Attleeism: The Doctrine of Boris de Pheffel
Former comrade turned conservative doomer, Peter Hitchens, has for quite some time undertaken a lone intellectual crusade against the ‘spineless’ modern Conservative party. His criticism relates the eviction of traditional ‘Burkean’ conservatism for a mere contraption that guarantees the sons of gentlemen high office.
Yet, I can’t help but see the glaring injustice to the buffooning classicist Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Besides the Eton education, habit of reciting Kipling in sacred Buddhist temples, and, rather fortuitously, his sister-in-law possessing the name ‘Amelia Gentleman’, few will place Boris in the archaic conclave of Cornerstone Group devotees.
Hitchens’ further unjust assailment on our poor de Pfeffel is the assertion he is without principles. It is simply clear to all that only a man of profound principles has ‘at least’ prefixing their total number of reported children.
If I may dabble in more highbrow concerns, as one is obliged when discussing a man who dresses their speeches with Greek and Latin, Boris’ political philosophy is by no means avant-garde.
Attempts to trace the origins of ‘Johnsonism’ lands you firmly in Post-War Britain. Emerging from a treacherous national emergency, Britain was at the helm of an unassuming leader willing to throw the kitchen sink at re-building the broken nation. Clement Attlee was by every account the mastermind behind Boris’ political principles. A fervent Eurosceptic, Attlee’s foreign policy involves the incessant refusal to take Britain into the precursor to the EU, the European Coal and Steel Community, through fear of devolving power to an authority that was ‘utterly undemocratic’. His Boris resonating principles can be further seen with his keen Atlanticism, through aligning Britain with their American cousins through joining NATO in 1949, and overseeing the nation’s nuclear armament.
Despite Attlee being the titular ‘Greatest Prime Minister of All Time’ by those on the left, he is certainly not a product of their own. He spent a lifetime critical of emerging left-wing governments around the globe, observing not a battle between capitalism and socialism, but between democracy and authoritarianism. He granted British troops to fight the communist forces in the Korean War, as well as aiding the US doctrine of ‘containment’. Within his own party, he resisted calls to move alongside far-left caucuses, despite insistence by Sir Stafford Cripps and Aneurin Bevan, favouring instead the framework of a mixed economy underpinned by social democracy.
Arguably the greatest principle Boris shares with Clement Attlee is their unequivocal faith in Britain. In a vain similar to Boris’ £160 000 spent on Union Jacks, Attlee’s government was famous for guaranteeing the first nuclear weapon were adorned with the flag of red, white and blue.
Their love for this island is derived from a shared source, a love for its inhabitants. Following the great suffering of the Second World War, Attlee wished to liberate the people of Britain into a lifetime free of anguish. Coordinating society in this vision was his artwork, and Keynesianism was his brush. The National Health Service was established, homebuilding consolidated under the state’s arm, and large inroads towards nationalisation were undertaken.
In reimagining what the future holds for Britain, Attleeism provides just three words: Build Back Better. While critics may lament Boris’ highly centralised plans of HS2 and the ‘watermelon’ resolution of Net Zero (green on the outside, red on the middle), his principles are by no means without precedent.