Every now and then another moronically stupid political idea comes along which lots of people conspire temporarily to believe in because it sounds groovy and different. Some people call these trendy new theories paradigm shifts. I prefer to call them by the more accurate appellation of total and utter b***ocks.
In the Blair era we had “The Third Way”; in the Cameron era we can apparently look forward to something called Red Toryism.
Red Toryism, my bull***t detectors tell me is pretty much what you’d get if you took Compassionate Conservatism and handed it over for a two-hour blue-sky-thinking, outside-the-box rebranding session at top London ad agency Wanka Gakhead Toss.
God I wish I’d thought of it, though. Not because it’s in any way useful or clever but because had I done so I would now be running a £700,000 think tank like the man who did invent it Phillip Blond. Not only that but I would be the subject of flattering Sunday Times interviews and have the ear of our soon-to-be-prime-minister Dave Cameron and his policy strategist Oliver Wetwin, both of whom apparently believe that the theories underpinning Red Toryism provide the perfect intellectual heft for their plan to heal Broken Britain (TM).
But what are the theories underpinning Red Toryism? That’s the ingenious thing about it. No one really knows. Least of all, I suspect, its creator – former theology lecturer, student of Continental Philosophy and relative of well-hard James Bond actor Daniel Craig – Phillip Blond.
Not unlike “the Third Way”, Red Toryism poses as a kind of political philosopher’s stone – the magic formula which will allow a functioning market economy and social justice to thrive simultaneously.
Actually, as Jamie Whyte points out in the latest issue of Standpoint, it’s nothing but Blairite snake-oil-salesmanship.
[Blond] believes the state should protect local grocers from competition with non-local firms by denying Tesco and its ilk permission to trade. The same goes for capital, which will be have to be raised locally (after it has been redistributed, presumably). Consumers must be obliged to use their local supplier. To prevent monopoly, we must impose it.
This economic Balkanisation, not promoted by most protectionists at the national level, but between — let us say — Exeter and Bristol, is the central policy proposal of Red Toryism. It is the means by which Britain will supposedly be transformed from a “market state” to a “civic state”.
In fact, it is a means by which Britain would be transformed from a rich country to a poor one, as anyone who understands the connection between the scope of trade, the division of labour and wealth creation could tell Blond. Alas, it seems that Blond is doing all the talking and others, including senior Conservatives, are doing the listening. And that is a shame.