I Might Be a Conservative in Britain

My conservative friends in America who rant against “liberalism” around the world do not seem well-informed. They don’t seem to realize how isolated or narrow American conservatism appears to conservatives in, say, Britain. American conservatism tends to exalt individual autonomy over responsibility for others, complaining bitterly of the tax burden on those making more than $200,000 a year, and resentful of the 47% they brand “takers,” who don’t pay much in federal income tax because they have low-wage jobs, are on social security, disability or qualify for the earned income tax credit.

If I were a British citizen, I might well vote Conservative (Tory). Almost none of my British Tory friends would support Donald Trump. With his anti-immigrant pitch, he would fall well within the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

The leadership of the (UK) Labour Party currently seems to have gone off the deep end, dominated by Trotskyites. I certainly don’t have much confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, the radical left-wing Labour leader.

Britain’s One-Party State: Labour’s implosion leaves Britain without a functioning opposition. That is more dangerous than many realise. The Economist:

The story of how one of the most reliable vote-winning machines in the West drifted into irrelevance is a warning to parties everywhere (see Briefing)…Experience, from Mexico to Japan, suggests the long-term absence of serious political opposition leads to bad government…Labour’s crisis will therefore probably translate not into the birth of a bold new opposition movement but simply a Conservative landslide. Until Labour comes to its senses, those who oppose the government—particularly centrists and the 48% who voted to stay in the EU—will be poorly represented. Disaffection with the political process will fester.

Corbyn opposed Brexit. He “backed Remain only half-heartedly, contributed to the dismal result and exposes him for the conservative he is: a left-wing Little Englander, an abrasively nostalgic memorabilia junkie, the left’s answer to the Duke of Edinburgh,” observed The Economist. His opponent for Labour leader, Owen Smith, has sensibly called for a second referendum on Brexit, and may lead a split in the Labour Party.

WSJ: How a U.K. Labour Party Meltdown Could Play Out in Wake of Brexit Vote

Related: A British Tory is an American Democrat, by Andrew Sullivan:

Here’s an indication of just how far to the right the American political discourse is, compared with Britain – the developed country most in tune with American neo-liberalism:

tax5

That’s why David Cameron and Barack Obama have long had such an easy relationship. Either one could fit easily into the other’s cabinet. And maybe it does help explain why I still consider myself a conservative. I am, as a Brit.

 
Andrew Sullivan | Nov 7 2014 @ 3:38pm at 3.38pm | Categories: The Dish | URL:http://wp.me/p33JF9-18H8
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