Confessions of an Old Labour High Tory, this is a great book by David Lindsay, and I say this despite the fact that I am a Muslim and he is mildly Islamophobic (going so far as to suggest that Mosques in Britain should not be allowed minarets as they are supposed symbols of “Islamic triumphalism”).
The basic theme of the book is that of a new look at British political history. It is essentially pro-Old Labour, not surprisingly (real Old Labour not the Marxist vehicle). It also points out the benefits of many of the ideas of the old High Tories. Lindsay touches on the issue of Tory Socialism, which had representative figures in different parties at different times. He sees the original Labour project as being an alliance of the workers with a segment of the aristocracy as opposed to the other British parties which have largely been representative of the interests of the bourgeois class.
Lindsay defends the Monarchy, the Union and the House of Lords. He points out the issues that arise from the harmful intellectual products of Marxism. He also rejects the post Thatcherite and post Blairite political status quo and promotes an alternative that is hard to define in modern terms of left and right.
The book covers a wide range of political issues both past and present. For example Lindsey identifies that Whigs as the source of both Capitalism and the extremes of free trade in Britain, he identifies the weak points of ‘great’ British political figures including Churchill, Thatcher and Blair and he identifies the problems in the Anglo-American relationship and its largely one sided nature (i.e. Britain gives a lot more than it take, yet he still supports close British ties to the USA, whilst also maintaining reasonable ties to the Russians and Chinese).
One recurring feature in the book is the author’s Roman Catholic faith and how it helps shape his political perspective from Distributism to being pro-life. Indeed some parts of the book are in defense of the Church from its detractors. At one point he notes that the Spanish inquisition do not get a fair press and that most people’s strongest impression of them comes from the Monty Python comedy sketch. The French revolutionaries were indeed far more bloody handed than the Spanish inquisition, but Lindsay should not be in doubt of the large scale historical genocide committed by his coreligionists (be they in the inquisition or not, be they clergy or laypersons or not) against the Jews and Muslims of Spain.
David Lindsay is an interesting person. A British Catholic who argues for Unionism from a Catholic perspective. A man sympathetic to Monarchism, not only towards our current Monarchy but also towards the Jacobite supporters of the Stuarts. He shares most of the economic views of the traditional non-Marxist old left and many of the social views of the High Tories. He strongly argues against that which may be defined in terms of being the Whigg-Liberal free market Capitalist tradition and seeks to promote something better. This unfortunate tradition now dominates all three major British political parties and it is nice to see it challenged. David Lindsay is an Old Labour High Tory indeed and after reading his book I would agree that any paradox in this description is largely illusory.