To any kind of leftist, be it tankie, old skool sectarian trot, trad social democrat or libertarian/anarcho-socialist type Conservative party conferences are very much an exercise in political anthropology. After all althought the labour party has divested itself of most of its social democratic principles, it's form and method of organisation are pretty familiar, even New Labour's vanguardist lenninist take-over was a textbook operation familiar to most leftwing activists. The Labour party still has the sinew and reflexes of a left-of-centre party so it's internal politics can be easily followed.
The Conservatives however have not and will not ever be a socialist party, it is the party of captial, of the petit borgeious businessman, Burkean stick-in-the-muds, the small landowner, the surrogate England party nostalgic for empire absorber of the old classical liberals and patrician neo-aristocratic one nationistas. As the cliche goes the Conservatives are designed to be good at one thing: winning elections which leads quite neatly onto another cliche being that it's no accident they are called 'the stupid party'. The Conservative party is not really interested in ideas, Ideology like their party's leadership is a means to an end. Conservatives being the ultimate pragmatists.
Thatcherism was then an aberration for the Conservative party. The entryism of various libertarian, 'free market' idealists and other radicals into the Conservatives is still causing them severe indigestion even now. Only Thatcher could keep this coalition of eurosceptics, gonzo corporate 'libertarians' and the party's traditional class interests together. The party's ideological schisms and factions were hard to manage lacking. This brings us neatly to Cameron...
Cameron is in many ways a sign of the party returning to its aristocratic blue-blooded roots and to the Conservatives pragmatic power seeking ways. To paraphrase Private Eye the general consensus was that the 'oiks' had had a good enough go at running the party and now it was the toffs turn again. Cameron's orientation is power and he will mouth whatever pieties are needed, politically cross-dress, softsoap and do whatever is needed to get elected. The traditional Conservative position only made strange due to the 17 year old Thatcherite abberation. Cameron is returning the Conservatives to their political roots, be afraid!
Labels: Cameron, Conservatives, Libertarian, Right-Wing, Socialist, Tankie, Tory