I'm not sure how I missed this little piece from The Times - but I'm glad I picked it up eventually.
"Who says that the new Conservatism has no substance?" asks Oliver Letwin before launching into an essay in impenetrable gobbledegook as he tries to answer the question - or rather, tries to avoid answering the question.
The question therefore deserves an answer. And the answer is that Cameron Conservatism, so far from being merely a set of attitudes, has a specific theoretical agenda. It aims to achieve two significant paradigm-shifts.
A specific theoretical agenda? Well boo-hoo for you, Ollie. That'll knock the stuffing out of all those detractors. The trouble is, having a specific theoretical agenda is fine as long as you don't have to do anything. I've got a specific theoretical agenda.
1) End poverty.
2) End war.
3) End hatred.
4) Have dinner.
Hey, they're all specifics and they're theoretical and it's an agenda. Of course it's crap - I'd almost certainly need a cup of tea after ending war and before moving on to eradicating hatred - but as theoretical agendas go, it's every bit as good as anyone else's theoretical agenda. The clue on where Ollie is going with this is apparent in that first paragraph - where he tells us that NuTory aims to achieve "two significant paradigm shifts"
Yep - you've guessed it. Ollie is talking bollocks. Again.
A paradigm shift used to mean a significant new discovery in conventional science that fundamentally altered scientific thought. For example, at one time the prevailing view of physicists was that the sun revolved around the earth - then we discovered it didn't. That was a paradigm shift. Ollie isn't talking about real science, though. No, he's talking social science or - as it is better known - claptrap.
I'm not going to bother fisking any more of Letwin's masterpiece of social scientific garbage - feel free to read it if you want to - other than to say it contains all the buzzwords and key requirements of social science. Consensus, sociocentric. provision theory, framework theory, socioenviornmental, blah, blah, blah .... jeez, give it a rest, mate. I will, however, reflect on how Letwin ends this piece of socialist candyfloss.
Cameron Conservatives have both an analysis of the nature of 21st-century politics and a theory of the role of the modern State. To win a battle of ideas is always a hard task. But having an idea is certainly a good starting point.
Not if the idea is wrong, Ollie.