Thursday, 22 January 2009

The 'red Tories' are coming......

Phillip Blond is a 'red tory.' We'll find out what that means in the forthcoming edition of Prospect who have been pumping his book for a few months now and have an article by him where he argues for a rejection of neo-liberal Thatcherite policies in favour of something more localist and anti-business. Apparently, he even argues for the break-up of Tesco.

I'm not going to pre-judge it....much. It sounds to me like a bit of a strained argument where the incompatible are stuffed into the box for the sheer intellectual delight of it. Tories have always found there to be a tension between nation (Joseph Chamberlain is a typical example), market (almost all of them), and local settled communities (the high Tory aristocracy.) It seems to be this latter thread that Blond is reaching back to.

The settled communities of pre-industrial England, where we had a moral rather than a market economy and settled bonds of kinship based around a rentier class in local communities represent an England that is long gone: we have had the industrial revolution, democratic revolution, and the advent of the social democratic state since them days there (yokel accent.....) If that is what the argument is, then it may be woefully anachronistic.

Or maybe, just maybe, there is scope for a new localism. It may be that there are interesting threads in Blond's book and I look forward to it. I am exceedingly sceptical that it can be described as Tory at all. Actually, to create a new version of communities based around local involvement and settled relations but of a more equal kind than pre-industrial Britain would require something quite radical.

Maybe he is a 'red' Tory in this radical sense. There is more than a dose of social engineering in that as a philosophy and I can't imagine anything less Tory than that. Burke will be swivelling in his grave.

Let's see, but one eyebrow is raised.......

1 comment:

  1. Or maybe he's just Canadian, where they've been knocking about for ages.