Broken Compass: How British Politics Lost Its Way

Overview

The old rules of Left and Right no longer apply. Left-wingers keenly support the bombing of Belgrade and the invasion of Iraq. Tories warn against the threat to civil liberties. The 'progressive' BBC gives a fair hearing to the Conservative Party. Socialist journalists turn and rend Ken Livingstone. In democratic London, merely expressing your opinion can be seriously bad for your career, while in autocratic Moscow you can say pretty much what you like, provided you don't do anything about it. The tearing down of...

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Overview

The old rules of Left and Right no longer apply. Left-wingers keenly support the bombing of Belgrade and the invasion of Iraq. Tories warn against the threat to civil liberties. The 'progressive' BBC gives a fair hearing to the Conservative Party. Socialist journalists turn and rend Ken Livingstone. In democratic London, merely expressing your opinion can be seriously bad for your career, while in autocratic Moscow you can say pretty much what you like, provided you don't do anything about it. The tearing down of the old Iron Curtain may have allowed markets to sweep into the old Warsaw Pact lands - but it has also permitted revolutionary left-wing ideas to spread like a bacillus through the 'West'.

Nobody really cares any more about the old shibboleths of state ownership. The British Labour Party - which opposed nuclear weapons, supposedly on principle, when they mattered - is quite happy to spend billions on the same weapons now that they are unnecessary.

The supposed 'right' is as confused and nonsensical as the supposed 'left'. Neo-conservatives run vast budget deficits at home and engage in utopian adventures abroad. They are actively opposed to old conservative ideas such as national sovereignty, strong families and rigorous selective education, and happy to bend the knee to left-wing orthodoxies from man-made global warming to egalitarianism.

The political compass is broken, its needle swinging wildly and meaninglessly. The existing political parties have converged, or perhaps simply retreated in confusion on to what looked like safe territory, the often tried and repeated failed policies of Fabian Social Democracy, now worsened by 1960s sexual and social radicalism. They are no longer adversaries, their personnel are interchangeable and they struggle to find ways to distinguish themselves from each other. They simply ignore - or deny - huge areas of human experience and concern from mass immigration to the collapse of marriage and the disappearance of order and rigour in the state education system.

Yet conventional wisdom continues to insist that formal politics can and should continue as it did before - and that an exasperated and increasingly angry electorate should place its hopes in a mere change of personnel at the next election. Peter Hitchens argues for the re-establishment of proper adversary politics and the rediscovery of principle.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847064059
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 6/20/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,413,015
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. He witnessed most of the final scenes of the Cold War, and was a resident correspondent in the Soviet capital and in Washington, DC. He frequently revisits both Russia and the USA. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo and China. He won the journalism category in the 2010 George Orwell Prize for this correspondence.

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Lost Frontier \ Introduction: The Great Paradox \ Part I: The New Permanent Government of Britain \ 1. Guy Fawkes Gets a Blackberry \ 2. The Power of Lunch \ 3. Time for a Change \ 4. Fear of Finding Something Worse \ 5. The Great Landslide \ Part II: The Left Escapes to the West \ 6. Riding the Prague Tram \ 7. A Fire Burning Under Water \ Part III: Britain through the Looking Glass \ 8. Racism, Sexism and Homophobia \ 9. Sexism is Rational \ 10. Equality or Tolerance \ 11. The Fall of the Meritocracy \ 12. 'The age of the train' \ 13. A Comfortable Hotel on the Road to Damascus \ Conclusion: The Broken Compass \ Postscript \ Index

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