Tag: Tory

“No longer fit for purpose” is no longer fit for purpose

Saturday, 27 July, 2019

A list of rules has been sent to the staff of the new Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, asking them to stop using words such as “hopefully” and phrases such as “no longer fit for purpose”. The guidelines, obtained by ITV news, were drawn up by the North East Somerset MP’s constituency team years ago, but have now been shared with staff in Westminster. It should be noted that as chair of the European Research Group, a hard-Brexit Tory backbench alliance, Rees-Mogg has become increasingly influential in Parliament in recent years.

Much ridiculed already by the PC crowd, the Rees-Mogg guidelines contain a vital call for accuracy. Staff are told: “CHECK your work.” Other directions include “Organisations are SINGULAR” and a request for no comma after the word “and”. Among the words and phrases considered unacceptable are: “very”, “due to” and “ongoing”, as well as “equal”, “yourself” and “unacceptable. “Rees-Mogg’s aides are also barred the use of “lot”, “got” and “I am pleased to learn”. Much of this is admirable, much is personal taste, but a double space after a full stop made more sense when people used typewriters. Still, much can be clarified and communications can be improved if a style guide, especially one that’s fit for purpose, is used from the outset in an important office.

Jacob Rees-Mogg style guide

In Bruges

Wednesday, 17 April, 2013 0 Comments

On 20 September 1988, Margaret Thatcher delivered her famous Bruges speech. The venue was the College of Europe, the Oxbridge, the Harvard and the MIT of the European Union. It produces the officer class of the “European project” and most graduates go on to work in the European Commission, Parliament, Central Bank or the Court of Justice.

In Bruges, Mrs Thatcher spoke to those who religiously believe that federalism is the European raison d’être. To their horror, she sang the praises of national sovereignty. “The European Community is one manifestation of that European identity, but it is not the only one. We must never forget that east of the Iron Curtain, people who once enjoyed a full share of European culture, freedom and identity have been cut off from their roots. We shall always look on Warsaw, Prague and Budapest as great European cities.”

Margaret Thatcher called out the federalists in Bruges and accused them of plotting the end of the nation state in Europe. In doing to, she placed Europe at the heart of British politics and the aftershocks continue to this day. That fact that her successor as leader of the Tory Party, David Cameron, has pledged an in/out referendum on Europe is something she could not have dreamed of that night in Bruges.

Blond on Thatcher

Monday, 15 April, 2013 0 Comments

Mrs Thatcher A cover story in the February 2009 edition of Prospect magazine ensured fame for Phillip Blond, the English political thinker, Anglican theologian and director of the ResPublica think tank. His celebrated essay on Red Toryism proposed a radical communitarian traditionalist conservatism and railed against state and market monopoly. Blond noted that Thatcherism was determined to end state monopolies and markets would then become the vehicle by which prosperity would be attained. “But the free market fundamentalists often did little more than create new monopolies of capital to replace those of the state,” he noted.

At the weekend, Phillip Blond revisited these issues for readers of the Dutch publication, The Post Online, and in “The legacy of Margaret Thatcher” he painted a picture of light and shadow in which the late British Prime Minister was praised for her many international achievements but criticized for what Blond saw as her lack of domestic social conscience. Snippet:

“She simply had no account of the social or the intermediate. For her there were just individuals and everything she tried to do was to create the type of individuals she believed would make Britain great again. The lack of any account of the social blinded her to the fate of her people — human beings need structures to help them in life especially when faced with economic change. But nobody in the north was offered anything except welfare and indifference bordering on hostility.”

And then there’s this barb:

“In respect of negative legacies others abound, her justified hostility to the European project blinded her to the possibility that Britain’s rise back to power might also be through Europe. If she had not disliked non-English speaking people so, she might have helped save Europe (and so fulfil Britain’s historical role on the continent) from the terrible consequences of the euro.”

Phillip Blond has written one of the best Tory essays on the legacy of Margaret Thatcher that we will read this week.