November 26, 2005

JUST BECAUSE TORIES REJECT THE SECOND DOESN'T MEAN THEY'RE GOING BACK TO THE FIRST:

This time, Brown is not the enemy of reform (Matthew d'Ancona, 27/11/2005, Daily Telegraph)

There are few more astute students of the Conservative Party, its history and its trajectory than Gordon Brown. Brooding over what might lie ahead - and the likelihood that he will be facing David Cameron over the despatch box in the foreseeable future - the Chancellor has been much influenced by The Roads to Modernity, a recent exploration of the Enlightenment by the distinguished American thinker, Gertrude Himmelfarb.

In her book, Himmelfarb seeks to reclaim the Enlightenment from the French, and identifies a moderate, civilised British variant of that intellectual movement, visible in the "social affections" that bind this country together, the "moral sense" of Lord Shaftesbury, and the notion of capitalism with a social conscience explored by Adam Smith.

Reading this book and digesting its analysis of inherited British values has bolstered Mr Brown's conviction that the Tories face a fundamental problem in what he regards as their destructive plan to "marketise" and privatise the public services. That is not, he thinks, the British way.


He's right, of course, that the publics of the Anglosphere have no interest in complete privitisation of the social safety net, but runs great risk if he underestimates how much capitalism they're willing to bring to bear on their personal safety nets.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 26, 2005 8:49 PM
Comments

oj,
Like I've said in innumerable previous comments herein, (BrosJudd), people have to read Himmelfarb's book.
C'mon, including notes it's only 276 pages, at most a Winter weekends reading.
Mike

Posted by: Mike Daley at November 26, 2005 11:14 PM

Dittos Mike..

I've read "One Nation, Two Cultures" by Himmelfarb. She's an unbelievabley great writer.

Posted by: Bruno at November 27, 2005 6:20 PM
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