The sense of purpose of British political parties changes over time. They can be compared to a human lifespan. They begin, like babies, helpless and needy, then quickly grow into demanding toddlers. After that they grow for a few years and turn into angry teenagers. A few years later they have matured but still have the energy of youth. By middle age they have begun to doubt some of their founding principles but still cling to them as part of their identity. At 65 years old they can really benefit society, so long as they’ve tasted power somewhere along the way. Like any member of the third generation, they can share their wisdom on the practicalities of life with the rest of us and if we’re sensible we listen. They can continue to benefit all of us until they die a natural death. Unfortunately being groups of people, rather than a living organism in the biological sense, it can be hard for them to recognise their own deaths. Therefore, they continue to exist… …let’s take each of our political parties in turn and see how this analysis applies to them.
The Thieving Tory Bastards
Let’s get one thing clear: the word “Tory” is an old Irish word meaning bandit or plunderer. Its first use in written English is in the Irish State Times in 1812. From the beginning of this party’s existence, they were named according to what they did. They were and are a spectacular demonstration of the strength of organised crime.
The Tories were born after and in response to the French Revolution in 1789. This is long before we had anything you could shake a stick at and call democracy. Back then Members of Parliament, whether in the House of Commons or the House of Lords were not organised into parties in the way we see them today. Instead there were loose groups of parliamentarians who would follow one person or another, in the hope of winning patronage from them in the event of them gaining some power. This is what the thieving Tory bastards refer to as “The Golden Age of Parliament”, with rotten boroughs (only one or two voters in each one). Corruption was endemic. These groups would coagulate around a person or a cause for a period of time. Elections were largely pointless, there being so few voters. Prime Ministers were frequently changed without recourse to the electorate.
By the 1780s, some of these people had more or less settled into a steady grouping, known as the Whigs. On hearing of the revolution in France, a section of the Whigs asked Edmund Burke to investigate and issue a report on the matter. It’s worth remembering that in 1774 Burke gave a speech in favour of the American Colonists, who were rebelling against the British Crown. Consequently, in 1790, Edmund Burke published Reflections on Revolution in France and on the Proceedings in Certain Societies in London Relative to that Event. Do remember that political titles were longer in those days. If anything Burke’s title was a shorty. Anyway, the key point here is that the whigs who has asked him to write this book were appalled by his conclusions. That is the moment when thieving Tory bastards were born – to resist the appeal of the french revolutionaries who sang of liberty, equality and fraternity.
This means that the thieving Tory bastards are now approximately 221 years old. They should not be alive today. They are the walking dead. No-one in their right minds today would call for or join a party dedicated to the overthrow of democracy. Of course, that is not the party’s publicly stated purpose today but since 1790 they have consistently worked to that aim. Whilst there are different strands of thinking in the party and, to some extent always have been, they are proud of their tradition of resisting modernity, so kindly introduced by the French. They have opposed every progressive measure ever. I wonder if they can be killed off? Driven by unnatural forces, they continue to feed on the rest of us, exploiting us in our times of woe and remain as hungry for power as ever. We may be doomed to struggle with them for eternity. There will always be criminals.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats were the product of a strange experiment between the right-wing of the Labour Party and the old Liberal Party, which had outlived its natural life span. (The Liberal Party was formed from those Whigs who did not join the thieving Tory bastards.) The right-wing of the Labour Party had broken away in 1981 (because it was troubled by the Labour Party’s socialism) and formed the Social Democratic Party. In 1988 the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party merged. It was a marriage made in an old people’s home, for the sake of convenience and comfort. The offspring from that marriage was an adopted child, a feral beast with no principles to call home.
Today the Liberal Democrats are 23 years old. They are tasting the power that the right-wing of the Labour Party, up until that point, never ate and the Liberals hadn’t feasted on since 1922, when they were in a coalition government. Sound familiar? They could have the energy of youth but they are gold diggers. Instead of holding the balance of power, they married an enemy of one (Or both?) of their parents. Imagine a 23 year old getting into bed with a 221 year old! The people that voted for them did not expect this perversity and it will take a generation before the Liberal Democrats are trusted with power again.
The Labour Party
The origins of the Labour Party lie in a social movement which began in 1899 with the Trades Unions sponsoring candidates for parliament which would represent the working class. This was called the Labour Representation Committee. In 1906 the Labour Representation Committee created the Labour Party, which makes the Labour Party 105 years old today. In its early years the Labour Party was indeed a demanding child. Its entry into British politics changed the shape of things for ever. In 1909 the House of Lords passed a law which prevented the trades unions from sponsoring Labour candidates. Although only a toddler, it was already scaring the establishment. This law was later reversed.
The Labour Party won power in 1945 with a political landslide, at the age of 39. By this time it had fully matured into a socialist party. Yesterday I posted the Labour Party’s 1945 Election Manifesto. It makes interesting reading. It talks about the “hard-faced men” who control the economy and the media and links them to the Tories and the Liberals. It declares opposition to the House of Lords and their obstructive ways. A few years later, the Labour Party set up the National Health Service, which the thieving Tory bastards hate so much. That government did so much to shape our modern society that they were not seriously opposed until 1979, when they lost power to Thatcher. By 1979, the Labour Party was 73 years old and still a force to be reckoned with. However, since then it lost its way and had to be medicated for much of its golden years; the corporations stepped in to provide palliative care in the shape of Tony Blair, who led the nation into illegal wars and generally left the thieving Tory bastards wondering why he hadn’t joined their party? Today it is a doddery figure, which doesn’t like to remember its socialist past and makes increasingly erratic decisions. It doesn’t know why it is still alive and would like to die.
The Green Party
In the early 1970s a small political group called the People Party was formed in Coventry. In 1975 it changed its name to the Ecology Party. This was the birth of the Green Party (it changed its name in 1985). That makes the Green Party 36 years old today. It has been through all the angry years of its youth and is now maturing into a party fit for government. In recent years it has changed its structure to fit in with the demands of modern media, for example by deciding to have a single leader rather than a number of speakers. Its leader, Caroline Lucas, was elected to the House of Commons for the constituency of Brighton Pavilion in 2010. She has won plaudits from all sides for her professionalism and capability. It is unknown in British politics for a party’s first elected representative to be a woman but this is hardly surprising given the Green Party’s radical platform. Today it seems to be the only left-wing party still punching in Britain. Its platform is a mixture of environmentalism and socialism, although nowadays this is called social justice.
The Green Party has not forgotten where it has come from yet. Its members are largely activists in the wider green movement, which includes organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. Without formal affiliations from campaign groups, it is nevertheless the political wing of that wider movement. It has recently campaigned against all cuts to public services and its members carried placards at the recent mass demonstration in London calling for the rich to be taxed instead.
What the Green Party will do with middle age remains to be seen. Much will depend on the outcome of the forthcoming referendum on electoral reform. Electing candidates, without a specific demographic block in support, under the current electoral system is next to impossible. Caroline Lucas enjoys widespread support and every election the Green Party attracts substantial numbers of votes but she is the only Green elected anywhere in the world under our present system. The Green Party needs to recognise that it does have a natural life span and should use it wisely, so that its descendants can be proud of their heritage.