I sometimes think about an odd coalition of traditional conservatives, socialists, and libertarians emerging in the US that, while they can’t agree on much, can agree that the current political culture is seriously deficient and perhaps that there are certain things that can be stopped. The mainstream political debates seem to me to ask citizens to choose to sign up for either big government or rent-seeking big business, which is like asking people to choose between King Kong and Godzilla when they are fighting over your hometown. Or there are those, I suppose, who say that their policies can get KK and G to get along, and then the economy will really grow!
Traditional conservatives, socialists, and libertarians who stand outside the mainstream probably can’t agree solutions, but they do see problems with what the mainstream takes for granted.
Peter Hitchens, writing about Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, reminded me of why I think about that impractical coalition:
Odder still, the man who won, Jeremy Corbyn, was astonishingly old-fashioned, a country-bred grammar school boy brought up by parents who had taken part in the great political struggles of the 1930s.
He is out of his time, which is no bad thing. To see him address a rally in modern Britain (as I have done) is a bit like going to the station to catch your regular commuter service, and finding a steam train waiting at the platform – surprising, nostalgic, wheezy and ancient, more or less certain to break down, but wonderfully picturesque.
It struck me as I watched him that he was far more dangerous than the Tories thought he was. His absolute courtesy and refusal to make personal attacks appealed to many in my generation who remember a different and in some ways better Britain.
His realisation that George Osborne’s supposed economic miracle was a sham, and that many have lost hope of getting steady, well-paid jobs or secure homes, appealed to the young. He may not have any actual answers to these questions, but he at least knew they were being asked. His absolute opposition to the repeated stupid wars of recent years also has a wide appeal, in many cases to conservative-minded people and Service families sick of the waste of good lives.
A genuinely patriotic, socially conservative party might have had a proper response to these things. But the Tory Party is not that. It is just a cold machine which runs on gallons of expensive snake oil. So it decided to attack Mr Corbyn personally.