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Monday, 28 January 2019



What I have reproduced below is a speech given by the former Labour Cabinet Minister and long-serving MP for Southampton and now Professor at Winchester University in the Centre for English Policy Studies, John Denham. 
John Denham is an intelligent and eloquent man, but his politics are highly Labour Party political partisan. 
As the speech shows he is fully alive to the risk to the Labour Party’s future of the fact that the English are becoming more nationally self-aware and that English nationalism is awakening. 
In the main his analysis is good although his agenda is unattractive to any real English nationalist.  He wants English nationalism to become multi-cultural and therefore in effect cease to be nationalism. The English are to be told in the words of John Prescott “there is no such nationality as English”!   

His recipe is really therefore an argument that Labour should be more effectively deceitful about England and the English Nation than they are currently being!
It is a good example of John Denham’s partisan unreliability, lack of objectivity, that despite having met me and quite a few other English Democrats on a number of occasions, he is unwilling to openly admit that there is a campaigning English nationalist party!   
It is also deceitful of him to only quote the BBC’s survey which showed many people saying that they are both English and British.  Whereas the much larger and much more authoritative survey, the National Census in 2011, showed that 60.4% of English people identified as only English and not British!
The speech will however, I think, be interesting to anybody who cares at all about England and the English Nation. 
Here is what John Denham said:-

English identity and Labour

This is the text of a talk given to the Young Fabians in Westminster on 8th January 2019.

Thank you for the invitation to talk about English identity. The Young Fabians have led the way in addressing the issue, including your recent suggestion that Labour should support an English Parliament. But in my view it is still too rare and unusual for any part of the Labour Party to organise a discussion about England and English identity.
Because this is the really interesting thing: England and the English are an ever-present component of our national culture and our politics. But England – as England – is barely mentioned in the national political debate; it is only occasionally addressed in the national culture of the establishment. And if English identity is mentioned, it is to be disparaged and abused.
There is now a fair amount of data about English identity, but the quality of academic work – particularly on what people mean when they say they are English – is woefully poor. This allows lazy writers to ascribe to the English dreams of Empire, entrenched racism, or rural idyllic romanticism. They project whatever prejudice takes their fancy unencumbered by troublesome facts.
Despite this, we know more about English identity than many might think. And, of course, those of us who spent a long time talking and listening with English identifiers in our constituencies have plenty of insights ourselves.
The cost of ignoring England and English has been high. If you are a Remainer the cost is paid in the overwhelmingly English decision to Leave. If you are Labour, the cost is paid in the failure to win votes in English places and amongst English people who were once proud to be Labour. If you want a multi-cultural society shaped by tolerance, inclusion and shared values, the cost is paid by our failure to strengthen the versions of Englishness that meet that challenge and in the persistence in a minority of an ethnicised and racist national identity
Above all, if we want to see a radical and progressive transformation of our economy and society to serve the common good, we pay the price in a divided nation, within a divided union, in which the ‘many’ Labour wants to stand for, is too divided and disparate to bring about change.
Engaging with England and Englishness is not a quaint cultural diversion. It’s central to the possibilities of progressive change.
Nationally (in England) about 80% say they are strongly English; and 80% strongly British.
As those figures make clear, most people who live in England say they are English AND British to some degree. The largest group (around 35-40%) are equally English and British. But either side of this there are rather more ‘more English’ than are ‘more British’ – about 3:2 in most surveys.
One striking thing is that, in most Labour meetings, there are few who say they are more English than British, and many who are more British than English. There is no ‘must’ about national identity; no sense that people should feel English. But it is very important to be aware when the identities of those in our own party are out of step with many of the people who we want to vote for us.
National identities are about far more than flags and football. In the classic academic description, they are ‘imagined communities’: that set of shared  stories, histories, culture, values and symbols that enable us to feel a sense of common identity with people we have never met.
But they are also offer world views; stories, narratives that help us make sense of the world as we experience it. And in a nation where multiple identities are common, people will emphasise the identity, or the mix of identities that make most sense of our own experience.
People who identify as more English are also more likely to be rooted within England -that is they are more likely to also identify with a town, city or region of England. They are though, much less likely than British identifiers to see themselves as European.
The English are significantly more patriotic – not just about being English but about being British too. You won’t be surprised to know that the people who are more English than British are those most proud to be English. But they are also the most proud to be British!  People who are British not English are not particularly proud of being British.
These same is true about national characteristics. In the popular mind, there is virtually no difference about the extent to which British or English identities are seen to be open, welcoming tolerant, friendly, generous. But people who identify as English or English and British, are much more likely to associate both identities with these relatively positive characteristics, than do the people who say ‘I’m only British’.
In summary, as you move across the spectrum of identities, we move from people who are strongly rooted within England, towards those with weaker local and more strongly international identities; we move from those who are strongly patriotic to those who have less pride in any national identity; we move from those who associate national identities with positive values to those who are less likely to be positive about any national identity
And there is a final but very important point: the differ on attitudes to the governance of England, the union, our relationship with the union and people’s sense of political power.
The English are more likely to be dissatisfied with the way they are governed (though few people of any identity think they are well represented), they feel least able to influence politics and business, they are most likely to support an English parliament and certainly to want English MPs to make English laws, most strongly want to put England’s interests ahead of the union.  They most strongly feel the Barnett formula is unfair and have a far higher estimation of the importance of the EU in shaping domestic policy than do their peers in Wales or Scotland.
So, we can begin to see how the different world views expressed in these different identities are reflected in people’s political choices. Even though we don’t hear people say ‘I’m voting Leave’ because it is the ‘English’ thing to do, or ‘Labour’ because it is the ‘British’ thing to do, those choices do map strongly on to people’s sense of national identity.
For reasons we don’t entirely understand, Britishness rather than Englishness has emerged as the choice for those who are most comfortable and potentially successful in the world as it is; they are least attached to a sense of place, most open to other identities, less patriotic. Englishness is more rooted in place. We can, then, understand why the cultural impact of immigration is most keenly felt in those places where a rooted sense of belonging is most central to people’s idea of their own identity. And, of course, we find the ‘more English’ living outside the big cities, in the smaller towns, where people have seen social and economic change go against them.
In short, Englishness is felt most deeply in the places where Labour has been losing ground and needs to win.
Tonight, because I’m talking to Fabians, I’m concentrating on that Labour vote (many of whom now unfortunately vote Tory and have supported UKIP); a fuller discussion of English identity would also consider the more traditional Conservative English Leave voters; people who are often somewhat more prosperous than the stereo-typical ‘left behind’ working class voter, though they are no less disconcerted by social change and equally out of step with metropolitan values. They are, though, a harder reach for Labour as they are less likely to share the left of centre economic views of potential English Labour voters.
Let’s just think about those potential Labour voters. They are older, poorer, (though not necessarily the poorest) more working-class, have spent less-time in higher education, are more economically precarious, and least likely to think it is worth voting at all.
If the Labour Party does not exist to work with them to change the world, I’m not sure why we do exist. Yet we are struggling amongst them. And we don’t even talk to them.
At this point, many on the left say: ‘why do we have to engage with national identity of any sort?’ Why can’t we just have policies for older people, policies to improve skills, policies to end austerity, policies for towns and seaside resorts?’
In other words, why can’t we talk about everything except the way people talk about themselves!
Because these voters are English; they are proud to be English, (usually proud to to be British too). If Labour is not palpably proud to be an English party; palpably proud to be British too; then we send a rather clear message: ‘we are not people like you’.
Indeed, many hear the message as ‘we are Labour and we don’t actually like people like you, even though we would like you to vote for us’. Fat chance. And of course, many will not even listen to our policies because most voters look for a party they can identify with BEFORE they will listen to its policies.
People who want to talk about policy not identity are often deliberately trying to avoid the difficult conversations: with people who are more socially conservative, with people who are more worried about migration. People who, in other words, don’t share the cosmopolitan values of the metropolitan graduates.
But that’s the central challenge in social democratic politics right across Europe. We can build a majority that wants to reform capitalism, that wants to make it the economy work for the common good. But only if we can unite those who are on the left economically: to do that we have to find common ground across the cultural issues that divided us.
So, that’s our challenge. To engage with voters who are
·      English
·      Patriotic
·      Socially conservative
·      On the left economically
·      Live disproportionately in key marginal seats
Our willingness to engage with English identity is a test of our willingness to engage with these voters. It’s a powerful symbol of being willing to listen. And it is evidence of a commitment to involve them fully in building a better society, not just promise to do things for them. It’s a clear sign that, for all our internationalism, building a strong, fairer nation is at the centre of our aims.
One of the common objections that is raised is that this is all about pandering to English nationalism.  In fact, English nationalism barely exists as a political idea or movement. It has no significant political party, no public intellectuals, no cultural movement or institutions.  Unless by nationalism you simply mean loving your country and hoping it will succeed and prosper – but on that basis, Ruth Davidson, most Scottish Tories and the whole of Scottish Labour are Scottish nationalists: which rather begs the question of what the SNP are!
People blame Brexit on English nationalism, but its leaders like Boris Johnson, Daniel Hannam, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage are British politicians who speak, not about England, but about Britain. They certainly have an Anglo-centric world view – only a Johnson who equates Britain and England could talk of ‘1000 years of history’ - but he tells Telegraph readers ‘it’s time to believe in our Greater Britain’.  
In short, it is wrong to equate Britain’s English ruling elite with the people of England.
The second problem group is with a different part of the elite. The anti-patriotic, cosmopolitan, British and definitely not English. Predominant in the media, much of politics, the business elite and academia, they disparage English identity as racist and xenophobic; blame the crime of empire exclusively on the English despite the enthusiastic participation of Scotland, Wales and at least some parts of Irish society in it. They, of course, are disproportionately found on the left and within Labour.
By dismissing English voters and English interests as English nationalism they aim to avoid engaging with England at all. They often claim that UKIP is an English nationalist party. Yet, the collapse in support for UKIP is not reflected in any fall in the strength of English identity. UKIP was a temporary home for English votes, not an expression of English interests. Brexit was a cry of pain from people who were not listened to, not people seeking a new imperial glory.

Of course, it is no coincidence that England and the English provided the bulk of the Leave vote. Only England – lacking a parliament or any national institutions of its own – has not had the chance to reimagine itself as a 21 stcentury nation in the way as Wales, Scotland and even Northern Ireland have had a chance to do as a result of democratic and constitutional changes.

And unlike the other devolved nations, the state has played no role in the development of national English identity. Some on the left like to contrast a civic, democratic Scottish identity with an ethnicised Englishness. But where did this come from? The differences between Scotland and England in attitudes towards minorities, immigration or the degree to which identities are ethnic can be greatly overstated – there is much less difference than most people think. But the different images owe a great deal to the active involvement of political leaders and the national (and also the UK) state in promoting the idea of a civic identity.
Nothing like that has happened in England. Neither the UK government nor the Opposition talks about England or plays any role in promoting an inclusive English identity.
From all of this, we can begin to see what our political strategy should be

Firstly, Labour should take a leading role in reinserting England in the national conversation. Yesterday (7 thJanuary) a plan was launched for the NHS, but in sharp contrast to what would happen in Wales and Scotland, little mention was made of the fact that it was for the English NHS. Nor did Labour’s response.
We have a national education service. For which nation? Clearly not for the devolved nations where they have their own policies. If it is a national education service for England, why don’t we want to say the name?
Secondly, Labour needs to have its own English identity, in our material, in our language, in actually celebrating St George’s Day, not just tweeting about four new bank holidays.
Thirdly, we need to grasp the need to England to have a national political identity including, in my view (this is not ELN policy) some form of English Parliament, or real EVEL within Westminster.
Fourth, we need to understand that it is the UK government that makes England such a centralized nation, and the UK government that concentrates resources and energy on London. Labour needs to go way beyond current commitments to devolve power with England – not as an alternative to English governance but as an integral part of it.
Finally, a Labour government should be willing to act, as the Scottish and Welsh governments do, in using the state to promote a patriotic, yet diverse and inclusive English identity.
None of this should be too difficult. But it would make a real difference.

Saturday, 19 January 2019


The web based comment blog “Unherd” hosts interesting contributions from politically minded commentators.  The one below is interesting.
It is a recent contribution from Peter Kellner.  Peter Kellner is the Blairite Director of YouGov, the internet based opinion pollsters.  His opinion on the interpretation of statistics is well worth considering.  So when Peter Kellner says:- “I wouldn’t bet a great deal against changes that could be immense, and which not everyone will like”, we should take notice.  Also, as he is an enemy of English Nationalism and he is fearful of the consequences – so that should be encouraging too!  
Here is Peter Kellner’s article:-


Something odd, and possibly dangerous, is eating away at the fabric of British politics. Brexit, of course, has much to do with it, but the consequences could be with us long after the current crisis is resolved, one way or another. 
Signs of the malaise can be clearly seen in an exclusive survey for UnHerd conducted by Deltapoll. It shows a remarkable lack of faith in both main party leaders, not just by voters generally but by high proportions of their own voters. Loyalties are being tested as never before.  
In the past, one party leader has occasionally had a shaky reputation among their own supporters on one or two characteristics. In the early 1980s, many Labour voters thought Michael Foot was weak; towards the end of her premiership, many Tories considered Margaret Thatcher out of touch. But I have never seen so many supporters of both parties simultaneously hold such low opinions of their own leaders across the board.  
The responses of all voters shows that both leaders have strongly negative ratings on all counts. That is unusual enough. But when we look at the figures, showing how Conservative voters view Theresa May, and the figures, showing how Labour voters view Jeremy Corbyn, the scale of the drama becomes clear. The positive scores for May range from 57% of Conservative supporters who say she is strong, down to 40% who back her on Brexit. Her average score among Tory voters is 45%. Labour voters give Corbyn positive scores ranging from 64 to 38%; his average is 50%. Among all voters, the averages are, of course, even worse: May 26%, Corbyn 28%. 
To put these figures in context, a successful leader would expect average scores of around 80% among their party’s own voters and 40% among the general public. For both leaders to fall so far short of these figures should set off alarm bells in both parties. 
Here, though, is the paradox. Precisely because both leaders have terrible ratings, the scale of the problem is less obvious than it would be if only one was doing badly. In that case (as when Foot led Labour and towards the end of Thatcher’s premiership), their party would have support well below 30% in the polls and facing a landslide defeat. Instead, nothing much seems to have changed since the 2017 election. An average of recent polls shows the two parties still close together, and with almost as many supporters as 18 months ago. The high commands in both parties, though plainly struggling over Brexit, see no wider reason to panic. 
In truth, they should be terrified. For the poll shows that the disenchantment with the main parties and their leaders has spread throughout Britain. Within Westminster, it is rare to find any backbench Labour or Conservative MP who, giving their candid views in private, will say their leader is any good or that their party is in anything other than deep trouble. But some hope this despair is a feature of the Westminster bubble, and that real voters away from London have not changed their views of politicians and parties that much. 
In fact, it is increasingly hard to avoid the conclusion that millions of voters Left and Right are losing faith in the people who either govern us today or aspire to do so in the future. 
Which brings us to the possible long-term consequences of current public attitudes. In any country with a different electoral system, the chances are that support for both Labour and the Conservatives would have crashed by now. Across Europe, countries with more proportional voting systems have seen the traditional big parties slump in recent years – even with leaders less widely derided than Britain’s.  
Here, first-past-the-post creates a huge barrier to entry. Elsewhere, small parties ranging from the Greens to the far right have obtained a foothold in their parliaments with as little as 5% support, and then managed to increase their credibility. Here, they can’t. In 1983, the Liberal/SDP Alliance won 26% and only 23 seats; in 2015 Ukip’s 14% gave them just a single seat.  
The party that might have benefited from the Tory and Labour travails is the Liberal Democrats. But they paid a heavy price for their role in the 2010-15 coalition government. While their support has picked up a little in recent months, they are still scarred by decisions they took almost a decade ago. 
It is, of course, possible that when the Brexit drama has played out, normal service will resume. Perhaps May and Corbyn will both be replaced by leaders who have greater personal appeal to the electorate. 
I am not so sure. My reason is that May and Corbyn’s truly awful ratings do not flow solely from their personal attributes. Both lead deeply divided parties, and these divisions are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. The faultlines will remain: inward-looking nationalism versus outward-looking enterprise with the Tories; ambitious socialism versus progressive capitalism with Labour. A leader that combined the strategic ability of Napoleon with the genius of Einstein and the moral courage of Mandela would still struggle to win public approval if they could not reunite their parties. The Deltapoll figures providence symptoms of a deeper crisis. 
In short, both main parties are more fragile and less stable than for many decades. First-past-the-post could save both Labour and the Conservatives from the consequences of their current divisions. But it is no longer ridiculous to image a different future. Once the adhesive glue of our electoral system starts to crack, things can change with bewildering speed. A century ago, amid the stresses of post-First-World-War Britain and the divisions within the Liberal Party, realignment happened quickly. Labour climbed from fourth place in 1918 to government in 1924.  
Will Brexit end up having the same glue-cracking effect? And if it does, will the beneficiaries be existing herbivores such as the Liberal Democrats and the Greens; or some new centre party created by disenchanted Labour and Tory moderates; or carnivores on the outer fringes of Right and Left? Is the century-long dominance of Britain’s Parliament by competing forces on the centre Right and centre Left about to end? 
Ask me again in 10 years’ time and I shall tell you. Meanwhile I wouldn’t bet a great deal against changes that could be immense, and which not everyone will like. 
Here is the link to the original article>>>

Friday, 11 January 2019

Angela Merkel: Nation States Must “Give Up Sovereignty” to New World Order!

Angela Merkel: Nation States Must “Give Up Sovereignty” to New World Order

The report below about Angela Merkel’s speech in November nicely encapsulates the so-called “Liberal Democratic” view of the idea of the State and of the idea of the Nation.  This is particularly where she denies the validity of the idea of “the People” and also where she seeks to undermine the sovereignty of Nation States, saying instead that “the People are (merely) individuals who are living in a Country, they are not a group who define themselves as the People”. 

This is very much the view of so many of the members of the British Political and Media Establishment who in their hearts have long rejected the idea of the Nation.  As a result of Brexit they have been forced out into the open and their deep-seated hostility to the nation state and national popular democracy has been so pitifully exposed. 

These people are a threat to our Nation, which is all the more serious because of their position within the Establishment. 

The Roman orator and statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero once vividly described the threat of such people also said:- “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

We need to work harder to ensure that there is a genuinely patriotic party able to challenge these people as part of the system.

Here is the report about Angela Merkel’s comments:-

Angela Merkel: Nation States Must "Give Up Sovereignty" To New World Order by Tyler Durden

“Nation states must today be prepared to give up their sovereignty”, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told an audience in Berlin that sovereign nation states must not listen to the will of their citizens when it comes to questions of immigration, borders, or even sovereignty.

No this wasn’t something Adolf Hitler said many decades ago, this is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told attendants at an event by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin. Merkel has announced she won’t seek re-election in 2021 and it is clear she is attempting to push the globalist agenda to its disturbing conclusion before she stands down.

“In an orderly fashion of course,” Merkel joked, attempting to lighten the mood. But Merkel has always had a tin ear for comedy and she soon launched into a dark speech condemning those in her own party who think Germany should have listened to the will of its citizens and refused to sign the controversial UN migration pact:

“There were [politicians] who believed that they could decide when these agreements are no longer valid because they are representing The People”.
“[But] the people are individuals who are living in a country, they are not a group who define themselves as the [German] people,” she stressed.

Merkel has previously accused critics of the UN Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration of not being patriotic, saying “That is not patriotism, because patriotism is when you include others in German interests and accept win-win situations”.

Her words echo recent comments by the deeply unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron who stated in a Remembrance Day speech that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism [because] nationalism is treason.”

The French president’s words were deeply unpopular with the French population and his approval rating nosedived even further after the comments.
Macron, whose lack of leadership is proving unable to deal with growing protests in France, told the Bundestag that France and Germany should be at the center of the emerging New World Order.

“The Franco-German couple [has]the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos and to guide it on the road to peace”.

“Europe must be stronger… and win more sovereignty,” he went on to demand, just like Merkel, that EU member states surrender national sovereignty to Brussels over “foreign affairs, migration, and development” as well as giving “an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources”

(Here is the original report >>> )

Friday, 4 January 2019




Matthew Parris, the former Conservative MP who has made many bigoted remarks about Leave voters, has just published the article below, in which he admits systematically lying to the public throughout his political career in order to get himself elected and also he admits deliberately acting in such a way to undermine popular democracy. 

In reading his damning confession it is worth remembering that, not only are there others in the Conservative Party, such as Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve and indeed Theresa May, by whom I suspect very similar confessions could also have been made, but also there are many within the Labour Party whose conduct I suspect is exactly the same. 

This kind of behaviour is wholly par for the course amongst elitist Westminster British Establishment supporters of “Liberal Democracy”!

Here is the article:-

Why I don’t, never have, and never will trust the people – by Matthew Parris (former Conservative MP)

It was late, and a friend and I were left to talk Brexit. He’s a keen and convinced Tory Brexiteer MP but to stay friends we have tended to steer off the topic. This, however, felt like a moment to talk.

The conversation taught me nothing about Brexit, something about him, and a lot about myself and the strain of Conservatism I now realise I’m part of — and which is part of me. Oddly, then, this column is not really about Brexit, but about trusting the people. I don’t. Never have and never will. Our conversation forced me to confront the fact.

My friend knows well enough why I’m a Remainer, but guessed correctly that I’ve puzzled about why he isn’t. I had not quite expected what I heard. He understands business and finance and is good at facts and figures, so I’d supposed his wish for a ‘clean’ Brexit would be all about the economic advantages. He’s a firm believer in individual choice, too, so I had supposed he would dwell on the need to ‘take back control’.

No doubt he holds to these strands of the Leave argument — but talking to me he hardly mentioned the practical benefits of Brexit. No, there was something else that seemed to drive his anxiety that we leave the EU. Otherwise, he said: ‘I just worry about our democracy, respect for our constitution and the effect that a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result would have on the people who voted for me and our party last year.’

He returned to this repeatedly, and I saw that he was sincere. As a democrat, and a Conservative who owed his position in Parliament to a little piece of England that he came from, that he knew, that knew him, and whose electors’ minds and feelings he had come to understand over the years, my friend felt with a quiet passion that he must not break his word to them, must not slither away from undertakings that had been given.

He felt the same about the electorate nationally, the British people’s trust in the Conservative party, and their confidence in politics itself. He felt, in short, conscious of an unseen bond between parliament and people, and fearful of the wider consequences should it be broken.

I did not say much, because I could see he meant it; and what he meant was not really the kind of assertion one can confound with counter-argument or counter-assertion. It was about weighing things and, the scales being within his own breast, the way the scales tipped was for him just a fact, and undeniable.

But for me they tip differently; and for me too that is a fact, and undeniable. I lay in bed that night thinking about this; and my conclusions follow. As I’m not running for office I shall not pull punches.

Tories like me, and I think we used to be in the majority, see good governance as an effort to live with democracy rather than to an effort to live by democracy. It is why we were so chary about referendums in the first place. We are wary of the populace and instinctively hostile to the instincts of the mob. We see the popular will as a sometimes dangerous thing, to be handled, guided, and on key occasions (and subtly) thwarted.

We know, however, that the people’s will cannot be overlooked. We see it as a corrective to the over-mighty and a warning to those who govern not to lose touch with popular feeling. But at the idea that the people should dictate the policies of government on a daily basis, we shudder.

Our kind of Conservatism is either in temporary abeyance, or going permanently out of fashion — I do not know which. Its decline since the middle of the 20th century has been so gradual as to mask its extent over time. At the beginning of that century it was possible for Arthur Balfour to remark: ‘I have the greatest respect for the Conservative party conference, but I would no more consult it on a matter of high policy than I would my valet’ without this being thought anything but wit; today its utterance would end a political career.

When I first went into politics, initially as a researcher, in 1977, it was commonplace among us Tories to see and describe ‘the will of the people’ not as our mentor but as a rock to be navigated. Capital punishment and judicial flogging were very popular with the public. The hanging debate at party conferences was an annual nightmare for our leading spokesmen, but I never heard it suggested, even by colleagues who supported the return of these punishments, that we should bring them back because the people wanted it.

As for colleagues opposed to both, our challenge was to find ways of ducking the issue. Once I became an MP, I did so by voting for the principle and against the practice. This subversion of democracy (in Theresa May’s phrase) caused me embarrassment, but not a second’s guilt. Sod democracy: hanging was wrong.

In the late 1970s, we Tories were painfully aware that popular feeling opposed any confrontation with the trade unions, but we believed this would prove necessary. Our response was, so far as possible, to tiptoe round the issue during the 1979 general election. We succeeded. Among ourselves we talked cheerfully about subterfuge. The Britain of 1979 and 1983 most emphatically did not vote for a massive confrontation with the coal miners. We made sure the electorate was never asked.

Even today, of course, politicians can and sometimes must dodge the popular will, and they know it. But who now dares say these things? And what today we do but no longer dare say we do, tomorrow we may not dare do. Tory paternalism is in long, slow retreat. People like me will stay where we are, increasingly exposed as our friends melt back. But what the heck.

Here is a link to the original article>>>