Michael Howard and the Conservative Party: Dracula Will Have to Do
Thursday, November 06, 2003

Michael Howard and the Conservative Party: Dracula Will Have to Do

Free Life Commentary
Issue Number 115
Wednesday, 5 November 2003
This article and various replies to it will be published in the next issue of Free Life Magazine:

Michael Howard and the Conservative Party:
Dracula Will Have to Do
by Sean Gabb

The emergence of Michael Howard as leader of the Conservative Party has left me as surprised as everyone else. When it first became public, I assumed the plotting against Mr Duncan Smith was the beginning of more embarrassment and annoyance, and that the Ministers in this most worthless of governments would be able to sleep more soundly in their beds - assured that whatever their own followers might say or do against them, they could rely on the official opposition to say and do nothing. As it turns out, the button was pressed, and Mr Duncan Smith vanished about a day later into the oblivion where all now agree he should have been allowed to remain. In his place sits a man of apparent firmness and ability. Looking at the actions of the Parliamentary Conservative Party during the past ten days, it is as though a mental defective had stopped twitching in his wheelchair and turned into something like a Bond villain.

I ought to say that I share the general relief on the right. When he was Home Secretary, I used to turn out occasional philippics against Mr Howard. He had no respect for our constitutional traditions, I would say. He was transforming the country into a police state. He was a bad man. I do not retract anything that I said against him. Even so, times are now altered. We face a government that is not incidentally bad, but essentially so. Its obvious ambition is to destroy us as a nation and to enslave us as individuals. It is led by a psychopathic liar and war criminal. It is rolling back the economic reforms of the 1980s and bringing us ever closer to the economic stagnation of continental Europe. At such a time, we need a man of firmness and ability to reshape us into a credible movement. Satan was doubtless also a bad person. But had I been one of those fallen angels groaning individually in the lake of black fire, I know it would have thrilled me to have a leader stand up and cry

Awake, arise, or be forever fallen

It certainly beads straining to hear the whispered cough of a quiet man.

There is “something of the night” about Mr Howard. But this is no disqualification to be our leader. Indeed, just as Margaret Thatcher used the “Iron Lady” insult to her advantage, Mr Howard could easily benefit from the abuse now heaped on him by the leftist media. The country has had enough of Mr Blair and his murderous grin. The mood, I feel, is ready to accept a leader who can be respected and even a little feared.

This does not, of course, mean that we can look forward to an age of reaction. Conservative governments hardly ever turn back the clock on what their radical opponents have done. At best, they can be expected to clear up some of the mess they inherit and reach a wary compromise with the entrenched power of an ideological state apparatus that they have not the personnel to replace or the imagination to destroy. On the other hand, the looming crisis on Europe and other issues may now be so great that there may be no alternative to reaction.

Whatever the case, though, Mr Howard will have to do. And so, when he sits high on his throne of royal state, I too will bow down before him and give not Heaven for lost.

But the question remains how did they do it? For the past six years, I have watched from an advantaged view as the Parliamentary Conservative Party ran about like terrified sheep in the dark. How have they managed this coup so quickly and so well? The simplest explanation is to say that enough of them saw the possibility of losing their seats at the next election and that desperation supplied the lack of courage and imagination. I like to believe, however, in a more complex explanation. Mine is not a standard conspiracy theory, as I claim little prior evidence in it support. Instead, I reason back from perceived effects to possible causes. It may be entirely false, but it pleases me to entertain it. Here it goes.

As said, this is not an ordinary Labour Government, but something of wonderful malevolence. It does not so much want to change the running of the country as to destroy it. There is the continued sapping of the Monarchy - the threatened removal of royal powers, and the degradation of Her Majesty from our Head of State to citizen of a United States of Europe. There is the determination to outlaw hunting and to destroy farming and to remove all the hereditary peers from the House of Lords. There is the progressive hobbling of the City financial institutions with European levels of tax and regulation. There is the use of the armed forces as American mercenaries - and without any advantage gained in return. There is the possible murder and undoubtedly the forced suicide of someone senior in the foreign policy and intelligence establishment. The remnants of the Old Order may finally have realised that there is no compromise on offer from this Government, and now may be doing something about it. The Monarchy, the landed and mercantile interests, and the security services - these are even now a formidable combination. Perhaps 1688 is finally come again. Then, an alarmed old order realised the nature of its enemy and took up the cause of an aroused but leaderless nation. Perhaps Mr Blair is to play the role of James II, and Mr Howard of Prince William.

Is there any truth in this? Or am I just an old romantic? We shall see.

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