Saturday, May 16, 2009

What's with all these petitions?

Tim Montgomerie is one of the few Conservatives around I have any time for. He is a man of sound opinion and strongly voiced principles, unlike many of those who comment on Conservative Home, whose idea of principle is support our party or else you are a traitor to the cause, even if they cannot quite understand what the cause is. Mr Montgomerie does know what the cause is and he sticks to it, whatever the Conservative leadership might say or do.

However, I fear he has made a serious error of judgement in his latest undertaking, governed as it is from the best motives. He has started a new website with James Bethell, who has written an article in the Daily Mail to explain why he is “launching an online fightback against the poison of the BNP”.

Some people have criticized the pair for giving the BNP extra publicity (which they are) but Iain Dale is not alone in thinking that the BNP must be taken on. In other words, the Conservatives have finally admitted to themselves that it is not only the Labour Party that is going to lose votes to the BNP and have upgraded that party to the position of enemy no 1, just as UKIP seems to be steaming ahead in the polls.

The site is called “There is Nothing British about the BNP”. Some of the information like the details of the BNP’s economic policy is very useful though I wouldn’t call “hard line socialist economic policy” un-British. Stupid, dangerous and counterproductive, yes; un-British, no. It is not that different from similar policies in the past and even attempts to introduce them by Labour governments. Plus there are quite a few very British people who seem to like them. Being British does not mean you cannot be spectacularly wrong.

The list of various BNP members, activists or supporters who have criminal convictions is moderately useful as the crimes are of varying magnitude and, in any case, does not affect the leadership. Yes, there are pretty unpleasant people in the BNP but are they all more unpleasant than all the members of all the other parties? (By the way, a word to the wise: to list among criminal activities something that is not proven yet [my emphasis] is libellous.)

At this point I had better point out that anyone who has ever heard me or read me on the subject knows that I detest the BNP and all, but all, its policies. Nothing in the world would make me vote for them, support them, or even have a good word to say for them. But I do not happen to think that this sort of carry-on is sensible.

The most important part of the website is a petition. Readers of this blog know that I am not a great believer in politics by petitions. We have, I feel, moved on from the early Mediaeval monarchic government under which the benign (or not) ruler was petitioned by his humble subjects to remove grievances.

In any case, a petition should be addressed to somebody and be asking for something to be done. What is this petition doing? So far as I can make it out this petition is addressed to the people of Britain with the signatories asking them not to support the BNP.

We have this thing called an election, which is free and fair (give or take those postal votes but they are irrelevant in this case) and the best way of not supporting the BNP is not voting for them on June 4. Indeed, as Lord Tebbit, whose grasp of political niceties is far surer than most Conservatives’, has said, the best way of showing one’s dislike of any party is not voting for it.

(I see Libertas are also attacking the BNP, having spent a great deal of ammunition on UKIP yesterday. Given the growth in UKIP’s support, this may not be the best sign for those who do not like BNP. Nor am I too impressed by a party that wants to meld Britain’s once strong democracy into some kind of pan-European polity talking about the death of democracy. If it is dying, it is being killed by the europhiliacs. They have been far more successful than the BNP.)

None of these attacks seem to want to deal with the main question: what is it that is attracting people to the BNP? Some clearly like their brand of old corporatist socialism and racist attitudes but others are determined to vote for them despite those things. Instead of mounting petitions, it would be a good idea to tackle that problem.

To be fair to Tim Montgomerie, he has called on the Conservative Party on numerous occasions to produce policies, to show the electorate that they stand for something and that something is conservative (with a small c) principles.

I hear a lot of people moaning that the expenses scandal will drive people to the BNP (or to UKIP though not, apparently, to the Greens). Well, yes and no. The expenses scandal does not help but what has been driving people to the BNP is a far more general dissatisfaction with the main parties and their politicians.

There is, let us face it, a stench of far greater corruption around all three parties than just the penny-ante stories that have been coming out in the last few days. They are merely the symptom of what many of us have known for a long time and others of the electorate have felt, perhaps less coherently but equally accurately: we have a political class that does not fulfil its duties, does not even know what those duties are, and when challenged lies to the electorate in a comprehensive fashion. That, dear readers, is why people are attracted to the unlovely BNP though I can’t help hoping that they will be more attracted to UKIP who, with all their faults, have more attractive policies.

What does the Conservatives' ever more hysterical campaign against the BNP consist of? It is not that different from their previous hysterical campaign against UKIP: vote for us because otherwise those nasty people will get in. But why, I keep asking, should we vote for you? What exactly are you going to do when you get in apart from grandstanding a few times and claiming your expenses? (You think Westminster is bad? Have a look at what the Toy Parliament does.)

Answer comes there none for there is no answer. They will do nothing; they can do nothing; there is nothing the Toy Parliament can do to change anything in the European Union. And even if there were anything, the Conservatives would shy away from taking the opportunity. So, we are left with one thing only: everyone else is so nasty, you must vote for us. Very unsatisfactory. Sorry, Tim.


  1. " Yes, there are pretty unpleasant people in the BNP but are they all more unpleasant than all the members of all the other parties?"

    The answer to that one is probably 'No'
    Richard is right in saying that the furore about thieving MPs is chickenfeed compared with the sheer costs of unintelligent procurement but...
    these are (in many case) crimes. An ordinary burgher who doesn't pay his TV licence or council tax can land in the 'kerker' quicker than that while, with very few exceptions, not a single collar has been felt among the anointed.
    Internal enquiries will be, as usual, convened & the MSM will be redirected to Barmy Weinhaus. I will be surprized if any of these 'petty-cash-pilferers' ever see the inside of a courtroom...they will retire quietly on inflated pensions & bulging property portfolios, both provided by the folk they robbed.
    Peanuts it may well be...I should be so lucky!

    " I detest the BNP and all, but all, its policies. Nothing in the world would make me vote for them, support them, or even have a good word to say for them."

    ...which is exactly how I feel about Con/lab/Lib...& UKIP's stance lacks decisiveness.


  2. This would be the neo-conservative (a Trotskyist inspired movement and set of beliefs with little, if anything, in the way of conservatism about it), ID-card favouring Tim Montgomerie? Sorry, but what exactly is his cause again - and how exactly has he pursued it in spite of all the Conservative leadership has done?

    I am guessing that you know Tim in a personal capacity, and in such circumstances it is always more difficult to criticise those you know - however, I fail to see how Mr Montgomerie has been sticking it the cause (whatever that cause may be).

    ConservativeHome has in recent years become almost entirely sycophantic towards the Conservative Party leadership. Quite often its front page resembles nothing more than an MPs press release area. ConservativeHome is rarely critical of the party in the way it used to be. How is this sticking to 'the cause'?

  3. I do know Tim in a personal capacity and I don't agree with him on many things. I do not find it difficult to criticize anyone I know personally. ConHome is now done by two people, Tim and Jonathan Isaby and that might be the cause of the problems you complain of. I don't agree either with your analysis of neo-conservatism or Tim's part in it. Wrong generation, for one.

  4. I should just make it clear that I wasn't suggesting that Tim was a Trotskyist (former or otherwise) - in case anyone thought I had – but that he certainly seems (along with Iain Duncan-Smith) to be a neo-conservative. Anyway, I have a couple of points to make.

    Firstly, Helen, what is this 'cause' to which you are referring? You still have not said.

    Secondly, if Tim is a man of 'sound opinions', how can you say that you disagree with him on 'many things' in your most recent comment? However, it is good that you can still criticise those you know in a personal capacity. Many in such a situation do not.

    Thirdly, ConservativeHome went downhill and became sycophantic long before Jonathan Isaby was taken on-board. Tim and Sam Coates had previously been wined and dined by the party hierarchy and that was when it all began.

    Fourthly, neo-conservatism was borne out by ‘former’ (one never quite knows whether these people have changed their opinions or simply the methods by which they wish to achieve them) Trotskyists. Wrong generation? Not really. Irving Kristol, often described as the ‘Godfather of Neo-conservatism’ was a self-confessed Trotskyist and once said, ‘I regard myself to have been a young Trotskyite and I have not a single bitter memory’. So too were many other luminaries of neo-conservatism then and since. What’s more, why else do you think that it has been so easy for so many on the political Left (Christopher Hitchens etc.) to have become neo-conservatives?

    As for neo-conservatism itself, it is a utopian belief developed, as I said, by ‘former’ disillusioned Trotskyists and not conservative at all. Similarly, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were borne out of idealism – fundamentally adverse to conservative thought – that you could somehow impose ‘democracy’ on a nation that conservative believe should naturally develop over time.

  5. Happy New Year, Helen...& all others here who still care for our utterly degraded country.
    The farce of Copenhagen is almost forgotten as the unravelling of the Pachauri story provides yet more evidence of the unfortunate many being swindled by people to whom the word 'scruple' is unknown.
    Richard is doing absolutely sterling work; supported, let it be said, by helpful & knowledgeable commenters...this resulting in a threatening letter from a powerful law firm; clear evidence that Richard has caused some fluttering in the dovecot.
    The astronomic amounts of money...and stake here are, in my opinion, a garantee that this game will get vey dirty indeed with, unfortunately & as usual, victory going to he who has the deepest pocket.
    We should all hope that Richard's 'Al Capone' tactic to expose this worst scam of the millennium bears fruit...or at least the seeds of the fruit which will finally expose those who are taking the whole world for a ride.
    Helen's last post here is dated May 16th 2009.
    Since then, how many 'Cash for Peerages' many patently dishonest & troughing MPs & MEPs, all of whom have been robbing the taxpayer blind, have yet seen even the inside of a courtroom?
    Does the Law still exist in this now almost worthless province of the EUdSSR?
    With this in mind I will now hazard a prediction:
    Richard & Co, against the entrenched might & money of his opponents, may well succeed in exposing this criminal deception & fleecing of a gullible & frightened world......
    .....but NOTHING will come of it.
    The ranks of the powerful & their bought & paid-for 'scientists' (fearful of losing their taxpayer funded grants) will close.....
    "Sorry, yes...there may have been a few unimportant technical miscalculations but that doesn't alter (our) facts...move along there now, nothing to see."
    I never thought I would say this, but there has to be blood in the streets before we can live as free men again.