Friday, December 30, 2005

Not Even A Good Liberal

It’s easy to accuse Cameron of stealing the L3s clothes, but the reality is far worse: he’s stealing only the bad bits. Consider, for example, the question of civil liberties. The Cameroonatics came out against raising the limit for holding terror suspects, but now look at their wimpy response to a real threat to liberty. No prize for guessing why our Gramscian friends get all excited by threats to the rights of terrorists, but not those affecting ordinary citizens, but how exactly does this make sense for a supposedly right-wing party ?

There’s a wider issue here. Cameron wants to distinguish the Nu Tories from their ever-so-nasty predecessors, while - I’ll assume even in the teeth of all the evidence – not wanting to lose too much of the base. Well, there’s an issue right here. The government wants to be able to record every journey made in Britain. Hello ? This is hardly some minor change in policing. This is a fundamental change in the relationship between the citizen and the government.

Even leaving aside such potential developments as road pricing and the like, there’s something basically yukky about the idea of some civil servant being able to click a few times and see where you were on June 26 last year – and that holds true for people across the political spectrum. Cameron could score a lot of easy points coming out against this kind of thing – but he won’t. Cameron will not protect the citizenry against over-mighty government simply because he doesn’t believe there could be such a thing. As with Blair, Cameron’s individual views on issues are less important than his belief that Big Government is the way to promote them. Indeed, it is hard to tell if Cameron has any views, save for a dreary managerialism. At the end of the day, what the government does is less important to him than that he should be the one running it.

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