Janan Ganesh, in a recent Financial Times column, described Britain as “Europe’s haven from the hard right.” In doing so, he crystallized why the last 13 years have been ones of gentle, increasingly annoying decline. In all Western societies, policy is bedeviled by a kind of creeping “woke” socialism representing the centrist consensus; that brings only accelerating decay. As a believer that the correct governing policy is the Toryism of Lord Liverpool, never fully followed since the Tories lost power in November 1830, I posit the “hard-right” or “far-right” is thus the only way of escaping this morass.
First, to clear up the usual leftist canard; this does not mean I am in favor of electing Hitler, or anybody remotely resembling him. In 1933, when Hitler was elected, the National Socialist party was strongly socialist; it believed in state control of industry and big government in general. The traditional German right were repelled by the social decadence of the Weimar Republic, especially in Berlin, and the electorate as a whole was rendered economically desperate by a major global depression, occurring less than a decade after hyperinflation had wiped out their savings. The charismatic Adolf Hitler appeared to offer a way out of this despair, and indeed through the economic policies of his early years (a more effective New Deal) he did so, increasing his regime’s popularity.
In today’s world, the “far right” is neither expansionist nor statist; it simply offers a generally populist alternative to the socialism and decay of the mainstream. Ganesh is correct in saying that Britain is a “haven from the hard right;” its only government that could remotely be called “hard right” lasted a mere nine weeks. Yet even the Liz Truss administration was hardly a model of Powellite rigor; three of its top four Ministers were of immigrant descent, although the admirable Suella Braverman has shown a backbone on immigration that might well be impossible were she of native stock.
As for the current prime minister “Squishy Rishi” Sunak, it has taken him a year to cancel a wholly unnecessary train, the HS2 and even then he has not cancelled it entirely and fired the entire staff, as he should have, but has allowed it to continue absorbing massive resources to provide a redundant service between Birmingham and some obscure back-alley in west London. Even this modest concession to “right-wingery” was immediately offset by his decision to prohibit 14-year-olds from buying cigarettes, rolling on the prohibition annually, so that by 2100 91-year-olds will have to cadge a smoke from any 92-year-olds they can find. No doubt the magnificent success of Prohibition in the U.S. 1920s and the even more startling success of fentanyl prohibition today inspired Sunak and his Blob bureaucrats to this new authoritarian folly.
With a Labour government in prospect next year, the prospects for even the mildest kind of “far-right” libertarian administration in Britain are indeed grim. Only removing the role of Conservative Campaign Headquarters in selecting MPs and devolving it to local parties will over time improve the quality of candidates, removing the metropolitan leftists, and ensure that Conservative leadership elections and Cabinets have plenty of good material to choose from.
In Germany, the corporate media is panicked by a modest resurgence for the right-wing AfD party, which came second in the regional elections in Hesse and Bavaria. This is utterly irrational. Given the enormous damage done by 16 years of Angela Merkel, theoretically representing the center-right CDU but in practice a prisoner of her East German Communist upbringing in both domestic and foreign policy, Germany now needs at least a decade with the smack of firm pro-capitalist pro-Western anti-environmentalist government. It is not unreasonable of the German electorate to have severe doubts as to whether the CDU can be trusted to provide this, although its sister party the CSU might. Either way, short of an electoral avalanche like Konrad Adenauer’s 1957 electoral victory with an absolute majority of votes, the AfD will be needed to provide some policy stiffening to a CDU/CSU regime. The CDU are currently refusing to enter regional governments with the AfD, playing the Left’s game by doing so; they need to grow up.
In the United States, we have had three truly dreadful Presidencies in the 21st century, with one in between that had distinct possibilities. Policy has gone steadily downhill, in both domestic and international arenas, with a budget deficit now running at $2 trillion annually, close to 8% of GDP. Internationally, the United States has frittered away both its material and moral advantages in a series of pointless wars, and is now repeating the process in Ukraine, albeit without troops on the ground. The need for an in-depth policy reversal is thus great, and as in Germany that reversal needs to be maintained for at least a decade, say three Presidential terms (as was proved in 1980-92, the Democrat party will come to see sense if locked out of power for long enough).
The problem is: who as President can lead such a reversal? President Trump seems likely to receive the Republican nomination, and there is little question he is the best candidate running; DeSantis has waffled on too many issues, and most of the others are firmly in the Bushite “neocon” camp on foreign policy – there is little point in a candidate being devoted to domestic public sector cheeseparing if he wastes any savings on pointless foreign adventures. Trump was by no means a perfect President – unsound on both monetary and fiscal policy – but on several major issues, notably immigration he will give the ship of state a shove in the right direction. Hopefully in 2028 he will anoint one of several stronger Republican candidates as his successor, and that person can then serve a full eight years, changing the direction of U.S. policy irreversibly.
There are three areas of policy in which the centrists and Blob bureaucrats have failed in the last decade. The most important is immigration. The EU, Britain and the United States have made an appalling mess of immigration, to the great detriment of indigenous citizens and conservative voters in all three countries. Since the 1990s, the spigot of immigration, legal and illegal, has been turned on to its fullest extent, while governments persistently lied to the electorate. Apart from pressure by various unelected international bodies (including the EU bureaucracy itself) the pressure for this has come from the left, who see electoral advantage therein and the cheap-labor lobby, who since the first Sir Robert Peel (father of the prime minister) have sought to build immense fortunes by running the most squalid sweatshops possible, ideally with workers, who having no legal presence in the country, have no means of redress. (Sir Robert’s principal sources of employees were the orphanages of London, Birmingham and Manchester, the unfortunate products of which were “apprenticed” to him until the age of 21, often with little or no pay.) This policy has warped elections, depressed the living standards of indigenous workers, wrecked public education and raised the costs of housing sky-high, since school and housing provision can never keep up with demand. Tough ultra-right governments are needed, who will fight the inevitable lawsuits, deport the illegals and tighten election security so that only citizens can vote and fraud is minimized.
The second issue on which far-right governance is needed is climate change. A recent paper from Statistics Norway has conducted a statistical study on worldwide temperature records dating back 350 years and has concluded that the effect of anthropogenic global warming is too small to be detectible in the climate record. Accordingly, the trillions of dollars that are being spent, devastating global economies, to combat this imaginary threat need to be devoted to other uses or returned to the taxpayer and the innumerable damaging regulations that have been issued must be rescinded. The various international bodies dealing with this nonsense need to be closed down, and the bloated scientific institutions producing spurious alarmism on it must be defunded. Germany in particular, must reverse wherever feasible all the idiotic “climate change” decisions of the Merkel years, which have devastated the otherwise stellar German economy.
The final area where a “far-right” government is needed is in fiscal policy, not so much in Germany which until recently maintained an admirably cautious approach to budget deficits, but in Britain and the United States, where budget deficits have become uncontrollable, as well as in Japan, where public debt has soared to stratospheric levels. In all these countries, and in the rest of the European Union, the public sector needs to be cut back to size, not with a scalpel but with an axe. Conventional centrist politicians, whenever they undertake to do this, cut back pensions and other payments on which millions of relatively poor people depend. In reality, the axe is needed much more in the bureaucracy itself, and in the innumerable public spending projects that have been taken on without proper objectives or cost controls (HS2 being a blatant example of this, but there are infinitely many others.) The exorbitant cost of public sector construction must be addressed, and the environmental, legal and union rubbish that causes this ruthlessly eliminated. This will cause huge whining noises in the media, but for ordinary people, the economic growth which will be enabled by it, and the rising living standards that growth will bring, will make it all worthwhile.
Sometimes, incremental change is not enough; it takes too long and is derailed by the bureaucracy. This is such a time.
(The Bear’s Lair is a weekly column that is intended to appear each Monday, an appropriately gloomy day of the week. Its rationale is that the proportion of “sell” recommendations put out by Wall Street houses remains far below that of “buy” recommendations. Accordingly, investors have an excess of positive information and very little negative information. The column thus takes the ursine view of life and the market, in the hope that it may be usefully different from what investors see elsewhere.)