The 2022 midterms should have been a bloodbath. It should have been a huge sweep for the Republicans, relegating the Democrats to the depths of minority rule. Instead, the Republicans managed to win the House only respectably, whilst the Dems kept the house. It’s widely believed that better candidates could have kept the house.
Good candidates do exist. Ron DeSantis managed to make gains in Florida. Glenn Youngkin flipped Virginia. Brian Kemp safely won re-election in Georgia. Unfortunately, there were also many poor candidates. A competent Republican could have beaten John Fetterman in Pennsylvania. Somebody else could have beaten Katie Hobbs.
The same is true for Presidential elections. The Republicans have only won one election in the 21st century outright, with both the Electoral College and popular vote – George W. Bush in 2004. 2000 and 2016 both saw Electoral College wins but popular vote losses. Whilst external events came into play, it’s not a great look.
That being said, it almost seems that the Republicans like losing. They’re not making any real attempt at winning. Whilst they might choose decent candidates, there’s a high chance they won’t.
This is an excerpt from “Provenance”. To continue reading, visit The Mallard’s Shopify.
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By Honest Liberal — 2 weeks ago
After The First World War, Germany, the main aggressor of the war in Central and Western Europe, was punished severely by the victors and isolated. To oversimplify tremendously, that pushed Germany into a period of chaos from which it did not begin to recover until a decade later. At that time, the Wall Street crash of 1929 was not far away – causing the great depression and drove Germany into the arms of the National Socialists.
After The Second World War, the Allies did not repeat that mistake. The United States’ Marshall Plan sent vast amounts of cash from the US into Europe, to recover and rebuild. Then came the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and further developments into the union that it became. Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany at least) bloomed into the economic powerhouse at the centre of European politics that it is today. It is one of the dominant forces in the EU, leading that bloc as a second-tier world power. This is quite an accomplishment, coming from the ashes of two world wars. The economic benefits have been felt by the entire world, and the security that prosperity brought has increased cooperation and good relations across Europe.
The lesson of history therefore is to punish individuals, as the allies did in the Nuremberg trials, not entire nations.
I believe that the Putin regime has set itself on the path to political destruction, and that might take a decade to play out, though I think his regime will collapse far sooner than that. The die is cast, and the beginning of the end for Putin’s Kleptocracy has come.
I do not claim to know how this will come to pass, or what form of government will follow, but the answer from history is to pull in our former enemies, to tie them closely to us economically, and to forgive the mistakes of former regimes – allowing them to repent, rather than be punished.
In the case of Russia, the opportunity has arisen now for us to do what the West very sadly failed to do after the dissolution of the Soviet Union – to bring it into the West, to integrate Russia into our system, to give her both formal alliance and informal respect, that that great nation has always deserved – but which we rightly never gave to a gangster such as Putin.
We in the West should offer the Russian nation all the wealth that it desires and deserves, and which has been stolen from them for 20 years by oligarchs and brutes in their government. By offering them their rightful place in the world, as a second-tier nation and economic power such as Germany, they will have the ability to fulfil the aspiration that Putin (and Trump) often parroted, but never would allow: to be great again.
By doing this, Putin’s old lie of being held back by the West will be destroyed – Russia will return to be a core part of a Christian Europe, and of the West. Though Russia is more than Western, it is Asian too, and should be free to play a strong part in Asian governance/politics, and therefore world politics, as it geographically and culturally strides the world.
The Russian economy will have been desolated in a year’s time, under the current sanctions. Over the summer the Russian oil and gas on which Europe depends far too heavily, and from which Russian receives a vast proportion of its income, will be in far lower demand, and the Russian coffers will empty further. And even more, I’m certain that few creditors will be willing to take on Putin’s war debt.
The Rouble has hugely depreciated in value and an inflation spiral is highly likely. The cost of living crisis in the UK will seem insignificant compared to that of Russia, and this is on top of a 10% drop in living standards since 2014, due to the sanctions which followed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Already, the war chest in reserves that Putin smartly built up has been taken away from him by sanctions imposed on the Russian Central Bank. The base interest rate has risen to 20%, making mortgages and loans far less affordable, and many banks and businesses are being crippled by their exclusion from the SWIFT payment system.
Unemployment will only rise, Oligarchs will increasingly bemoan their loss of wealth, and their exclusion from using London and other European capitals as retail playgrounds and education farms for their children. Those 18 to 26-year-olds who have been conscripted, their parents, and the soldiers who genuinely thought they were on training exercises will all increasingly seek recompense for how they have been treated.
The Putin regime will fall in due course. The West must seize the moment and take the opportunity to free the Russian people by bringing them into Western institutions, treating them as European allies and as a competitor, and no longer as an enemy.
Russia is currently a pariah state because of Putin, and Belarus the same because of Lukashenko, but it must not always be so. Of course, democracy must only come to those countries through revolutions, and must never be imposed upon a nation if it is to be seen as legitimate. But when democracy comes to Russia and Belarus finally, we must pull them in tightly.
Would we rather have a Putin, or an Orban? Putin is an enemy to the West, and Orban difficulty tendencies, but he is limited by EU membership and his nation’s own sentiment. Orban makes EU wide agreements difficult and disagrees with some of its values. Putin would rather the EU were destroyed. I am reminded of the inside versus outside of the tent analogy.
The way to integrate both Belarus and Russia is to bring them into the European and Western system with an economic agreement with the EU, and a partnership or treaty between Russia and NATO. Having democracy, liberty, security, and prosperity will allow the Russian economy and government to iterate, to adjust, and to be brought back properly into Europe culturally.
The point is this; when Putin falls, what then becomes the goal for the West? I believe the objectives should be as follows: To restore the nation and government of Russia to freedom and democracy, to recover her economy to prosperity, and to bring Russia into the fold and identify the true enemy of the West: China.
Russia has meddled, been aggressive, thuggish, kleptocratic and antidemocratic for 20 years now, but China is different.
Make no mistake, President Xi wants to impose his values, and his rule, on the world. He and the Chinese Communist Party are prepared to do this over 50 and 100 years, though it looks like it might not take that long. The CCP does not seek confrontation, but it is growing rapidly in the shadows, and is now the second largest economy in the world and seriously challenging the US as the world power.
Frankly, the West needs Russia on our team if we are to stand up to Xi. That is the real challenge of this century, more than climate change, more than COVID-19, and certainly more than a terrible, horrific war of aggression by Putin into Ukraine.
The West should sagely consider this: Putin’s days are numbered. How do we in the West recover Russia into the European family of nations where it belongs, and properly confront the Chinese, with Russia on our side? If we have no answer to that, then we are lost.Post Views: 44
By Samuel Martin — 2 weeks ago
Whilst writing this, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has survived a no-confidence vote, brought about by, of all things, having an ‘unloicensed’ booze-up. Although he’s allowed to stay in the job, his prospects are grim. Most of the Tory backbenchers not on the PM’s payroll voted against him, and the Conservatives continue to trail behind Keir Starmer’s Labour – a man with as much positive energy as a recently divorced mortician, a deflated man for a deflated party.
That said, the Conservatives’ tanking popularity cannot be reduced to “a bad look”. I’m sure such a notion is very consoling for the parliamentary party. Never mind the insufferable coverage of “Partygate”, the government’s track-record over the past few months has been utterly terrible – far more severe than a regrettable office party to any serious person. Most people could vote for a lockdown-breaking Prime Minister provided he was governing in their interests, but he’s not.
Giving a blank cheque to Ukraine to fight a losing war with Russia, betraying his Brexit-voting supporters on immigration – continuing to permit absurd numbers to pour across the border, legally or illegally, and an underusing a historic supermajority; consequently failing to break the stranglehold of NGOs and a Blairite civil service, and reinforcing the government’s failure to implement supply-side solutions to Costalivin, the people with the most reason to hate this government are the conservatives that (theoretically) should be supporting it. All this said, we’ve been in similar circumstances before. Economic turbulence, government scandal, political disaffection, and an absence of progressive vision, it should be remembered that all these factors contributed to the rise of a new and dynamic political force. Of course, I am talking about the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus.
Co-founded by Jonathan Bowden and Stuart Millson in November 1992, the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus (RCC) was a fringe right-wing pressure group aiming to introduce a new, radical, and idiosyncratic brand of conservatism into British politics. In Bowden’s words: to introduce “abstract thought into the nether reaches of the Conservative and Unionist party”.
Before the establishment of the RCC, Bowden and Millson both operated in right-wing circles. Bowden became active in local Conservative Party politics in the late-80s and early-90s after dropping out of Cambridge University, during which time he joined the Monday Club. After failing to get elected to the club’s executive council, Bowden was appointed co-chairman of the club’s media committee alongside Millson in 1991.
Meanwhile, Millson was an officer at the Western Goals Institute (WGI), a right-wing anti-communist group that formed out of Western Goals UK – a British offshoot of the USA-based Western Goals Foundation. Although it was based in Britain, the WGI was not bound to the Conservative Party or British politics, opting to associate with a wide range of right-wing parties across the world, such as the Conservative Party of South Africa and France’s Front National. The Board of British Jewish Deputies described the WGI as “not fascists or anti-Semitic” but as inhabiting the “nether-world” of the fringe right.
When Bowden and Millson were expelled from the Monday Club in 1992, the controversialist and vanguardist energy of the WGI, combined with the desire to influence British politics within conservatism’s remit, lay the foundation for the RCC identity. Self-described as “Conservative, Nationalist, Unionist, and New Right”, the RCC saw itself as anglicised parallel, rather than a direct outgrowth, of the European New Right – a right-wing pan-European nationalist movement that ascended to prominence in the 1970s following the establishment of GRECE – Groupement de Recherche et d’Études pour la Civilisation Européenne (Research and Study Group for European Civilization) in 1968, led by Alain De Benoist and Dominique Venner.
Despite its short lifespan (1992-1994), the RCC acquired national notoriety. The Labour Party and Conservative Party liberals attacked the RCC as far-right infiltrators, whilst the more Eurosceptic and traditionalist factions of the Conservative Party, despite ideological and strategic differences, were more sympathetic to their cause. In terms of activity, the RCC published policy papers and even hosted some well-attended fringe events at Conservative Party Conference. However, it mainly centred around the publication of a newspaper aptly named: The Revolutionary Conservative.
Despite being a short-lived publication, the content was surprisingly diverse. A defence of a right-wing alternative to the European Union, a nationalist economic proposal, as well as attacks on Major’s leadership, British intervention in Bosnia, “The Bolshevik Broadcasting Company”, immigration-led demographic change, Liberal Conservatism, all designed to “set the blood pressure pounding in those Oxfam veins”, are just a few examples of the articles published whilst the RCC was active.
However, unlike conventional party-political groups, the RCC was united by a belief in the political power of culture. As such, one could also find think-pieces on The Windsors and national decline, military heroism in the works of Ernst Junger, rumours about Michael Jackson, the sexual politics of Camille Paglia and Andrea Dworkin, and cream teas with Alan Clark. The literary section formed a notably large chunk of the newspaper, with reviews ranging from novels to biographies, from politics to socio-biology, as well as ponderings on art (Wyndham Lewis) and music (Richard Wagner vs Tina Turner).
However, what is most notable about The Revolutionary Conservative is its overtly anti-PC articulation, being humorously cruel and sometimes bordering on total misanthropy. Indeed, the RCC referred to its flagship paper as “the most politically-incorrect magazine in Britain”. The “Introduction to Revolutionary Conservatism” reads as follows:
“Are you sick and tired of being bullied by women who look like men in your local library? Are you sick of transvestite vicars running the country down as they reach for their macro-biotic dieting recipe books? Are you sick of anti-racist Noddy? Does your gorge rise when you see Peter Tatchell engaged in a die-in opposite the Palace of Westminster? Are you sick of your local council hosting Chad-awareness days at your expense?”
…We say, burn the Red Flag! Kick those trendy vicars in the seat of their pants (although they would probably enjoy that), let Peter Tatchell die of AIDs (the sooner the better) and put tanks on the streets of Handsworth. If you agree with these modest proposals… then you should subscribe to The Revolutionary Conservative”
The extent to which the rhetoric is to be taken in earnest or is merely a matter of performance is neither here nor there. One gets the impression that they enjoyed the ambiguity, whether it was a practical necessity or not. Even if the following write in was an advertising tactic or genuine, it’s still hilarious:
“Dear Sir… I obtained a copy of your noxious publication… I almost threw up my breakfast. To refer to Madonna as a slag is over the top… She is merely a distracted and somewhat sad girl in need of prayer, recuperation, and the sort of church socials my wife organises… the general tone of your magazine is harsh, masculine, ultra-reactionary, yet abusive yet stentorian…”
“Dear Vic… The idea of you gagging on your All bran and Hovis gave us considerable pleasure in the Editorial Department. We have decided to use your description of the magazine – harsh, masculine, ultra-reactionary, and yet radical, etc. – as an advertisement”
Gradually, a fringe-right ecosystem would develop around the RCC. The most notable outgrowths were Right Now! – a magazine dedicated to “politics, ideas, and culture” that ran from 1993 to 2006, featuring contributions and interviews from various people across the political right, and the Conservative Democratic Alliance – a group of ex-Monday Club members, opposed to what they saw as “sleaze, double-dealing, arrogance, incompetence, Europhilia, indifference and drift” within the Tory Party – particularly its leadership, which it often decried as neoconservative.
Contrasted to the political zeitgeist of New Labour and Compassionate Conservatism, the RCC and Right Now! soon acquired reputations as being “extremist”. Robin Cook attacked William Hague for failing to contain “extremists” within his party – Right Now! serving as a reference point for the claim. Overtime, the fringe-right Tory scene declined, partially due to sustained attacks from the left and centre-right, partially due to the unwillingness of more right-wing Tories to associate with a movement that was increasingly critical of their party, and partially due to disorganisation, infighting, and a feeling of hopelessness to achieve change within or alongside the Tories.
In retrospect, were they “extremists”? In my view, I would say no. Upon inspection, the RCC was closer to “culturally-oriented” paleoconservatism or right-wing populism than anything fascistic. Granted, the RCC’s presentation and political priorities certainly differed from the bourgeois moralising of traditional conservatism; being far more concerned with mass immigration, nationalist rhetoric, and embracing bohemianism for culturally right-wing ends, than re-sanctifying Christian morals or pushing free-market Euroscepticism. The RCC et al. often found themselves torn between what they saw as “the free-market worship” of Thatcherite Dries and the social wetness of the… Wets.
In 1994, the RCC dissolved as Bowden and Millson went their separate ways. Bowden would continue to operate in right-wing political circles, briefly joining the cultural nationalist Freedom Party, momentarily serving as its treasurer. However, Bowden would eventually join the BNP in 2003 after being offered the role of “Cultural Officer” by then-leader Nick Griffin. Bowden left the party in 2007 citing concerns about the party’s finances, political strategy, and Griffin’s dictatorial control of party elections; he compared the BNP to a “tin-pot dictatorship”. Whilst he would continue to attend events organised by local BNP groups, he dedicated most of his time to artistic pursuits and ultimately cut all ties with the party in 2010. Similarly, Millson would orient himself more towards culture, mainly reviewing music and art.
Given how ‘forthright’ the RCC was, it’s interesting to imagine how they would react to the present government. After all, the Conservative Party of the early 2000s was bad enough in their eyes. Naturally, one can imagine they would be mortified, but would they be wrong? Britain is on track to becoming a third-world country and its main right-leaning political force are behaving like communists. I’m willing to bet that an RCC-style organisation would do very well. Then again, the same laws which make opposition to the regime so difficult are often the ones which have caused the specific problems we currently face.
Marked by weakness and a lack of imagination, the only thing currently between the Tories and political annihilation is their ability to note how terrible the opposition is. It has been the Tory Party’s go-to tactic for a while now. Eager replenishers of the status quo, Britain’s main “opposition” is underpinned by a sincere and existential hatred of the nation. Civil-servant galvanising, NHS-worshipping, border-abolishing, rape-gang denialist NIMBYs, they fly into tireless frenzy should it be rumoured that the Conservatives have opted to be slightly less useless than usual.
Some will point to the RCC as an exemplary case of how Tory Party radicalism is destined to fail. Whilst it is easy to understand this view, very few have been able to pose convincing alternatives. Reclaim is a joke, Reform is in many ways worse than the Tories, the SDP have one (1) council seat, the Heritage Party has zero (0), and UKIP hasn’t been relevant since 2015. If you’re going to join a political party, you might as well join one with a chance of winning. Once you accept that, the RCC transforms from another failed movement into useful case study to learn from. Right-wing dissidents should not conflate ‘political failure’ with ‘political worthlessness’. If one-hundred failures should inspire one glorious triumph, then those failures are not so worthless after all.
Above all else, the central problem identified by the RCC persists to our current political situation – conservatism can only win if it’s cooler than the left. There’s nothing attractive about delay, hesitation, or lamentation. Political energy belongs to the transgressive and the constructive. Conservatives, more than anybody else, should know that if one thing is constant in humans, it is the desire to feel a part of something exciting – such as a revolution, like “the one in France” or not. Bemoaning the Left’s successes and cultural power, calling them mean, hypocritical, high-status, and so on; projecting yourself as some blighted Chattertonian romantic for the attention of your enemies is nothing more than embellished whining. Whining with a cause is still whining. Nietzsche says:
“The lambs say among themselves, ‘these birds of prey are evil, and he who least resembles a bird of prey…’ though the birds of prey may regard it a little mockingly… ‘we bear no grudge against them, these good lambs, we even love them: nothing is tastier than a tender lamb’.”
Post Views: 54
By themallard — 3 weeks ago
Zak Mudie’s article in this publication on 11th December 2021 piqued my interest more than articles or opinion pieces usually do, for its rather bold argument that the United Kingdom should rid Parliament of its sovereignty and instead pursue a separation of powers. Far from being cautious and pragmatic, as Mr. Mudie claims, I find this proposal markedly incongruous with the accumulated traditions and conventions of the British political system which have served this nation so well for centuries. This is not to say I disagree entirely with his analysis, since I do not, but I think an alternate survey of the problems of and potential reforms to our modern Parliament would be nonetheless beneficial. I intend to conduct the rest of this article in a somewhat similar order to Mr. Mudie’s as to not roam too far away from the subject, but with certain digressions where apt.
Whilst I would also consider myself a traditional conservative, I am far less pragmatic and a tad more radically inclined than Mr. Mudie. Pragmatism is an anti-ideology, one of those isms which will absorb everything surrounding it until it alone remains. Indeed, most of the ideology of the modern Conservative Party has fallen into this black hole, perhaps never to return, under the guises of ‘modernisation’ and extending the lifespan of impotent governments. Therefore, pragmatism should be used in moderation and out of necessity rather than as a first resort, lest one wishes to be permanently unsatisfied by reform. After all, politics is ultimately about winning.
However, Mr. Mudie is right to question our modern political institutions and whether they effectively serve their goals. Crisis or not, such an activity remains healthy for all those who wish to conserve this nation. The strange times we are living in have acted as a sort of stress test for our institutions and their members, and in that sense most have sadly failed to protect this nation. The content of the laws our representatives now pass, the manner in which they do so, the alien approach to liberty they repeatedly endorse, all run roughshod over our national traditions and what is democratically proper.
Yet I do not see parliamentary sovereignty per se as the root of this problem. In lieu of the true Sovereign, Her Majesty the Queen, political sovereignty is vested in the electorate via Parliament. This has been the case in one form or another since the Glorious Revolution of 1688 shifted the then-Kingdom of England firmly onto the path of constitutional monarchy. The “absolute power” of the House of Commons, though, is a more recent invention and this supremacy can and does cause problems.
Edmund Burke once discussed the “limits of a moral competence” when Parliament was faced with filling the vacated throne of James II during the Glorious Revolution. Parliamentarians could have “wholly abolished their monarchy, and every other part of their constitution,” as was theoretically their prerogative during that moment of parliamentary supremacy, but they did not out of convention and principle. Presently, the respect and deference to the true foundations of this Kingdom and its people, which should be requisite of anyone wishing to have power over its constitution, is clearly lacking in many of our representatives. I am afraid that means the problem at hand is one where a majority of the House of Commons no longer share the same convictions as our politicians once possessed, resulting in Mr. Mudie’s core issue of its prolonged supremacy.
Armed with this realisation, one can start identifying the symptoms and consequences which the decline of the British politician has wrought on the political system. The British constitution, after all, is now but a forest of felled mighty oaks, their leaves littered all around for those who dare to see them.
For one example, allow me to divert one’s attention to the other half of Parliament. The House of Lords used to be something far more useful and dignified than the ermine-clad purgatory for cronies and ex-ministers it mostly serves as today. Burke believed it was “not morally competent… to abdicate, if it would, its portion in the legislature,” yet such is the incompetent eventuality which has nonetheless graced this country. The impatience of the Commons crippled the Lords through the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, seizing the second chamber’s veto and then reducing its power to delay bills. If the Acts are invoked, which has occurred several times, it removes the requirement for the Lords to approve of a bill at all. The Life Peerages Act 1958 all but assumed the monarch’s power to create peers and enabled the flood of life peers in a less than ideal example of modernisation, whilst the House of Lords Act 1999 gutted the Lords Temporal out of thinly veiled spite and Blairite revolutionary zeal. To add insult to injury, the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 extracted the judicial functions from the Law Lords, depositing them into an America-lite Supreme Court in the name of the equally foreign concept of a separation of powers.
Returning to the subject at hand, I think Mr. Mudie nearly reaches the same conclusion I have on the House of Commons with his discussion of the double-edged sword our constitution provides for our liberties. If the standard of our politicians were higher and their knowledge of this Kingdom’s political heritage richer, I doubt this double-edged sword would need to be considered with the intensity recent events might justify. Mr. Mudie identifies several other benefits and flaws of parliamentary sovereignty and our unwritten constitution in his article, but I think we would both agree those necessitate representatives of a certain calibre to handle responsibly before arguing about reform.
Obviously, Mr. Mudie and I diverge substantially over alternatives to the current state of affairs. As I mentioned earlier, I consider the separation of powers a foreign concept to British political tradition because a polity as old as this should never be artificially divided. Such things are simply incompatible with organically evolving systems such as ours, which is why the Blair revolution has caused so many of this nation’s present problems. In essence, the United Kingdom should only ever be a modern democracy in the literal sense of being democratic and existing in the modern day. To adapt Walter Bagehot, only the utilitarian “practical men who reject the dignified parts of government” would pursue a modern democracy because our constitution’s dignity yearns for true constitutional monarchy.
As for laws, the English tradition of common law suffices for rules which benefit and protect the people. Although trampled by such Blairite semi-codification efforts as the Human Rights Act 1998, I believe the common law tradition stands ready to be reinvigorated. As for some “fundamental laws” against the power of government, our history shows this has emerged through the centuries without the need for a codified constitution. Swathes of our liberties have been gained in opposition to and as limits on the monarch’s power. This concept of negative liberty has served the people well in the past and if given the space to flourish it could yet further. Furthermore, Mr. Mudie’s proposal to hand emergency powers to the executive during a crisis would not look too dissimilar to the situation we have at the time of writing, given the rot of poor governance knows no bounds in the modern British political system.
Therefore, the alternative I would propose is one of constitutional restoration wherein Parliament’s sovereignty is maintained but the House of Commons’ supremacy is curtailed. I hope I have proved, at least in part, that a system once existed which worked well and would assuage Mr. Mudie’s valid concerns. Far from synthesising a Frankenstein liberal democracy out of a myriad of other dysfunctional exhibits plaguing the modern West, we should gaze back at the accumulated wisdom of centuries of politics with some inspiration and faith that it might orient us towards a brighter future. Pragmatism actually has a place in such a paradigm shift insofar as whatever can be salvaged from this current system should be.
As long as those with power are either indifferent or hostile to this country, parties will continue to populate Parliament with bootlicking careerists and jumped-up student union activists alike. Until the political paradigm of decline the United Kingdom finds itself choked by is utterly destroyed, next to nothing can be conserved and Parliament will continue to damage the people they serve from simply lacking the wherewithal to understand the political traditions they have inherited. A separation of powers, devolution or any other such scheme will not stop the apparatchiks and bureaucrats from grasping at ever more of the people’s rights and liberties. The Blob, simply lacking the moral competence of our forebears and working in lockstep with many politicians, will continue to consume everything still worth conserving until they become scattered arrays of hollowed out and meaningless shadows. The time for slowly changing to conserve a losing battle has long passed. Instead, the time is upon us for radical change to restore the political system of the country we love.
Post Views: 52