Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Welcome back Craig Murray

Craig Murray's blog has been down for a couple of days. We were worried that he had been spirited away to Guantanamo Bay.

But it seems not, as he is back with a characteristically thoughtful posting:
The most important rift in British politics today is not between left and right, it is between authoritarians and libertarians, between those who support human and civil rights, and those who prefer "Strong government". This fault line coincides closely with those who support, and those who oppose, the Iraq war, largely because both issues depend on the prior question "Is might always right?".

I therefore have much more in common with the Mail and Mr Wheeler, with Ken Clarke, Malcolm Rifkind, Peter Hitchens and Michael Ancram than I do with John Reid, Gordon Brown, or Michael White. This question of liberty is a prior question - without liberty, you're not allowed to disagree over economics. That is what poor, deluded Polly Toynbee has failed to grasp in her view that we should support Blair, no matter how many countries he invades or people he kills, because of his allegedly good child poverty policies.

Our parties are still structured around an economic fault, so now that authoritarianism has become the more crucial dividing line, they are all split. New Labour less so, because it has become a career vehicle of those attracted simply to personal power and wealth. It is fascinating how the old hard left of different varieties of communist - John Reid, Christopher Hitchens, David Aaronovitch, Melanie Phillips and their like - have taken so avidly to the new order. Of course, they never believed in liberty anyway. The Tories are - as Wheeler notes in his article - perhaps the most split. Every instinct of Ming Campbell is with the authoritarians; strangely that is true of most Lib Dem MPs, but few of their activists.
I think he grossly overstates his case when it comes to Ming and the Liberal Democrats, but his central point is surely correct.

Incidentally, Bloggerheads is back too.

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