Posts Tagged ‘Max Weber. pragmatic politics’

We must be the pragmatists now

08/06/2012, 01:31:28 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Pragmatism, of course, as Kevin Meagher has previously noted, was how Winston Churchill ushered in 13 years of Conservative government in 1951, fully 43 years after he first held ministerial office and six years after a sea change election had swept him from Downing Street. No ideological hang-ups kept him from accepting what needed to be accepted to make his party electable.

In contrast, a leading advisor to the last government can now observe to Uncut that “ideology is the worst thing to have happened to the modern Tory Party”.

Louise Mensch may rush to do the bidding of her frontbench and defend Jeremy Hunt’s indefensible transgressions. But most Tory backbenchers seem quicker to quibble with their frontbench than please it.

They appear to prefer the ideological purity of opposition to tough choices of government. And their past and their future encourage them in this indulgence.

Their past is of voting against their whip early in this parliament in votes that seemed relatively inconsequential at the time, but which have become habit forming, dangerously so as the votes get more consequential.

Their future isn’t on the frontbench. Liberal Democrats and more pliable sorts, like Mensch, block their path. Their future may, due to the unprecedented boundary review, be in selection battles, which they will require the support of typically ideologically-committed activists to win.

Where’s the harm in scratching the itch to rebel when you have no ministerial career to seek and a seat to save?

Not even Winston could have done it with this lot. It is not simply the political realities of diminished prospects for advancement within a multi-party government and the boundary review that have reduced them. It is something deeper in the gut of the right than that.


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