The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, April 08, 2010
With Conservatives Like These.....
While Stephen Harper drags the Conservative Party to the mushy center of Canadian politics, Davy Cameron seems to be moving the British Tories a little faster in the same direction, indeed right into the far Left. The Cameronistas are proposing a "neighbourhood army" of 5,000 community organizers to be financed by the British taxpayers. That's right, community organizers. Remember again these are conservatives. Heaven knows what the Labourites are plotting. From the Conservative Party's website:
The new policies announced as part of the Big Society plan include:
Neighbourhood army” of 5,000 full-time, professional community organisers who will be trained with the skills they need to identify local community leaders, bring communities together, help people start their own neighbourhood groups, and give communities the help they need to take control and tackle their problems. This plan is directly based on the successful community organising movement established by Saul Alinsky in the United States and has successfully trained generations of community organisers, including President Obama.
A Big Society Bank, funded from unclaimed bank assets, which will leverage private sector investment to provide hundreds of millions of pounds of new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other non-governmental bodies.
Neighbourhood grants for the UK’s poorest areas to encourage people to come together to form neighbourhood groups and support social enterprises and charities in these poorest areas.
Transforming the civil service into a ‘civic service’ by making regular community service a key element in civil servant staff appraisals.
Launching an annual national ‘Big Society Day’ to celebrate the work of neighbourhood groups and encourage more people to take part in social action projects.
Providing new funding to support the next generation of social entrepreneurs, and helping successful social enterprises to expand and succeed.
From Edmund Burke to Saul Alinsky. A sad decline. The basic idea isn't completely nutty. It's an attempt to rebuild civil society in an organic fashion, something Burke would have understood. Yet its method reveals how poorly the students have understood the master. Civil societies, those "platoons" of voluntary and co-operative life that Burke recognized nearly two and quarter centuries ago, grow up not down. They cannot be commanded into existence by the state. By their nature they are spontaneous, grass rooted and largely informal. They cannot be "organized" as they are "self-organizing" in the same way as the market.
The market and civil society are simply versions of the same voluntarist system of co-operation. The participants in the market seek economic gain, while the participants in civil society seek non-monetary benefits. A government organized civil society is as non-sensical as a government managed market. The Big Society would really be a potemkin village for what a real society looks like. The Cameronistas' focus on "broken Britain" is a belated recognition that the country's civil society is in crisis. While Thatcherism drove - for awhile it seems now - the state from the commanding heights of the economy, it did little more than check the growth of its dominant position in non-economic life. It profits a nation little to have a private telecom company, while the state raises and feeds the next generation. Instead of recognizing the role the British state has played in undermining civil society - starting with punitive tax rates which force reluctant mothers into the workforce - the Cameron Era Tories are expanding Leviathan. This new "army" of community organizers will soon enough become adept not at solving community problems, but instead at exaggerating ills so as to lobby Whitehall for more money. Between Labourite paternalism, and Cameronesque social subversion, there is little to choose from for the British electorate.
Posted by Richard Anderson on April 8, 2010 | Permalink
What happened? The British Conservative Party used to have leaders like Thatcher and Churchill! It used to be that Canada was the country with the more pitiful conservative movement(with leaders like Mulroney, Clark, Charest, etc). Thatcher and John Major's 18 year period of rule was longer than the lengths of all center-right Canadian governments between 1935 and now. Canada was effectively the center-left offspring of Britain and America. Heck, in 1988, Brian Mulroney and his PC Party ran on a platform that was to the left of the Michael Dukakis-led Democrat Party in the United States(and certainly to the left of Thatcher's Government). However, the British Conservative Party has now adopted a platform that would be more appropriate to the Liberals or even NDP.
There are many times that I wish that Harper and the Canadian Conservative Party showed more of their Reform Party roots. However, I now look at Cameron and see that Britain has it even worse! Would a Cameron government really drop the carbon taxes that have been implemented in Britain under Labour? At least, the Conservatives here won't bow over to Kyoto! Will it cut gas taxes? Will Cameron's government cut personal or corporate income taxes? At least, the Canadian Conservative Party cut the GST and are continuing to reduce the corporate tax rates. Will a Cameron government remove the law banning the private ownership of handguns(or the other gun control laws that severely limit the ability of private citizens to own rifles or shotguns)? Will it bring back foxhunting or make it easier to hunt other animals? In Canada, there are far less hunting restrictions though I think that grizzily bear hunting in British Columbia should be allowed. The Conservatives in Canada are getting rid of the long gun registry. Gun restrictions in Canada are still too tight but far better than Britain where they are effectively disarming law abiding citizens. What will Cameron do to battle crime and the social breakdowns that the lax legal policies of Labour have produced? Labour has overwhelmed British police with new paperwork, new sensitivity classes, and political correctness gone amuck. The Conservatives have disappointed by not doing away with the Human Rights Councils or reinstating the death penalty. However, at least they are willing to throw the book at criminals(from what I have read criminal sentences tend to now belonger in Canada than in Britain). I was disappointed at Harper's stimulus spending. However, the latest budget seems to be a step in the right direction. Neither Cameron nor most of the British public seems to be willing to sharply reduce the size and cost of government(in poll 50% of British just want to keep government at current size versus 18% who wanted to cut the size of government). Yet, Britain has a far larger debt and deficit. At the same time, their taxes are now higher than Canada! In Canada, we have a Conservative Party that takes no real position on the issue of homosexuality. Yet, Cameron supports the policies of Labour which are not neutral on the issue but instead cater to every whim of British gay activists(these include punishing Christians who speak out on their private time against homosexuality). So much for free speech! Cameron will be this generation's Ted Heath or Joe Clark. The only hope for a long lasting conservative British government is an internal party coup that replaces Cameron with a Daniel Hannan!
Posted by: Dean | 2010-04-08 7:05:06 PM
The Britain we once knew will never return. It was sunk by immigration policies, political correctness and leaders who lacked vision on anything beyond personal gain and retention of power. 150 years ago the sun never set on the british Empire. The sun is now setting on Britain itself.
Posted by: peterj | 2010-04-09 11:01:53 PM
Damn, these guys almost make Harper look good. The prime objective of the next British election must be the defeat of Cameron's Conservatives. Voting UKIP is best but even voting Labour is better than Conservative.
Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2010-04-10 11:19:16 PM
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