The Times is like a magnet. It attracts Tories who think ‘Conservative’ in their party’s name should become as meaningless as the ‘Liberal’ in the name of their coalition partners.
When the word ‘liberal’ first appeared, it designated those supporting private property, free trade and individual liberties. Now, if it means anything at all, it denotes those in favour of bleeding individuals white in order to strengthen and enlarge the state. The exact opposite, not to cut too fine a point.
In parallel, ‘Tory’ used to mean someone whose political ethos could be summed up by the words ‘God, King and Country’. Now, if you believe John ‘Maastricht’ Major and Tim ‘Learn-From-Obama’ Montgomerie, it must mean Open Mind, Socialism and the EU. Sir John’s recent contribution to that effect bears the title Ignore Those Tory Heads with UKIP Hearts. Montgomerie has opined that All Good Tories Should Support a Mansion Tax.
‘The French… now fear the UK will opt out of social and employment provisions to give our economy a further competitive boost. They will not readily concede this,’ warns Major.
My heart bleeds for the French, but having been out of politics for 15 years, Sir John must have forgotten he used to be a British Prime Minister, not a French President. While his concern for our neighbours’ feelings is touching, a British patriot should welcome his country getting a competitive advantage, even if it means upsetting a few continentals.
‘We cannot, legally, simply walk out of the EU… The costs could be substantial,’ is how Major decorates his sentiment with hardnosed pragmatism. In particular, he explains that if we’re no longer in the EU our motor trade will suffer as we’d have to ‘pay a 10 per cent tariff on exports to the EU, and a 5 per cent tariff on components. Would Nissan… and BMW, Honda, Toyota and Ford continue to build at Swindon, Sunderland, Dagenham, Bridgend or Oxford?’
The answer is, yes they will. If fact, they’ll be falling all over themselves to do so, provided a newly independent Britain can do two things. First, we must explain to our trading partners that tariffs beget tariffs. Would they be willing to start a trade war with Britain, knowing that their trade balance with us is hugely positive? Now, when their economies are contracting and they are on the verge of recession? Would Germany, which lives or dies by exports, be willing to see us switch from Audis and BMWs to Toyotas and Kias? I don’t think so.
And should they stand on idiotic principle and indeed impose self-harming tariffs on our car exports, then we could use our newly autonomous tax system to provide incentives for foreign manufacturers. Cut their employment, corporate and income taxes by, say, 20 percent, and you’ll be amazed how attractive they’ll think Sunderland and Dagenham are.
Then Sir John, with his usual intellectual rigour, comes up with a clincher: ‘As a non-member we would have to negotiate our own free trade agreements’. True but irrelevant. The negotiations could be conducted in a lazy afternoon: you don’t use protectionist tariffs against us, we won’t use them against you. That’s it, Robert est ton oncle, as I try to teach my French friends to express themselves. If HMG can’t find anyone to take on this arduous negotiating task, I volunteer.
Every word Sir John utters these days communicates his desire to vindicate his own role at Maastricht and to vilify those who believe that role was treasonous in any other than the purely legal sense. As long as The Times is in business, he won’t be short of a platform, but those willing to listen may be in short supply.
Another professional Tory, Tim Montgomerie, is, according to a mutual friend, ‘a decent bloke who loves a pint.’ Too many pints, by the sound of it.
Montgomerie wants us to follow his lead and learn from Obama’s success. Since Obama is by far the most socialist president in US history, this means we should all become socialists. Allowing for local colour, all Tories must turn Labour or LibDems in all but name and then one day they may win an election outright.
Specifically, we should all fall in love with every form of taxation championed by our home-grown socialists. Mansion tax, inheritance tax, you name it. And why is that? Well, because the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Specifically, it’s awfully unfair that London properties are so much dearer than in the rest of the country and the luxury good market is thriving. Make the bastards pay, in other words. François Hollande, with his ‘fair payer les riches’, must come close to Montgomerie’s ideal of a Tory. Shame he’s French.
‘The decent bloke’ forgot the law of supply-demand. Houses in London cost more than in Pembrokeshire because more people want to live in London. This preference isn’t wholly aesthetic: about a third of British jobs are concentrated in and around London. One reason that’s the case is the corrupting effect of the welfare state, especially in the north of the country. In the Celtic fringe and England’s northern counties, for example, around 70 percent of the economy is in the public sector. These areas, in other words, are socialist.
Vindicating an irrefutable law of history, people vote for socialism with their feet. So it’s exactly the kind of policies advocated by the LibDems, Labour and Tim Montgomerie that are indirectly responsible for London houses being so expensive. Add to this the fact these chaps must lament, that London is the world’s financial centre, and the picture becomes complete.
What’s left of Montgomerie’s argument, other than his desire to have a Tory government even if it means that not a single Tory principle survives? Foam on the walls of his pint glass. This sort of talk goes over big in pubs, especially those in the low-rent areas. The Times seems a good place for it too.