Last year, the Deep End ran a post entitled ‘The world’s most inconsistent political position: anti-austerity and pro-EU’. It’s purpose was to point out the hypocrisy of those who criticised George Osborne’s economic policies at home, while ignoring the savage austerities imposed on the less fortunate members of the Eurozone.
To this day, Britain’s europhile Keynesians continue to explain everything that’s happened to the British economy in terms of domestic policy, despite being the first to emphasise Britain’s dependence on trade with Europe whenever Britain’s membership of the EU comes up for discussion.
Like the White Queen, it’s long been the policy of the left to believe six impossible things before breakfast, but there’s some pretty stark contradictions on the right too. In a piece for the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf dissects the world’s second most inconsistent political position which is to be small state in domestic policy and interventionist in foreign policy:
“A country can remain constantly at war, or enjoy low taxes and civil liberties protections, but it can’t do both.
“There are kind, intellectually honest neoconservatives who genuinely believe that their hawkish, imperial approach to foreign policy would bring about a better world. Their notion of the good is still incompatible with small-government conservatism and libertarianism. And the darkest strains in neoconservatism—the zealous defenses of torturing prisoners, for example—are incompatible with the professed beliefs of a lot of social and religious conservatives, too.”
Friedersdorf writes from an American perspective, but his underlying arguments also apply to us:
“What are the monetary costs of the neoconservative agenda? Rank-and-file Republicans often underestimate them. If neoconservative publications favor expensive wars but advocate against liberal domestic spending, is that a wash? Hardly. Once everything is factored in, the Iraq War alone may cost America $6 trillion. $6 trillion!
“That’s roughly $20,000 for every living American.”
And the costs aren’t just financial:
“…virtually all wars concentrate more power in the state and reduce domestic freedom. America’s war and small-government factions are at cross-purposes.
“When one wins the other loses.”
In last week’s debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage there was a fair amount of head scratching over the latter’s anti-interventionist stance. Westminster village types seemed genuinely surprised that such a strong anti-war message should be coming from a rightwing politician.
The following tweet from Faisal Islam, the economics editor at Channel 4 News, was typical:
“Quite an achievement for Farage to channel anti-war, anti-big business, anti-elite, anti-immigration, anti-politics instinct towards Ukip…”
Among millions of ordinary voters this combination makes perfect sense. Experience tells them that war means a bigger state, more bureaucrats, more politicians, more refugees (and therefore more immigrants) – oh, and lots of juicy, over-priced contracts for big business.
UKIP is now being called the ‘anti-party’ – and in some ways it is. But that doesn’t mean that Conservatives should respond by being pro-war, pro-big business, pro-elite, pro-immigration or pro-EU. Rather, let us be pro-peace, pro-small business, pro-community, pro-full employment and pro-Britain.