Is Boris Johnson a conservative?
Peter Hitchens below puts the "No" case rather succinctly. I think an even more succinct reponse to Peter is to say that Boris is a BRITISH conservative. The British Tory party has always been a bit wishy washy by strict conservative standards but that is inevitable in a system where the winning party almost always has to be pretty centrist. It was precisely that Jeremy Corbin made to effort to win the centre that he lost so soundly to Boris. His nauseous antisemitism, love of terrorists and promises of an economic upheaval were just not British.
But the global warming craze is a dominant theme in the media with few prominent people opposing it so that is part of the political centre. Few conservatives believe in it but at election time it would be too big a burden to gainsay it. What conservatives do is pay lip service to it while doing as little as possible about it. Politicians generally do the same -- something Ms Thunberg has yet to fully grasp. So Boris will do the same -- quietly scale back climate-related initiatives and waffling as he does so. Australia's Prime minister, Scott Morrison, is a past-master at that. It may be noted that the latest "Conference of the Parties" has just wrapped up in Madrid with zero agreement from anyone to do anything more about global warming. The British representatives were part of that.
And Tories as a centre-right party is in fact historically common in Britain. One could mention socialist policies favoured by Winston Churchill and his general acceptance of Attlee's innovations but it is clearly to Disraeli that Boris harks back.
Disraeli is generally acknowledged as an outstandingly successful Prime minister at the height of the British Empire in the late 19th century. Yet it was Disraeli, not any Leftist, who introduced a whole raft of social welfare legislation to Britain. He introduced some of Britain's first worker protection laws and extended the vote to many working class people who had never had it before. As a result of these social reforms Leftist MP Alexander Macdonald told his constituents in 1879, "The Conservative party have done more for the working classes in five years than the Liberals have in fifty."
So Disraeli married conservative caution, respect for tradition and respect for the individual to policies that are more typically advocated by Leftists. It was a brilliant piece of centrism that kept him in power and enabled him to preside over a peaceful and immensely influential Britain. He kept the revolutionaries and other wreckers out of power and saved the best of British traditions. He called his policies "One Nation Conservatism" and Boris to has adopted both the term and a modern version of the policies concerned. He will keep the wreckers out of power if that is all he does -- but just that is immensely beneficial. He will be very good for Britain. American conservatives know how poisonous their present Left is. It was, if anything, worse in Britain
Just look at Al ‘Boris’ Johnson’s victory speech on Friday morning. Anthony Blair or Gordon Brown could have made it. There’s a red-green pledge of ‘carbon-neutrality’ by 2050. This means pointlessly strangling the economy by destroying efficient power generation, while making you pay for windmills through higher gas and electricity bills. Meanwhile, China sensibly continues to depend on cheap, reliable coal.
There’s a promise of ‘colossal new investments in infrastructure’. This means huge, inefficient projects such as HS2, which do no good, cost billions and hugely overrun their budgets and timetables – again at your expense.
There’s a promise of a ‘long-term NHS budget enshrined in law, 650 million pounds extra every week’. This is a crude submission to the lobby that imagines that the only thing wrong with the NHS is its budget. In truth, we could spend every penny the country has on it and it still would not work as it is supposed to.
And there’s the usual thoughtless, ignorant rubbish about police numbers. Please. The problem with the police is not how many of them there are. It is the fact that they spend their time doing the wrong things, and refuse to return to the simple, solitary foot patrol, which is the reason for their existence.
What did you think it meant when Mr Johnson appeared standing in front of a backdrop inscribed with the words ‘The People’s Government’, a phrase that could have been concocted by Blair’s mental valet, Alastair Campbell?
What did it mean when he then said: ‘In winning this Election we have won the votes and the trust of people who have never voted Conservative before and people who have always voted for other parties. Those people want change. We cannot, must not, must not, let them down. And in delivering change we must change too. We must recognise the incredible reality that we now speak as a one-nation Conservative Party literally for everyone from Woking to Workington.’