Simon Heffer on ‘The English revolution’

Simon Heffer addressing the Traditional Britain Group

In this week’s New Statesman, Enoch Powell’s biographer Simon Heffer has an excellent article putting Brexit in the context of previous attempts by Tory elites to respond to ‘the condition of England’.

The ‘condition of England question’ was first formulated in 1839 by the great Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle (long out of fashion) whom Heffer rightly admires. Like the 19th century Whigs whom Carlyle criticised for their blindness towards the desperate state of the Victorian working class, David Cameron ignored a blatant malfunction of the political system that had promoted him.

As Heffer puts it: “The democratic malfunction that millions of voters felt between 1975 and 2016 was that however they voted they would not alter membership of the EU, and the EU had an increasing impact on their lives and economic prospects. If you school people in the notion that the establishment of their social order relies on their ability to vote and not on deference to a Carlylean aristocracy – a properly progressive argument – then denying them a choice on a fundamental issue for decades will, when the choice is finally presented, resemble the bursting of a dam. So it was two years ago.”

Might Heffer himself be starting to recognise that the Thatcher revolution of the 1980s (when combined with mass immigration) had a corrosive effect on society, and that free market ‘right-wingers’ (who are in fact Victorian-style liberals but misnamed ‘conservatives’ on both sides of the Atlantic) have been just as blinkered as the Whigs in their assumptions about benign historical ‘progress’?

Click here to read the full article.

 

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