Another example of that general ability to project. To see a problem and then insist that actually, this solution here that I’ve got in my pocket, is the cure for it. As it is for every other problem out there. For Nick Timothy this is the very wet paternalism that might, just about, be Tory but isn’t conservative in any manner.
The problem with this being that the one idea isn’t in fact the solution to all ills. Even I don’t say that free markets are the cure to Mom’s apple pie – even if they might produce a decent substitute from Mr. Kipling. As I do regularly say we’ve got to work out why the problem is before we can attempt to design a cure for it:
Despite the dissimilarities, however, we cannot simply declare ourselves different and immune to the mess we have witnessed in America. If we examine its causes, we see we are grappling with many of the same cultural and economic crises here.
Well, yes. In one sense that’s true. QAnon and Tommy Robinson have much in common. Proud Boys and that one eyed BNP git. But we must get right what it is that they do have in common:
Tomorrow, a group of mostly Conservative MPs will endorse a report, authored by Tory thinkers, James O’Shaughnessy and Will Tanner, calling for community land trusts to build more homes, a civic service scheme for the young unemployed, new pension rules allowing savers to fund “civic sabbaticals”, local ownership of community assets, and a generous transferable family tax allowance, replacing the minor tax allowance for married couples.
This is promising, but we will need to go further. We need a wave of institution building, to help us mediate our differences and rebuild a common identity. We need a radical transfer of power, to the four nations of the United Kingdom, and within them, to local communities, too. We need economic policies that are as intolerant of corporate abuse as of unfairness and entrenched inequality.
All this will require an enthusiasm for active government, constitutional reform and economic intervention. Conservatives must ask themselves: are we prepared to risk people seeking out community – a primordial human need – in mobs and gangs and nihilism and extremism? Or will we do whatever it takes to restore our sense of belonging, our yearning for recognition, and our desire to contribute? If we want our country to remain prosperous and strong, satisfying the quest for community is the urgent mission before us.
And that’s not it. That’s the Tory – although Timothy is too wet to really even be that – equivalent of Owen Jones calling for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya to beat transphobia.
The problem isn’t a lack of community in the slightest. There’s plenty of that out there – tribes are communities after all and the complaint really is that these folks over there are forming their own tribe, disconnected from the other – and possibly even too much.
The problem is that for a growing and getting ever larger portion of the nation the community that does government isn’t the same community as those being governed.
Sure, we can argue about how much that is true and all that. Perhaps it is and perhaps it isn’t but it is a reality. Back a while the one eye BNP git was booed at Question Time for claiming that Paki mobs were raping white kiddies by the truckload and no one did anything about it because everyone hates the indigenes. A decade later we’re pondering whether political correctness led to a failure to prosecute those hundreds of South Asians grooming kids in care. That a substantial portion of the population think their governors don’t care about them may or may not be true but it’s hardly an unreasonable belief now, is it?
The loss of the Red Wall is much the same thing – often in the same places too. Metropolitan political concerns aren’t quite those of that significant section of the population. The Democrats are no better – student loan relief? That’ll help the blue collar worker rather than the grievance studies graduate, right?
Nick Timothy’s answer to this divide is that this divide be papered over by community. Rather than, say, getting the ruling class to pander to the concerns of that large section of the population pissed off. Exactly the same as Owen Jones’ insistence that the way to recover the vote of the laid off whippet flange maker is to double down on insistences about the lady penis.
The problem is that those running the democracy don’t understand and aren’t listening to that chunk of the demos. The solution might well be to start doing so rather than continuing to wibble.