In earlier writings Ruskin had gone to some lengths to reassure the public that his ideas entailed neither Socialism nor Communism. In Fors Clavigera, however, he adopts a number of political self-descriptions to ironical effect. Thus in Letter 1 he calls himself 'a violent Illiberal' and in Letter 10 ' a violent Tory of the old school' (pp. 306-7). His aim is partly to question mindless partisanship and partly to shock the reader out of complacency. What the sequel indicates, of course, is that Ruskin was neither a Communist nor a Tory of anything that might be called a new school.