Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Disunited Kingdom

An interesting moment in British politics. David Cameron was criticized from within his own party for not winning a sufficient majority to create a strong Conservative government, by people who wanted a return to Thatcherism rather than vague talk of a "big society". It seems to me he would have done considerably worse if he had taken that line. The election shows a kingdom divided and fragmented against itself - Phillip Blond's analysis of how we got to this position is spot on, and his ideas for reviving civil society (what the Pope calls "breaking the hegemony of market-plus-state") are surely pointing in the right direction. (See preceding post for more on this.) It may be that the coalition government has a better chance of moving us from a "market state" to a "social state" than the Tories would have on their own. Prolifers, by the way, seem pleased by the results of the election, although as John Smeaton points out the overall tenor of the main parties is hardly congenial to optimism.

1 comment:

  1. It’s good to note that the coalition seems to have more chance of moving us in a Chestertonian direction than the Tories would have alone, in spite of all their talk of being 'One Nation' and 'Liberal' Conservatives. Perhaps we need to differentiate between philosophical-theological liberalism and political Liberalism? Though they are clearly linked, the former, as decried by Newman in his Apologia, is anathema. In contrast, Chesterton famously said,
    “I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals”
    This approach may be more akin to the Common Good than philosophical liberalism. The social state thrives on freedom, understood not as an end in itself, but as a means to communion and cooperation. In this regard, the Catholic Liberal-Democrat MP Sarah Teather is one to watch. She has mostly voted in favour of the dignity of life to date, which were brave decisions for an ambitious young Liberal. Her voting record can be reviewed here:,,-6690,00.html . She is now Minister of State for Children and Families.