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July 12, 2016

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Warren Tarbiat

I think Theresa May seems very much going for a Christian Democratic angle than being the liberal Conservative economics of David Cameron & George Osborne. Basically Angela Merkel's CDU with Coalition with the SPD. George Osborne & David Cameron had the view point of some right-of-centre liberals; free-markets & emphasis of home-ownership and spasms of joy when house prices go high. Theresa May is saying in her speech on housing which from a Left-winger like me is welcome but we have to wait & see how policy will play out.

AndrewD

I have said for some time that I can see the whole Brexit/Corbyn/Leadsom Débâcle resulting in a realignment in British politics but people laugh at me. I see the right conservatives splitting off to join UKIP (which renames its self The Conservative Party), the left labour group splitting to form a “Socialist Labour”, and the rest consolidating around the Greens and Lib-Dems. There may be a role for an expanded Co-operative party. I also foresee increased action by the streetfighting left in defence of the immigrants and others. I may be completely wrong but as I said I could see this happening.

Mark

I see May as a recent switcher from the established church of one-nation Conservatism to the younger, insurgent faith of Red Toryism, perhaps reacting to the dramatic schisms in British society laid bare by the Brexit vote.

Red Tories believe in free markets but despise unconstrained capitalism; for them (us), a market that is free is not one that is unregulated but rather one that is regulated in such a way that it is fully contestable, by all prospective participants.

Thus, all forms of rent-seeking by those who hold economic or other power are to be challenged in order that the market - something we love, since we're Conservatives - can operate effectively.

The aim is to reduce handouts, replacing them with a hand up. Granted, the Cameroons used this rhetoric, but with their affinity for Notting Hill, hedgies, bankers and multinationals, they were never going to deliver. May, being outside that clique, could bring real change. Here's hoping, anyway.

Ben

Conservatives and Labour are not at their roots a bunch of criminals. We have had, for the past 15 years, utter filth in the shape of Blair and Blairites.

I think the UK has become very confused.

Is she sincere? She's not talking about sorting out economic rent via land by the usurers. Therefore she has no desire to fix anything.

Anarcho

We have been here before? Remember back before 2010 when some Tories were seeing the joys of "Mutualism" (at least for the public sector)?

http://anarchism.pageabode.com/anarcho/mutualism-fake-real

And how Tories were for "Social Justice":

http://anarchism.pageabode.com/anarcho/tories-for-social-justice-wtf

and Gordon Brown had increased inequality, etc.? All part of a game-plan of sounding nice/left-wing (to get elected) in order to enact the usual nasty policies (once elected).

Bait-and-switch, I think it is called.

Still, she does have the PLP to help her....

Peter K.

Great blog post! As an American I enjoy getting your take on UK politics, given that I hold similar philosophical and political views.

Any thoughts on Angela Eagle?

From Arse To Elbow

I think Warren is on the right track with his parallel to the continental CD tradition (an amusing historical irony given Brexit), but I think Mark is even closer to, er the mark: "a market that is free is not one that is unregulated but rather one that is regulated in such a way that it is fully contestable, by all prospective participants".

The word is Ordoliberalism.

gastro george

"I say perhaps because many anti-Corbynistas don’t seem much interested in policy."

No, I listened to the morning news and Eagle definitely had one policy.

Blissex

«Theresa May seems very much going for a Christian Democratic angle than being the liberal Conservative economics of David Cameron & George Osborne»
«The word is Ordoliberalism»

Not quite, but admittedly plausible: Ordoliberalism is basically christian-democrat social democracy rather than socialist social democracy.

The continental version of being a "wet tory" or a "centre left labourist".

But like other commenters my guess is that T May's speech was verbiage to "reconnect" with upper working class people who voted "leave" because they have not shared in the meager fruits of the neoliberal project. Just like D Cameron's "big society" was verbiage to "reconnect" with middle-class people who has been put off by the "nasty party" and had been voting New Labour.

If T May is seriously a "wet tory", a strange rebirth of K Clarke (while he is still alive!) or H MacMillan, then she will have a lot of difficulty with her party, as the current Conservative and Unionist party has a lot of far right Whigs, not just D Cameron and G Osborne.

From Arse To Elbow

@Blissex,

There's more to Ordoliberalism than a CD/SD mashup. The important idea is the 'rechsstaat' - the legal state - and the centrality of regulation. This can look like One Nation Toryism in a UK context, but it's really about discipline and constraint. It's more Wolfgang Schauble (and his "rules is rules" schtick) than Ken Clarke.

In this regard, it's important to remember May's tenure as Home Secretary. While she has been a stickler for due process and even-handed in holding the powerful to account (e.g. Hillsborough), she has also been obsessive about imposing tight regulation (e.g. surveillance) and changing the rules to suit her priors (the ECHR, her infamous tale about the cat that subverted immigration policy etc).

What we are looking at is a genuine nanny state, not the figment beloved of Tory proaganda directed at the left.

gastro george

@FATE - that might be an idealised aim, but what happens when it comes up against our appalling managerial record, our traditional suspicion of abstract thought, and the toffs tendency to try to make it up as they go along.

Steve

Labour will become irrelevant, the Tories will become new Old Labour, and UKIP will become the new Whigs

Endrew

And not do a thing about the central planning of interest rates to create ever greater boom/bust cycles, massively malinvest capital, trash productivity, massively transfer wealth to asset holders from labour, and massively reduce the cost of capital versus labour?

Workers on boards? Restrains on pay? Great, I'm sure that will sort it.

Blissex

«all forms of rent-seeking by those who hold economic or other power are to be challenged in order that the market - something we love, since we're Conservatives»

This is a bit naive. The core reason for the existence of conservative parties is not markets, but protecting *incumbency*, and markets are for conservatives only a tool for that; conservatives are usually against markets if they work against incumbents.

Maybe you are a "whig" instead of a proper "tory", and the conservative party is home to several "whigs" too, but that's a difficult coexistence, a bit like that between "tories" and social democrats within the Labour and Cooperative parties.

BCFG

Angela Leadson’s leadership speech (see you tube) was even more left wing than May’s. She said the rich would not be her priority, and that trade unions would be consulted! She ended the speech by saying she would carry on the good work of George Osborne! You have to laough!

So are these Tory stalwarts really left wing? Is the Pope a Protestant! No this is what I call buttering up the deluded fools, patting them on the head for doing the right thing in the Brexit vote. Good boy, what a good boy, here’s a bone for you to play with.

The reality is that the Tories will do what they always do, stick it to the poorest and most vulnerable big time. May and Leadsom are in the Thatcherite tradition in that they support trickle down, the idea that the more the elite have the more we all have.

So helping the poor is simply code for shovelling shit loads of wealth to the rich.

Bob

The reality is that the Tories will do what they always do, stick it to the poorest and most vulnerable big time."

Yep. This is such a load of bollocks. Still the same donors and MPs.

Blissex

I too think that while T May could be a "wet tory" (there is past evidence for this) personally, her options are limited and her talk is or will become just empty verbiage as was D Cameron's talk about "compassionate conservativism" :-), which was about being compassionate to property speculators and to pensioners with £10,000 cash lying around.

However! It could be shrewd electoral politics:

T May could be expecting that some New Labour "leader" takes control again of the Labour party, and moves it sharply to the right as part of their yearning to represent the interests of the reactionary rentier southern "conservatory building classes".

«May is to the left of the position many Labour MPs had in 2015»

Then T May could have an extra electoral appeal with positions to the *left* of New Labour, which would be very easy to do :-); while counting on the ongoing loyalty of the "conservatory building classes" to the Conservatives as an ingrained reflex.

A bit like Blair did: he campaigned sharply to the right to attract the "aspirational" "conservatory building classes" while counting on the ingrained loyalty of the working classes to Labour.

It would be strange but part of England's imaginative politics to see a Conservative PM campaign on "social justice" and her New Labour challenger campaign on "aspiration".

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