Why oh why can’t this country have a decent opposition any more? As much as we may moan about the state of the US, at least America has a proper two-party system. Britain has no opposition party, and no viable alternative party of government, as the Tories have proved yet again.
What has happened to the views of Benjamin Disraeli, the effective founder of the modern Conservative Party? Whether you think he was sincere or not, Disraeli argued that poverty and lack of education were the root causes of Britain’s domestic problems, and that it was poverty and ignorance which had to be tackled first if crime were to be reduced and harmony restored. His views were almost Marxist, yet he was coming from a right-wing perspective. Michael Howard is more than happy to liken himself to Disraeli, but the only similarity which is thus far apparent is their shared Jewish heritage.
If Ken Clarke had got in as Tory leader three years ago, despite his rather unpleasant links to the tobacco industry and suspect record as Chancellor, perhaps we’d actually have an alternative to Blair’s “ideologically united” yet largely discredited bunch of thugs, hangers-on, liars, and fascist adulterers.