“Progressive” politics has become the engine which has led, possibly inadvertently, to the current polarisation of the United Kingdom. Nothing else has had such a far reaching and detrimental effect on our nation, its people and its culture. One of the great dichotomies of the progressive agenda is that although it purports to be all about freedom it actually enslaves those that promote and support it.
We have just had a General Election where over 80% of people who bothered to vote voted for one of two parties. One of these parties, the more progressive one, managed to win over 260 seats in the House of Commons by promising to end austerity, abolish tuition fees, recreate the big state and, above all, to progressively tax the job creators and the wealthy entrepreneurs of our nation. The other party, the slightly less progressive one, won 318 seats by promising to continue austerity and by appearing to attack its own core support. Both of these parties are committed to massive numbers of immigrants coming into the UK, a growing Overseas Aid Budget, saving “our” NHS and the maintaining of a massive welfare state. These are all considered to be progressive policies.
The Polarisation of a Nation
The whole of the Labour movement and its allies in what is known as “The Progressive Alliance” are fully committed progressives. The Tories are also, with one or two notable exceptions, committed to being progressive, if only in a slightly different way. What does this have to do with polarisation, one might ask? If politics is broadly progressive then for it to truly reflect the electorate one would have to assume that around 90% of people over voting age are also broadly progressive. Working on this theory the logical outcome would be that, to a greater or lesser extent, we are all “progressives”. So far so good, the benefits of decent housing, modern schools, advances in medical science, supposedly better public transport and much higher life expectancy could all be laid at the door of “progressivism”, what’s not to like you might ask?
Here’s the rub though, todays progressives haven’t been able to contain their work to improving the lot of people in material ways, they are also committed to changing the way people think and, in my humble opinion, this is where progressive policies have polarised our nation. For a very long time, although there have often been schisms in our societies, we were allowed to speak and think freely. Our views may not have been agreeable or even palatable to some (or their views to us) but there was nothing stopping us holding said views and opinions. This does not sit well with the modern progressive thinker. The modern progressive thinker only sees right and wrong, always it is their right versus your wrong and it is never nuanced. Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote, in her biography of Voltaire “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. This phrase, often attributed to Voltaire himself is worth remembering as we look at a couple of examples of how progressive ideology has turned the UK and much of the civilised Western world into the sorry mess we inhabit today.
Ed. I believe some of you are having trouble with Disqus. It is not GP.