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Friday, April 09, 2010

A Respectable Tory Cloth Coat

Davy Cameron has a problem. Despite facing one of the most self destructive Prime Ministers in recent memory, and a governing Labour party going for an unprecedented fourth term in office, the Conservative leader is barely ahead in the polls. Now old hacks like Publius, trapped in Thatcherite nostalgia, can be dismissed for saying that Mr Cameron's lacklustre performance is due to betraying tried, true and blue Tory principles. The smart money around the Conservative HQ holds that Cameron's real problem is that he is a toff i.e. a rich elitist. This is true. A graduate of Eton and Oxford, as well as a direct descendant of William IV, the member for Witney is not common. Just his approach. Earlier this week Cameron, channelling Richard Nixon one assumes, wrote - in the political sense of "wrote" - an impassioned cry for Britain and a defense of his own toffishness. Just an ordinary chap, very nervous you know, who wants to be Prime Minister of this whole darn big country of ours. Someone lend this guy one of Stephen Harper's fluffy blue sweaters, if there's a hung parliament he'll need it:

The past four years have felt like the longest job interview in the world. If I am asking to lead their country, then people have a right to know more about me. It would be naive not to accept this in an age of YouTube and Twitter. Some voters might not like this approach, but the personal is political. The experiences that shaped me have influenced my life, my ideas and my ideals.

Thus spake brave Davy, captain of the gate...

I developed a set of beliefs that remain with me to this day. The state is your servant, never your master. It should defend people from every threat – but it should not use that as a premise to infringe unnecessarily on the freedom of the individual. As far as humanly possible, it should crush bureaucracy and hand power to the people. And the state should support wealth creation, aspiration and enterprise with low taxes, not replace it with grandiose five-year plans. Compassion is not just about what the State does on behalf of us all, it is about what we do as individuals, in our families, in our communities, together.

Wonderful stuff. Do you do parties as well? 

It is fortunate that I am an optimist as I survey the devastation and waste caused by his time in power. And I know we have the policies and ambition to get the country moving and to remould it for the age.

For the Lord is merciful, he has given Mr Cameron optimism. Cold eyed clarity might have taken the Opposition Leader into an entirely different career path. 

Seven out of 10 working people will be better off with the Conservatives. 

That's right, screw the other three. They're probably Labourite trots anyway. 

And Labour’s top-down Government will make our broken society worse, not better. So we will create an army of community organisers, independent of the state, to build the Big Society – where people come together to solve their own problems.

I do admire the bait and switch "Big Society" bit, see an earlier post for further details. The state will create these community organizers, communities being incapable of organizing themselves, but they will be independent of the state. Typically creations and creators have a fairly intimate link. It also raises important questions about how these community organizers shall finance their organizational enterprises. Government grants have been proposed. Yet this would make them, semantics aside, agents of the state. 

Does all this make me equipped to be Prime Minister? In just a few weeks, you can decide that. But what I do know is that I have the fight of my life on my hands, and I’ve never been more ready for battle. We have had enough of Labour, with its spin, sleaze and spurious dividing lines. We have had enough of the debt, waste and taxes. We’ve had enough of their big government knows best politics. We’ve had enough of them pushing down the poorest.

I like the image this brings to mind, of Gordon Brown cackling manically while he torments an unemployed yob by cutting his benefits. Brown would have made a wonderful Bond villain, or at least an understudy for Donald Pleasance or Gert Frobe. "No, Mr Cameron, I want you to die!" Cameron, sadly, would have made a poor Bond. Playing the brave freedom loving hero in the above Telegraph article, while soft selling big government in his previous four years as Tory leader. A hero who can't shoot straight. 

Posted by Richard Anderson on April 9, 2010 | Permalink


After collapse of Greece, everybody is looking at Italy, Spain, Portugal. Forget them, the real mess is coming from UK and very soon.

Posted by: xiat | 2010-04-09 9:10:20 AM

I would rather see Labour get back in rather than a faux conservative / watermelon. Let the UK drag itself out of the dull grey statist mire under principled leaders like Daniel Hannan.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-04-09 11:41:17 AM

It's amazing how blind to reality these 'soft conservatism' sellers (Frum, Harper, etc) are. No matter how badly they do at the polls, they just keep on trying what doesn't work.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2010-04-10 11:25:38 PM

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