Thursday, March 22, 2007


I think I've discovered a new line of attack on the Cameronite Conservatives in today's Guardian. It comes from Geoffrey Wheatcroft, and is an obviously heartfelt rant that these modern Conservatives simply aren't racist enough. He pines for the good old days of High Tory anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.
There was once a vigorous high Tory tradition of independence from - if not hostility to - America. It was found in the Morning Post before the war, and it continued down to Enoch Powell and Alan Clark. But now members of the shadow cabinet, such as George Osborne (whom even Cameron is said to tease as a neocon), vie in fealty to Washington - and this when US policy is driven by neocon thinktanks and evangelical fundamentalists, with whom Toryism should have nothing in common.
Is this the first Enoch was right article to appear in the Guardian? Anti-Americanism, while of course desirable, is but a pale reflection of what the Tories used to be about - and could still be again if it weren't for the pesky interventions of people like Daniel Finkelstein and Oliver Letwin of course.
That highest of high Tories Lord Curzon deplored the Balfour declaration. He thought that a Jewish homeland could only mean a grave injustice to the inhabitants of Palestine. It would inflame hundreds of millions of Muslim subjects of the British empire. And as to the Jewish people themselves and the idea of transporting them to the Levant, "I cannot think of a worse fate for an advanced and intellectual community," Curzon said.
Attempts by younger Tories to justify their allegiance to Washington and Israel are curious. One more from the latest vintage is Douglas Carswell MP, who insists that "it is in our national interest to support Israel". He would never wish to say anything critical of Israel, "because I believe they are a front-line ally in a war against people who wish to destroy our democratic way of life. Others may take a nuanced view. I don't." This is extreme, but not unique. The Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) are a successful force, now claiming a large majority of Tory MPs as members.
How appalling! How one longs for the return of good old-fashioned Tory anti-Semitism! I've heard a lot of criticisms of the direction that David Cameron is taking the Tories, but never that he's depriving them of their ancient and noble traditions of anti-Semitism...


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