'small government' meaning not tax the rich but try to start WWIII... I just can't even try to understand them.

  3. Already Thatcher had a problematic relationship with 'heritage'. On the one hand, she sought to promote it in a jingoistic manner, but on the other hand, neo-liberalism hates the past. Neoliberalism is philistine in that it does not understand what happened two seconds ago, let alone comprehend historical developments.

    Cameron (and Blair) embodies that ignorance (though I think Blair was aware of his promotion of ignorance, whereas Cameron is simply ignorant).

  4. @Olching
    Good point. It's as John Gray said, Thatcher expressed nostalgia for the Victorian era but her idea of utopia was more like the pro-nationalisation 1950s. I find that the neo-liberals are deeply historicist (which is ironic given that Popper is often named as an influence) yet I'd say because (rather than despite) this, they have little time for history itself.

    As for Cameron, I'd say that he shares Boris Johnson's brand of vulgarity rather than Blair's: wanting to preserve it as a bangle for the wealthy rather than a living, breathing commodity for all.