22 November 2006

Margaret Hodge condemns "moral imperialism"

in other news: Pope slams Catholicism — Bears denounce forest defecation

In Monday's Telegraph, Janet Daley suggested that it's becoming fashionable to denounce 'ideology'. Apparently the Centre for Policy Studies has published a pamphlet by Maurice Saatchi, chairman of the Conservative Party, entitled 'In Praise of Ideology'.

Lord Saatchi attempts to point out the need for political life to be about more than expediency. He notes that the galloping spread of indifference to the political process, and disenchantment with politicians, has grown in direct proportion to the decline of ideological politics, which is not seen to have made way for principled rationalism but for incoherent opportunism ... [The absence of a sense of over-riding purpose] has become a point of pride in the climate of post-modern irony that is today's political weather. Lord Saatchi quotes a party press spokesman as saying, when asked about his party's philosophy: "If you want philosophy, read Descartes."
Daley cites Margaret Hodge as an example of the new anti-ideology fashion. It seems she has condemned the West's 'moral imperialism' with regard to Iraq.

Politicians' claims to be critical of ideology need to be taken with a large pinch of salt. There is a very pervasive ideology, namely phoney egalitarianism (also known as ‘social justice’), it’s simply so pervasive that most people now take it as given and no longer see it as ideology. The fact that even the Tories now subscribe to it shows it has become more or less universal in this country, but it’s ideology nonetheless.

Hodge of all people condemning ideology is pretty rich. What is her notorious demand that childcare should not be left to the “vagaries of individual parents”, if not ideology?

Of course, if what Saatchi really means is that the Tories should stick up for old-fashioned principles like liberty and markets, and not just ape Labour’s ideology, then he has a point.