A Moderate Centre-Right Fundamentalist?

Whilst learning how to blog I wanted a good header for my page.  I needed a strap-line to set people’s expections when they get here.  After all, not everyone will be bothered to plough through the About Me biog or the page explaining my political philosphy.  The phrase  ‘Moderate Centre-Right Fundamentalist’  was a bit of  fun intended to make a serious point: It’s the extreme wings of politics that always have the loudest, angriest voices.  Those either side of the centre  always allow ourselves to be branded as pragmatic chameleons absent of  ideological compass.  This branding must stop.

I’ve decided to tackle head-on anyone who chucks this at me.  I can be just as loud and passionate and unapologetic about my views.  Splitting every issue into a litmus test of someone’s left or right credentials drags us to the level of a sixth-form debating society where half the class has only just discovered Marx and the other half Freidman.  Back in the real world there are those awkward shades of grey needing far more subtle thought. Neither the left nor right-wing hardcore seem to cope well with the ‘subtlety’ needed in the real world.

For instance, “I believe in the miraculous power of competition in the free market” –  sounds much like –  “I believe in the miraculous power of the Free Market”.   But read again and there is a subtle difference.  Personally, I am an advocate of the first.  The gentle change of a few words brings as seismic shift in the substance of what is said.  I don’t think people miss the difference because they are not smart enough to get it.  It is rather because people like me haven’t shouted our view loud enough, we get drowned out by noise from the extremes.  The right wing nutter may hear me say my phrase and note I qualify the power of market forces, the left wing nutter  just hears that I admire the free market – both would write me off.   Well, don’t write me off!   There is nothing wrong with my idelogical compass.  It is set to the right of centre, I’m proud of it, passionate about it and ready to shout about it- I make no apologies that it requires grown-up sophisticated thought to grasp – the world is complex, and some complexity is requried to fix it.  So, please do call me a ‘fundamentalist’ for my views… bring it on.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “A Moderate Centre-Right Fundamentalist?

  1. Anon

    I’m what you seem to call a “left-wing nutter”. I cant help but feel you’re being condescending here. Maybe I am thick but I can’t see the seismic difference in those two quotes. Just right wing piffle.

  2. American Spirit

    Jeez, lefty anon. You do kinda prove his point there.

  3. @anon: Apologies, don’t mean to patronise – but like ‘American Spirit’ says – your response does reinforce my point! When I get chance I’ll post a proper piece about creating an economic and regulatory environment that gets all the best attributes of the free market without allowing its excesses or monopoly abuses to stand and without crippling business through reams of regulation.

    I acutally think the ‘end’ I am shooting for here is something that the Blair/Brown government ‘got’. They just didn’t have the competence to deliver. Confusing quantity of regulation with quality of regulation…

  4. “Confusing quantity of regulation with quality of regulation…”

    I think that actually, in some respects, the Blair government did get that quantity of regulation could be and was being counter-productive — witness Brown’s point about half a year ago about there having been about 6 different bodies responsible for financial services regulation prior to 1997. They certainly didn’t introduce quality of regulation, though — although as many have pointed out, it was unlikely that any body would have wanted to kill the golden goose prior to 2007.

    • I agree that no party had the stomach to put meaningful regulation on the financial sector to slow the blowing bubble once it was inflated, despite every lesson of history… but in other areas outside the financial sector Labour’s implementation of state regulation really was quantity not quality and I’m convinced either other party would have done a better job. The regulation introduced in, for instance Health or Education – either directly brought in by the Government through legislation or indirectly by leaning on whichever quango – just seems to this semi-outsider (school governor married to a doctor) to have been bureaucracy feeding on itself like a ‘Yes Minister’ satire rather than meaningful, simple, understandable, auditable ‘rules of engagement’ that drive tangible benefit.

      • Fair enough — you obviously have me at a disadvantage here in terms of experience. I would question, however, how much quantity of regulation manifested itself in 1997 as opposed to that which was long-running (as you point out, many political complaints about regulation today are very similar to those featured in Yes Minister).

        Additionally, I admit that the news cycle may have exacerbated problems when it comes to kneejerk reactions today — for example the establishment of the ISA, which should have been obviously heading towards disaster.

  5. Incidentally, I respect that whatever lessons Labour learned about regulation, they appear to have lost more recently — for instance the idea of introducing a higher regulatory body to administer relations between the tripartite bodies, which will most likely prove utterly useless.

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