Now we know what conservatism means
Sometimes an outsider can see what an insider can’t, thus enabling the insider to get in touch with his real self.
The Times proves that this is indeed possible by first explaining what conservatism isn’t and then, courtesy of Rachel Sylvester, what is really is. Thanks to this vacuous, lefty, moribund paper, we now stand corrected on whatever misapprehensions we might have had.
Commenting on UKIP’s showing at Eastleigh, The Times suggested that the party is weak intellectually. Specifically, as proofs of this cerebral deficiency, it listed such risible policies as opposition to the EU, desire to stimulate growth by cutting taxes and reducing welfare expenditure, support for grammar schools and antagonism to unrestricted immigration. Such policies, said the editorial, aren’t so much conservative as unsound.
Fair enough. But then we must assume that sound conservatism would call for subjugating Britain to the EU, stifling growth by increasing both taxes and welfare spend, eliminating the few remaining grammar schools and inviting the world’s all and sundry to help themselves to our welfare state, which by now would be big enough to accommodate such an influx.
The Times didn’t actually state that in so many words, but in this instance the denotation allows for only one possible connotation. Still, a few things were left unsaid, leaving a gap which Miss Sylvester has now bridged.
In her article Tories Must See the Conservative in Cameron she teaches all us cynics a valuable lesson in penetrating political thought. Dave, according to her, is as conservative as they get. As far as hypotheses go, this one is paradoxical, but then so have been many others. For example, no one could have imagined that matter under some circumstances could act as both particles and field until this paradox was supported by evidence.
So what kind of evidence does Rachel dredge up in support of this counterintuitive proposition?
‘Raised in rural Berkshire, the son of a stockbroker and a magistrate, who went to Eton and Oxford, plays tennis, tends his veg patch and used to hunt…’ Oh well, this settles it then. By these criteria I’m at best a socialist, tennis being the only qualification I possess. Moreover, I now realise that no one I’ve ever met, never mind my close friends, has the slightest claim to being a conservative – they’d fail the Sylvester litmus test in most or all rubrics.
After such a powerful QED argument, it’s surprising that Rachel felt the need to come up with any others. But hey, nothing succeeds like excess. So she continues:
‘His support for gay marriage is based on a deep belief in the importance of marriage’. Crikey. Now we know: all those subversives, who have for millennia taken it for granted that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, have done so because they detested the very institution of marriage. A true conservative can only prove his credentials by supporting marriage between a man and any mammal of his choice. No wonder I don’t number a single conservative among my friends.
Case made, wouldn’t you say? Not yet. ‘His husky-hugging greenery grows out of an instinct to preserve the environment.’ Of course it does. Before long Dave will become so dyed-in-the-wool conservative that he’ll apply for membership in the Green Party and lead it to parliamentary majority in the EU.
‘House of Lords reform is necessary only to protect the credibility of Parliament.’ Such credibility had been sorely lacking for almost a thousand years until Dave’s fellow conservative and role model Tony reduced the Lords to a travesty. It therefore behoves Dave to reassert his credentials by turning the Upper House into a Ye-Auld-England tourist attraction.
‘The ringfencing of aid is a patrician attempt to help the poor…’ Quite. It also betokens aristocratic disdain for wealth (other than his own, naturally), of which most nouveaux are being deprived to keep the ring fence up. Conservatism therefore is all about transferring money from those who earned it to those who haven’t, building up a megalomaniac state in the process.
‘Public service reform is intended to save, rather than dismantle, the NHS and state schools.’ Dismantle those venerable institutions? Perish the thought. God forbid bodies will become healthier and minds better developed. What’s conservative about that?
These deep taxonomic insights were followed by equally profound and original philosophy: ‘Nobody can stop the clocks, still less reverse the progress of time. The world moves on…’
None of my friends would be capable of either such deep insights or such startlingly idiosyncratic turn of phrase. But then we now know that unlike Rachel and Dave they aren’t conservative.
To sum up: conservatism is all about support for homomarriage, espousing the ideas of the Greens, perpetrating constitutional vandalism, building up the welfare state, pumping more money into our exemplary nationalised education and medicine, and expressing oneself in hackneyed platitudes that a generation ago would have earned an F in English at any grammar school.
Oh yes, let’s not forget hunting in Berkshire. Berkshire hunt? It’s best not to go there.