History, Politics

Travailes Upon The State

A noted coalitionist.

In 1609, Sir Thomas Overbury expressed the case of those Englishmen who were pro-French yet anti-Catholic, a squared circle which superficially contradicted the Protestantism of all proud Englishmen:

“Now the only body in Christendome that makes head against the Spanish Monarchy, is France; and therefore they say in France, that the day of the ruin of France, is the Eve of the ruine of England: And thereupon England hath ever since the Spanish greatness, enclined to maintaine France rather than to ruine it.”

In Overbury’s eyes, England was, as it were, lashed to the mast.

Go read China Mieville.


3 thoughts on “Travailes Upon The State

  1. Read the china melville. wasn’t very good. Don’t get me wrong, there have actually been some brilliant articles and essays critical of the lib dems and their role in the defecit reduction plan, however, that wasn’t one of them.

    As for where I stand, as a liberal, well that hasn’t changed since I wrote this blog a few weeks back http://sebastianclarke.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/100-days-of-coalition-the-liberal-concern/

    Anyway, the government is taking a MASSIVE gamble, and it will live or die by the outcome.

  2. danhartland says:

    Thanks, Mr C. I hope you followed some of Mieville’s links – they’re what add real grist to the post.

    My response to your post from some weeks back is simple: Lib Dems are in danger of becoming the Mr Micawbers of politics, constantly saying that something will turn up even as the Coalition calcifies around them. So, for instance, in that post you cite the Coalition’s moves on civil liberties as a positive; you’ll know that I was as sad as you about Labour’s approach to this issue, but the Coalition’s is shaping up about the same. The abandonment of social liberalism you were worried about continues apace: reforms to higher education, housing and welfare alike will make moving out of hardship harder, not easier. And the cuts to local government budgets mean that their new powers will be less about what to spend, what services to deliver, and more about what to cut – essentially a gambit by central government to avoid blame.

    All this hardly scratches the surface of the CSR, of course: Matthew D’Ancona, who is very close to the Cameroons, today comes out and says that it amounts to a new version of Conservatism, a bible for Tories and any Lib Dem fellow travellers who fancy coming along for the ride. Where is any liberalism b ut the economic kind (the point at which I most part company with Liberals, of course) in this settlement?

    • Hey Dan

      To be fair, China Meilville, to me, will always be the guy who pops up from time to time on newsnight review to irritate me with his cynical opinions! So, I guess I was expecting a little more from someone who seems so eager to point out where other writers go wrong.

      As I pointed out in my blog, I am deeply worried about the loss of social Liberalism. Also, whilst in principle I agree with the aims of the welfare reform, now does seem a rather backwards time to do it. It’s weird how this has worked out. In the boom years, where I felt jobs were around and employment was good, you’d think a government would get round to welfare reform and after a slump, when jobs are scarce, you’d think it was time to extend it back? No, we get it in complete reverse order! Also, as someone rightly pointed out at last weeks QT, it’s not so much the cuts but the lack of incentive for growth- I mean, it really is a complete gamble.

      As for liberalism in the coalition, I disagree. You have four strands of liberalism, the first two I’m most passionate about and the last I’m least passionate about; Personal, Social, Political and Economic. To be honest, my worry is only with social liberalism, I fail to see anything else about the government, bar immigration, that I would call illiberal. If the Cleggs plans for political reform happen (Of course many have promised and not delivered) they are liberal to the very core, The freedom bill (or whatever it’ll end up being called) is liberal to the very core, the attitude to law and order with short term sentences is liberal to the very core, The extra power given to local government is liberal to the very core (even if it is a way to shift the blame on cuts). Even the things I have trouble with like free schools are, in essence, liberal. The issue isn’t ‘ Where’s the liberalism?’ It’s ‘What are left leaning liberals to do?’ I could see myself falling out with the coalition, maybe, but Labour still, for now, don’t feel like an option.

      On civil liberties (this being the main issue that always seems to stop me running to labour). I said in my blog that any government will run into issue on personal liberty (this is why my loyalty to Shami Chakrabarti and Liberty runs deeper than that to any political party), however the amount of offences labour racked up over it’s time in power seemed to stem from the very centralised core of it’s thinking. In the same way you once said that you were never convinced the lib dems were inherently left wing, I was never convinced that labour’s authoritarian style of government came about because they were trying to act like tory’s.

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