Tory Chaos

wdrb at siva.bris.ac.uk wdrb at siva.bris.ac.uk
Tue Jun 27 09:16:45 MDT 1995


The spectacular disintegration of the British Conservative
Party is very exciting. Two aspects of these developments
strike me as significant. I would appreciate others'
comments.

1) The primary split in the Party is over the future of the nation
state. The looming possibility of scrapping sterling and joining
a Euro currency is seen as a profound threat by the Tory right.
This highlites the contradictions that stem from the global integration of
the economy through transnational circuits of capital.
While Thatcher contributed to this process by lifting exchange
controls to give 'British' capital global freedom and enhance
the role of the City of London, the process ultimately threatens
the nation state.

The politics of the right is organised around 'the nation'
as that of the left is organised around 'class'. The
rightwing of the Conservative Party believes that it must
cling to the flag of the nation state at all costs. The
climb down by Shell over Brent Spar illustrates the weakness of
the nation state in a world of trans national capital.

The Lefts reliance on Lenin's "Imperialism..the highest stage
of capitalism" as a description of the world precludes
an analysis of these developments.

2) The second phenomena which the Tory crisis highlites
is the impact upon bourgoies parliamentary democracy
of mass media and marketing processes. Leaks from
rival camps in the party smearing opponents in the media
have created sensational news stories. Opinion polls
have then plummeted feeding back into the vicious party
faction fighting. Each side then blames the other
for 'disunity' and 'unpopularity'. There is much talk
of an electoral wipe out on the lines of the Canadian
Conservatives.

A prediction:

The Tory split is irrevocable. The Tory right has set
its face against abandoning sterling. Significant
sections of British capital oppose this. The rest
of the Tory party does as well because it threatens to leave
the UK outside an integrating European economy.
John Major is definitely finished. Redwood will poll enough
to kill him but not enough to win outright
in the first round. Abstentions will bring in Heseltine
and possibly Portillo. Hesseltine will probably win on a
second ballot. But the party cannot form a coherent
government and an Autumn general election will see
the Conservatives routed with Heseltine fighting
a desperate campaign to save them from anihalation.

Will Brown  Bristol England


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