Sunday, 16 May 2010
The Old Guard and the Progressives
There is a certain reluctance by the Liberal and Conservative Old Guard, notably Charles Kennedy, David Steele and to a lesser degree Vince Cable, as well as others, to accept the changes that the electorate voted for, in particular the liberal, compassionate progressive government which David Cameron and Nick Clegg are in the process of creating.
The new leaders appear to have the vision of a new, radical and progressive approach to politics which senior politicians of both parties find difficulty in accepting, having spent their political lives in traditional combative left v. right combative politics. The alternative view was no doubt pioneered by Barack Obama, and a wind of change has blown around the world since his inauguration as president of the United States. The coalition which the electorate has foisted on Westminster has the makings of a new conciliatory type of politics, a politics of consensus, the vision of which the Old Guard fail to grasp.
They are the "yesterday's men", a phrase coined by Adam Price MP to describe the dinosaurs of the Welsh valleys, those MP's, mainly Labour, who remain stuck in the stultifying atmosphere of 20th century politics. They are supported by a vocal section of the public who feel that the principles on which the parties were founded are somehow being betrayed. Consequently the new progressive liberal conservatives are seen as a paradox and a contradiction (how can Conservatives be at the same time progressive or put forward radical innovative policies?). They question how a Liberal Democrat party can associate itself with Conservatives when it is traditionally left of centre and holds dissimilar ideas.
Meanwhile the policies of New Labour are increasing seen as out of touch with the times, and with the electorate, who have moved on and away from old-style divisive politics. The Old Guard are failing to understand a fundamental change in at the heart of British politics which, if it suceeds, will transform the nature of politics and government in these islands forever.