No Tea Party could ever get off the ground in Britain.
Peter Hitchens is Christopher’s brother and works in London for the Mail on Sunday. He is the journalist in England I most enjoy reading and I had arranged to have lunch with him. But I had to call it off because my 98-year-old mother was going into a home. Side trips seemed a luxury. I’ll quote something from his blog instead.
Background: After the general election in May, in which no party won a majority, the Conservatives (David Cameron) and the Liberal Democrats (Nick Clegg) formed a coalition — Hitchens has suggested it should be called “Con-Dem” — and then strolled into No. 10 Downing Street arm in arm. Gordon Brown, the unpopular Labour prime minister, has disappeared from public life, while Tony Blair, Britain’s Bill Clinton, has been on the public stage playing the game of charades called Middle East Peace Process.
Some people in Britain — my sister’s husband, for example — voted for the Lib Dems because they were campaigning to the left of Labour. Anyway, here is Peter Hitchens, who has been inveighing against Cameron ever since he became party leader in 2005. Some Tories, he wrote,
weirdly imagine that David Cameron is some sort of conservative. In the golf clubs they bray that he is using the Liberal Democrats. In Left-wing covens they complain that the Liberal Democrats have been swallowed by the Tories.
This is drivel. The blazing truth is that Mr Cameron is the smiling, willing prisoner of the Sixties Leftists who run the Liberal Democrats, and with whom he agrees about almost everything from cannabis to wind farms. His coalition with them enables him to trample on the remaining proper conservatives in his party, in the name of necessity. But actually he much prefers it to the majority Tory government he couldn’t achieve.
One evening I had a beer with my dear brother. A few years ago he was elected as a councilman in a conservative stronghold (near Gatwick Airport). Why he ran for that unpaid office, I’ll never know, but he does learn things. We were joined by an old friend who volunteers for the local Citizens Advice Bureau. This seems to consist mostly of coping with immigrants who walk in and hope to qualify for “benefits” so they can live at the taxpayers’ expense.
While we were still on our first pint my brother told me something that would confirm Peter Hitchens’s worst fears. Before the recent election, the incumbent member of Parliament in this safe Tory district, East Surrey, decided not to run. So the seat was vacant. In America that would mean a primary, the essential feature of which is that the voters themselves decide who the candidates will be.
But in Britain the Conservative Central Office can select the candidates, and in this instance they decreed that the choice would be: three women, a gay man, a Muslim, and a black man. Pick one.
A retired local Tory councilor expressed his outrage in the Daily Mail. “We are all very disappointed,” he said. “We have had only two MPs here in the past 35 years. It should have been a privilege for us to choose our next one, but that right has now been taken away from us. Why does Mr. Cameron think he knows better than us what we want for our constituency? He doesn’t live here!”
A local committee selected the black man, who lives in north London. Then he won the general election, quite easily. My brother says he’s a good fellow, and I’m sure he is. But one thing is clear. He will be Cameron’s man in Parliament.
In short, Cameron is centralizing power and using it to impose political correctness on the party.
Imagine what U.S. elections would be like if a committee of liberal Republicans in Washington could make up lists from which GOP candidates would have to be selected all over the country. Here’s some gays, feminists, blacks, and Muslims: pick one. It’s not quite that bad, but the point I want to make is that democracy in Britain is not what it is here. No Tea Party could ever get off the ground in Britain.
Peter Hitchens’s most recent assessment of British politics: “The Tory, Liberal Democrat and Labour Parties are all on the left, signed up to the sexual revolution, the moral revolution, the cultural revolution, comprehensive education, EU membership…”
The culture war? As Irving Kristol said years ago, we lost it. The economy? That is still in contention.
Britain has a budget deficit larger than America’s, in percentage terms. The Con-Dems have already accepted a top tax rate of 50 percent (up from 40 percent) put in place last year by Labour. Now the coalition government is talking about big spending cuts (details to be announced October 20).
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?