When is a Whig a Tory? When Dave says so…

Answer: when Team Cameron says he is… This elegant video starts with a seminal quote from that great Tory Irishman, Edmund Burke… then goes on to claim that the Whig Prime Minister William PItt the Younger was himself a Tory… That’s taking the principle of historical co-option too far: although he briefly led a weak coalition government towards the end of his life, he was never such thing… H/T Quietz


  • willis

    A very artful concoction indeed.

    I really enjoyed the irony
    “Margaret Thatcher democratised the Trade Unions”

    That is why they love her so much in Barnsley.

  • Tits Magee

    Me thinks that CCHQ thought better than to use the line:

    ‘Margaret Thatcher battered the Trade Unions into submission’

    Also, a very valiant attempt at making Eden look good never mind Chamberlain!

    Where’s Douglas-Home??!!

  • Greenflag

    Goebbels would have been proud of this production. If I were English I’d have run out and voted Tory on the spot 😉

    This wholesale spin job on progressive developements in Britain’s politics over the past two centuries would have people believe that were it not for the Tories most Britons would be languishing in the mines and satanic mills working 60 hour weeks with a life expectancy of 35 .

    The spin deliberately misses the fact that much of the referred to legislation was passed after much opposition by Tories and only when theatened by electoral loss did they move . Catholic Emancipation was promised at the time of the Act of Union in 1800 -It was delivered in 1829.

    I waited to see Edward Heath being ‘praised ‘ for dissolving Stormont in 1972 . But alas probably out of deference to the ‘new ‘ UCUNF alliance the propagandists decided that ‘unionist’ viewers in NI might not wish to be reminded .

    Nary a mention of the Conservative role in supporting the ‘partitionists ‘ in Ireland .

    There are lies , damned lies and party political videos 😉

    It’ll go down well in the Home Counties and in the Women Institutes of Middle England.

  • willis

    But not, I think, with Daniel Hannan.

  • YelloSmurf

    David Cameron proposed radical reforms of the political system, like an electoral system that reflects the votes of the poeple, oh wait, no he doesn’t, he opposes it.

    The Conservatives are generally not progressive, they are generaly conservative, the clue is in the name. Sometimes there are merits to conservatism (eg I believe fairly strongly in “family values”, and I don’t mean that I pontificate about them while sleeping with my secretary, although I realise that this is not a perfect world, so families can be messy), and sometimes the Tories have been progressive (they originally supported the NHS more than Labour), but the Conservative party are generally no more progressive than I am Paris Hilton.

  • Rory Carr

    Never mind William Pitt the Younger, as the video progressed I was waiting breathlessly for the claim to be made that the Tolpuddle Martyrs, John Frost of Newport, the English Volunteers for the Spanish Republic, Nye Bevan and Keir Hardie all were also staunch Conservatives. In fact it had me going so much for a bit that I was tempted to check my own wallet just in case there might somehow be a Tory membership card lurking therein unknown to me.

    Still, as old Abe’s adage about fooling all of the people all of the time becomes increasingly shaky in the Murdoch age and as knowledge of history is positively discouraged among our young, propaganda like this is not to be sniffed at.

  • willis

    It is ripe for a satire though!

  • Pitt called himself an “Independent Whig” but historians consider him a Tory.

  • HeadTheBall

    Note the adroit leap from Sir Robert Peel to Disraeli and the fluff about the Corn Laws. Disraeli cynically destroyed Peel over the repeal of the Corn Laws, for his own advancement, led the Tories into the political wilderness for about 30 years as a result, then presided over the destruction of British agriculture because cheap food imports, by that stage, suited the interests of the new Tory (factory-owning) class.

  • Greenflag

    Head The Ball,

    ‘then presided over the destruction of British agriculture because cheap food imports, by that stage, suited the interests of the new Tory (factory-owning) class.’

    If memory serves me right that was the time when Britain because of population growth and given it’s climate and the agricultural ‘productivity’ of the time was barely able to feed itself . Thus the need for ‘food ‘ imports . Thus the continuing Irish ‘exports’ of oats , butter etc to Britain while a million starved in Ireland.

    They’d have called it economic darwininsm but the term used then and now was ‘laissez faire ‘ or the ‘market’ knows best ?.

    Nowadays this means that the world’s economic future is determined by the ethics of a gambling casino -i.e Wall St and by the learned necromancers of voodoo economics 🙁

  • DerTer

    Incredibly smooth spinning going on here, as previous posts have suggested. Maggie Thatcher was not of course a Tory; she wasn’t even a conservative except perhaps in very narrow social terms. She became, eventually, a radical economic liberal; and it’s worth remembering that she attracted some misguided libertarians (embracers of the full economic and social liberal gospel of Mill and Bentham) into the Conservative Party. Edmund Burke would, I think, have been repelled by her approach, because his preoccupation was with avoiding the kind of change that radicals sought – you must “reform only to conserve”, if I remember him correctly. Indeed, there’s no doubt something occasionally alluring about the notion that ‘the way things are is the way they’re meant to be’. I had just such a Burkean moment of revulsion when water privatisation was first mooted!

  • Mick Fealty


    Which historians? I understand that the definition between Tory and Whig has, from a modern perspective, been paper thin at times.

    But there is still a hard and fast difference between small ‘c’ and big ‘C” conservatives…

    Burke is the man they want to big up… and D’Israeli… Or even MacMIllan… (Oh, and Robert Peel, who lost the fight over the Corn Laws to Russell who left Ireland hanging through the famine years for the sake of ‘political economy’) They were all, sort of, precursors for the kind of revolution Cameron plans to prosecute.

    Margaret Thatcher, IMHO, was always more Whig than Tory… and in a whiggish rather than a toryish sort of way…