The list of top 100 people on the right is up on Iain Dale’s blog. You can see the names here and here and read the explanation of how the choice was made. My very limited and unrepresentative sample of people on the right whose opinion of the list I asked came up with a 30 – 40 per cent recognition rate. Who are most of these people was the question. I would be interested to know other people’s reactions.
The reason for the non-recognition is quite simple. This is not a list of important people on the right so much as people who are well known in the Conservative Party. (Even by that standard some of the decisions are odd. Chris Patten as a new entrant at number 45? Chris Patten?) What we have here is largely a list of politicians, ex-politicians and wannabe politicians.
There are two bloggers, Tim Montgomerie and Guido Fawkes; only one writer, Charles Moore; no historians and a few think-tank people, most of whom are down from last year’s position. Journalists are not allowed into the list, even if they are authors of important books. Thus we have to do without such names as Christopher Booker, Simon Heffer, Peter Oborne and Daniel Johnson. Where is Andrew Roberts, for example, or Jeremy Black? Where are the economists like Tim Congdon? Where are the political philosophers? Perhaps there are none.
A similar list in the United States would consist largely of writers, political analysts, essayists, historians and bloggers with politicians as an also ran.
Two conclusions can be drawn, both rather disturbing. One is that the Conservative Party has no interest in anything except day to day politicking and has no desire to understand anything that might be called the larger picture or to take on board any ideas.
The other is that the Right in this country has allowed it to happen and is, therefore, withering on the vine. Whatever the election result will be in November in the United States, the Right in that country will continue to flourish and to run with ideas. In Britain it will also make little difference what the electoral results will be. The Right will remain nothing very much, allowing the Conservative Party to usurp that position.
Politicians are not the proper people to carry a political ideology. They rarely know or understand what is going on and, quite possibly, have no time or ability to do so. If we are to have something called the Right once again flourishing in this country, we need to look beyond MPs, MEPs, former ministers, shadow ministers, councillors or candidates. None of them are going to be creators or disseminators of ideas. Most of the time they do not even understand or want to understand what politics is about.
Their combined inability to grasp the role of the EU in this country’s legal, political and constitutional structure is beyond lamentable, as we have chronicled on this blog. Their combined reluctance to decide what it is they really believe in shows up their ignorance beyond low-level politicking.
And that is the Right in Britain, officially. The question is what is to be done about it.