Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The love that dare not speak its name

I've been quite critical of Simon Heffer recently - justifiably in my view, I might add - so it's nice to see him coming back to the fold somewhat in his latest comment piece for The Telegraph.

OK, Heffer is pointing out what is, to many of us, the blindingly obvious - that the three main parties are all basically the same and that the lack of real alternatives will mean that millions of people won't be visiting their local polling station on May 6th - but at least he's one of the few journalists who seems to recognise this.

Only yesterday in The Telegraph we had an editorial eulogising the Tories grand plan for a "big society" and how it was so different from Labour's "big government", but Heffer squashes this completely as he refers to Cameron as ....

.... a PR spiv whose "big idea" is to appoint 5,000 commissars to assist the development of "communities".

I'm glad Heffer sees through Dave's rhetoric and it's about time that there was some serious criticism of the Conservatives from "conservative" media - it's just a shame that Heffer is something of a lone voice on The Telegraph and a rather inconsistent one at that.

Even so, it's a good article and one which I more or less agree with entirely. However, I do have one quibble.

Heffer correctly notes that all the main parties are "social democrat" parties - I prefer to call them progressive liberals, but it's the same thing - and that they are pursuing the same broad agenda using broadly similar methods.

No one from the main parties will tell the truth about the need to sack hundreds of thousands of people on the public payroll in order to ensure we live within our means. Nobody will tell the truth about how lower taxes increase revenue, because there are too many cheap votes in bashing bankers who earn lots of money. Nobody will properly defend capitalism as an essential ingredient of a free society. Nobody will champion selective education, which gives such a chance in life to bright children from poor homes, and nobody will be truthful about the pointlessness of much university education.

Nobody will dare to be radical about the corrupt effects of the welfare state. Nobody will take the radical approach needed to counter the results of unlimited immigration. Above all – and that last point leads on to this – nobody will confront the public with the realities of our membership of a European Union governed by the Treaty of Lisbon, which has left us with a choice of staying in on Europe's terms, or getting out.

Actually, the choice with the EU has always been one of staying in on Europe's terms or getting out - the idea that it can be reformed from the inside and that we could reform it has always been ridiculous as every Prime Ministers has discovered since Edward Heath first signed us up to the damned thing.

Anyway - that's not what irritates me with Heffer's comment. It's the fact that Heffer is spot on in describing the main parties and their policies as "social democratic", but doesn't ever mention what the alternative to such dogma is - social conservatism.

It's as if one dare not say that you are a social conservative these days. To some extent, that is understandable as the social democrats always jump on that to portray those of us who are social conservatives as gay-bashing, racist, sexist Jew hating, parochial "little Englanders"

We're not. We're just people who love our nation and want it to remain the country we love. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde ....

Social conservatism in this century is such a great affection of an Englishman for his nation and such as you find in the sonnets of Shakespeare and the prose of Wordsworth. It is that deep, spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art like those of Shakespeare and Constable. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as the "Love that dare not speak its name," and on account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between a patriot and his nation. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.

I'm a social conservative and proud of it. Heffer should be too and ought to come right out and say it. We're not "non-social democrats" - we're social conservatives. Yes, the bigots of the establishment will mock us, call us names as and try to portray us as something we are not just as the establishment did to Oscar Wilde - but we must stand up for what we believe in and not be afraid to say it


larry said...

Me and my Dad are talking about precisely this topic on almost a daily basis nowadays. We NEED a conservative revolution. With a small c.

Anonymous said...

This is how I feel, Stan:

'Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.'


bernard said...

Stan -

The Telegraph is slowly shedding it's flirtation with the soft left, and now has a cracking blog section with no holds barred.
The bloggers to read are Gerald Warner (read his latest scathing attack on lefty Cameron's big idea)and Norman Tebbit, who is still a true blue Tory but is dismayed by his party's fall from grace.
The comment sections are usually better than the main article.