logo
The Daily Stirrer

Cameron's Green Conservatism Is Not That New. Cobbett was there 200 years ago.

Nineteenth century radical and social refomer William Cobbett opposed violence but supported the machine wrecking luddites because he took a broad view of the disruption of rural communities and problems caused by use of machine power at the cost of human jobs. Cobbett was a radical conservative in his time but with green leanings. Where would he stand in politics now?

Cameron's Green Conservatism Is Not That New
by Ian R Thorpe.
2011-02-20


William Cobbett a nineteenth century radical, writer and social reformer was strongly opposed to the use of violence to achieve reformer's aims but supported the Luddites, the machine wreckers whose way of protesting involved wrecking the machines that were taking away their livelihood and burning the mills and factories which housed those machines. Cobbett took the view that damage to property should be weighed against the social damage done to the communities by the mechanising capitalists. We can be in little doubt what Cobbett would have made of the current craze for replacing humans with machines in banks, in the sales function, on production lines and in any function in which a machine can conceivably replace a human being.

Cobbett said to the militias raised to suppress the protests and protect the factories, "If your swaggering about with hairy caps on your heads could possibly tend to put out the fires, even then I should despise you; but … it has the directly contrary tendency … the very existence of a corps of yeomanry in a neighbourhood, in time of peace, has a direct and natural tendency to produce these fires."

The wording might be an anachronism but one phrase that statement in modern vernacular and it is easy to imagine Cobbett's words, spoken in 1832, to be repeated with reference to modern protests about factory closures and job losses. And Cobbett's description of the political and business leaders, civil servants and professional people of his day, "loan-mongers, tax-eaters, dead-weight people, stock jobbers, shag-bag attorneys, debt collectors and toad-eating merchants," could apply just as well to the people performing those functions in the twenty first century.

William Cobbett Cobbett is usually depicted as an observant and incisive commentator on the plight of rural England as agricultural mechanisation and enclosures of common land drove country people off the pastures and heathland their families had made a living from for generations and a stern critic of the squalor and deprivation, overcrowding and insanitary conditions that awaited those driven to the new and rapidly expanding industrial towns in search of work. He is also described as one of the founding thinkers of the Conservative movement.

In these days when the political left is associated with authoritarianism, collectivism and oligarchy we forget Cobbett was a radical, a free thinker, a revolutionary. He was the outsider, the agitator who refused to toe the line, a thorn in the side of the establishment who could not be bought off by honours, sinecures as a government adviser or offers of political patronage .

Cobbett was no malcontent or seditionist however, he was a patriot, a lover of the British peoples, English, Scots, Welsh and Irish alike, and he saw the countryside as the repository of all that was good about his nation, tradition, of beef, bread and cheese, beer and skittles, of good plain grammar, of honest chopsticks (nothing to do with Chinese food but a colloquial name for people who exercised their right to cut firewood on heath and common land), of the solidity of farmer and smallholder.

He hated the hypocrisy of politics and the greed and corruption of big business, of loan mongers (as he dubbed bankers) bankers, stock-jobbers and anyone who relied on financial sleight-of-hand to turn a profit. Cobbett also despised the smug political consensus of the day that saw power pass from Whigs to Tories (Liberals and Conservatives respectively) with barely discernable changes in social policy. The Whigs; liberals but not in the way modern, authoritarian lefties think of themselves, wrongly, as liberals; attracted more of his contempt than Tories or Conservatives because he saw their hypocrisy as all the greater. Whigs publicly embraced the social philosophies of John Wesley's Methodist movement and Gilbert Wakefield's Unitarians but in business pursued an extreme form of libertarianism which would tolerate no constraint on their ability to make a profit.Whigs would subscribe to protests against the employment of workhouse children as chimney sweeps but happily employ such children from the age of five of six in their dirty, dangerous factories.

Conservatives did the same of course but were staunchly Church of England which had no official pretensions about being a movement for social reform. He also held in contempt what we would call "the establishment" or "the system" he termed "The Thing", London her referred to as The Great Wen. Among the things he campaigned against were disenfranchisement of working people, the Master and Servant act which bound employees in virtual slavery and legally guaranteed employers rights to pay poor wages, and the notorious and much hated the Poor Laws that he believed, correctly, bred poverty rather than alleviating it.

Cobbett hated welfare and refused to employ paupers, those who wages could be reclaimed from the tax system under the Poor Laws, but insisted on paying a wage that allowed his workers and their families, however large those families were, to live in dignity.

His opposition to welfare was not an unthinking act of political prejudice; he saw the poverty around him as a natural consequence of the 18th-century wave of land privatisation which had robbed rural people of the opportunity to support themselves (The Other Slaves part 1). Cobbett complained that "it took from them their best inheritance: sweet air, health and the little liberty they had left".

When, in the a protests of anti mechanisation protests of 1830, the "chopsticks" of Kent and Sussex became Luddites and turned on the machinery that was putting them out of work as agricultural labourers at the time land privatisations were robbing them of the right to cut wood and graze animals on the ancient commons, Cobbett supported them. Though he was a critic of violence the matter of a few broken threshing machines and burnt hay ricks in proportion, set against the greater destruction of the rural economy and way of life that mechanisation wrought was trivial. He was also quick to point out that while property was damaged, no one was hurt.

Surely he would have looked upon the G20 protests in the City in 2009 in much the same way; balancing the hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage done to buildings by protesters against the billions upon billions of pounds of damage done to the nation by the fools and the knaves in the banks. He would also have resisted the exportation of manufacturing industries to the low labour cost economies of the far east and would have spotted the irony of politicians efforts to curb carbon emissions while simultaneously urging consumers to spend more, and borrow to spend if necessary, in order to prop up the failed economic model of perpetual growth driven by consumption.

Where might Cobbett have sat were he with us now? Surely he would have sneered at how cosy today's Tories and Liberals are, and at a Labour party content merely to argue about how deep to cut the budgets awarded to public services. Cobbett was a firebrand reformer of a type seldom seen and quickly marginalised by the smooth faced, mealy mouthed advancers of the "New World Order" with their dreams of a global government and the dissolution of nations and the diverse cultures that differentiate them. One of Cobbett's many biographers, the socialist historian GDH Cole, described him as "conservative in everything except politics" and that just about sums him up.

In today's politics The Greens used to display a similar mix of radicalism and conservatism; championing greater democracy, the decentralisation of power, civil liberties, social justice, the preservation of countryside and community life, small enterprise and self-sufficiency, finance that serves the people and not vice versa. Unfortunately in recent campaigns The Greens in the UK have lost the plot, blindly following the official line on wind turbines as the preferred method of generating electrical power and focusing their campaigns on gay rights and the (imaginary) embedded racism of the working classes. Thus just as they looked set to move from the political fringe to the mainstream the party, despite gaining its first elected Member of Parliament in 2010 in a constituency with a huge gay community and many votes of immigrant stock, are once more a loony fringe consigned to the political wilderness.

Many Liberal Democrat and Labour voters would also share parts of Cobbett's analysis of welfare; that you can't merely curse "the feckless poor" if you don't give citizens the means to sustain themselves with dignity; and dignity requires meaningful work with a cameraderie in the workplace rather than a mindless job on minimum wage with the constant threat of dismissal if productivity targets are not met, just as it requires a culture that respects and underpins the status of people on low wages as full citizens with the same rights and privileges as higher earners.

Cobbett's cri de coeur was; "we want great alteration, but we want nothing new". One sees that same tendency on the green end of politics, too; a desire to keep the best of the old and to see the new tried and tested before embracing it wholeheartedly. His successors include those of us who think computers and the internet are fine tools and can be liberators of information while recognising that for many activities, online banking and shopping, browsing for information, social activity among them the net is "not fit for purpose". Where Cobbett recognised the were far wider implications to the introduction of mechanised threshing machines and mowers or steam powered looms and spinning frames in textile mills, modern social commentators are starting to see not only the folly of making so much of our business or private lives dependent on a single technology that has many flaws and vulnerabilities, but the danger to social communities of creating an environment in which the distinction between reality and the virtual world of digital media is becoming blurred.

Like the Whigs and Tories of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century political system and the motley crew of loan-mongers, tax-eaters, dead-weight people, stock jobbers, shag-bag attorneys and the rest, our modern politicians, government officials, business leaders, academics, meeja people and senior members of the professions have lost sight of the fact that the state of the nation is not determined by money alone.

Cobbett would not fit easily into modern politics. He understood the importance of a nation's cultural integrity and so would have no more time for multiculturalism than he would for the internationalism that sees us shipping in milk from central Europe and clothes from China and shrimps from Indonesia. He would not be an icon to be quoted and cited at every opportunity to Greens, Conservatives or Nationalists as Leon Trotsky is to the humourless left or Ayn Rand to the libertarian right. Cobbett's political ideas provide more of a benchmark for those members of the awkward squad who insist on thinking for themselves, questioning the orthodoxy of the right and the "on message" politically correct left and concluding the best way ahead lies somewhere between the two. His gentle conservatism, thoughtful conservationism and scepticism about change for the sake of change would however be hard to sell to populations so long accustomed to having their votes bought by pledges of prosperity they can never redeem.

RELATED POSTS:
The Other Slaves part 1
The Other Slaves part 2
A Tour Of Whalley AbbeyA small taste of life in English rural communities
The Luddites
I am not a macine, I am a human being
The Coalition Government's Green Fight
The Coalition and Country People The Secret People by G. K. Chesterton

Field and CountryAnd now a word from our sponsoors

CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: conservative, conservatism, radical, liberal, left, cobbett, humans, machinines, society, social, reform capitalists, luddites, communities, rural, agricultural, machine, banks, finance, business


If you liked this, please give it a boost

Bookmark and Share

Close Window and return to menu
News Feeds (Go back to top) <
BBC News
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
CNN
SITE SEARCH
find keywords on this site

Enter keywords& choose search engine:

Google: Yahoo: MSN:

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit

INFORMATION & NAVIGATION

navigate

navigate

CATEGORIES

Fiction
Animal related
Art Menu
America:
Belief, Faith and Religion
Big Data And The Surveillance State
Catalogue of the Bizarre
Our posts on the Brexit saga
Celebrity mocking and knocking
Climate and Environment
Comedy, Satire, Humour
Debt Crisis and Money Matters
Driven To Drink
Europe index of posts
Posts on far east
The trade and commerce catalogue page
Germany - index of posts
EU Immigration crisis
Cultiral Clash - Islam Versus Multiculturalism
Education Menu
Fear and Panic
Globalisation - the enemy of freedom
Geoengineering: Science versus Humanity
Health Menu
History - new perspectives
Immigration crisis
Humanitas
ISIS and the Middle East War
Jobs Crisis
Living Within The conspiracy
Middle East
Nanny State and The Thought Police
Past Perspectives
Philo & Sophia
Politically Correct Stupidity
Fools & Dreamers
Politics and Economy
Recommended Reading
Science and Technology
Sex and sexuality
Sport
Syria -learn what really happened (catalogue) UK politics
Weird and Supernatural
World Politics
SNACKS (sub topics)
The Ageing population
age
Religion and spirituality
Climate Change
Comedy and Humour
Education is overrated
The environment
Europe
Health
Internet Technology
Jobs and employment
Money and finance
Myths and traditions
Nanny Orwell
People and Places
Science, technology
Society
UK politics
War
World Politics

Our Internet Places
Scribd
Blogster
Ed Butt at Bubblews
Wikinuts
Boggart Blog
Little Nicky Machiavelli
Boggart Network News
Greenteeth Bites
Greenboggart
Boggart Blog Central
Daily Stirrer briefing
Boggart Network News
BOGGART BLOG ARCHIVES
BBselect001
BBselect002
BBselect003
BBselect004
BBselect005
BBselect006
MULTI MEDIA
Spoken Word
Video
Music
Graphic Art

Home
Top Of Page
Back Catalogue
Our Comments
FEATURESThe Daily Stirrer
Boggart Blog Central

Comedy Main
Comic Verse
Cartoons
A Tale Told By An Idiot
General
Fiction
History
Thought
Poetry
Science & Technology
Elsewhere

Boggart Blog Daily
Little Nicky Machiavelli
This writer at Authorsden Gathering
Delicious Greenteeth
Boggart Network News
Boggart Network News

More From Around The Labyrinth

LATEST POSTS & COMMENTS

February 2020

Germany's ruling party split over how to respond to AfD
Germany's Christian Democrat party (CDU) is as deeply divided as Britain's Labour Party over how to respond to the upsurge of nationalism. Facing a serious challenge from the nationalist (but not far right please, they are not that,) Alternative for Germany party (AFD) the CDU seems pitifully unprepared for departure of the Chancellor Merkel at a point when Germany its facing most serious political and economic crisis for decades.

Afer EU Engineered Hiatus Italy Heading For New Elections?
Matteo Salvini's Lega are by far the most popular political party in Italy and have been for some time, only a stitch up engineered by the Brussels bureaucracy has kept them out of power. But Brussels determination to prevent any Eurosceptic party becoming part of a governing coalition in any member state reveals the true, authoritarian nature of the European Union.

Sweden dystopia omnibusSwedish Communist Party: The Left Has Abandoned the Working Class For Migrants & LGBT issues
Are the left getting it at last? Is the message sinking in that the grass roots movements have been infiltrated and hijacked by middle class intellectuals. Are they starting to realise that the obsession with identity politics has supplanted income inequality, housing availability, jobs and the cost of living ... ?

Is the World Health Organization involved in biological warfare research?
Dr. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law, talked in a recent interview with about the Wuhan coronavirus now sweeping through the far east, laboratory in Wuhan, China, where the genetically modified virus appears to have originated, and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) clandestine involvement in biological warfare research ...Continue reading

13-year-old fights school policy allowing ‘trans girls’ into girls’ changing room February 7, 2020 (Paul Smeaton, LifeSiteNews) – A 13-year-old UK girl is taking her local council to court after it issued guidance that would allow boys who identify as “transgender girls” to access girls’ bathrooms, changing rooms, and dormitory rooms on student trips.
The guidance was issued last year as part of the Oxfordshire County Council’s “Trans Inclusion Toolkit for School 2019” project.

RACIST BRITAIN: ‘Black Studies’ Professor Says British Empire Was Worse Than Nazi GermanyBritain’s first professor of “Black Studies”, (yes you can get a Mickey Mouse degree from Toytown University in Black Studies,) who is aquiring quite a reputation for uttering ‘hate speech’ against Britain and white people in general, has now opined the British Empire did “far more harm” than Hitler’s Germany, and branded “whiteness” a “... Continue reading”.

Big Pharma billionaire charged with conspiracy and bribery of doctors
Not long ago it would have been inconceivable that one day a Big Pharma company founder and owner would be arrested for running a criminal drug cartel, but that is exactly what happened a few days ago. “Federal authorities arrested the billionaire founder and owner of Insys Therapeutics Thursday on charges of bribing doctors and pain clinics into prescribing the company’s fentanyl product to their patients ...

Coronavirus Contains “HIV Insertions”: Claim Stokes Fears Over Genetically Modified BioweaponFor the past two weeks mainstream media reporting of the epidemic of a new strain of coronavirus in China has been getting more and more hysterical. However, reports have pushed back against one "conspiracy theory" about the origins of the virus that has now infected as many as 70,000+ people in the central China city of Wuhan alone (depending on whom you believe).

Corona Virus: Should We Worry
The official data coming out of China and from other sources including the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus continues to suggest an exponential growth rate. With more and more infectious disease experts are now openly calling the virus a full-blown global pandemic, many people are asking should we in the west be worried and how bad might things get?

The Islamic Republic Of France
France’s left-wing elite are accused of cowardice for failing to support 16-year-old girl facing death threats after she insulted Islam online, the ruling class have been also accused of cowardice for failing to support a 16-year-old girl who has faced death threats after she allegedly insulted Islam online.

Clinton Kill List To Determine Who Will Be US 2020 Presidential Candidate?
And then, in accordance with Murphy’s law, which states just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do, Hillary Clinton has emerged, having found what she obviously thinks is a sure – fire route to the presidency, to offer her services as vice presidential candidate to whoever wins the nomination. And just to show how far The Democrats are removed from reality, many leading figures in the party and the left leaning media think it’s a good idea.

January 2020

Coronavirus Contains “HIV Insertions”: Claim Stokes Fears Over Genetically Modified Bioweapon
The theory that China obtained the coronavirus via a Canadian research program, and started molding it into a bioweapon at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan before it somehow escaped could be an attempt by the establishment (the Davosocracy,) to spread fear and panic as they see resurgent nationalism across the developed world and growing scepticism about

Italy most likely member to quit the EU and demand independence after Brexit -shock poll 23:01 (11 pm) 31 January, the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union.

Throughout the day, the last on which the UK will be a member of the European Union, more than 7,000 people took part in an online, and completely meaningless except as a gesture, poll which asked which nation they thought would be next to leave the 27 member bloc ...

US Democratic Party Orders Google To Spread Globalist Propaganda
The U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has demanded, in a letter to Google CEO Sudar Pichai that the Internet Search giant demonetize climate skeptics, and provide 'education' to millions of people who have been exposed to “dangerous misinformation”. Key actions demanded of Google by The Democrats are:

Time is NOT real: Physicists show EVERYTHING happens at the same time

The concept of time is simply an illusion made up of human memories, everything that has ever been and ever will be is happening RIGHT NOW. That is the theory according to a group of esteemed physicists who aim to solve one of the universe’s mysteries.
Most people do not even consider the concept of time but there is nothing in the laws of physics to state that it should move in the forward direction that we know. The laws of physics are symmetric ultimately meaning that time could have easily moved in a backward direction as it does forward. Indeed some adherents to the ‘big crunch’ theory say time WILL run backwards when the universe stops expanding and starts contracting back in on itself.

The BBC is panicking at the public’s rejection of its arrogant Left-liberal worldview
This is nearly over – this weird disconnect between what most of us understand as reality and the world as seen through the eyes of an all pervasive Authority that was apparently appointed (although we never knew by whom) to establish the limits of public discourse. The crisis of confidence at the BBC – and make no mistake, it is a full blown, all alarm bells ringing, catastrophic crisis ...

The grooming gang cover-up is Britain’s real racism scandal

Forget pathetic 'Princess Pushy' Megan Markle petulantly playing the race card when she found life in the goldfish bowl occupied by Britain's Royal Family was not to her liking, the grooming gang cover up is Britain's racist scandal - and it is far worse than the trivialities that get American libtards screaming about "White Privilege ..."

John McCain’s Widow Comments on Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Trafficking ChargesJohn McCain’s Widow Comments on Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Trafficking Charges


Speaking at a human trafficking event in Florida, McCain revealed that her family was quite familiar with Epstein’s wrongdoings as one girl from her daughter’s high school was actually among the financier’s underage victims, then suddenly acknowledging that she “knew” about his crimes.
More posts:

French Intellectual Jailed for Calling Mass Immigration an “Invasion”
French intellectual Renaud Camus (above) has been conditionally sentenced to 2 months imprisonment for arguing that mass immigration in Europe represents an “invasion.” Summit.news reports: The writer, who is the author of Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement), was charged with “public incitement to hate or violence on the basis of origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.”

“Hard” Of Hearing? PornHub Being Sued By Deaf Man For Lack Of Subtitles
We read today that sex supermaket site PornHub is being sued by Yaroslav Suris, who has filed a lawsuit claiming that its lack of PornHub’s lack of subtitles for the hard of hearing is discriminatory. Suris’ bone of contention is that the website violates his rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to showbiz gossip site TMZ, which broke the story ...

Quitaly Back On As Salvini Prepares To Take On The EU
While the bureaucraps of Brussels were still congratuating themselves on forcing Matteo Salvini’s Lega party out of Italy’s governernment, mainstream media barely bothered to cover the news that Lega won the state elections in Umbria towards the end of October 2019. Thus the story that should have had Europhiles like Emmanuel Macron and Guy Verhofshit crapping themselves was barely noticed.

Police Failed To Act Against Muslim Grooming Gang Due To Fears Over "Community Tensions" A new report based on the evidence of former Grester Manchester Police Detective Constable Maggie Oliver acknowledges that the force failed to stop dozens of girls being groomed and sexually exploited by a network of Pakistani men despite being fully aware of what was happening due to fears over creating “community tensions.” The report notes that the instruction to avoid prosecuting came "right from the top ..."

Asian grooming gang given free pass to rape; police officers told ‘find other ethnicities’ to investigate – detective.
A report published today, authored by child protection specialist Malcolm Newsam CBE and former senior police officer Gary Ridgway, comes following the reopening of an investigation into the death of 15-year-old Victoria Agoglia, who – after years of abuse and days after she was injected with heroin by a 50-year-old man – died in hospital of an overdose in 2003.

Greta Thunberg Slams Australia for Coal Industry, Expands List of Climate Demands
Little Greta Thunberg, who was elected by nobody apparently now speaks for us all on matters relating to climate change. The Swedish climate change hustler who is making a fortune for her handlers from donations to her campaign, again castigated Australia for continuing to mine and export coal despite her previous complaints, adding a call for an end worldwide to the actibity to her list of climate demands to be delivered at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos ...

Macron Digs In Against The General Strike, But Could It Finish Him?
As the French braces itself for the latest wave of protests and strikes across the country, as attitudes harden against President Emmanuel Macron's pension and retirement system reforms. Karel Vereycken, vice-president of France's Solidarity and Progress Party, has given his version what's behind the recent wave of strikes and why Macron's efforts to calm the situation down are backfiring.