By Dr. Sean Gabb
The Emperor Has No Clothes:
by Sean Gabb
Politics beyond Liberty and Equality
Civitas, London, 2007, 95pp, £7.50 (pbk)
ISBN 978 1 903386 57 6
At the beginning of the short book, its author insists that “I do not speak for the Conservative Party”. This being said, Dr Kruger is a special adviser to David Cameron and is a former leader writer for The Daily Telegraph. He also showed the manuscript of his book to David Willetts, Oliver Letwin, Daniel Hannan, and to various other people more or less closely connected with the Leader of the Conservative Party. It was, moreover, discussed before publication at one of the lunchtime seminars hosted by Civitas. I have attended several of these, and it is easy to imagine that this one was attended by just about every important academic or intellectual connected with the Conservative Party.
The disclaimer, therefore, is a matter of form. The book is – and is intended to be regarded as – an authoritative statement of Conservative Party thought. I do not see how there can be any reasonable doubt of this. But it is a point that I must ask my readers to bear continually in mind. I once sat next to Dr Kruger at a private dinner party. I do not recall that we disagreed on anything. He wrote a very nice article last year, regretting the death of Chris Tame. Some of the names given his his Acknowledgements are of friends. If I now say that this book is an intellectual fraud in its intention, and shabby in its execution, I hope he and they and you will not take my comments as personal.
So far as I can understand him, Dr Kruger is trying to analyse the current state of affairs in this country. During the second half of the twentieth century, he says, we tried two great experiments. The first was socialist equality. This began to break down in the 1960s, when trade union privilege and heavy spending on welfare led to inflation and a loss of competitiveness.