Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Caring conservatism

Charles Glass in his attack on the Chicago Democrat machine and Obama's tacit acceptance of its support, reminds us that the Republican party has not always been dominated by self-centred reactionaries.

A young generation of Americans, accustomed to a Republican Party representing corporations, Bible-bashers and racists, can learn that Republicans before Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act were imposing integration on the South. Republican President Dwight D Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to permit black and white children to attend classes together. Republican Theodore Roosevelt enacted child labour laws, protection for industrial workers and enforced the Sherman Anti-Trust Act against corporate monopolies.

It is equally difficult to find the heirs to the old National Liberal tendency on today's government benches. David Cameron pretends to caring conservatism, but in practice has promoted "dry" Tories. One has hopes of Michael Gove at Justice, but his is the only glimmer in the reactionary gloom.

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