Actually ‘Con-Dem’ is a better name for a government that is to the Left of New Labour – Mail Online – Peter Hitchens blog

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13 May 2010 2:09 PM

Actually ‘Con-Dem’ is a better name for a government that is to the Left of New Labour


So I shall drop ‘Torberal’, which sounds like an unpleasant chocolate bar that sticks to your teeth, or a drug for the treatment of inflamed knees. The only problem with ‘Con-Dem’ is that it contains a hint of conservatism, which is actually wholly lacking in this coalition. Yes, yes, I’ll come to the sad case of IDS, prisoner of the Cameroons, in good time (I’ve already dealt with the equally sad case of William Hague, David Cameron’s walking figleaf, in an earlier posting).

But before responding to as many of your comments as possible, I pass on some very interesting words from Mr Benedict Brogan of the Daily Telegraph, a reporter who could fairly be said to be close to the heart of the Cameroon project. Please read this in the light of the Michael Portillo words, quoted in an earlier posting:

‘Mr Cameron has worked out what the irreconcilables in his party have not: that the Tories not only did not win last Thursday but that they are unlikely to do so if another election is called soon. There is a clear sense that the Prime Minister fears that he has seen the high-water mark of the Tory comeback. Those of this persuasion question whether a 40 per cent share of the vote – the Tories achieved 36 per cent – will ever be in sight again’.

I suppose I’m an ‘irreconcilable’ outside the party, but then again this is because I worked out nearly seven years ago that a Tory victory was impossible and that conservatism needs another vehicle. Once again, I’d like to say that if only other conservatives had paid any attention, we’d now be a lot closer to achieving that.

(By the way, can the pestilential BNP posters here please stop claiming that their tiny, dismal, violent and bigoted Nazi-tainted faction, which feeds parasitically on the legitimate opinions of others in an unending and unsuccessful search for fraudulent popularity is a ‘party’ or worthy of serious consideration or mention? I should have thought recent events would have persuaded even them of that, and I can’t imagine I’m the only person reading this site who could manage without them.)

Let’s also bung in some words from Deborah Orr, in the Guardian who seems to have grasped something her colleagues, obsessed with fantasies that these were ‘the Same Old Tories’, never understood. She says: ‘Britain doesn’t have a Conservative government. How astonishing. After a long period in which the rule of the right was thought inevitable, David Cameron’s party has been hobbled.’

What she fails to note (it’s a bit too much all at once for someone trapped in the weird leftist universe she inhabits) is that Mr Cameron actively welcomes being ‘hobbled’ in this way.

Oh, yes, IDS. I’d say Mr Duncan Smith was a Christian Democrat, honourably motivated by Roman Catholic social teaching and genuinely concerned for the poor, but lacking in a robust understanding of the need to combat moral poverty in our country. Also, the poor man was crushed by being thrust into a leadership he couldn’t handle, the last conservative leader of the Tory Party (see my book ‘The Cameron Delusion’ – the updated paperback version of ‘The Broken Compass’ – for an account of the significance of his overthrow and what followed).

Now, to the silly people who seem to think that the events of the past few days have shown me to be wrong – how, exactly did I err? I was absolutely right about three important things – two of fact and one of opinion. I said Mr Cameron was a man of the Left, and I said he wouldn’t and he shouldn’t win a majority. I said (and Mr Brogan and Mr Portillo agree with me from their very different perspectives) that the Tory Party couldn’t win a majority again. I even remarked rather early on Mr Cameron’s closeness to Mr Clegg, in my one question to him during the campaign. Remember what I asked: ‘Are you politically closer to Norman Tebbit or to Nick Clegg?’ And remember that he didn’t answer. Well, he has answered now, hasn’t he?

I was, it is true, at fault in not conceiving that either Mr Cameron or Mr Clegg would be able to get their parties to support the liberal elite stitch-up which has just created a government significantly to the left of New Labour. Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron may not believe in anything much, apart from the conventional wisdom of the modern elite, but they have MPs and supporters who do have principles. Yet, either exhilarated or nauseated by the speed of the coalition bus, they have stayed strapped in their seats and made no protest.

I genuinely believed last weekend that the most they could achieve would be an informal stitch-up on ‘confidence and supply’. It was even worse than I had imagined, which I agree is a failure, but only of magnitude.

But what of my cavilling foes – whose case always seemed to be based on the idea that a Tory victory at all costs was both possible and desirable, without any reference to what sort of government it would bring? Did they either want or predict the Cameron-Clegg civil partnership? Are they pleased at what has taken place, now they have got it? Are they pleased by the enthusiasm that Mr Cameron shows for lashing his party to the Liberal Democrats, quite possibly forever?

Let them answer if they can, though if I know them they’ll dodge the question or resort to abuse against me. I was much more nearly right than they. And my most fundamental argument – that the Cameron Tory Party was Labour in a blue dress – has been totally borne out.

Dogma can of course delude anyone into failing to believe general truths. This is the curse of intelligence work – its fruit often isn’t believed because it doesn’t suit political leaders or military chiefs to do so, the best example of this being the Israeli government’s refusal to act on intelligence of a planned attack in September 1973, and the second best being Stalin’s refusal to believe repeated warnings of Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in 1941. Neither of them wanted to believe it, so they didn’t.

But when dogma actually causes people to deny demonstrable arithmetical propositions, then we really are up against a severe delusion, proof of the old but reliable saying that there’s none so blind as those that will not see.

Try this simple problem for yourselves: Number of seats needed for majority: 326. Number of seats won by Conservatives: 306. Do the Conservatives have a majority? No. Can you win an election if you don’t have a majority? No. Did the Tories win the election? No. Then they must have lost it. Yet the mere statement that ‘The Tories lost the election’ sends these loyalists into a sort of tizzy of rage. As A.E. Housman wrote: ‘To think that two and two are four, and neither five nor three, the heart of man has long been sore – and long is like to be’. But that’s tough.

Mind you, I’ve known I was in trouble with dedicated Tory loyalists for years. You could place before them any number of facts about the Tory leader and his colleagues, their actions, their open statements of intention, their voting records. And they would appear to listen. And then, after hours of argument or weeks of correspondence, they would end by saying in an uncomprehending drone: ‘That’s all very well, but surely we’ve got to get rid of Gordon Brown.’

Well, congratulations boys and girls, you’ve ‘got rid of Gordon Brown’ and how much better do you feel than you did when he was there? High taxation gone, has it? Grammar schools back, are they? Political correctness has been removed from public life, has it? The EU has been told to clear off, has it? Mass immigration is stopping, is it? Crime and disorder are under control, are they? Marriage has been saved, has it? Britain has pulled out of the idiot war in Afghanistan, has it? The rape of the constitution is over, is it?

Do you know what, I think some of them may actually start to miss Gordon Brown after a few months of rule by these bland and smiley young men, mocking the poor groundlings who were fool enough to mistake propaganda for substance. Me? Well, like most Trotskyite sleepers – and it turns out that Comrade Eric Pickles used to be a Trot, too, according to this morning’s papers, so work that one out if you can – I’m more concerned with policy than personality.

If you want to comment on Peter Hitchens, click on Comments and scroll down.

May 13, 2010 | Permalink

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It’s unusual for an opinion columnist to have such a lenghty wikipedia entry; are your it’s author? Wikipedia also reveals your own brother has called you an idiot!

Posted by:
Mrs Miggins |
17 May 2010 at 09:54 AM

Protect our church, right to wear a crucifix, right to quote the good book in public, our post office, protect our history, future and identity. Protect our countryside from housing development for immigrants, stop our country being used as a dumping ground. There is only one party capable and that is the BNP!

Posted by:
Sarah-jayne |
17 May 2010 at 09:47 AM

As I have campaigned against a Conservative government in the past, that I am very happy with the outcome of this election probably supports Hitchens’s analysis.

It seems to me that the leaders of all parties have dragged their supporters towards the centre ground, with electoral victory as a reward for keeping their more distinctive aspirations for the country in check.

Unless either obviously defeated Labour or less obviously defeated Conservative grassroots members rebel against this and try to pull these parties away from the centre, we will have arrived at a point where governments are selected like X factor contestants and ejected like football managers.

Since my views are broadly where this narrow choice has ended up, I’m not unhappy about it from a partisan point of view. But it does seem to be the death of politics.

My hope for this government is that it might have “the brakes of a Rolls-Royce and the engine of a mini” to borrow from Yes Prime Minister. The last government was too hyperactive in legislation and initiatives, criminalising and micro-managing because it had things all its own way.

If the coalition on does and spends money on things the two sides agree on, and cuts or doesn’t do things they disagree on, we might have a period of relative calm and cut the deficit.

Posted by:
Jason Buckley |
17 May 2010 at 09:39 AM

Con-dem, what a brilliant name for the new political force!!! I voted Conservative and I am totally brassed off at the lib-dems worming their way into Downing Street. I would never have voted for Cameron if I had known that his integrity was so questionable!!! ‘CONDEMNED’ should be the new name. However if this new set up takes up the case of Royal Marine Commander Sgt Mark Leader and reverses the outrageous justice meted out to him I might just give them my support. Don’t hold your breath!!!

Posted by:
Mrs C Robertson |
17 May 2010 at 07:32 AM

John Demetriou
I do recall the Legal Eagles argument, and it was actually you who got “pawned” as I recall. Because you said changing the law on drunk-driving would be an assault on the English system of common law, when the whole point of common law is that it advances by precendent!. So if someone were to be convicted of murder for drunk-driving it would set a precendent. You just proved you didn’t even know what common law was. Stop embarassing yourself.

Posted by:
Gareth Brufford |
16 May 2010 at 11:46 PM

Posted by: John Demetriou 16 May 2010 at 01:27 PM.

I agree unfortunately it is not us who decide these things. I think we also had a majority on our side although most of them put up the usual fatuous objections to the death penalty in general and didn’t see the principle that was at stake.

Posted by:
Michael Williamson |
16 May 2010 at 06:55 PM

Posted by: Peter Hitchens 16 May 2010 at 04:49 PM.

“Mr Williamson assumes I was referring to him in an earlier post. I wasn’t.”.

I was wrong Mr Hitchens, I apologise.

Posted by:
Michael Williamson |
16 May 2010 at 06:47 PM

Dear Disillusioned. We seem to have hit it off! By all means address me as Louise if that’s what tickles you. So, now we are getting to know each other a little better, what do I call you? Mr Disillusioned? Ms Disillusioned? Dr Disillusioned? Field Marshal Sir Douglas Disillusioned? Grand Ayatollah Disillusioned? Saint Disillusioned in the Field? Maybe I should just call you Dis? Or how about ill?

“I have a right to be ‘disillusioned’ because the policies promoted by the party that I voted for turned out to be a complete sham!” – Well of course they did! (Not that they would have done a whole lot of good even if they hadn’t.) My point, Dis, is this. You were warned. (Maybe Gull might be a better name, Dis?)

Don’t worry Dis, I didn’t vote for Labour or the BNP, or UKIP or the Monster Raving Loonies or the Liberal Democrats. In fact, I didn’t vote for anyone at all.

Posted by:
Louis Spencer |
16 May 2010 at 05:34 PM

Mr Williamson assumes I was referring to him in an earlier post. I wasn’t.

Posted by:
Peter Hitchens |
16 May 2010 at 04:49 PM

Wow Pete you nearly fell of your trolley this time @ 5.56 pm May 15.
Normal people cannot. and vote for the same party all their life. Some may even say your views on whether, Britain should have ever gone to,war with Hitler slightly strange in a John Tyndall sort of way.
So your views on miriad subjects may become just as weird, and some are. But I will not hold that against you. Even though you hold my views, as not to your taste.
But it seems we still have more in common than any other party don’t we . So to all those out there that constantly attack my views are in fact attacking yours.
Still never mind I find it hilarious.

Posted by:
mikebarnes |
16 May 2010 at 03:02 PM

Posted by: Michael Williamson | 15 May 2010 at 10:05 PM

Michael, what are you talking about, has he ever lost an argument? Why, of course he has! He lost the Legal Eagles argument about the ‘death by careless driving equals murder’ discussion.

You remember, the one where you and I teamed up and took him to town with clear precise logic and argument, and where he got upset and pulled the plug on it all as though he were the winner and we the undoubted losers.

Don’t get me wrong, it rarely happens, because the man is sharp and clever, but we pwned him that one time, real bad.

Posted by:
John Demetriou |
16 May 2010 at 01:27 PM

Contrary to what Mr Hitchens would like us to believe, the BNP is a pro-Zionist far-right political organization… a natural home for the anti-Cameron anti-tolerance regressive traditionalist conservative Tory dissidents.

The only reason Mr Hitchens does not support Nick Griffin’s party is because of its working-class roots.

Indeed, Mr Hitchens has less respect for the working-class conservative than he does the average ’lefty’ trade union leader.

To Mr Hitchens, a working-class conservative is a subservient second-class citizen who exists to prop-up the (soon-to-be-extinct) ‘ruling classes’. To Mr Hitchens, it would be unthinkable to support a political party *run* by ‘inferior’ working-class conservatives. Mr Hitchens believes working-class conservatives are little more than drones who exist to doff their caps and tug their forelocks in the presence of their middle-class ‘superiors’. To Mr Hitchens, working-class conservatives are ‘rather simple folk’ who put their trust in the grammar school-educated middle-classes to ‘rule’ them… in return the working-class conservative can expect his unswerving obedience to be rewarded by a patronizing platitude and a gentle pat on the head from their wise, well-spoken, all-knowing, all-seeing, Jack Hawkins-esque middle-class ‘betters‘.

Mr Hitchens expects the working class conservative to read his column and gasp effusively, “…oh yes, Mr Hitchens, you are so right about everything. I wish I had the wisdom God has blessed you with… truly, you have been chosen by our heavenly father to impart His wisdom to us undeserving wretches… we know our place, Mr Hitchens, here I’ll give up my vote to you, because you know what’s best for me…”

In reality, there is not one tiniest morsel, not one scintilla of difference between the BNP’s backward, xenophobic and intolerant manifesto and Mr Hitchens’ militantly Christian, and repressively stultifying and regressive political agenda… right down to a desire to see the railways re-nationalized.

And, paradoxically, this is why Mr Hitchens is *so* vehement in his damnation of the BNP. He knows that the BNP does more to toxify the ‘right’ and fragment the ‘conservative’ voting base than even UKIP.

The BNP is an *honest* and realistic reflection of Mr Hitchens’ sometimes opaque agenda.

I am thankful to the BNP for shining a light on the truly insidious and pernicious nature of traditional conservatism. In the glare of such a purging torch, the disaffected Tory dissidents cower in the shadows of UKIP and the Tory Party, whilst the vast majority of the British people reject the regressive politics of the ‘right’.

Mr Hitchens and other whinging, cynical and negative regressive trad-cons have a choice. Either have the courage of their politics and join the BNP, or stay within the modernized, progressive and liberalized Tory Party, and embrace the secular-humanist positivity, excitement and optimism of our times.

Despite the threat of global terrorism, climate change, and overpopulation, humanity has a great future ahead of it. But we will only achieve our goals if the people of earth unite… we owe it to our grandchildren.

Posted by:
Harry Rose |
16 May 2010 at 01:13 PM

Michael Williamson – I fear you may have poked at a wasps’ nest unnecessarily – I suspect the contributor Mr Hitchens is referring to is Paul Emberey, with whom he had a long and tedious debate over something Richard Dawkins may or may not have said.

Posted by:
Tony Dodd |
16 May 2010 at 11:18 AM

Mr Williamson writes:

“Why Mr Hitchens I suspect you are referring to me.”

In light of Mr Hitchens’ comment on the ‘How to admit you’re wrong’ thread (01 May 2010 at 08:38 PM) found in the April 2010 Archives, perhaps he was instead referring to Mr Embery.

Posted by:
Alex Proctor |
16 May 2010 at 11:13 AM

Dear Louis Spencer,
I have a right to be ‘disillusioned’ because the policies promoted by the party that I voted for turned out to be a complete sham! I would be interested to know which party you voted for – I suspect Labour or the BNP! By the way, should I address you as Louis or Louise???

Posted by:
disillusioned |
16 May 2010 at 02:37 AM

Bob, son of Bob- If you are referring to the Hoover Institution videos that Peter Robinson conducts, which are also posted on the National Review website, I suspect the reason, though it is merely an educated guess, that you won’t see Peter Hitchens on there is that he hasn’t and won’t be invited to do so. Indeed, NRO is far more interested in what Christopher Hitchens, who despite his talents still seems to me to be very much an unreconstructed leftist and a strange recipient of praise for a reputedly conservative magazine, has to say on most issues of the day than what Peter Hitchens would have to say. To give you an example of the kind of intellectual open-mindedness and “debate” that Peter Robinson seems to favor in conservatism: When Pat Buchanan’s admittedly controversial WWII book was published last year, Mr. Robinson chose to invite, not Buchanan himself and someone critical of his thesis to debate the issues involved, but two critics of Buchanan, Christopher Hitchens and Victor Davis Hanson, both of whom were savagely critical of the book, and savagely critical of the idea that the Stalinist alliance with the West was too high a price to pay for defeating Hitlerism. Mark Steyn is an amusing writer on many subjects, but is very much a neoconservative in his belief in the necessity of American global police action and is consequently a suitable subject for the series. There are sometimes very interesting interviews in the series, but I find Robinson to be all too often an annoyingly smug and sanctimonious questioner.

Posted by:
Andrew |
15 May 2010 at 11:00 PM

Posted by: Peter Hitchens 15 May 2010 at 05:10 PM.

I really don’t mind being criticised for what I did or said (though I have to admit that one contributor here, who long ago caught me out in a minor slip, but otherwise loses all his arguments, has begun to get on my nerves by returning to this episode over and over and over again, so anxious is he to rehearse his lone and tiny triumph) .

Why Mr Hitchens I suspect you are referring to me. And now it is my turn to tell you that you don’t read what I write, we all make mistakes from time to time – even I have been known to, then, when they are pointed out, we apologise, at least most of us do. It wasn’t the mistake that upset me, but the nature of your apology which I found, to put it mildly, downright rude and deserving of another apology which was never forthcoming. If you think I regard that as a triumph you are sadly mistaken. As to losing all my arguments, well that is a matter of opinion, it does seem, however, that when someone makes a case to which you are opposed they are automatically deemed to have ‘lost the argument’ and, as it is your blog, you always have the last word. Has anyone ever won an argument with you in your opinion? I am beginning to doubt it.

Posted by:
Michael Williamson |
15 May 2010 at 10:05 PM

Most BNP supporters like myself are the exiled right-wing of the Conservative party. National (or any other) Socialists we most certainly are not. So instead of demeaning the few patriotic Brits willing to take a stand against the Marxist onslaught perhaps you could be more constructive and suggest an alternative…thought so, there isn’t one.

Posted by:
Jake Wheeler |
15 May 2010 at 08:18 PM

‘Stan’ – no one describes what is good and right about small ‘c’ conservatism better.

One cannot trawl through all the comments here, but ‘Stan’ is always worth reading.

Posted by:
Guy Reid-Brown |
15 May 2010 at 07:39 PM

“Five years of a Tory/Lib-Dem coalition will seal the fate of regressive conservatism forever, consigning this most obnoxious, stultifying and misanthropic political philosophy to the garbagecan of history”.

Such a hilariously ignorant rant it is almost unworthy of serious response.
But I will say this. Conservatism,all the evidence shows, is what the majority of people in this country want.

That is why polls consistently show big majorities in favour of taking us out of the Lisbon Treaty, reducing immigration, bringing back grammar schools,cutting taxes, cutting benefits for the idle and irresponsible and getting rid of the Human Rights Act.
This is also why the left-wing ruling elite are never honest about their left-wng policies. The Lib Dems lied that they do not really want to take us into the euro (as they knew it would be unpopular) the Tories lied that they opposed the Lisbon Treaty (and Brown lied that he would give us a referendum on it), and Labour were caught out lying about the immigration figures, during this election.

If conservatism is so unpopular, why do all three main Parties keep lying, and pretending to take conservative positions on all these issues?

Posted by:
Gareth Brufford |
15 May 2010 at 06:16 PM

I refer to the BNP as ‘violent’ and ‘bigoted’ because these accusations are demonstrably true. The words are statements of cool fact. I would certainly denounce any other grouping which constantly sought my endorsement and support, which was equally tainted, from any part of the political spectrum. None does so.

The BNP’s constitutional restrictions on membership have for many years been based upon ethnic characteristics rather than opinions, and its members physically attack critics – as recently happened to a ‘Times’ reporter in the presence of the party leadership. I also cite Mr Griffin’s fascinating remarks when he shared a platform with David Duke, former Imperial Kalamazoo, Wazamazoo, or whatever it is, of the Ku Klux Klan, as irrefutable evidence of the real nature of this party, as opposed to the ‘policies’ it from time to time embraces. I also have the advantage (see earlier postings) of having spent some hours in conversation with Mr Griffin, and with some of his supporters. I ignore the fact that the BNP has adopted ‘policies'( I was particularly amused by its recent embrace of Christianity, something it was wholly uninterested in until a short time ago) because I believe it embraces these out of tactical opportunism, not conviction. I think it gets these ‘policies’ at present largely from conservative columnists who wouldn’t touch it with three bargepoles lashed together. . I wouldbe most interested if anyone could trace the dates on which these ‘policies’ were adopted.

What do normal people think of those who go round ‘agreeing’ with them to try to get in their gang? That’s what I think of the BNP’s adoptuion of ‘policies’ (on top of my general contempt for this style of politics).

Those who support or vote for the BNP in ignorance of its true nature can be excused. But how can anyone who comes to this site claim to be ignorant of these things?

Those who continue to support it when they know of its National Socialist, Judophobic and Hitler-worshipping origins , its pursuit of support from Colonel Gadaffi and its racially prejudiced basic rules, cannot be so excused. That is why I say no decent person can vote for it. They may have been decent before they did so, but they were not decent afterwards – at least until they have regretted it and decided never to do so again.

Posted by:
Peter Hitchens |
15 May 2010 at 05:56 PM

We are plainly getting some new vsititors here and I am glad of it. One of the major Tory weblogs linked to this site for what I think is the first time ever the other day (they generally ignore my existence, except for occcasional denunciations, and in some cases actually preferred (and prefer) to link to Labour or Lib Dem sites, which I think says a lot) .

But can these newcomers please do a little more background research before launching into denunciations. It would save so much time. Here’s an example from someone hiding behind the name ‘Barry’> He or she says:

“You allege that “conservatism needs a new vehicle”.
I assume that in some ill-informed way you assume that Thatcherism is Conservatism. Traditional Conservatism – that of Disraeli or say Iain Macleod – is pretty well represented in the present coalition.
A Thatcherite party would get a rump of votes. I know it did well in the past but we no longer need Attilla (Maggie) to slay Stalin (the unions). A nice lad from the home counties could never have done it!
No, Conservatism has its vehicle. You Thatcherites should go off and find your own.”

Anyone who had been paying attention here would know that I am not a Thatcherite and that I have for many years been critical of those who idolise Margaret Thatcher. A reasonably fair summary of my views on this can be found on the ‘Wikipedia’ entry for ‘Peter Hitchens’ and I urge ‘Barry’ to read this before launching any more attacks of this kind.

‘Barry’ might also have noticed that I wrote of ‘conservatism’, as a political position, rather than of ‘Conservatism,’ a partisan loyalty. ‘Barry’ is an admirer of Benjamin Dislraeli and of Iain McLeod. No wonder, in that case, he is a supporter of the new Liberal Conservative Party which has just been forced into being by Mr Cameron and his media allies. But he must accept that Burkeian conservatism(Edmund Burke was a Whig as far as I know) is not necessarily synonymous with
the Tory aristocratic populism (for lack of a better expression) he seems to favour.

I also think he was unwise to denounce me as ‘ill-informed’. By some standards, no doubt this is true. I am deeply conscious of my own ignorance. But he has rather shown that on this matter at least he is a good deal more ill-informed than I.

Posted by:
Peter Hitchens |
15 May 2010 at 05:27 PM

A person hiding behind the pretentious name ‘Harold Godwinson’ posts :”Peter, If you do not like the election result why did you encourage readers to vote for it? A UKIP vote was never going to achieve anything other than a boost for Labour.
Congratulations on encouraging the re-election of Ed Balls. He must reward you.”

Once again I must point out that I know my Christian name quite well(though I don’t even know the sex of ‘Harold Godwinson’) . I do not need to be reminded of it. No wonder he or she prefers not to use his or her true name, as this posting reveals an invincible unwillingness to pay attention to what I actually say.

I really don’t mind being criticised for what I did or said (though I have to admit that one contributor here, who long ago caught me out in a minor slip, but otherwise loses all his arguments, has begun to get on my nerves by returning to this episode over and over and over again, so anxious is he to rehearse his lone and tiny triumph) .

But I do find it exasperating to be chided by people who plainly have not read what I wrote, for having said things I haven’t .

I didn’t encourage my readers to vote for this result. How can this person say I did? Nobody voted for this result. They couldn’t have done even if they had wanted to, since nobody knew that a Con-Dem coalition was on offer or in prospect.

I urged them, quite simply, not to vote Tory. I hoped for the most abject Tory defeat possible (not caring who won, as we would get an anti-British left-wing government whatever happened), and if more conservatives had done as I asked this coalition (which I suspect was hatched many months ago and concealed from the public until the votes had been cast) would have been impossible.

That can hardly be seen as a call to vote for a Tory-Lib Dem coalition,can it? At least not by any honest person. Nor ( as this ‘Godwinson’ insinuates) did I ever suggest that anyone should vote for UKIP. On the contrary, I was constantly pestered by UKIP supporters urging me to do so, so much so that I had more than once to refuse to do this, and to denounce UKIP as the farce they are.

I think this government is already showing itself to be well to the Left of Labour on many issues, notably its near-Republican plans for the constitution, gravely increasing the power of Downing Street and neutering Parliament. It is certainly not to the right of Labour on tax, foreign policy, warmism, political correctness, education, law and justice or any other major policy area.

I don’t recall encouraging the re-election of Mr Balls. Not that it much matters, as I prefer my opponents to be in plain view, identifying themselves as such, rather than pretending to be my friends. But if people skulking behind false names make accusations of this kind, I cannot even challenge them properly to make good their suggestions, since they can abandon their aliases, vanish from sight and pop up under a different faale name, without ever needing to take responsibility for their earlier falsehoods. Whereas I can (rightly) be made to account for things I said and did more than 30 years ago.

And people ask why I disapprove of false names on the Web.

Posted by:
Peter Hitchens |
15 May 2010 at 05:10 PM

Peter, If you do not like the election result why did you encourager readers to vote for it. A UKIP vote was never going to achieve anything other than a boost for Labour.
Congratulations on encouraging the re-election of Ed Balls. He must reward you.

Posted by:
Harold Godwinson |
15 May 2010 at 04:01 PM

Peter, I may not always agree with you on everything, but on this you have proved yourself to be very accurate, and reflect many people’s opinions. I look forward to reading your book and enjoying further perceptive ruminations!!

Posted by:
ole blue eyes |
15 May 2010 at 02:45 PM




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