Introduction by Ben Wright & Speech by Ed Vaizey
Peter Hitchens Speech
Iain Dale Speech
Discussion Part 1 - Dale attacks Hitchens who hits back
Discussion Part 2 - Vaizey on a more Tory agenda & Dale on why people go into politics
Q & A Part 1 - Tory schools policy, localism & Europe, Terrorism & civil liberties
Q & A Part 2 - Civil liberties - has it dropped down the Tory agenda?
Q & A Part 3 - Universities & vocational education. Dale & Vaizey disagree...
Q & A Part 4 - Climate change, a hung parliament, leadership & optimism.
I wrote about the event HERE, and was fairly critical of Peter Hitchens' approach to the debate. Peter has sent me the following email, which I am happy to publish. Watch the videos and make your own mind up!
My difficulty with Iain's account of the Oxford Orwell debate is this. What I would really appreciate would be a serious Tory loyalist reply to my criticisms, which are I think quite clear, rather than the misrepresentation of my views and suggestions that my motives are cynical or based upon spite.
I do not say , and have never said (because I do not believe it) , that the Tories lost the last three elections because they were not conservative enough. They lost them because they were the Tories, and beyond rescue.
They still are beyond rescue. As it happens their manifestoes were not specially conservative in any of the last three elections, but I am not sure how much difference this made to the outcome. What is clear is that they now believe their future lies in accepting New Labour's social, moral, cultural( and economic) positions.
Nor do I say that all politicians are careerists. However, I do say that those who pursue office without principle are careerists, and that when or if they get office, they will not be in power. I regard this as a statement of observable fact, not of opinion.
My motivations are not personal, nor the result of bitterness. I am unwounded by my wholly predictable and expected failure to win the Tory nomination for Kensington and Chelsea nearly ten years ago, and in fact remained a member of the Tory Party for some years afterwards. Nor am I a Trotskyist sleeper. My motivations, like those of Iain Dale, are based on a desire to help my country.
I am not thoughtless or destructive for destruction's sake. My prescriptions for national reform are clear from my books (which few of my critics have read, though they have read hostile and mendacious reviews of them) and from my many writings. My conclusion, that the Tory Party is an obstacle to political conservatism in this country, is further explored in my next book, to be published on 5th May, 'The Broken Compass'. Please read it.
Hitchins is talking bollocks which is easy for him because he is a pillock.
This - "What is clear is that they now believe their future lies in accepting New Labour's social, moral, cultural( and economic) positions." - in particular is self serving drivel.
There are arguments for right wing tories to make and ways to make it.
I know because I am a right wing tory.
Hitchens however fails to make them. His penultimate sentence is a load of sh*te.
Conservatives lost the last election in particular because the electorate and the media on whose reports the electorate rely were all living in a fools paradise.
“What is clear is that they now believe their future lies in accepting New Labour’s social, moral, cultural (and economic) positions.”Now there’s a coincidence. New Labour believed its future lay in accepting Tory social, moral, cultural (and economic) positions.
I think the Conservative Party could pick up a lot of votes by being more "Right wing" right now. The question is , is that "Conservative"
In a sense it is not .
Iain Dale is a Tory party loyalist, Hitchins is an self-serving idiot.
He is getting a bit more moderate though, being in the same room as a gay...
I agree with Hitchens. The modern politician's approach to deviants is to laugh at them and call them unrealistic. I define deviants as people who disagree with some of the fundamental assumptions of Westminster. Nowhere do people actually engage with their arguments. Iain Dale does this on his previous post about Hitchens: he plays the person rather than the ball; he calls him names ('whacky','unrealistic'). This is the reason so many people are turned off from politics: if their opinions don't match those of the governing class they are simply ignored. It isn't just McBride who is smearing his opponents. Iain is, of course, much gentler but the general and unthinking thrust is the same: if you don't agree with us you're a racist/loon/BNP supporter/evil toff/naive etc. The pejoratives might change, but whichever the refusal to engage in honest argument is almost universal in Parliament. What a sad irony.
Although I can't endorse what Scary Biscuits says about our blog host, I do agree with everything else s/he writes. I also agree with Peter Hitchens. Currently, in Britain, we have one political party masquerading under three names. But they are all social democrats and not worth a vote. It makes no difference which one gets in.
Seen this? Fascinating short film of police searching the house of an "alleged"? protester/activist. The police are seen bagging up copies of the "New Statesman" as evidence of the individuals "views"!!
Police confiscate property of a 'political nature' from a suspected environmental activisthttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2009/apr/19/police-activismIain, you'd better not leave any copies of "Total Politics" lying around the house. They might just get used against you in future......
Much of what Peter Hitchens writes makes perfect sense.
Unfortunately, when he is meant to be taking part in a panel discussion (as at the Oxford Literary Festival) his behaviour makes you understand why he is widely known as BonkersI'm also not very sure what alternative he is offering to the current Conservative Party - he never makes that very clear.
Verity, I don't mean to offend Iain simply by mentioning him in the same sentence as McBride. I just think that those who spend too long in Westminster lose touch with what ordinary people think and feel. This applies to nice people (such as Iain) as well as the scumbags and weasels.
I also think it applies to Cameron too. He is too much a part of Westminster to be able to reform it effectively. Iain, for example, thinks we have a financial crisis. This is a neat way of politicians presenting themselves as the solution to our problems, when in fact they are the cause. There has been a failure of democracy across the West in recent years and this has led to financial problems: although as riots spread across Europe I am sure politicians will present it as being the other way around.
To solve our financial crisis we first need to solve the the democratic crisis that we are in: where 60% of people didn't vote; where non taxpayers get to chose what taxpayers money is spent on; where governments can ignore their manifesto commitments (e.g. Lisbon).
To fix this problem we need to think outside the box of what Iain defines as 'realistic' or 'pragmatic'. Cameron and Brown are arguing about whether government spending should rise by 1.1% or 'be restrained'. They are arguing about trifles. The real argument should be whether is should stay the same or be cut by 50%. Indeed, so bad is our financial situation that cuts of this magnitude may no longer be so fanciful. In Europe, the indiginous population is in demographic collapse which means that our ever declining numbers of children will find paying our debts even more difficult: in fact, this is a far more serious financial problem than the credit crunch. But did you hear anybody at the G20 discussing it. They could hardly move for elephants in the room but, strangely, nobody thought them worth mentioning, less they be accussed of being 'unrealistic'.
To solve this problem we don't need financial reform but democratic. Parliament has become a menace to our liberty and needs to be reigned in. We should reduce its term back to four years. We should re-introduce the requirement for Parliament to unveil its legislative programme before we vote for them and we should extend this to include their budget, so that they might never again spend our or our children's money without permission or take away our liberties. The question is who will do this?
Its pretty much a certainty that the conservatives can get into office at the next election.
I think Hitchens has a point that this will be achieved without anything like a big idea , nor a challenging, positive and exciting vision of what the UK could be. If the talent exists within the party to construct this (?) would they sacrifice winning 2010 by scarily telling it like it is - (e.g. the current pensioners will be the best supported and richest unless we remove the collective "thumb up bum - mind in neutral" approach ) - no - they will come into office with little power/mandate to make significant changes, and they will tinker at the edges until they have to spin the minor amount they can do and we are back to square one. Am I alone in being deeply underwhelmed by the Tories, and yet still hoping to see the back of Brown et al
If they really sought out a positive vision for "UK plc" in the global, technologically changing, and dangerous world they could risk losing in 2010, in which case they would win the inevitable vote of no confidence in 2011 and then have a true mandate to make the kind a serious changes that are needed, from re-inventing education, to re-allocation of infrastructure support to higher tech industries, promotion of much greater individual freedom and concomitant greater responsibility, the rejection of sections of society who refuse to make a contribution ( from all strata) and the support of those that do, both in terms of opportunity and dare I say it equity.
The rest of Hitchens is amusing rhetorical jousting which you found difficult to counter as it is not your style.. no need to go onto his manor
Iain for the first minute or so of Bonkers Hitchens speech were you sleeping.
I pretty much agree with Scary Biscuits summing up of the situation. Trouble is, people think that all democracy is is being able to vote. It isn't - the USSR allowed everyone a vote, but it wasn't a democracy. Democracy is derived from popular soverignty - the belief that government is the true, expressed and legitimate will of the people. This requires true political choice otherwise, as with the USSR, you're all voting for the same thing. Part of the problem comes from the fact that much of our parliamentary sovereignty has been offloaded to the EU - so any restoration of true democracy to Britain has to start by addressing that issue. Essentially, though it means restoring real plurality to political choice and that is not currently available in any realistic form.
Peter Hitchens would disagree with the colour of white paint if he felt he could score points by it.
He has become the most useless commentator living in a fantasy world (Hitchens World?) and I can't understand why anyone still listens to him or bothers to read what he writes.
Keep taking the tablets Hitchins, you are now totally irrelavant fantasizer.
As an ordinary (albeit middle class) mother of two I agree with Scary Biscuits' (nice moniker!) last comment. I am new to this blog and, as a matter of fact, to anything at all to do with politics. My Grandmother used to say at dinner: 'here's to us and to those like us!' which just about sums up the amount of productive discussion we had in our household. Nor have things changed much one generation on. Now if that's my case (someone who was offered a place at New College, Oxford, for example to prove I'm not just dim or uninterested), what chance or interest has the majority of the rest of the populace to understand the obscure ins-and-outs of the political spectrum and its players?? Even I find this blog quite hard-going(but that's precisely why I'm becoming a habitual reader). However, generally most people with no understanding of politics want the same thing as any of us: enough of the Nanny-state; safety on the streets for our kids; a serious crack-down on crime and drugs; qualifications and education that actually mean something (and the ability to put our kids in private schools if we wish to make the sacrifice, without it being branded "elitist" and having that personal choice being eroded- c.f. even Jade Goody...). We want a health service that won't kill rather than cure us, and our taxes to be used on projects which benefit us and not bigwigs or fat cats. The ability to get a mortgage, feed a household well without resorting to cut-price white bread, baked beans and battery chickens, jobs and pensions for those who work and active programs to encourage those who don't. And no bullsh*t. I think Obama made such a wave because he projects such an aura of honesty. We don't want sleaze, smears, backbiting, lies and blatant opportunism. Nor expense accounts indirectly robbing the average citizen (who, to generalise, probably struggles to get a new carpet let alone fancy stone sinks!)Or surely at least one or two of the above??
Try not to lambast me for whatever ignorance I may display in this posting - I represent a section of educated but uninformed electorate, but after all who'll be voting? at least I won't be one of the 60%(?) who stay at home...
Hitchens minor is a typical ex-marxist convert. Over zealous to the point of tedium in his new religion of one and with a clam like closed mind.
Paul Johnson he is not.
Peter Hitchens has a vision for the UK - regrettably he has never been able to state what it is.
His mission is to tell the Conservatives that they are not real Tories - a plinth reserved only for himself, Heffer and Daley. They are the only ones who would have followed George W. Bush to the death, if they were Americans.
The world has moved on since 1979, deteriorating steadily in almost every way. There is no great set of graven tablets to be found, no sovereign remedy - only pragmatism, honesty, decency and hard work.
Hitchens feels that his ideas cannot be criticised or even understood if one has not read his books. I am prepared to accept that rolling in poison ivy is a bad idea and that black truffles are probably sensational even though I have experienced neither. I do not need the purgatory of reading his output as I have seen him in the flesh and read his columns. they were evidence enough.
Peter Hitchens is a prat. I don't think you need to put forward a resenbel argument, just watching the vid. all you can think is Peter Hitchens is a prat.
I don't want to hog this thread, because it's rude and inelegant. But I agree with every word you write, Scary Biscuits.
In addition, I have mentioned over on The Speccie several times, that the welfare sector should not be accorded a vote. There is no sane reason why they should be having a say in how other people's money is spent.
I would give someone who loses his job - especially in these parlous times - around a year to become a producer again, then remove their name from the electoral roll. When reemployed, it's a mere click of the keybaord to restore them. Most, however, will be passengers for life and should have no say in the governance of the country.
At the stroke of a pen, this would erase all reasons for politicians to court them or cater to them.
I had such difficulty hearing what Hitchens was saying both in his "speech" and in the exchange with you Iain that I gave up.
The man is so arrogant that he decides not to use a microphone and does not care whether the audience can hear him clearly.
He must have very few friends as he sees so little good in others.
There seem to be an unusual number of peabrains out today.
Sorry if that means I am playing the ball - and in the new labour way of saying sorry that means of course that I am not sorry at all.
Not sorry because it is hopelessly unrealistic to expect the massive cutbacks allied to day dreaming levels of tax cuts, that the anti conservative 'conservatives' constantly bleat about to be enforced.
THE GENIE IS OUT OF THE BOTTLE. Thats why labours massive and unfunded spending sprees was so dangerous and illustrates why all governments need to control spending and get value for it.
It will take huge efforts to get spending down and tax revenues up to obliterate the deficit and then, lets not forget, build up a surplus and then pay back some of our debt.
On top of all these niceties is a huge pensions liability.
The very scale of the problem will no doubt ensure that something approaching these superhuman efforts will take place - but for the Tories to trail anything is just plain daft when no one can trust any figures coming from the govt on which any opposition speculations could be made.
For those of us who want an alternative, a real alternative, there isn't one.
When Peter Hitchens writes:
"What is clear is that they (the Conservatives) now believe their future lies in accepting New Labour's social, moral, cultural( and economic) positions" I have to agree with him. There is not a fag paper's difference between the lot of them.
We live in the age of beige.
And what makes it worse is that we have neither a Swiss System - five hundred years of love and peace - or the communist system - a hundred years of banditry - but a miasma of woolly consensus based on guilt for the Empire and a kind of dabbling with existentialism that has resulted in a nation that is politically correct, morally bankrupt and supine when it comes to accepting top down governance.
In a nutshell, we are f....
I am saddened that few seem to want to engage with Hitchens' concerns.
You are spot on Iain in you reading of it, in my opinion of course.
Anonymous 3:53 -I have been beaten around the head and shoulders for writing that the Conservatives must not win the next GE. If Labour scrapes through, that would be ideal. They couldn't - even with a new leader - stagger on for more than 18 months. Meanwhile, the Tories would have got themselves a real leader with real convictions for which he/she was prepared to engage in a real fight.
Iain likes David Cameron. I don't. I think he is false. And weak. And, like the man he is heir to, he sees his ultimate future at the top table of the EUSSR.
We need someone with the vigour, vision and tenacity to clear out this overwhelming mess of the destruction of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, and our second chamber; the destruction of our civil liberties and the imposition of thought Fascism; a police force that is out of control, trough feeders in Parliament not attending to the business of the country, the wanton destruction of our educational system, the sell-out to Europe, the obeissance to Islam - indeed, the whole Gramsciesque march through our institutions.
It's all got to be rolled back. It's going to be one hell of a task.
Is that Jaquie Pierce, aka Servalan mistress of the universe? I bumped into her once in Queensway and was to effing tongue tied to speak. Good choice!
Oh, and what Verity says.
Hitchens is a man who seems to be always about to explode into rage and anger over some trivial matter. I wonder if he leads a happy life, or is his nature always that of a smouldering Krakatoa?
The reason we couldn't hear Hitchens is because iain stole the microphone from him right at the beginning and being a psychologiser I would say it was because he unconciously did not want anyone to hear Hitch's demolition job on the Tories.I know I couldn't.
Victor: "They are the only ones who would have followed George W. Bush to the death, if they were Americans"
This is a perfect example of what happens to Hitchens. It's not just a total misunderstanding of his position, its a deliberately mendacious misunderstanding that portrays him as some sort of fascist. You can't be bothered to understand what he thinks, it's too far outside the box for your liking, so you assume he must be crazy or stupid.
We could hardly here Peter H, due to Ian nicking the mic.
"My conclusion, that the Tory Party is an obstacle to political conservatism in this country....."
I have been a member on and off of the Conservative Party for 30 years today.
I personally came to the conclusion that The whole original purpose of the Conservative Party was to act as an obstacle to political conservatism, at least 15 years ago.
However I came to the conclusion then that "one must work, with the best one has," rather then living in Hitchins World.
However since then, times have now become critical and are becoming more so every day. The New World Order, world communism or world FASCISM, as my grandfather used to call it, is now here and has its feet firmly planted on the dining room table. While the metaphorical Panza's are already parked up in the local Tesco's Car Park.
It seems that the only conservatives that have noticed, are myself and Dr Sean Gabb.
Cameron never even mentions The New World Order, even though Gordon Brown does constantly, and seems to believe that The New World Order is the best thing since the first coming.
We can not afford another Thatcher, and we can not afford another Labour government, ever again. The Lib/Dems are a complete NO NO as they have always been the party of The New World Order, ever since it was called The Wigg Party.
Cameron evidently has the future of this country in his hands.
Therefore it is no wonder conservatives are nervous to say the least. ( personally I believe that if conservatives fully understood their true position right now, they would be unable to leave their toilet seats. )
This country in association with the USA has been set up for a very big fall of the THIRD REICH variety. In very much the same manner as Germany was during the 1930's.
History is indeed repeating itself. This time the free world, or whats left of it, is going to lose more completely and with more far reaching consequences then even Hitler did.
The German people especially German Jews, were effectively murdered and fleeced by The Zionist Roman Catholic Church and its very own world banking system. Now they are coming for us and the US, as well as possibly the rest of the worlds Jews.
I will vote Conservative, but I fear that the next time will not be the last because a better alternative will somehow magically appear.
This will be the last time, because it will in reality turn out to be the last election this country will ever have.
The next Conservative government will have effectively a world war on its hands, or something that will seem every bit as serious, and certainly more murderous.
Under these circumstances only a liar, crook or an utter fool would want to be PM of this rapidly dieing and already bankrupt country.
The only people who can save us, is US the people.
No longer can we trust our parliament ( if indeed we ever could ) to deliver us justice and liberty. We must fight for freedom, with every ounce of our being, and until our last breath leaves our lips, if required. Cameron will either be with us or against us, we will find out for sure soon enough.
Then the real 'fun' starts.
As Dr Gabb is well practiced as saying.
Conservatism has never been stronger with regards to the British people. It is the political representatives of conservatism, that have quietly exited the political stage.
We are not being presented with the best of both the left and right world. We are being FORCED, kicking and screaming, into the worst of all worlds. The sooner you yourself Iain, and other mainstream conservatives understand this, the better for us all.
Iain remember this, because people like myself surly will.
There is no point this time blaming everything on the last lot, however logical the argument my seem. The Conservative Party has been in opposition for 11 years. This while Gordon and his side kick Tony conspired to rob the people blind. Yet all Cameron and co would spout on about, despite the best efforts of the party's membership, was either GREEN or even more obvious criminally inspired establishment nonsense.
Therefore the Conservative Party leadership as well as its grandees, major contributors, and other assorted big wigs, are almost as much to blame for our current state of deliberately conspired bankruptcy, as Brown and Blair, if not more so.
Sorry one more BTW
Hitchins can not be trusted anymore then his soused bother. They are both from the same stable, and their politics is far more similar then they pretend. Both of them are in my opinion, unwitting or not, servants of the same foreign power, both authoritarians, and are both FASCISTS. They may be standing on different sides of the wicket, but they both bat for the same team.
Iain, just a digression, my apologies.
Stephen Hawking, the brilliant scientist, the best living scientist that our country has produced, is reported to be very ill at the Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. He is the Cambridge University's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, the chair occupied by Sir Issac Newton. Let us wish him a speedy recovery.
Now there’s a coincidence. New Labour believed its future lay in accepting Tory social, moral, cultural (and economic) positions.
You are of course right in one respect. The Labour Party certainly claimed to have accepted The Conservative Party's moral, cultural, and economic position. But as we now know, they are a bunch of liars, when not being corrupted or mind controlled fools.
Pity they did not actually ask Conservative members what conservatism actually is, as clearly the Conservative leadership never did have a clue.
If had actually been had what TB and GB claimed to be on the tin. They would by now stand to win the next election with the biggest majority known to political history outside Zimbabwe, and the country would be the richest and most free on earth. As they were in reality plainly a brace of despotic criminal liars, working entirely for 'outside powers', we are now where we are.
Even during the Thatcher years many conservatives considered socialism/fascism/communism was at best only marginally controlled, when it was not perfectly rampant within the entire public, secret and civil services.
What we have is TWO establishment parties, which have been set up by our establishment to represent a left right false dialectic.
What we get therefore is the worst bits of both, which are exactly the same bits that our ESTABLISHMENT have long since planned to give us.
Democracy is effectively as dead as a dead thing can possibly be IMO. Perhaps others can convince me of otherwise, but somehow I doubt it.
As George Galloway is infamous for saying.
If elections actually changed anything, they would ban them.
Which is exactly what our establishment plan on doing as soon as there is the slightest chance that an election would indeed change anything.
In other words
Just at the time when we need democracy the most, we will no longer be allowed to have any.
Ask Guido Fawkes.
His job is not only to undermine New Labour. His job is to agitate for the destruction of public confidence in our entire parliamentary system. Without the slightest suggestion as to what we are going to replace it with. Most likely because it is not going to be replaced with anything better, it is simply going to be abolished and replaced with, jack-boot in the face for eternity, stile FASCISM, as soon as the Papist bastards can possibly manage it.
Well done Verity and Scary Biscuits, it seems you are finally getting the real picture coming into focus.
>>In addition, I have mentioned over on The Speccie several times, that the welfare sector should not be accorded a vote. There is no sane reason why they should be having a say in how other people's money is spent.<<
Excellent idea, Verity.
But we'd better include all public sector employees too. And students. And pensioners.
Why should any of those parasites have the right to vote ?
Come to think of it, shouldn't we have proportional representation ?
Proportional to the amount of tax paid.
How much did you pay last year ?
“- a plinth reserved only for himself, Heffer and Daley. They are the only ones who would have followed George W. Bush to the death, if they were Americans.”Er. I think Janet Daley is an American?
Hitchens talks a lot of sense.
Sorry Iain, but I think that the points Hitchens makes in his email are all very valid, especially in these changed times. To me it is plain that the party is under the control of those who have accepted New Labour's entire ethos and seem, wrongly in my view, to believe that, totally unprincipled, wholesale emulation is the way forward.
Did you move Peter's Mike away from him deliberately?
Wrinkled Weasel, Scary BiscuitsHear hear!
I knew the Tories had lost the plot for sure when they sidled up to Polly Toynbee; that's what I call bonkers.
Mr Angry, the Conservative leadership is wedded to the social democrat ethos and world government. David Cameron announced that he was the heir to Blair in Parliament? Why did people, given his record, think he didn't mean it?
Anonymous 7:48. As I have mentioned on the Speccie several times, there are two segments of the population that should be disenfranchised. One is the welfare sector as mentioned heretofore. The other is the public sector.
The public sector is a little more difficult because it does include some whose labours contribute to the wealth of the country and to trade.
Sorting that out would be harder than simply disenfranching all the non-employed.
The military, for example, should obviously retain the vote. What about the police? Once I would have said yes. Now I would say "under no circumstances". By the same token, some pockets of the fire service have become too politicised - as in the service that is offering Islamic women firefighters (oh, pulleeeeeze) the opportunity to run up ladders with hoses and rescue people while wearing hijabs and burqas.
What about the NSH? Again, I would disenfranchise them (actually, I'd slash them in half, and then disenfranchise them), but these are grey areas and up for discussion.
Which is why I didn't mention the public sector in my previous post. I was going to bring it up later, if anyone showed any interest in my first proposal.
OAPs - I would accord the continued right to vote, given that those at this age now have probably worked and contributed all their lives. After that, it should be based on some formula of quarters worked.
Um.. I was there and I have to say I agreed with pretty much everything Peter Hitchens had to say. Do not mistake this statement as some kind of fan base, just a statement of fact. However I find his email confusing:
"I do not say , and have never said (because I do not believe it) , that the Tories lost the last three elections because they were not conservative enough. They lost them because they were the Tories, and beyond rescue."
What does that mean exactly? It's late, I've had a difficult day and maybe I'm just being thick. But one thing I've learned about Peter Hitchens is not to assume meaning but to ask for clarification. Obviously Iain has learned that too. Sorry you didn't get it, Iain. Apparently there's a set book and we have homework to do.
Incidentally; once again it's all about Hitchens. He's good at that.
The days are long gone when the tories can be far right and labour far left. In the past when communications were minimal political parties could be extreme but these days, with global communications as they are world events control our destiny more than a handful of politicians. No government could possibly get away with very extreme left or right policies, as Tony Blar discovered, and Dave Cameron also seems to have cottoned on to as well.
The problem with shallow thinkers such as Hitchens is that they still live in a time warp and have not caught on to the modern world. The same can also be said for the extremist dinosaurs of labour and conservatives,
The real question is who do you trust to run the economy? The last thirty years have shown that labour are good at screwing it up and it's then down to the tories to put it right. As someone said on newsnight a little bit of boom and bust is no bad thing as it makes people aware and brings spending and borrowing back in check. The very concept of Browns statement that he had brought an end to boom and bust was totally flawed as it removed this check.
And how this has been proven......... BIG TIME!
Can I just make clear that I certainly did not take the mic away from Peter, as he would be happy to confirm. If you watch the video he very ostentatiously pushed it away and said he didn't need it.
Rex @ 11:41pm said: "The problem with shallow thinkers such as Hitchens is that they still live in a time warp and have not caught on to the modern world"
I don't think Peter Hitchens lives in a time warp, I think he's an idealist. A Bible-bashing idealist.
Have any of you read the 1662 book of common prayer that Peter Hitchens espouses? Or any version? Did you read the bit where if a woman wants to know anything she should consult her husband? Yep, Peter Hitchens is in the 1662 society if I'm not mistaken.
Rex - anyone who thinks the words "BIG TIME!" make a show-stopping final line probably isn't worth responding to.
However, the night is young where I am ... A petit fisk ...
"The days are long gone when the tories can be far right and labour far left. In the past when communications were minimal political parties could be extreme but these days, with global communications as they are world events control our destiny more than a handful of politicians."
World events don't control our destinies. To which world events do you refer? Switzerland and Norway, both citizens of the world, although not the EU, have weathered this recession better than anyone else.
Britain ran a vast empire when communications were minimal.
"No government could possibly get away with very extreme left or right policies, as Tony Blar discovered ..."He did? He took an axe to our Constitution and a wrecking ball to our Bill of Rights and our Second Chamber. He strafed our education sector, and handed carte blanche to the police through the person of Ian Blair. Today, riot police in Britain apparently are not required to show their numbers on their uniforms, they can manhandle members of the public - and there is a new imaginary law that people are not allowed to photograph the police. And the day before yesterday, two of Britain's finest accosted a pair of Austrian tourists and forbade them to continue to take photos of London's red buses, and took their cameras and deleted the photos they had taken. (Which was illegal.)
I think Tony Blair managed quite well, despite your reservations.
I really like your ideas, Verity, but you still haven't addressed the point about PR.
Perhaps we should make taxation voluntary at the same time as making voting proportional to the amount of tax paid, and that way we could establish a free market in votes ?
The only thing that troubles me is how we are going to bring all this about, as it will necessarily involve disenfranchising the majority of current voters.
Do you think they will go for it anyway, or will we have to mount some sort of coup ?
@ Philipa said...
"Have any of you read the 1662 book of common prayer that Peter Hitchens espouses? Or any version? Did you read the bit where if a woman wants to know anything she should consult her husband? Yep, Peter Hitchens is in the 1662 society if I'm not mistaken."Jabba is reminded of Vincent Price in Witchfinder General whenever Hitchens minor starts doing God.
Anonymous 12:08 - I am not in favour of PR, although would be prepared to debate it with you. But now, the most urgent need is to drain the toxins out of the governance of Britain. Later, we can talk the fidgety stuff.
Stan said Part of the problem comes from the fact that much of our parliamentary sovereignty has been offloaded to the EU - so any restoration of true democracy to Britain has to start by addressing that issue. Which is really the heart of the matter isn't it ?
What do we hear from the Tories about this ?
Anonymous 12:09 - no one said it would be easy. Details later. But the dross has to be swept out and Britain has to agree, once again, after a gap of almost 20 years, what is civilised government and what are its limitations.
This will not happen under David Cameron's leadership. of "the Tories". He is too clearly the self-declared heir to Blair, the most hideously destructive prime minister ever to occupy the office.
It was a stupid statement to make, and ordering a standing ovation for the most evil man ever to occupy the office was not just foolish, but hostile to all our country means to us.
I have said before that I don't care that David Cameron was a jerk when he was at uni. He shares that title with thousands. It is that he has an agenda that is anti-British and destructive to our ancient, very hard won with the blood of our ancestors, sovereignty.
>>I am not in favour of PR<<
Verity, I'm a little disappointed by your apparent lack of free market principles.
If we're going to have a productivity requirement for the right to vote, surely it's only fair that those who contribute most should have the greatest say ?
Though I admit those Sainsburys do worry me. Fortunately, I don't think Branson pays much tax.
What do you say ?
To say that the Convervatives have no big ideas is just to focus on the headlines generated by the media. It's true that there has been no single 'manifesto' stating everything in a form that can be pinched/rubbished by our beloved government. Howver, if you look at the work of some (not all) of the reviews you can see some very interesting themes being developed:
- IDS on social reform/the broken society
- devolution of power away from the centre
- true 'parent power' in education along the lines of the Swedish model
- realism on economics: we can all aspire to lower taxes (and believe me, I pay plenty!) but the primary objective HAS to be sorting out the financial mess that Labour has left. Cleasrly there MUST be carefully targeted tax cuts (I like the savings proposal) although more as a statement of principal than anything else. However, there should also be increases (for instance - although I would lose heavily by this - I am not opposed to restricting the level of tax rebate on pension contributions to the basic rate) but they should not implement the increase in high rate income tax (because this is such a high profile 'statement' issue which raises comparatively little revenue).
Some interesting ideas...finger crossed they have the courage to implement them!
Peter Hitchens has asked me to post this...
"Limited timeon a remote e-mail. Having difficulties posting a response.But please do say that I'm most happy to confirm that yoou didn't t steal the microphone, of course you didn't, I pushed it away myself because I think loudspeakers destroy spontaneity.
But don'tall your contributors who call me rude names rather underline my point that loyalist Tories don't wish to engage with my arguments. Those who say they don't know what my alternative to the Tory Party is need only read what I've written.Of course, they don't have to, and I cannot make them. But if they don't, how can they be so sure I'm wrong and bad?
I've always disliked the term "Tory" , although I have always voted for the Conservative and Unionist Party . It drags us back to the days of an un-reformed Parliament , the Corn Laws and the political repressions of the immediate post-1815 years . The party has absorbed so many liberal and patriotic influences since then and become so much more - the TRUE repository of liberalism , I would suggest .
Verity , however , seeks to take us back to those dark days by her proposed reforms to the franchise . Indeed , she seeks to impose even greater restrictions than existed before the Reform Act . At least then doctors and other respectable gentlemen could vote if they had paid their scot and lot !
She seems confused , though , in her proposed welfare reforms , becoming even more Whiggish than Edwin Chadwick who at least offered the poor the chance to survive in the work-house . Verity does not say how they should sustain themselves without food or shelter , but I'm sure she has a cunning plan .
>>But don'tall your contributors who call me rude names rather underline my point that loyalist Tories don't wish to engage with my arguments. Those who say they don't know what my alternative to the Tory Party is need only read what I've written...<<
Any random nutter with a book to sell might use the same line.
Having seen Hitchens a couple of times on Question Time is quite sufficient engagement for most of us.
"Having seen Hitchens a couple of times on Question Time is quite sufficient engagement for most of us."
"most of us" ? are you sure ?
IMO Peter Hitchens speaks for the silent majority.
Slightly off topic and more to address Verity's suggestion about taking the vote away from public sector workers - I have to disagree. No taxation without representation was the rallying call for the American War Of Independence and I think that is just as applicable today. However, I agree entirely that people who do not work should lose the vote until they are working.
On the subject of NHS workers - why do they have to be public sector? What is so sacrosanct about the NHS? Surely, as long we retain a health service which is "free at the point of access" it shouldn't matter whether it was public or private? Currently, the NHS costs every man woman and child in this country around £1500 per year - regardless of how much or how little you use it. Of course, as many people don't work the actual cost to most of us who do is considerably higher - the irony being that those who pay least towards the NHS tend to be the ones who use it the most.
I know people argue that the NHS delivers good value for money compared to our European neighbours - but I expect this isn't the case. We do not include the huge costs of social care in our health budget - it comes out of local government budgets instead - while other countries include that social care in their health budget.
As long as the central ethos of health care - that it should be available to all and free at the point of access - is maintained, then why would it matter if the NHS were privatised?
Either the point is to deliver the best health care to our people that we can - in which case it wouldn't matter - or the point of the NHS is to provide a socialist tool to ensure that the third largest employer in the world is beholden to the state therefore ensuring a large voter base for socialist parties.
>>IMO Peter Hitchens speaks for the silent majority.<<
There is only one was of testing that assertion, and unfortunately Mr. Hitchens seems to have abandoned his parliamentary ambitions.
Verity you make my very point. In the days when we ran a large commonwealth communications were minimal. Do you think we could get away with it today?
And would you still call Tony Blair a leftie after all you sins, which you describe, he has committed?
Surely its because of world events i.e. global bank deregulation, which led Brown down the path of disaster. He merely had the choice of following or, like the Switzerland etc, not to follow. He didn't set the agenda and as he has found out cannot set the world agenda.
BIG TIME - sorry if that offends you..... well I'm not really!!!
Peter Hitchens always seems to protest that if people actually read his work we would see how correct and how wonderful he is (classic narcissist) He assumes that people don't read his work and dismisses them as "loyalist Tories", which some of us who disagree with him are not. As Hitchens argument hasn't changed for years.. and years.. allow me to recall a comment by 'Field' from Boris Johnson's blog in 2005:
"Yes, I am familiar with ex-Trot Peter Hitchens.
I’m afraid I am not overly impressed with him. It’s true he’s good at pointing out the Emperor has no clothes on but he has been wrong on a lot of things. He failed entirely to see that Islam in the UK represented a threat to our society and used to praise the conservatism of Muslims.
I am never quite sure what his “conservatism” consists in except for condemnation of the current Conservative Party! It seems in many ways he wants to “turn the clock back” as he says.
Whilst it is true that 50 - 60 years ago the UK was a much more law abiding society and the streets were much safer, there was much that was wrong about it: grinding poverty for many, hidden sexual abuse, violence towards children, very low levels of educational achievement, unmerited deference.
Hitchens seems unable to explain how he would keep what I would presume he wants to keep about the advances in society whilst reinstating conservative values.
My own view would be that he tries to write the state out of the equation, when it really lies within the power of the state to create an environment that would be more in line with his values e.g. by stamping out crime, reducing drug taking and so on. Or to put it another way, he is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks the family and religious observance are capable of being reinstated in their previous form."
The Young Oligarch writes that I seem confused. The confusion is all yours, Oli. You say I don't suggest a way the non-working sustain themselves. Why should I? I didn't suggest any changes in that area. The same way they do now. Through enforced taxpayer charity.
My point, as you appear to have missed it, is they should have the vote removed. So they cannot vote themselves ever larger shares of the national wealth in whose creation they played no role.
Stan - No taxation without representation was a rallying cry in the United States almost three hundred years ago. In those early days, everyone was self-supporting , and when they struck some ill fortune, they were helped to recover their independence by neighbours and family. We're 300 years further on. We now have career, multi-generational charity freeloaders. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of them.
I am in accord with you over the NHS and have so written many times. As the British public seem to love it the same way some women love an abusive husband, I would say, pragmatically, you could not at this stage dismantle it (although that should be the ultimate aim). Instead, taxpayers should be able to nominate the healthcare company that their NI deductions go to. Those who choose the NHS would continue to enjoy its many charms, efficiences, overstaffing and outright malice by directing their NI deductions to it.
Those who nominated private companies to receive their NI deductions would be treated privately.
Further to the reform of the charity sector, other than disenfranchising the non-producers, we have to address the way we sustain them. Giving them money for TVs, cigarettes, beer, lottery tickets and other discretional spending is outrageously unjust to people who work for a living and have to think twice before spending money on such products themselves.
We should have adopted the American system of food stamps at least a decade ago. I can't remember at this point whether every supermarket accepts food stamps in the US, or just some. Anyway, food stamps can only be used for food. Any supermarket that lets someone through with a bottle of Coke or a bottle of shampoo on food stamps won't be reimbursed for those products by the Government. It's not a parallel currency. It's vouchers. It has worked in the US for 30 years and penalties for both recipients and stores who try to bend the rules are rather severe and involve long prison terms.
Although I don't know if such exist, I would also introduce tokens for hygeine products. Bog roll, soap, detergent, etc.
End of story. No cash. Non-producers should not have discretionary income, and making life sustainable, but much less pleasant on the dole might perk up some interest in going out to work.
As Peter Hitchens made me remember this comedy vid then I guess I should post the link on this thread. Watch til the end to get the best laugh.
But Iain, if I can refer to another thread are you going to publish your hopes for the Budget before it is revealed?
Apologies to Iain for sugesting microphone purloining! As my guru used to say 'don't judge anything till you know all the facts'.
Apologies for the Edwin Chadwick bit , Verity . I mis-read your original post .
Your views on restricting the franchise to an even greater extent than in 1832 remain , however , barking .
Who will nominate the members for the resultant rotten boroughs where no electors exist ? Will it be the Trade Unions or the Lord Lieutenant of the county ?
Philippa said ...
Whilst it is true that 50 - 60 years ago the UK was a much more law abiding society and the streets were much safer, there was much that was wrong about it: grinding poverty for many, hidden sexual abuse, violence towards children, very low levels of educational achievement, unmerited deference."
Do you really believe that is true? Do you really believe it is any better today?
Grinding levels of poverty - by what measure? By comparison to Victorian times the poor were positively affluent! The point being that real progress on poverty was being made even then - and despite the country having recently gone through a war.
Hidden sexual abuse - against whom? Are you talking about domestic violence - which is more prevalent today than it has ever been - or abuse of children by their parents - which is as prevalent today as it has ever been.
Violence towards children - how many kids have been stabbed to death this year? How many in 1960?
Very low levesl of educational achievement - patently laughable in a nation where half our children leave school barely able to read or write.
Unmerited deference - to whom? I suspect what that refers to is the fact Britain used to considerate it rude and impolite to brag to a grandfather that you'd shagged their granddaughter.
All those things you cite are as prevalent today as they have always been - and in many instances much much worse. And, as you point out - the streets were safer and the people more law-abiding as well. So, after fifty years of progressive (social) liberalism we've solved none of the problems you claim existed before the experiment started, but we have lawlessness and dangerous streets. Wow - some progress!
Spot on ! Too many people , even those who consider themselves on "the right" , have bought into the Leftie fantasy of unparallelled progress from our previous misery and servitude . We are clearly spiritually and morally worse off than 50 years ago . Just about every social problem has got worse and many new ones have been created .
We have very little of the freedom we once enjoyed and many live in fear of cultural Marxism in the form of Political Correctness (surely the ultimate oxymoron ?).
Peter Hitchens is generally correct in his observations about this . I recently read his book "The Abolition of Britain". His observations about our vanished decency spark memories that "Progressive" social and historical revisionism can't obscure .
Anyone who doesn't want to stand up to this can hardly call himself a conservative .
they weren't my views you cite, they were the views of 'Field'. I merely made the point that Hitchens views hadn't changed for many years and this was a comment made in 2005. Also that people who disagree with Hitchens aren't necessarily unfamiliar with his work or 'loyalist Tories', they simply disagree. (Didn't Rousseau make the same mistake - assuming that if people understood his views, his argument, they would agree?) Actually I was trying to consider history, which you ably did. Thank you. I can't disagree with you and so agree with the Young Ogliarch too.
My own position is that while I agree with Hitchens observations (as Field says he's good at declaring the emperor has no clothes) I don't altogether agree with Hitchens solutions. For example I don't agree with lifelong marriage as it was in Tudor times. There has to be some get-out clause for bad behaviour such as physical or sexual violence in the family. However the divorce laws today seem divisive and unhelpful. We've gone from the pan to the fire.
Peter Hitchens views on rape are disgusting to me.
He has the view that you should not cherry-pick religion and contends that marriage is for life. Yet Deuteronomy positively lists cause for casting ones spouse away and taking another. I think Field makes the case that religious observance will never be what it was. It is my view that Islam is encroaching on our society and we should consider that. Field is correct that Hitchens has praised Islam's conservatism and religious consistency.
There is much about our yesterday that should be preserved. But there were reasons for our today that should not be ignored. If we turn the clock back to recreate those problems that's not progress either.
PS: I too have read the Ab. of Britain. Read his rants in the MoS, read his excellent articles from abroad, watched him in debate and argued with him personally. Arguing with him can be like Barbarella being tortured but it did chafe after a while.
Fair enough, Philipa - I realised that the comments were from someone else called Field, but I thought you were generally in agreement with them. Apologies for misconstruing your views.
I'm the first to concede that there has indeed been progress in the last fifty years of "social liberalism" - but the progress has been technological and medical - not societal - and that progress would have occured had we remained socially conservative (maybe more so, but who can know). At societal level there has been no progress in the last fifty years and every indication - particularly with education - that we are, in fact, going backwards. Given the huge technological advances of the second half of the 20th century - travel, communications, science - we should have been far in advance of where we currently are.
The last fifty years has been one huge progressive experiment whihc has clearly failed - and yet all Iain and the rest of Tory party (and, indeed, all our main parties) can do is advocate more of the same! It's barmy!
As far as Hitchens is concerned - I read his blog and generally consider his views on most things to be similar to mine (I don't know what his views are on rape), but he is annoyingly reticent to offer solutions.
Then again, when he does he is often accused of being a dinosaur who wants to "turn back the clock" - so I can understand why all he does is offer up usually valid criticisms. After all, it isn't his job to provide the answers - that's what politicians are supposed to be for!
Such a shame that none of them have any.
Stan - thanks for your reply but there has been societal progress of a most positive kind in the last 50 years - legislation has been passed that states that a woman and a man doing the same job should get the same pay. That it's sometimes ignored is still a problem but there are other good things such as women being able to rent property and get credit (eg. a mortgage) in her own right. We no longer have to sleep with the landlord (ie. husband). But I think PH is correct that many things have been sold to women as progress that weren't and also things that have an unfortunate unforseen consequence, such as the pill. In fact his take on womens issues are so insightful I'm all the more disappointed by his views on rape.
The 'Blair babes' made me sick. And the women simpered along with it. You are so right, Stan - politicians should come up with answers to societal problems but all they seek is office, not progress.
Appreciate that about equal pay, Philipa - but there was already progress being made along those lines long before progressive liberalism came along. That progress was (and is) driven by the basic laws of market economics - supply and demand - more than political doctrine.
I'd also argue that actually relates to one particular narrow section of society - women - rather than society as a whole. You could claim the same for a number of other sections of society, but the point still remains that, overall, society has seen a significant decline.
It's relatively easy to improve aspects of society for specific sections of that society - the trick is getting the balance so that society benefits as a whole rather than a particular group. Clearly that has not happened.
By the way, I followed the link but couldn't find anything on there linking to Hitchen's views on rape. The article seems to suggesting that there is an assumption (by Hitchen's?) that women who go out skimpily dressed and get blind drunk are asking to be raped - which is not a position I hold and one that I doubt many men of my generation would.
But we were brought up in very different times.
Stan - women a narrow section of society? As in half of it? Hmn.
Yeah sorry about the link I meant to reference this one which links to Peter Pompous-pants original article but also offers comment (He doesn't like to be addressed by his personal identifier he says, but by his family name. Which can confuse him with his brother but there you go)
OK - I should have been more specific - women who want to work. Not all of them did, quite a few would rather not have to.
With regards to the Hitchens piece - I read that (rather than the article you linked to) and all he seems to be saying is that we all ought to take some responsibility for our actions and the consequences resulting from those actions - something I don't disagree with.
Stan - if that's what you understood from the Hitchens article then you think that if it gives you comfort.
Personally it is my view that if Peter Hitchens were passed out in front of me and wearing nothing but a smile it should not make it legally more acceptable (or morally acceptable) for me or anyone else to hurt him in any way or force anything upon him. And I don't think he should 'take responsibility' for making sure he doesn't wear shorts in public lest someone is inflamed with desire for his body and decides to force their penis into him for their pleasure.
I don't think he should make sure he doesn't look too attractive. I think he should be free to live and wear what he pleases within the law, as should we all, and that the law shouldn't bend to accomodate the lack of self-restraint of a rapist or lack of other people taking responsibility for their own actions, such as rape.
If someone was dead on the street it would not make it more ok, in my view, for someone to use them for sex. SOME THINGS ARE JUST WRONG! But presumably you and Hitchens wouldn't blame the victim for dying? Or should they have taken more care to have died in a safer envirnoment??
The victim doesn't make rapists rape. Only the rapist chooses to do that. And most rapes are carried out by people known and trusted by the victim, not strangers in a park. Rape isn't usually about sexual gratification as much as it is about power. And RAPE should be punished, not the victim.
"Personally it is my view that if Peter Hitchens were passed out in front of me and wearing nothing but a smile it should not make it legally more acceptable (or morally acceptable) for me or anyone else to hurt him in any way or force anything upon him."
If you can tell me where Hitchen's says that it is legally or morally acceptable to rape a woman then please point it out - because I can not see that in the article. Nor does he say women shouldn't go out looking "attractive" - just the opposite in fact - what he says is that in a Britain where there are few moral restraints and few deterrents to commit crime then it falls upon each of us to be aware of how our actions can have unintended consequences. I'm sure Hitchens, like me, would prefer a Britain where a drunk woman can pass out comatose in the park and not be molested - just as we'd prefer it if we, as men passed out, we'd wake up with our wallets still in our pocket. Chances are we wouldn't. It's how it used to be, but it's not how the world is today.
His argument, as far as I can make it is that the reduction in compensation does not make it more or less "OK" to rape a woman - it just reflects the reality that the woman who is drunk and passed out on the street made less effort to avoid being in that situation than a woman who may wake up in her own bedroom in her own home behind her own locked doors to find an intruder forcing himself upon her.
Compensation for being the victim of crime is a contentious issue anyway - who pays for it? We - the taxpayer - do. Just like am insurance company would expect someone to take reasonable steps to ensure their car can not be stolen, it's not unreasonable to suggest that if you leave the car unlocked with the keys in the ignition then maybe you shouldn't get such a big payout.
But let me reiterate - nowhere does Hitchens say it is more or less acceptable (morally or legally) to rape a woman just because she is drunk. You're placing an interpretation on his words that doesn't exist.
It's such a silly argument too - does anyone really believe that any amount of money can compensate a woman for being raped? I don't. Wouldn't it be better if we had a decent law-abiding society where women could go out and get as drunk as they wanted without worrying about being raped? I think so - and I'm sure Hitchens does too. The question is - what are we going to do about it?
The liberal left think that the answer is to make it easier to prosecute rapists, but all that does is deal with the aftermath - and not very effectively - it does nothing to address the moral breakdown of society that has led to the situation arising in the first place. We need to deal with the disease - not the symptoms.
The libertarians argue that the rule of law is enough - but the rule of law is only effective as long as their exists a belief that you will be ultimately be punished for your crimes even if you are never caught. In the absence of God from society - who believes that? In the absence of an omnipresent God, the alternative is to create a society where every thing we do, everywhere we go, every action we make is watched, monitored and recorded - the omnipresent state.
However much they try, though, the state can not watch every one of us every minute of every day - but that doesn't stop them trying.
Even if you're not drunk you should be careful not to flash your wallet around too much, but rather keep it tucked discreetly away in your pocket.
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