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The Conservative Party’s problem

British politics does not reflect the three economic interests in the country and have not done so for over 100 years. There are three factors of production, land, capital and labour. In reality these boil down to two−land on the one side−and capital and labour—wage earners—on the other, since capital is “stored labour”. Before 1914, the Conservatives represented the landowning and banking (rent receiving) classes and the Liberals represented labour and capital, the wealth-producing classes. After the rise of the Labour Party, the capitalist (properly defined as owners of capital, that is man made productive resources), and the rent receiving interests were rolled into the same Conservative political grouping, even though their interests are in direct conflict with each other. The conflict within the Conservative Party has sharpened over the past half-century as mergers and other consolidations have transformed entrepreneurs into corporate oligopolists whose revenues are also comprised substantially of economic rent; the giant supermarket chains and formerly nationalised utilities are probably the best known examples of monopoly rent recipients.

Labour is the product of an uncomfortable alliance of working people, beginning with Christian Socialists, and middle class atheistic Fabian Socialists. After about 1950, Labour also became the home of various flavours of Marxists, including Trotskyites and Stalinists.

This leaves the Conservatives in perpetual internal conflict and relegates Labour to a role which is largely destructive. On top of that is the rise of the conflict which goes under the label of “culture wars”, and to some extent cuts across party lines. This political and economic mismatch is not a particularly British phenonmenon; on the contrary, it is widespread throughout the world where supposedly free markets hold sway.