Danny Finkelstein in The Times today peddles the view that moderation is some sort of third way alternative to Left or Right. If that’s all it is only the indecisive will vote for it. A negative choice. An easy choice. A compromise. If we reject the Spartite absurdities of Corbyn or the one issue narrowness of Johnson (pragmatic but grubby) surely we want an upbeat alternative not some “On the one hand and on the other hand” fudge.
I was in the 1980s in the same political party as Danny – the SDP. I suspect that he joined, as I did, not because of its centrism but because of its radicalism. The Gang of Four weren’t cuddly liberals at all (though they did a deal with them for pragmatic electoral reasons). They wanted to create a new politics.
And that’s what we need today. Not moderation per se but a radical repositioning of the political options that the voters will buy. My short manifesto would be:
▪️Electoral reform. A fair voting system. Smaller House of Commons
▪️Abolition of the House of Lords and an elected Senate to replace it.
▪️Proactive partnerships with other countries, especially in Europe with EU27/EFTA
▪️Defence fully integrated with allies
▪️Far greater devolution of decision-making to the regions.
▪️Unequivocal support for a mixed economy.
▪️Extensive public/private partnerships for all public services.
▪️Abolition of private sector monopolies especially in public services.
▪️Full Integration of Channel Islands, Isle of Man etc. into Britain.
▪️Disposal of all overseas possessions – no more tax havens.
▪️Expansion of direct taxation on an ability to pay basis (inc. Wealth Tax)
▪️Reductions in indirect taxation.
Now don’t commend me if you agree with me because of my moderation but because I am a Radical. Some of these ideas libertarians might like, some moderate members of the Labour Party. Fine. But there is no ideology here just, I pride myself (!) common-sense.
British politics is a shambolic mess and we won’t get out of it with fudge. Let’s start again.