The former poet laureate Phillip Larkin once wrote: “Our children will not know it’s a different country. All we can hope to leave them now is money.” It is a dystopian view of a Britain with nothing of value remaining other than material wealth.
I lived in London Docklands for some time, and it was the Bow Group’s policy that was adopted by Thatcher’s government to successfully turn a disused shipyard into the financial centre of the world.
There is much to be celebrated about Canary Wharf, but there is nothing there other than money, nothing you could discern as British, and Britain is, or at least was, about far more than money.
Matthew Parris’ latest piece for the Times is of the opposite view. He takes a long time to say what he really means, no doubt because he senses that what he means in raw form is utterly despicable, but the synopsis is that Clacton should be ignored and discarded to UKIP by the Conservative Party because its full of poor retired people, and discarded in favour of the totem of pure money that is Canary Wharf:
“From the train leaving Stratford at platform 10a, you can see Canary Wharf, humming with a sense of the possible. You must turn your back on that if you want to go to Clacton. I don’t, and the Tories shouldn’t.”
The leadership of the Conservative Party has seemingly done little other than take his advice over the past decade, and it has been not only to their great detriment, but more severely to the national identity.
It is bad enough that Parris is about as far removed from a conservative as it is possible to be, yet still shrilly claims some form of ownership of the Conservative Party. In fact, he cannot claim to be of any relevant political philosophy or movement.
For too long, those like Parris have operated without a constituency in Britain, beyond those few hundred school and University chums which form the Mafia atop the British media and politics. It is largely for this reason that they have no conception of how truly despicable or out of step with the nation they are.
It is right to aspire to wealth, but not wealth alone. A place with money but no culture, no nationhood or people of its own is empty. Politicians like Nigel Farage and Sajid Javid understand this, perhaps because (unlike Parris) they have actually worked in the high finance and realise that there are more important things than money.
The grassroots conservative revolution occurring in Britain is in protest at the loss of any discernible British culture. The British public’s concern about immigration and multiculturalism will never be understood by politicians if it is viewed through a solely economic lens, and those 80 percent of British people who hold those concerns are dismissed as the irrelevant and idiotic poor.
Tony Blair said with terrifying pride in 2006: “London is a great city, and no longer a British one”. It describes the reality of the viewpoint and aspiration of the modern day metropole, and Parris is almost a parody of that unfortunate pointless bourgeois crust of British productivity. They love London, and rarely leave because London is no longer discernibly British, and they hate nothing more than what remains of Britain and its culture.
It is the job of genuine conservatives to ensure that culture remains and flourishes once again.