38 Comments
Jun 5Liked by Ed West

"Rather than making moderate, soothing sounds while using the British executive’s immense power to shape the country around their will, they have done the exact opposite."

Exactly. They've shouted loudly and carried a tiny stick. Amazing strategy.

I've been, and still am I guess, pretty critical of Reform. I really don't know how well they'll do in July - my gut feeling is that the current euphoria will ebb and they'll get stuck on around 15% and a couple of seats. For all that, I'll now be voting for them, even though they stand no chance in my constituency. None of the campaign literature from the other candidates here even mentions immigration, let alone offers any proposals on it. I'm just sick of all the lying and all the media trivia. There are no 'tactical' options left, so you might as well vote for people who at least say something about the issues that matter to you.

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It's the Fraser Nelson strategy

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founding

It is also sort of beyond politics now, as Labour are about to find out when they have no answers to the systemic decline. More broadly, the sort of Britain we imagine ourselves to want cannot be brought forward without stable, industrious, indigenous families bearing lots of children. This is how culture is passed on. This is what makes borders worth protecting. This is what gives meaning. It is what stabilises men and women and what makes them broadly sane. It also makes them more conservative. More aware of what they have and what they stand to lose. But this cannot happen without a culture where men (and I blame much of our current malaise on men, even if its immediate woke manifestation is female) have a sense of obligation to more than instant gratification.

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Hi John. My partner and I are mid thirties. The main things stopping us from having children are (even with two reasonably well paid jobs) a) we can't afford to live somewhere we'd want to raise them and b) the cost of childcare would mean we'd have nothing left to save for the future or spend on quality of life. We don't have family who can help out with money or childcare. For a lot of people my age I think it really is that simple, and I'm not sure it has much to do with men being drawn to instant gratification.

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founding
Jun 5·edited Jun 5

I'd suggest the following:

(1) Any such decision is asymmetrical. If a mid thirties man decides not to have children it is a meantime decision. Whereas, for a mid thirties woman it is, more or less, a final one. This is not easy for men to really grasp, and women are often in denial of it too.

(2) Why does that matter? Because having children is probably the most significant and rewarding thing a couple can do, and by an order of magnitude, making it more than worth just about any trade off.

Just a personal view, but as this is not a view commonly expressed nowadays I give myself rein not to temper it too much

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I would add that having kids will always entail sacrifice unless one is super-rich. My parents never amassed great savings either, nor did they enjoy fabulous vacations. And in the past people understood they could not all move to the toniest neighborhoods and would have to raise their kids in less than luxurious circumstances. For centuries people raised children knowing that some of them were likely to die from terrible diseases. Of course there are risks and dangers today, but they are of lesser magnitude than the bad old things.

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The risks and dangers today are worse than the bad old things - parents must now be worried about their kids being destroyed by drug-taking, internet porn, gender theory, drag queens in children's libraries, an educational system designed to brainwash and corrupt the young, the country becoming part of the third world or Muslim world. And now the looming spectre of world war.

Against the backdrop of a global economy that can break down and plunge everyone into bankruptcy at any time.

If climate catastrophe hasn't burnt, starved or drowned them all in the meantime.

At least the old evils only destroyed bodies, not souls and bodies.

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It;'s a measure of how ridiculously spoiled our age of the world has become that you can say this in all seriously.

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Jun 6·edited Jun 6

It's a measure of how ridiculously shallow a person you are, that you dispute my remarks.

Mother Teresa said "In the third world there is a famine of the belly; in the West, there is a famine of the heart."

Which is worse ? Sufferings are too different to be compared.

A lonely old pensioner stuck on the 10th floor of a tower block, is suffering a slow, living death, and is as badly off as a medieval person dying of bubonic plague. Arguably worse off - loneliness kills as cruelly, but more slowly.

If you can't see this, you're either as blind as a bat or trapped in a cocoon of complacency.

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I hope your dreams prevail in the end.

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It would be nice to live in a culture where men are praised for what men have to do. Instead of Perverts being elevated as though they were pillars of society.

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Jun 5Liked by Ed West

Reform's governing structure is the best thing about it. If the whole thing was controlled by tiny committees made up of early adopters and cranks, they wouldn't have a chance.

Curtis Yarvin was right all along!

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author

Yes that may well be correct!

I think Geert Wilders' party may have a similar structure to avoid the nutters taking over.

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founding
Jun 5·edited Jun 5

Thanks Ed. I'd probably agree with any criticism of Reform that came from the centre or the right, but I'm now going to vote for them - as a protest vote, specifically about immigration. What the Tories have done since 2019 is unforgivable. Richard Tice was too much of a joke, but now there is some substance to that protest vote. I still don't want a bunch of Reform whackos running the country, but this is just about giving ammunition to a genuinely conservative Tory party. One that says nice things but conserves, rather than as you say the anti-woke articles together with the wildly liberal policies.

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author

I was going to not vote and spoil my ballot people with a crude image. Not sure now

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As an ex-candidate (at Borough Council level) reviewing 5 to 10 different depictions of a cock and balls (which is the image all spoiled papers adopted) was not edifying. You talk Reform - if you don't have the courage of your convictions then stay at home.

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The mad thing is that on some level the Tories have actively welcomed UKIP and Reform as people to triangulate against - Cameron seemed to enjoy having the "fruitcakes and closet racists" in the wings to provide contrast.

I doubt anyone who has thought it through really wants Reform running the country, but many of us do want the Tories to accept the Reform tendency as a legitimate part of the British Right and represent them.

I don't know what the Ed West / Catholic Church Venn diagram is like but it feels to me as if the Church has been doing this same daft thing since Vatican 2, trying to endear itself to secular people while alienating the religious equivalent of its core vote. If only some bright 20-something would put together some Farage-Lefebvre crossover memes...

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Jun 5Liked by Ed West

There's a Revolutionary Communist, endorsed by Ken Loach, standing where I live, so I'll be voting for them. (Probably end up spoiling my ballot, like in 2019).

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Many of the dynamics around Mr. Farage remind me of Mr. Trump. If I recall correctly they had the nerve to debank him? Someone pointed out years ago that Trump is a symptom, not a cause.

I must say that, from the outside, it seems that Europe has become significantly more statist, socialist, and socially self sabotaging over the past several decades than is visible at least in the US. But perhaps I am just seeing your urban dialogue and you are seeing ours..

Thank you for the excellent synopses of British politics.

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Trump was not "debanked" though with his typical self-pitying mendacity he claimed to have been.

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I was referring to Farage. More of a comparison in terms of harassment by other means.

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Unfortunately, the media will do a number on Reform, and scare aware as many voters as possible. But without addressing immigration and cultural issues, the country will blindly fall into severe dysfunction and more violence.

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I still can't help but feel the long term strategy is to try to merge the Conservatives and Reform and use the damage that Reform will do to the Conservatives election as the battering ram that drives this through, against a parliamentary party that is highly suspcious of Reform (but not the members). If Farage wins few seats and the Tories are reduced to a rump in parliament then the logic of a merger will be as potent for them as it was for the Liberals and SDP in the 1980s. It is not as if such mergers are completely unprecedented within the broader perspective of history. Both the Libernal Unionists and National Liberals ended up in the party; which perhaps explains why Thatcher could consider herself both Tory and a Gladstonian liberal. And from there the leadership of the party given the Conservatives have no one with the charisma or drive that Farage has and his star quality with the membership. And then, perhaps, Prime Minister in the due course of time.

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Conservative Reform would be a good name for a party.

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This Election is like the wine waiter coming up to your restaurant table and saying: "Good evening. I can't recommend the strychnine today, but we have some excellent arsenic and a really delicious cyanide. Or you may prefer one of our excellent Asiatic poisons ?"

Which of the disasters that threaten us will materialise on Election Night - or, more probably, all of them at once - remains to be seen.

I merely know that any mention of British politics now tempts me to groan or howl in despair.

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As a middling apparatchik in UKIP 10 years ago, I can understand Farage's unwillingness to be hidebound by the "democratic" activities of jumped-up functionaries many of whom actually were (per Cameron) fruitcakes. But we have to trust that Nigel has the welfare of ordinary people ("Saxons" per Mary Harrington) at heart as the Reform party structure is not democratic. However none of the other major parties is able to transmit the will of the people into policy regardless of structure.

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founding

Great piece, Ed. I'm not British so I don't really have a dog in this fight but I'll admit that the entertainment value of Farage is the main reason why I as an American ended up knowing who people like Penny Mordaunt or Vince Cable are even though that's probably not healthy.

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Very interesting piece.

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author

thank you!

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You're welcome. It's a foreign country (to me), but a lot of issues overlap.

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Ed, what do you say to the Peter Hitchens argument that Labour have to be denied at all costs?

I think a lot of the "destroy the Tories, new party, and back to it in 5 years" rhetoric is very complacent, the time for getting rid of them was years ago. Right now the choice between a spent, exhausted Tory party that can't do much more damage, and a Labour party filled with radicals that will implement whole hosts of terrible policies makes me think this lust for kicking the Tories misplaced.

I think Starmer will look to use the legal system he knows to enshrine all he supports into law rendering parliament useless. Labour's energy policies themselves are disastrous.

The best result I can think of is a hung parliament - preventing Labour from carrying out their agenda, and an opportunity for some sort of reformation on the right. A complete annihilation of the Tories, like Canada '93, I think will make this much less likely. After all, they've had Trudeau for 9 years, didn't really work out long term did it there?

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author

feels like a bit of a lose-lose situation. The Tory party needs to learn that they can never do this again but yeah I'm not especially optimistic.

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He expands on his point here. Interesting he says a continued Brown government in 2010 would've been a lot better for the country and how a Sunak government will be similar.

https://youtu.be/zsiZuq4oIuQ?si=QRqXEqiGFOfFmFJ4

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Why does everyone erase the work of Roger Knapman? He was the figure who turned UKIP into a party that could get 15% in European elections and a more relevant third party in those elections than Lib Dems or Greens.

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I wonder how much Reform will aid Labour by splitting the right, or *possibly* gain some red-wall-type seats?

Oh well, at least having Farage as an MP will give the comedy establishment something to make jokes about during the next 5 years.

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author

Can’t wait. The Radio 4 comedy is going to be so good. Genuinely worried my sides will split

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