Red Toiry

I like Jonathan Raban, and I’ve not read Phillip Blond’s Red Tory. Still, I’m more than a little dubious of the former’s critique of the latter. It seems to be mainly based on a cultural affinity for the city over the country, and on a disbelief that institutions run by stodgy and self-isolating small-c conservatives can ever do social good.

what meaning they might have for people on sink estates or in sprawling, ethnically diverse conurbations, like those of the Midlands and the North, is beyond comprehension. Like his literary predecessors, Blond, when he thinks of England, sees mainly its church-spire-haunted countryside.

Well, yes, but so what? If Blond can get rural tory do-gooders actually doing good rather than tut-tutting over the neighbours, I’m all in favour. Let’s make a more radical urban variant, and build an odd-couple alliance of urban anarchists and rural reactionaries.

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