11 May 2009

Give us our label back

I found this piece by Jon Gaunt from the Sun, while having a look at reaction to Jackboots' list of undesirables

Now while it's not exactly an interesting piece (it's in the Sun), I have picked up on "Gaunty"'s use of the term 'Liberal elite'

Now I'm well aware that in the US 'liberal' means communist and will apply to anyone who doesn't believe in killing all foreigners, but in Britain surely we know better than to call Labour 'liberal' - particularly when we still have a Liberal party

Now as far as I'm concerned, Liberal means to support liberty (the clue is in the name) - that's individual liberty, and generally supports freedom of speech and conscience, amongst a whole host of things with freedom written in front of them

Now against individual liberty is collectivism - the rights of the many and so on - that is the core tenet of communism, or socialism, which Labour traditionally advocate

So what exactly is liberal about Labour?

Well the truth is, bugger all - to be liberal is to allow individual choice and a true liberal would never support the equalities bill (ie. affirmative action), political correctness, bans on drug use or I.D Cards

I would call myself a liberal, because I believe in freedom fundamentally - Labour are the antithesis of that, so I really hate it when they are referred to as liberal (or a liberal elite)

Of course, we know what the right are doing - branding anyone who isn't right-wing as a softie Liberal who wants to molly-coddle you through the power of the state, which is actually socialist, and is more opposed to liberalism than conservatism

It annoys me because if you regard yourself as a liberal you are then regarded by others as a Labour-type

So what am I supposed to call myself? I'm not conservative in many ways, so I'm left with libertarian, which is the extreme end of it, and I'm not really an anarchist

Truth is, there's actually a strong liberal element in the Conservative ranks, Thatcherism at its core is ruthlessly liberal (economically), Churchill was a lifelong liberal, even if both were socially conservative, these huge Conservative figures were all for freedom, civil, political, economic and aren't that far removed from the arch-liberal; Gladstone

The Tories are still often in agreement with the Lib Dems, particularly on civil liberties, the Tories still like to advocate law and order, but a belief in the small state remains at the core of many conservatives - to be honest the line between the Tories and the Lib Dems is pretty shallow, except perhaps for their positions on the EU

I don't really mind that the Tories have absorbed a lot of liberalism over time, that's two hundred years of liberalisation for you, I don't advocate the Tories returning to protectionism or anything of the sort, but to call Labour the 'liberal elite' is way off the track, you can't redefine such a fundamental term to simplify the argument, and it's derogatory to those of us who want our civil LIBERties restored

It's a slur on the true liberals who have given this country so much


  1. Why do we bother with labels at all, they seem to cause so much trouble.

    I don't really think of myself as fitting any of the right-wing, left-wing, centre, Labour, Tory, Liberal, Socialist, Capitalist etc.... sterotypes. I can identify with and support little bits from each of them.

    I guess that makes me a looney !

  2. I've never felt right with left and right, I don't like to box myself in, there's no need to blindly follow an ideology

    I just dislike the term 'liberal' being misrepresented, on any issue you can be liberal or conservative, they're pretty fundamental, and hateful journalists then assign ideology to tarnish the term