Friday, February 16, 2007

All you need to know about the Tories

Tories? Tories? Did someone say Tories? Yes, they surely did..Teh Grauniad covers a speech by Alan Duncan, the shadow DTI Secretary, to the Centre for Policy Studies, on the topic of youth. Verbatim:
We need to empower teachers so that they can exert the control too many parents are unwilling or unable to exert," Mr Duncan, 49, will say.

"If there is no fear of authority, there is no respect for it. It cannot make sense in a civilised society for children of school age to face the discipline they need in court rather than in class or in the home.

"We are condemned to decline if adults and institutions remain unable to reclaim authority over younger people. Living out in real life the disturbing plot of William Golding's Lord of the Flies risks corroding Britain's well-being."
If there is no fear of authority, there is no respect for it. Christ on a bike. I think Mr Duncan needs to look up the meaning of the word "respect," and specifically the meanings that don't involve gangsters. But I doubt this is a mistake. What is conservatism if isn't the doctrine that we should all be scared into supporting hierarchy of one kind or another? This is Straussian and then some.

I was going to resist mocking Duncan over style, but I would love to know how you can live something out if not in real life, and I'd also like to know if he has read Lord of the Flies, whose plot involves the evacuation of children from Britain ahead of a nuclear war, the unprovoked shooting-down of their aircraft, their regression to savagery on a remote island where they worship the corpse of a pilot shot down during an air battle overhead, and eventually indulge in ritual murder. I should think our well-being would be more than rusty should this come to pass.

Duncan is a member, if I remember rightly, of the Tories' "libertarian" wing. Well, either it was always bullshit, or else ambition makes you look pretty ugly. But if you want to know the Tories' central message, let us take a look at David Cameron's pals. From the Oxford Student, I give you the Bullingdon club:
"...All 17 members were arrested for wrecking the cellar of the 15th century pub, the White Hart, in Fyfield.

17 bottles of wine were smashed into the walls of the pub after the civility of a gourmet meal descended into a brawl, leaving a trail of debris that was compared by eye-witnesses to a scene from the blitz. The inebriated members started fighting, leaving one with a deep cut to the cheek, and the landlord recalls attempting to pull apart the fi ghting parties, only to have them set on each other once more, exclaiming, “Sorry old chap, just a bit of high spirits."


he club was once banned from entering within a 15 mile radius of Oxford after all 550 windows of Christ Church’s Tom quad were smashed in one night.

‘I like the sound of breaking glass’ is one of the society’s mottos and particularly true of one member who, at L’Ortolan in Berkshire, took it upon himself to eat his wine glass rather than his Michelinstarred meal. At another infamous Bullingdon garden party, the club invited a string band to play and proceeded to destroy all of the instruments, including a Stradivarius...


That’s why Alexander Fellowes, at the White Hart, tipped the waitress £200, on top of all of the members paying for the damage inflicted. Our source described the White Hart landowner as “unfair” for reporting the matter to the police and as having “no sense of humour”. Most people, he adds, are willing to let such matters slide in exchange for the remuneration on offer."
That sounds violent, yobbish, uncivilised, lacking in respect for authority or indeed anybody else, and just plain fucking unpleasant in about equal parts. And it's the money that makes me want to vomit. But I confidently predict it ain't the Bullingdon boys old Liberty Duncan wants to scare.
The tailormade blue tailcoats cost at least £1,200 and a formal dinner, of which there are usually one or two a term, costs a flat rate of £100, although once damages are added the cost is far greater than this. Richer members may have to pay an even larger membership fee, sometimes approaching £10,000. Nonetheless, our source claims that there are still plenty of people who are rich enough to join, but claims that it is hard finding “the right kind of people”.
Nah, won't be them, will it. Anyway, more importantly, what's so great about respect for authority anyway? Authority is easy to respect, or at least to obey, which is what it actually wants. It will hit you with a stick if you don't, and might reward you if you do. What about respect for people who don't have authority? Waitresses, for example? Now, that takes effort. It's also far more like "respect" than the other kind, better termed...what..."subservience"? "obedience"? "arse-licking?"

Speaking of which, watch respectful Tory MEP Timothy Kirkhope oppose the publication of the EP torture flights report because the Council of Europe has also been at it.

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