Midweek Mysticism: Mystical politics
David Cameron being appointed Prime Minister by the Queen
Ed Miliband’s claim to One Nationhood at last week’s Labour conference was as bogus as his aspiration to the common/centre ground.
He and his party owe allegiance to the Marxist notion of class warfare. They picture themselves as tribunes of “the people” in perpetual “struggle” with those who seek to better themselves and their families by hard work: “the Tories”.
I have always believed that the Labour Party can never truly represent the whole nation because of their bloodthirsty history of revolution. They only win elections in the aftermath of war (1945-1951) or when an emollient leader poses as a Conservative (Tony Blair).
Margaret Thatcher, whom they despise, knew that the only permanent way to overcome this destructive tendency in Britain is to turn so-called socialists into property-owning conservatives.
Thus the Conservatives are the natural party of government because they mostly come from a “ruling” class whose job it is to manage success and prosperity. The property owners of old knew instinctively that if they failed to look after their managers and staff their estates would crumble.
Downton Abbey is remarkably accurate in that respect. The big house is a microcosm of the cooperative State. Imagine it written by one of the Angry Young Men of the 1950s rather than the easy-going Julian Fellowes. A life of constant struggle and violence is a life not worth living.
Natural Conservatives, irrespective of party or class, have known this all their lives. It transcends intellect and was once described as “gentlemanly conduct,” devoid of rancour and division, but without the intervention of a harsh State.
What has all this got to do with mysticism? Everything. Read on …
So it was that David Cameron stepped up to the lectern yesterday as heir to that noble tradition. He didn’t let it down.
In a speech notable for its mildness and generosity he won over the hard-bitten journalists and commentators, even of the Left wing press. It helped that he is no performer. He’s stiff rather than actorly like Boris. But that only served to highlight his transparent decency.
The contrast between the class war of Labour’s two Eds and the mild Conservativism that proper Tories have mostly aspired to was stark and refreshing.
We must distinguish here between the American tradition of conservatism, which arises out of historical revolution, and the British Burkean variety of a compact between generations and classes.
The transatlantic version, which has been picked up by many in Britain over the years, including Margaret Thatcher, is as divisive and confrontational as Labour’s revolutionary tendencies. Except insofar that Maggie, brought up in a flat above a corner shop, was acutely aware that no section of the population should ever be left significantly behind.
Her solution was to educate the young always to be industrious and take pride in supporting themselves and their families.
If you ask whether a globalised “capitalism red in tooth and claw” is more efficient in our modern age, the answer lies among the wreckage of the world’s economies. The outer shell of human nature is not naturally humane.
British Conservatives have always believed in moderation in business affairs, balancing the urge to make capitalism into a rampaging bull, with the need for stability — plus Edmund Burke’s pledge to future generations.
David Cameron’s wise oration yesterday sealed that deal. He should spread the message in many other ways now. It is the basis for a truly unified country, One Nation in reality, not just a slogan and vote-catching label.
Yesterday, Cameron built the base for an extended period in office. But to make his message work in practice, he must dispense with the European psychoses that have infiltrated Britain’s airspace for 40 years. They are the remnants of Nazism and the heirs to perpetual conflict, the opposite of Conservatism.
He will not be an obvious success if he shirks that challenge.