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Comments

wasp

Why would you want to listen to Hitchens, he wants the party to dissolve.

Jack Stone

Like many on the right Peter Hitchens as a tendancy to make himself look foolish by going competly over the top with many of his remarks.
I am afraid what he and many who share his viewes that the party should basically have the same policies, views and attitudes it had about fifty years ago just will not seem to accept is that time as moved on and the country as changed.
Unless we move on with the country the party will be viewed by people not as a part of modern Britain but as some sort of museam piece.

Blue2win

Editor You said, “Nelson, Norfolk: That was an unworthy comment. I do not believe there is anything racist about Peter Hitchens. Sorry but I'm banning your IP address for a week for that suggestion. I can't have such stuff thrown around.”

Yet on another thread it seems acceptable for poster Glover to say that “Mr Cameron it seems wants to bring joy - well to be precise Ecstasy - to Tory millions”.

It seems a rather biased policy. Hitchens may not be criticised for his extreme views but it is OK for a poster to suggest that Cameron wants to deliver drugs to millions.

Neil

The beginning of P. Hitchens book 'The abolition of Britain' should serve as a great historical reference for anybody interested in Victorian Britain. However in terms of Britain ever returing to that 'golden age' I believe his ambitions are very much mistaken!!

Oliver McCarthy

Actually, Neil, Hitchens' problem is that he's a fantasist. If he's honest with himself he probably accepts that he doesn't really want to go back through time to before when central heating made us all so selfish and amoral. In fact even if he did want that, he'd have no idea how to go about it. (How about getting a Conservative government for starters?)

Peter Hitchens

Well, I'm touched by the correspondent who says most of these people want to have an argument with the person they believe I am, rather than with me, since this is my own experience with most of my critics, few of whom actually pay attention to what I say and who imagine that defamatory reviews of my books adequately sum up the arguments in them. Equally I'm interested to see just how many of these people could be New Labour supporters, or Liberal Democrats. As to what it is I'm out of touch with, I'm not sure. I reckon I'm rather in touch, being one of the few columnists who regularly visits his own country and travels widely abroad as well, as well as having lived both in the USSR and the USA experiences that give me a valuable perspective on my own country often lacking among the half-educated, culturally deprived university generation of today. I just don't like what I'm in touch with and don't accept it's inevitable or necessary. And I was a member of the Conservative Party, from the moment John Major resigned as leader until some point during the IDS era which I honestly cannot pinpoint. As for being a Trotskyist, that's something I gave up in 1975, rather before most of these correspondents were conceived, let alone born. And most of them sound to me as if they could do with a similar experience. Knowledge of your enemies, and the adventure of actually changing your mind through a process of reason and experience, are assets. That's why, unlike all the ex-Marxists in the government who are more Marxist than ex, I am always open about this part of my life.

Mr Eugenides

Although I don't agree with a lot of what you write, Peter, I do give you credit for, as you say, coming to your senses "through a process of reason and experience". There are quite a few people who could learn from that.

But the money question is - you're an ex-Trotskyite... but are you a drink-soaked popinjay as well?

malcolm

I think Mr Eugenides,you are confusing Peter with his brother Christopher who was the 'drink soaked popinjay' to whom George Galloway referred.

James Hellyer

I have to say that I find Peter Hitchens' analysis of what's gone wrong in our soicety (as in "The Abolition of Britain")to be very persuasive, but found little in the way of suggested solutions.

Gareth

Mr Hitchens,

Just to jog your memory. You left the tory party shortly after it showed itself to be disinclined to make you one of its M.P.'s.

This was roughly the same time that you swallowed a hyperbole pill, the effect of which has been to cause you to want to see the tory party 'destroyed' etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Andrew

Tedious celebrity ranters like Hitchens are not worth any attention. Besides, nobody with any self-respect would ever corrode their dignity by writing for moronic tabloids like the Mail.

Mr Eugenides

I wasn't confusing Peter with Christopher, Malcolm - that was the [obviously weak] joke.

No aspersions on Peter's drinking habits intended - though wasn't it P.J.O'Rourke who once said, "Personally, I believe a rocking hammock, a good cigar, and a tall gin-and-tonic is the way to save the planet."

Peter

As has been said, Peter Hitchens offers little in the way of practical solutions for the Tory Party, so arguing about whether we should or shouldn't "listen to him" is a moot point as regards its direction. But I think many of those who attack him are far more of a problem for the party than his anti-Tory columns could ever be, because they seem convinced that dropping the traditionalist conservatism Hitchens espouses is the solution: that power without principle is what Tories must strive for. By taking that approach, we will end up with neither.

Peter Hitchens

The silly jibes about central heating make the point about how my critics don't actually read what I say. An interesting sociological point about the change in family life which resulted from the introduction of heating in all rooms, borrowed, I think, from Richard Hoggart's excellent 'Uses of Literacy'(you should all read it) was misrepresented by puerile critics - who didn't read 'The Abolition of Britain' because they knew I was wrong and so they didn't need to, as an 'attack on central heating.' Ever since, I have always been able to spot the people who haven't read the book by their use of this mode of attack. (continued)

malcolm

Peter,Isee no 'silly jibes about central heating' in the posts on this blog.Your post makes no sense at all.
Why don't you answer Gareths post?

Peter Hitchens

Now to the substance of the matter. Those who attack me for having no prescriptions, and those who attack me for calling for the dissolution of the Tory Party, are going to have to choose which accusation they wish to make.

My conviction that the Tory Party is an OBSTACLE to conservatism comes precisely from the challenge, rightly offered to all social critics, of how I propose to act on my beliefs. I happen to think that I have produced a coherent defence of a number of English institutions now under sustained attack, and a reply to the generally unchallenged dogmas of the Left on every subject from education to the constitution. My main object is to defend what is good about Britain, to repair and rebuild what as been damaged and destroyed - proper conservative aims. I have no utopian project. I am not a nostalgist, but I am someone who refuses to accept that because something is old it must necessarily be bad, or because something is new it must necessarily be good. Nor do I accept the conventional wisdom cliche that 'you cannot turn the clock back'. The Poles turned the clock back when they rebuilt old Warsaw and re-established their annihilated state, and all credit to them. the French put the clock back when they sought to recreate a legitimate republic after the catatstrophe of Vichy. the Germans of the former GDR put the clock back when they re-established institutions - educational and legal - destroyed under Communist rule. If this country is to prosper and remain free, it will have to regain a number of things it has lost, and the sooner the better.

Now, I hold these views and spread them with every means at my command - through newspapers, through books, through broadcasting, through university debates, through correspondence with readers, anything I can get my hands on. I know that they have substantial support among many reasonable people. I do not use the expression 'silent majority' because I think that is a foolish concept, but I do think there is a large unrepresented body of socially and morally conservative people who are held in scorn by ALL the major parties, and for whom there is no transmission belt to carry their wishes into government.

What should I do? Some people say that one should 'campaign to change the Tory Party'. But the Tory Party, like all established parties, has no mechanism for political debate or change and is run by its civil service and its existing oligarchy. In any case, what claim does the Tory Party have to be conservative? It has not fought any of the social or cultural changes brought about by radical campaigners. It has accepted most of them without question and generally surrenders even to those it once fought after a short period. This is because it has no core of principle. It is all very well being pragmatic if you have principle. But to be pragmatic without principle is to be pointless, a mere machine for the capture of power, for its own sake.

I have often rehearsed the many disastrous positive steps the Tory Party has taken in government , joining the EEC, the Single European Act, the introduction of the GCSE, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the Lancaster House agreement consigning Zimbabwe to prison and bankruptcy, the endorsement of the Belfast Agreement surrendering to the IRA. I cannot see how any conservative patriot could support these actions, nor how they can be dismissed as accidental or isolated. They are part of a pattern of action in one direction ( matched by inaction when it comes to reversing the measures of the Left) which strips the Tories of any right to be called a conservative party. Add to that the desperate electoral position of the party, which could only obtain a Commons majority through a miracle, and you seem to me to have a strong case for the formation of a replacement.

History demonstrates, however, that new parties are born from the splits and collapses of old ones. So I work for the splitting and collapse of the Tories as the precondition for the formation of a party that can throw New Labour into the sea and will then actually reverse the damage it has done. I have written at length about this in the Mail on Sunday and the Spectator, articles I commend to you, and have NEVER received a rebuttal, let alone a refutation, from any Conservative spokesman or journalist. I think this is probably because the argument is irrefutable, but so many Tories are tribal loyalists who have never considered any other position, and - as Jonathan Swift warned - you cannot reason a man out of a position he was not reasoned into in the first place. Or can you? I'm here to try.

Peter Hitchens

Oh and James Hellyer tries to assert that I left the Tories 'soon after the party showed itself disinclined to make me an MP'. Oh, Mr Hellyer, you are a twerp. First of all your chronology is all wrong. I had only recently JOINED the Tory Party in 1999, when - partly at the instigation of Boris Johnson - I put myself forward to challenge Michael Portillo. Secondly, I had no desire to be an MP and even less expectation of becoming one. Being a newspaper columnist is far better. I merely wanted to warn the Tories of Kensington and Chelsea that - as events were to prove - Michael Portillo was not a conservative. The association never even interviewed me, which I thought showed a small amount of rudeness and an astonishing lack of curiosity - but in the end I couldn't really blame them. They presumably realised that my candidacy was a stunt. I abandoned the Tories some time after IDS became leader, which I think you'll accept is a long time after 1999. I wwas rather busy leaving the Daily Express during the year 2000. Why cannot people accept that reason and principle, not self-interest, play a part in such decisions?

James Hellyer

"Oh and James Hellyer tries to assert that I left the Tories 'soon after the party showed itself disinclined to make me an MP'."

No I didn't. If you have to verbally abuse someone, you should at least demonstrate the ability to do so for the comments they made!

Peter Hitchens

My apologies to Mr Hellyer. It was 'Gareth' who made this claim. My misunderstanding is I think pardonable, given the confusing layout of the messages, but I withdraw the accusationn of Twerphood from Mr Hellyer and bestow it, where it belongs on 'Gareth'

Gareth

Yeah, right. You hated the tories so much (for betraying Rhodesia!?) you joined the party 19 years later.

You're like a 6th former dreaming up ever more outrageous opinions to shock his parents or, in your case, your moronic readers.

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