Wednesday, December 22

The 1952 Committee.

The 1952 Committee are a group of ex-Tories who have left the party for good because Howard is backing Blunkett's ID card proposals, plus some who'd already left the Tories but have been made even more determined not to return because Howard is backing Blunkett's ID card proposals, plus a couple who can't vote in UK general elections but, if they could, wouldn't because Howard is backing Blunkett's ID card proposals.

So where does that leave me? As far as I can see, what unites these people is, to a lesser or greater extent, some degree of surprise. Why? All Howard has done is exactly what anyone with half a brain always knew he — or any other Tory leader — would do. ID cards are not a Labour scheme. Labour just happen to be the government who will finally manage to push them through. It's not like the Tories never supported the idea when they were in power. It's not like the Tories have paid anything more than lip service to the idea of personal freedom for many, many years. It's not like they have a Libertarian wing worth speaking of. They're a bunch of authoritarians. Their solution to every problem ever is to give greater power to Whitehall. Howard was a typically authoritarian Tory Home Secretary, and he hasn't changed. I was surpised at the reaction from so many Libertarians when Howard became leader. "Oh," they said, "now we'll see a strong leader make the Tories electable again!" I can see why a traditionalist party-loyal Tory Conservative like Peter Cuthbertson might support Howard, but why on Earth would any Libertarian with a memory think the man had anything to offer?

I actually have grudgingly to applaud Howard for his honesty. Because, had he opposed ID cards while in opposition, I absolutely guarantee that he would have tried to introduce them if he ever became PM. At least, this way, you know what you're voting for. Or against.

So I approve of the 1952 Committee in principle. But I don't think I can join, because I never would have voted Tory, because I always knew that they would do this.

17 comments:

Andrew said...

It's not surprise at all. It's been coming for a while. I'm disappointed, but not surprised.

The problem is, if you're on the right at all, you have no choice of party to support. UKIP are unelectable. New Labour are collapsing anyway. The Lib Dems don't know whether to be liberals or uber-social-democrats, and the rest of the pack are either single-issue lunatics, neo-fascists, ultra-lefty-socialist whackjobs, or the plain insane. The Conservatives are all there is for us. And they're crap. The ID card issue is just the straw that broke the camel's back for me. So instead of trudging up to the polling station in May and reluctantly casting my vote, I will just stay in bed for 10 more minutes, and let Blair back in. I'd rather he destroyed our civil liberties than Howard.

Squander Two said...

UKIP are only as unelectable as the electorate say they are. They are also the only force capable of changing the Tories.

I think we're going to see the appearance of new party of the Right. It might be UKIP; more likely, it'll be something that grows out of UKIP; then again, it might be something else entirely that isn't even on the horizon yet. However it happens, voting for UKIP will help the process along.

Anonymous said...

Now that I think I can agree with.


John - theenglandproject.net

Andrew said...

Maybe, and maybe it will take 20 years to get to where the Lib Dems are now. I guess my point is that, until recently, I always thought the Tory party were crap, but that with a good balance of people, it could be reformed and focus on being about freedom, small government, economic and social liberalism, and the other desirable aspects of libertarian right-wing thought. Now, I don't think that's really possible. But it's a hell of a mountain to climb to make an entirely new party to compete with the Tories, make it electable, then get it into power.

Andy said...

Since my name is third on the list of members of the 1952 Committee, I feel I should make a couple of points in clarification.

1. I am not now and have never been a member of the Conservative Party.

2. I am not surprised.

Squander Two said...

Andrew,

It won't be anything like as hard as it was for the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems never had the advantage of filling a gap in the market. They had to build their base from scratch.


Andy,

I was using "Tory" in the broad sense of someone who votes for them, rather than someone who pays to join their party. As for surprise, well, I'm going from the Committee's own definition of itself here: "previously pro-Tory bloggers who have decided not to vote Tory because of their support for ID cards" ... "historically pro-Tory bloggers who had already made their minds up to not vote Tory because of other issues but who could not again support the party on the basis of their stance on ID cards." Look, I could never vote Tory because of their support for this scheme, which is why I have never voted Tory. I missed voting in the '92 election by a few days, but wouldn't have voted Tory because they were authoritarian control freaks with no respect for liberty. I didn't vote Tory in '97 because they were authoritarian control freaks with no respect for liberty. I didn't vote Tory in '01 because they were authoritarian control freaks with no respect for liberty. If you're at all Libertarian and have supported the Tories at any point in my lifetime, then you've been deluding yourself. Blogging has existed for, what, four years? Any historically pro-Tory bloggers who hate Blunkett's proposals have been living in cloud cuckoo land.

If that's not you, perhaps you shouldn't be in the committee.

Perhaps we could start another committee. What was the year in which the Liberals ceased to have a hope in hell?

Andy said...

I was using "Tory" in the broad sense of someone who votes for them, rather than someone who pays to join their party.No you weren't. You said "The 1952 Committee are a group of ex-Tories who have left the party for good..."

Never having been in the party, I am in no position to leave it.

My position is merely that I would have voted Tory had they opposed the government's desire to turn the country into a police state. Some Tory MPs obviously do, but they're not in control of party policy. As long as the Tory Party had such MPs, there was always the possibility that they might.

Perhaps we could start another committee. What was the year in which the Liberals ceased to have a hope in hell?It was probably 1922, when the Liberal-Conservative coalition collapsed. Unfortunately, there already is a 1922 Committee.

Squander Two said...

In common parlance, someone who votes for the Conservative Party in Britain is known as a Tory. I had no idea that that was so controversial. I concede that I could have used a better phrase than "left the party", but I would describe myself as having left Labour, meaning that I withdrew my support from them and stopped voting for them, despite never having been a paid-up member.


> My position is merely that I would have voted Tory had they opposed the government's desire to turn the country into a police state. <

Yes, and my position is that that's a bit like saying that you would have voted Communist had they supported privatisation of the welfare state.

Andy said...

Yes, and my position is that that's a bit like saying that you would have voted Communist had they supported privatisation of the welfare state.But, given that there are Tory MPs who oppose the government's desire to turn the country into a police state, and, I suspect, no Communists who support the privatisation of the welfare state, your position doesn't make a lot of sense.

Squander Two said...

Ach, so you can find some Tory MPs who support your point of view, just as I can find at least one Communist who has spoken eloquently in favour of free markets. Big deal. I'm talking about the chances that those views would ever be any more than the opinions of a handful of MPs, the chances that the Tories would ever be non-authoritarian in government. Those chances were always negligible, and became nil the moment they elected Howard leader.

The way I see it is that what I've been saying to Libertarian Tories for many years has been proven completely right by facts. You, on the other hand, are talking about a hypothetical situation. Argue all you like about how your hypothesis might have come true if if if if if. It didn't.

Andy said...

...I can find at least one Communist who has spoken eloquently in favour of free markets...Interesting. Who?

I don't agree that the chances of the Tories opposing ID cards were negligible. Howard failed to get them through the last time he was in power because he was outvoted by the rest of the cabinet. That could always have happened again.

The fact that your expectation was proved correct is no more impressive than correctly predicting that a coin flip will come up heads.

I hope your taking this good-natured banter in the spirit in which it is intended.

Ian Grey said...

I'm also a 1952'er and am not a Member of the Conservative Party. I cannot say "and vever have been" although the story is rather benign.

I was a Member of a Conservative Association for 12 months or so in the 70s- my old man persuaded them to start up a private club in their underused premises after his local went downhill. It was in the rules that you had to be in the association to be a Member and I wanted to help it along (despite living 200 miles away at the time).

Story over, back to your business, nothing to see here....

Squander Two said...

>> Interesting. Who? <<

Ken McLeod, in The Star Fraction. Whether it was his own opinion or merely the opinion of one of his characters, I could not say. However, the man is a bit of an expert on left-wing theories, and his books reflect strains of thought that are already out there. The argument was basically this:
Communism is superior to Capitalism in every way.
Therefore, Communism can compete with Capitalism and win, on a level playing field.
The only level playing field is a genuinely free market.
Therefore, in a genuinely free market (and he's talking about anarchy here), Communism will not need to be forced on people because they will choose it of their own accord.


>> Howard failed to get them through the last time he was in power because he was outvoted by the rest of the cabinet. That could always have happened again. <<

The Cabinet voted against him because the government had a pathetic majority and the public were perceived to be against ID cards. Unlike Blunkett, Howard hadn't figured out how to fool the public into supporting the measure. Now that we're past that milestone, no, it wouldn't happen again. I reject your implication that the Cabinet voted as they did out of principled dedication to individual liberty. Were that the case, half of Howard's other measures as Home Secretary would have been voted down too. Had the Tories retained power in '97, they'd have got round to ID cards again sooner or later.


>> The fact that your expectation was proved correct is no more impressive than correctly predicting that a coin flip will come up heads. <<

Not at all. One is a random event; one isn't. And coins don't have personalities.


>> I hope your taking this good-natured banter in the spirit in which it is intended. <<

And how is it intended, pray? Heh heh heh.

No worries. I hope you're doing the same.


Ian,

Now, there's a policy that could save the Tories. "Join us so that your dad can go to the pub! You can go too, if you like!" It'd be a landslide.

Andy said...

Ken McLeod, in The Star Fraction.Oh yes, I'd forgotten about him. As it happens, I'm reading The Star Fraction just now, and I've already read The Cassini Division, a later book in the series.

One is a random event; one isn't.Not really relevant. Predictability also depends on how much prior information you have, not just on intrinsic randomness. I don't find the evidence that you have such information particularly convincing, especially coming from someone who has confessed that "I really don't spend much time on politics, I don't usually watch the news, and I don't read newspapers. I was even less interested in politics and current affairs for most of the 90s, when Howard last wielded power".

Squander Two said...

Well, if you're going to start quoting me out of context, I shall sulk.


>> Not really relevant. <<

You should work in meterology.


>> I don't find the evidence that you have such information particularly convincing <<

Ach, fair enough. If only I'd been blogging for the last four years, I'd have more legs to stand on. All I can say is that the Conservative Party has been obviously and fundamentally authoritarian for my entire lifetime.

Squander Two said...

I didn't think The Cassini Division was up to much, but The Star Fraction and The Stone Canal are superb.

Andy said...

You should work in meterology.What makes you think I haven't?

In my last job I was an oceanographer, which is only one boundary condition away. And it did involve, at one point, collecting meteorological data on behalf of a colleague.