British politics is not a pretty thing to behold. Particularly now that the British Conservative Party has succumbed to its own version of the ugly factionalism which has beset the British Labour Party for decades. I have no evidence to support the contention; indeed, no evidence may exist, but I would venture that had a survey similar to that reported in The National, been conducted within British Labour at any time in the last 30 – 50 years, it would have shown remarkably similar results. Similar in that, at any given time, there would be factions within the party prepared to tolerate all manner of negative consequences – up to and including the demise of British Labour itself – in pursuit of their particular faction’s agenda.
Historically, one of the identifying characteristics of the British Conservative Party was its capacity for unity in the face of any challenge to its power. Whatever disagreements and differences may have roiled within Tory ranks, come the threat of being defeated by the detested ‘reds’, the magnificent ‘blues’ would pull together like a termite colony under attack by ants.
Anecdotally at least, one of the identifying characteristics of British Labour has been that it has more factions than members. And a significant proportion of those factions considered their policy agenda more important than winning the power to implement that agenda. A few even considered themselves more important than the party. Or, they considered themselves to be the party.
The political left in the UK has been a diminished force, in part because of its aversion to effective political power, but also due to a curious predilection for ‘defeat with honour’. The glory of the fight is appealing. The responsibility that comes with victory, maybe not so much.
Now, we have a British politics in which British Labour is as riven as ever by cliques and conspiracies, except that the lines separating the factions have become indistinct, if not blurred to invisibility. Even the factions seem to have lost cohesion. And few if any seem coalesced around anything recognisable as a firm principle.
As for the Tories; the best we might do in the way of a generous perspective is to observe that they have had less practice at this factionalism lark than the other main British establishment party. Compared to British Labour, they are rank amateurs. So it may not be so surprising that they aren’t coping at all well with the unfamiliar phenomenon of division in the ranks. It’s as if all those termites had suddenly shrugged off the bonds of colony and developed their own individual personalities and priorities and preferences. They’re all over the place!
I think the word I’m looking for here is ‘dysfunctional’. Although the term hardly does justice to the noxious broth of megalomania, avarice, ego, ineptitude, vacuity and corruption that seethes in the cauldron of the British state.
Scotland surely does not want to be a part of this.
If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.