Sunday, July 23, 2006

Call Me Polly

On one side you have people, like Polly Toynbee on The Guardian, who think that the restoration of community lies in expanding the size and scope of government. And then there are those on the other side, like Simon Heffer on the Telegraph, who think that only a small state can deliver healthy communities.

"Where Polly thinks we Tories go too far, Simon thinks we don't go far enough. The fact is, they're both wrong. Indeed, it's odd how similar their views are, both in analysis and in effect," Mr Cameron said.

Yep, just like pyromaniacs and firemen are just the same because neither can get past the whole ‘fire’ thing. Who couldn’t you pair up with the kind of chop logic ?

This sort of thing would be forgivable with a fourteen year old, but from a guy who aspires to be PM, it’s terrifying. And that’s before we consider the logical train wreck that is his reasoning. Get this:

Instead of expanding the supply of state services, as the old Left wanted, Mr Cameron believed they should strive to expand the supply of social services - services provided by society itself.

Rather than cutting the supply of state services, as the old Right wanted, they should strive to cut the demand for them by reducing the numbers of people in need.

Dang! He’s broken the code. Lady Thatcher privatised BT because she wanted to stop people phoning each other (maybe she should have focused on cutting demand for phones ?). It would be interesting to hear if Call Me Dave can actually name a single service the Right thinks should be cut. Back on Earth, the debate is surely about who provides it, not whether it needs to be provided.

Sure, there are some Samizloonies babbling on about private armies and the like, but mainstream Conservative criticism of, say, the NHS focuses on the fact it does a lousy job rather than from a belief that we’ll all be better once health care is once again handled by the wise woman of the village. Or to put it another way, far from wanting to cut the supply of health care, Conservatives actually want more and better – they just don’t think a monolithic organization is the way to provide it.

Similarly, there are some services Conservatives want to expand. You can’t mention too often how Blair obsession with the Europeanisation of our armed services has led to the Army being bled dry, to the point where lives have been lost through the government’s refusal to supply the right vehicles. And where has Cameron been on this issue ? AWOL.

It’s ironic that Cameron mentions Polly Pot. Claiming that the Right wants to cut services is the type of loopy canard she specializes in. The quality of thought is the same as well. If the Tories want to cut demand for services, why do they need to expand the supply ? Ditto, Cameron’s embrace of the charge that Conservative social activists are really just pining for a mythical Golden Age.

But let’s not let the superficial stupidities of Cameron’s position blind us to the deeper idiocy. Never mind issues such as perverse incentives, moral hazard and the like, consider the chutzpah required for Cameron to accuse anyone else of obsessing about government rather than dealing the issue of society as a whole. Hello ? We talking about the same person here ? The Marshal Petain of the culture war ?

Some will excuse Cameron’s absurd argument as a sort of inverted dog whistling. Cameron gets to appeal to Lefties by bravely denouncing non-existent right-wing extremists. But that misses the point. Cameron starts from the position of having conceded all the main points anyway.

About the only thing the puffy faced reptile is known is throwing Conservative values under the bus. Look at Bluewater Shopping Centre. They have a simply policy: if you dress like a thug, you can’t come in. This is a perfect example of how wider society can deal with social disorder. I’m guessing that for some of the low-life, it’s the first time they’ve ever been told ‘No!’Instinctively, the management of Bluewater understand that people who insist on their right to dress in ‘gangsta’ regalia are hardly an asset anyway. This isn’t just true for shopping centres, yet Call Me Dave goes the other way. Cameron thinks that the fact these yobs parade round in gang paraphernalia is proof positive that they’re oppressed. Their very contempt for the rules of civilised society is proof, in and off itself, that they are victims and deserving recipients of government largesse. The bottom line is that Cameron has bought into the exact same Liberal lunacy that created these social pathologies in the first place.

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