Confusing new ‘Conservatism’

According to Bloomberg the new ‘Conservatism’ suggested by Theresa May for the United Kingdom is muddled, with some promising ideas and others ‘anything but’.

Theresa May’s Confusing New ‘Conservatism’

You’d think managing Britain’s exit from the European Union would be enough to keep Theresa May busy. But it seems the U.K.’s prime minister wants to design a whole new kind of conservatism as well — one that works not just for Britain’s frequent-flyer elite but also, as she puts it, for “the whole nation.”

Whether her ideas are coherent won’t be clear until the government starts setting out new policies, but the situation bears watching. Some of the ideas she’s suggesting look promising; others, anything but.

A post-Brexit Britain, May says, ought to strive for free trade in goods and services. But the country also needs “a new industrial strategy” that will identify sectors of the economy to “encourage, develop and support.” She says fairness requires, among other things, that consumers and workers get representatives on company boards. It also demands that jobs that could go to U.K. workers shouldn’t be given to foreigners.

There’s tension in this prospectus, to put it mildly.

The article examines the tensions between free trade and a new industrial strategy, while trying to address disenchantment with a political and economic elite and concludes:

May is right to recognize the popular disenchantment with a political and economic elite that, as she said, finds their patriotism “distasteful,” their concerns about immigration “parochial” and their vote to quit the EU “simply bewildering.” To make a success of Brexit, however, the U.K. will need to welcome foreign investors and skilled immigrants, and to let its businesses concentrate on business.

May says she wants a global, outward-looking Britain, but she’s muddling that message. She’d be wise to worry less about reinventing conservatism and more about making Britain competitive enough to thrive in new and testing circumstances.

That’s a fairly business orientated view.

A problem with political labels like ‘conservatism’ is that modern politics requires a Government that wants to last to have a policy mix that can’t be ideologically pure, but along with sound finances needs a fair degree of pragmatism plus a social conscience.


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  1. Corky

     /  14th October 2016

    Sounds like the National Government. But even with its rampant Leftie policies, liberals aren’t happy.

    • PDB

       /  14th October 2016

      “The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid”.

      • Corky

         /  15th October 2016

        Crikey, that was a cracker article. Corbyn got it in the neck. You are lucky your family are all Lefties. My extended family have all shades of political affiliations, even one who used to vote for Commie Colin King- Ansell. So you can imagine around the barbie its not only the sausages that become heated.

        Tell me. Mark Sainsbury prides himself on not disclosing his political affiliations. After much thought I have pegged him as a Leftie. It was just a matter of getting past his conservative demeanour. Do you think I’m right?

  2. David

     /  14th October 2016

    Theresa May is the reincarnation of Ted Heath.

  3. No-one is prepared to face the facts. The pendulum of the ‘neoliberal consensus’, a la Friedman, expressed as Pinochet’s dictatorship, Reaganomics, Thatcherism and Rogered-nomics – which was never going to work in reality – swung way too far RIGHT before being pulled back to Centre-Left ‘austerity’ by its own self-engendered financial crises and the ensuing socio-political risk …

    Meantime it has created this “political & economic elite” which we still believe we are dependent upon, like we believe we’re dependent on ‘globalisation’ and so-called “free trade” … the so-called “equality” of so-called free markets and competition … which glaringly doesn’t extend to such things as labour protections, basic wages, working conditions and the like … no “equality” there …. no “level playing field” where workers are concerned …

    Now that the failings of the neoliberal consensus – of which our National government “even with its rampant Leftie policies” is the contemporary expression – and Brexit the contemporary “reaction” – the next ‘phase’ is difficult to formulate and formularise …

    What was once radical has become orthodox and the new radical is “conservative” … Go figure!?

    I haven’t really followed Theresa May all that closely but whereas Margaret Thatcher appeared to actually believe her own (and Friedman’s and Reagan’s) bullshit, I reckon May is straight-out lying through her teeth … “The Tories are the new workers’ party” … like f*%k!

    The so-called ‘Left’ has a lot of work to do to find its new identity ….


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