Funny thing – life. I had no intention of writing a blog today but find my blood boiling. It seems that Jacob Rees-Mogg MP was unwise enough (some might be tempted to say “stupid enough”) to be the guest speaker at the annual dinner of a vile group that calls itself the Traditional Britain Group. Before I go any further, let me say that I do not believe for one half second that Mr Rees-Mogg holds any of the beliefs that this group holds nor that he fully understood what they were about when he accepted the invitation.
Anyway, it also just so happens that the book I am reading at the moment is called Winter of the World by Ken Follett. This deals with the period running up to the second world war including, of course, the destruction of the German Social Democratic Party by the Nazis in the 1930’s. Deals with it brilliantly, horribly, graphically and accurately. If you have time, do try to read it. It is part two of a trilogy. The first, Fall of Giants takes us through the Great War and should, I feel, be compulsory reading for every prospective parliamentary candidate – that way we might, just might, avoid some of the mistakes we made in the past.
Back to the Traditional Britain Group. Look at their “About Us” page on their website. This is headed – innocently enough – Traditional Conservatives Radical Thinking. Hmmm.
Here are their aims (they call them “standpoints”). My thoughts in italics. You may care to add yours in the comment box below.
(1) We believe in Britain and the British people, their heritage and customs. Of course you do – these exist. By the same token I believe in buttercups amd butter. Neither assertion means a thing.
(2) We believe in a sovereign self-governing Britain and withdrawal from the EU. A viewpoint shared by many from all shades of the political spectrum. Full marks for this one.
(3) We reject all forms of foreign interference in our government. This is an irrational belief. We cannot avoid foreign interference if we accept foreign investment or deal (whether as buyers or sellers) in an international market. For this to mean anything they should carefully define “foreign interference”.
(4) We ask for an understanding and consciousness by all our people of their nation’s greatness, achievements, and glory. Good – but also their relative size in global terms (quite small), their failures and the fact that many shameful acts have been carried out in the name of Great Britain. That is not to be unpatriotic – it is true of every nation that has ever been and will remain true of every nation to come.
(5) We believe that the heterosexual family is the primary social unit. Subtext: we hate gays. Well, sorry, but I don’t. Some very good friends are gays and, while we on the subject, many societies have been very succesful with other types of primary social units.
(6) We believe in authority. See comment under (1) – but I have a nasty feeling that this means “our authority” rather than “your authority”..
(7) We believe in the spiritual values of life and of the respect that is owing to man. Not sure what they mean by “spiritual values” but if a someone wants to be respected he or, of course, she must earn it.
(8) We believe in the obligation of labour and the rolling back of the welfare state. If what they are saying is that all have an obligation to their fellow men and that welfare should be limited to those who really need it, I would agree. Karl Marx put it rather better. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. Of course, it may mean something else entirely.
(9) We believe in virtue and the sacred nature of Christianity and our Established Church. Sorry, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Muslims, Buddhists – and so on and so forth. You are not part of this group’s belief system. Return to your roots (unless, of course, they happen to be in the UK).
(10)We believe that our country is best served by our indigenous customs & traditions, its time-honoured hereditary principle and our monarchy. Yes, Morris dancing, bear-baiting, witch burning and rotten boroughs. Actually, I do think our constitutional monarchy is fine but when I read this sort of thing from this sort of group even I tend to start wanting to embrace a president.
(11) We are in favour of localism and local communities. So am I.
(12) We support the small businessman and entrepeneur. Good, so they should.
(13) We support British industry & manufacturing. Excellent – we can take it, therefore, that everything they buy, eat, wear and drive around in come from the UK. Should someone tell them that we have to import nearly all our oil, gas and electricity?
(14) We are opposed to internationalism and globalisation. At the risk of repeating myself: Should someone tell them that we have to import nearly all our oil, gas and electricity?
(15) We are opposed to communism, to socialism, to liberalism and to anarchism. This is rather fun. Anarchists oppose socialism. Communists oppose liberalism. This group opposes them all (but see 17 below).
(16) We are opposed to mass immigration and multiculturalism. Why are these connected? It can only be because they oppose the immigration of people who look or think differently. This overlooks the fact that all, even those in this group and the followers of Ed Milliband, share something like 99.8% of our genes.
(17) We are opposed to the Class War. Unless, of course, you are a communist, a socialist, a liberal or an anarchist in which case you are a part of the opposition which, to my ears, sounds a bit like a war.
(18) We are opposed to Political Correctness and support the repeal of all cultural-Marxist legislation, including race relations legislation. I go with abolishing political correctness, have no idea which acts on the statute book could be described as “cultural-Marxist” and I am dead against any racism whatsoever.
(19) We are against the purely materialist conception of life. Really? But everything so far suggests that the reverse is the case.
(20) We support the Great British Countryside and its conservation for future generations. I have lived in the “great British countryside” most of my life. In my experience people on the ground generally want to make as much money as they can out of the bit they own – and God help anyone else who spoils the view.
(21) We are against all the great heresies of our age, because we have yet to be convinced that there is any part of the world where the liberty to propagate such heresies has been the cause of anything good. Again we need a definition. What do they mean by heresy? Until I know I really cannot comment.