The British neoconservatives.(related article: who’s who in the neo-con nomenklatura)(Cover Story)
John Kampfner on a new alliance, comparable to Bush’s backers in the U.S. Many are from the left; others, though from the right, think Blair the only leader worth influencing.
An intriguing new alliance is forming in British politics. It lies beyond conventional party structures. It is based mainly in the media, but is being watched approvingly by the government. It is a coalition between conservative thinkers and their pro-war, pro-intervention counterparts who hailed from the left. This new breed of militarist Blairites believes it is in the vanguard of a progressive new foreign policy. They are disdainful of their critics. They see the future as theirs. Together with their new allies of the right, they form a first generation of British neoconservatives.
Downing Street is comfortable with these people. Many are friends. Together, they define themselves and their politics against the left and against much of the Labour Party. Iraq was the catalyst for this merger. But its roots were established long ago — in the electoral hegemony of Tony Blair, in the lack of parliamentary opposition from the right, in the failure of the Third Way to establish an ideology closer to European soc ial democracy, and in the phenomenon that is George W Bush.
These neo-cons share much common ground with their more confident counterparts in the US. There is one essential difference, however. In America the Republicans are riding high, with the presidency and both houses of Congress firmly in their control. The economy could be their undoing over the next 18 months, but the Democrats remain in poor shape. Plans are being laid for four more years of Bush.
In Britain, there is no political delivery vehicle of the right. Even the most ardent Tory supporter would acknowledge that, barring a catastrophe of untold proportions, Blair is guaranteed another eight years in office if he wants them. The smarter policy-makers and thinkers of the right in the UK have given up on the conservative Party. They have invested their hopes in a Labour Prime Minister.
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