Monday, January 15, 2007

Unconvincing Cameron feels the heat

David Cameron attempts to respond to the growing disenchantment with his leadership amongst grass-roots Tories in today's Telegraph - and fails miserably.

Presumably worried by the defection of two Tory peers to UKIP, Cameron implores us to believe that he is a real conservative and the heir to Margaret Thatcher. He starts off by spouting the usual fluff.

What I really believe is that if we're going to make our country a better place to live – with a stronger economy, well-educated children and lower crime – everyone needs to understand that top-down central government is never going to do it on its own.

You don't say?!?!?

We all believe that, David - including Tony Blair, Ming Campbell, Nigel Farage, Caroline Lucas and even Nick Griffin. Everyone DOES understand that top-down central government can not do it on it's own, but what we - as a people - want from a government or potential government are ideas about how a strong economy, well educated children and lower crime are going to be achieved.

Cameron forgets that it's not just politicians who think about these things and a surprising number of us know what will produce these things. Less regulation and red-tape strangling our businesses, re-introduce selection and grammar schools, get the police back on the streets and reduce the burden of form-filling by repealing PACE. We know what we want - we just don't know of a political party that has either the will or the skill to do it - your Conservative party least of all.

So what ideas does Cameron have?

Those who ask whether I am a Conservative need to know that the foundation stones of the alternative government that we're building are the ideas that should unite us all ...

And these ideas are?

Those ideas are profound and enduring: freedom under the law, personal responsibility, sound money, strong defence and national sovereignty.

Oh, for goodness sake! Those are not ideas, David - they are ideals! Indeed, they are the things we used to take for granted as our basic rights. What we want are IDEAS on how to achieve those IDEALS. What have Cameron and his Shadow Cabinet been doing for the last year and a bit whilst sitting round his kitchen table?

If the best "ideas" he and his team can come up with are things that we used to take for granted then he really needs to buck his ideas up. He then displays his real side when he chirps up that ....

I, too, am animated by a vision of the good society. What I call social responsibility – responsibility to family and community, nation and planet – is as central to my politics as economic liberalism. Indeed, I believe the two are closely related.

Whenever I hear someone apply the word "social" ahead of another word, I shudder. I think it stems from my dislike of "Social Sciences", but the application of the word social as a precursor to another term - like social justice, social exclusion, social enterprise and, especially, social research - always fills me with dread. To me, it means finding new ways to take your money and waste it.

Cameron continues with more of the same fluff about his "visions" without ever actually putting forward any proposals for making those "visions" reality. He boasts of his "achievement" of "establishing the Conservative Party as the party of change, optimism and hope." Really?

He tells us that he is is proud "that we are once again regarded by our fellow citizens as decent, competent and comfortable with the modern world." I'm not sure what fellow citizens he is talking about, but I would imagine it's his Guardian reading neighbours in North London rather than real people.

The big question is, how can anyone be comfortable with a modern world where people are afraid to walk the streets in their own towns after dark, where the police arrest you for saying (or even thinking) the wrong thing about the wrong person but can barely solve 3% of real crimes - where a myriad of people are just waiting for the opportunity to wreak indiscriminate and random violence upon us just because of who we are?

You might be comfortable with that, David - I am not. But then, I don't have armed guards and police protection. I'm not rich and cloistered from reality. I can't just buy myself safety and security. I can't just up sticks and move my wife and kids to a better area where there are good schools, little crime and good jobs. I'm just a normal person, David, and I, like millions of other normal people, was looking for a conservative party that would recognise the things we want - which our fathers and grandfathers took for granted - and do something about it.

That ain't you or your party, mate.

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