Sunday, March 28, 2010

Grace Under No Pressure

Speaking personally, I never bought into the MSM's 'David Cameron as a Great Orator' thing. Cameron's speeches, just like Obama's, mainly revolve around the same three themes again and again. There's the ludicrous caricature of what the right is saying, utopian nonsense about the coming Era of Dave and finally a fulsome tribute to his own courage in taking his critics on.

All things considered, this is probably all the Dave speeches you'll ever need:
You know, as I travel round Britain people come up to me and say 'Surely conservatism means eating babies'? Well, I say to them 'no, they will be no baby eating in my government because I'm not afraid to say the Conservative Party has changed, and there is no place in it for cannibalism. I want a Britain where babies are free from being consumed and everyone of them will grow up to be above average, and drive flying cars that run on water and every house will its own unicorn.
All of which is by way of saying I wasn't too surprised by his recent meltdown. After all, The Dave's whole reputation as a master communicator has been achieved mainly by dealing with softball interviews. We're invited to admire the way he stays cool even when faced with a barrage of fawning.

Still, fun though it is to see the myth of Dave the Great Communicator implode, that shouldn't blind us to the way this interview also exposes the myth that The Dave is a master tactician.

Just about the only consistent themes in the teachings of the Ayatollah Khameron have been throwing social conservatives under the bus at every opportunity, and pandering to the gay rights movement. As the saying goes, how's that working out for you? The more they denounce The Dave with the same unhinged rhetoric they use for social conservatives, the more obvious it becomes that us nasty old social cons were right after all: they are a bunch of loonies. They're not Rosa Parks, they're Robert Mugabe.

Actually, this all points to a deeper absurdity, and not one limited to The Dave. We're told that Cameron's lack of ideological ballast makes him a master politician, able to trim his sails to the needs of the moment. True enough, but as Gerald correctly points out, the flip side of that is an obsession with the purely tactical leads Cameron into elephant traps like this.

Consider this particular issue. There's obvious humbuggery in Ed Balls saying he supports faith schools, but only providing they don't teach anything that conflicts with the gay agenda, but at least he grasps the wider issue. The gay agenda is a essentially transformative one, they want to remake society, and freedom of religion is just one more egg that's got to be broken to make that omelette.

Ditto, consider the specific issue at stake here. The activists want to rebrand the demands of the gay movement as human rights. In other words, they won't have to go through the tedious business of promoting their views in the marketplace of ideas, and pushing their preferred policies democratically, instead the gay agenda will be the default setting, with everyone else having to get with the program or else.

You could pretty much choose a conservative blogger at random and they could explain why using the power of the state to push a radical agenda, free of all democratic oversight, is inherently anti-conservative. Meanwhile, the World's Smartest Man is thrashing round like a stranded goldfish. He doesn't support the gay agenda, but hates social conservatives. He's a brilliant tactician, but he's spent years pandering to fringe groups only to have them turn on him. He's a great communicator, except when he has to go off script.

All this would be bad enough under normal circumstances, but for a party that's devolved into little more than a cult of personality, there's bound to be trouble when the personality concerned turns out to be an empty vessel.

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