I’m normally something of a fan of Tony Blair, mainly through a vitriolic hatred of all things conservative. I’ve been a quiet defender of him But, as with everyone, my turn has come. I will not stand by while he denigrates liberalism. Today he has announced the end of the 1960s Liberal Consensus. I understand he means no such thing, that nothing will really happen; this is what we have come to expect from him and from the entrenched bulwark of the civil service. I at least hope he isn’t tending to the stupid, reflexive authoritarianism of the people in power; Britain is a country that could slip into a happy Singaporean police state all too easily. I see what he’s saying as just a vote-winner for future elections to appeal to conservative voters, without having to do anything concrete.
However, even this language offends me. He is doing down liberalism, the mind-set that, all things equal, progress (ie alteration of the status quo) is good. Liberalism is already a dirty word in the Untied States, because of their predominantly christian conservative mindset; why make it so over here? Even if he doesn’t mean what he says, he is turning liberalism into a perjorative term for his own temporary political advantage. Through the mainstream politician changing the sense of the word Liberalism, he makes it acceptable to do it down and stokes unthinking conservatism (already a strong unwanted trait in the British), much like mainstream politicians using the language of invasion when referring to asylum stokes racism and gives parties like Pim Fortuyn’s, Jorg Haider’s or the BNP a veneer of sense they do not deserve.