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Already tired of Cameron’s BS

February 15, 2011

I was walking down the Strand last night and out of a doorway came a voice, like increasing voices heard from increasing doorways lately: “Spare some change, mate?” I absent-mindedly patted my pockets and said “Sorry”. The voice from the darkness came back: “That’s not very Big Society of you, mate.” The comment touched a chord.

Only a few hours earlier I had watched David Cameron give his big relaunch speech on the subject. I dismissed it as more waffle. But it obviously bothered me more than I cared to admit. Why? I reflected. The truth is that at its core the speech had something unsavoury, something cynical and dark, but I could not quite put my finger on it. I went back to the BBC website and listened to the speech and the Nick Robinson interview that followed it again. And then, I had it!

In the midst of this time of crisis, uncertainty and fear, where millions like me don’t quite know how long the current job will last, when the next one will come, IF the next one will come, Mr Cameron stood there and told me that I was not a good enough citizen. That was the kernel of the sermon. I should be doing more to help other people. I should be doing more to help the country. I should be pulling my weight more. Not so much “we’re in this together” as “you’re in it and it’s your fault”. What followed was rage – and judging from the BBC message board it is a rage shared by a great many people.

So, what is the Big Society? I decided to go “back to basics” (ha! see what I did there?) and read the Conservative election manifesto. Pages 35 to 37 provide no clue. A lot of high rhetoric, but no tangible definition or explanation. Interestingly there is a clue to what it is not: “building the big Society is not just a question of the state stepping back and hoping for the best”. Sorry to interrupt the inspirational speech Mr Cameron, no need to come out from under your desk Mr Clegg, but isn’t that precisely what is happening right now? It certainly is what Liverpool council felt was happening when they withdrew from the pilot scheme a few days ago.

It is a striking paradox that at the core of this BS (and I use the initials quite deliberately) is the idea that local communities understand best how to do things; central government must listen to them; government does not have all the answers. And yet, as soon as a local community like Liverpool has said “Erm… You want us to do what with no money?” it is dismissed by central government as political posturing . When Manchester City Council makes the cuts required, government steps in and says MCC got it wrong.

When faced with dissenting voices the PM (in interview with Nick Robinson) remains resolute and beautifully eloquent: “Now, people that say ‘oh, that’s naive’ I don’t care, that’s what I think, that’s what I think government ought to be doing”. The contempt for reasonable debate – a lot of it from within his own party – is positively Mubarak-like. And things did not work out too well for him. Even The Daily Mail roundly condemned the scheme!

Still Cameron drones on with that rosy-cheeked, Look-Master-Geppetto-I’m-A-Real-Boy! expression: “in my own constituency, for example, there is a proposal to buy the local village pub”. Hold on – I think he’s on to something. This could be a winner where I live, in Bermondsey. True, banding together and buying The Ancient Foresters will not do anything to replace the hundreds of front-line services which are being cut, but perhaps we will all be too drunk to notice.

Flailing on, he accused Manchester council of cutting services instead of looking at savings. He held up the example of Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington and Westminster councils merging into a super-council as the sensible way to go forward. Hold on one momentito – so, so sorry to be interrupting again. I thought the whole point of this BS was localism. So, how exactly is the merging of councils the right way to go forward to achieve this? Maybe all the councils should merge together – massive savings to be had there! Oh wait – that is called central government. Moving swiftly on.

Cameron continued “I blame the banks that got us into this mess… but I have a choice in this job. I could spend the next year kicking the banks, or do the responsible thing and say: look, we’re never going to get this economy to grow unless we have banks that are lending.” Pardon me Mr Cameron, and I know your response will probably be ‘I don’t care’, but banks do not lend as a favour to government. They assess the risk, lend on commercial terms and make piles of money out of lending. In the last few years the problem has been stopping them from lending too much.

And then the most laughable of all examples: crime. The idea that, as police numbers are being savagely cut, community organisations can step in to cover the gap. Join your local church’s vigilante group! Perhaps members of the RSPB could double up bird-watching with neighbourhood watch schemes. Better yet, after a good night out in the local pub, which we now own, let’s go out and patrol the streets as self-styled, inebriated, super-heroes.

Ultimately, the most damaging element of this risible fiasco is that it is in danger of making those of us who already volunteer, cynical and sceptical about continuing. I do not, after all, want the work that I do in the local shelter to be politicised and claimed as a victory by HM’s government. I do not want to be complicit in the Tories’ ideology-driven, public service cull. I want no part of your BS. The nature of volunteering is precisely that it is an extra, something that moves out of charity and humanity, not forced. Don’t believe me? Listen to the words of The Bard from the Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.

And still, having read all this and much more, I have no clues as to what is the BS and who is part of it. Different approach then –  let’s start from who is not part of it.

We know that the banks are not part of the Big Society – Barclays have just announced excellent profits and they are about to distribute billions worth of bonuses as we speak (also the recent revelation that last year it awarded its bankers three times as much in bonuses than it paid its investors in dividends). Banks have just received the tax break to end all tax breaks which will cost this country billions.

We know large corporations are not part of the Big Society – even Cameron’s own backbenchers are screaming blue murder over “sweetheart deals” done between the tax office and multinationals over tax already owed. Former Home Secretary David Davis MP’s question asking “how many companies have had outstanding tax liability of more than £100 million forgiven by HMRC in each of the last five years” remains unanswered. Corporation tax down from 28% to 24% from this April – nope definitely not part of it.

We know members of the Tory party are not part of it. Last week, at their Black and White Party, there was an auction for five trainee internships in large City banks. They were bought by wealthy Conservative supporters for their children. The £14,000 raised went to funding the Tory party.

We know that members of the cabinet are not part of the BS. Listen to this simultaneously infuriating and hilarious segment of a recent interview of Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude by Eddie Mair, where he is pressed to explain for what he volunteers.


And suddenly it dawns on me! Maybe it’s just me. Maybe the Big Society is just this one bloke in Bermondsey. Maybe it is up to me to pick up the pieces for the mistakes of the previous government and the disastrous choices of this one, the banker’s bonuses, the bail-out deals, global recession, Thatcher’s privatisation programme, tax cuts, MP expenses, the war we should never have entered. Maybe it is up to this one man to plug the gap that these savage and unwise cuts will leave in front-line services.

So, enough of this blogging lark. It seems I have A LOT to be getting on with.

And if any of you homeless bums dares to question my civic responsibility ever again, I will now be able to come back with something pithy, in Francis Maude’s fashion:

“I do… Golly!… What do I do? I do… all sorts… Gosh, that’s a really unfair question.”

54 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Lindley permalink
    February 15, 2011 5:28 pm

    Superb blog. In your opinion what is the end game? Is there any way to stop the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich which is just happening at lightening pace?

    Cameron’s posturing is just that. Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems might as well just merge into one big party, maybe then we can openly live under communist rule instead of living under the thin veil of democracy.

    • February 15, 2011 5:40 pm

      My grandma used to say: “Sometimes complicated problems have very simple solutions.”

      I think this is the case. Let us not forget that this IS a coalition government (although one would hardly know it from the outrageous and unconstitutional agenda they are pushing through). I believe that is the weak link. Pressure on Clegg (who already looks to be chickening out after the latest polls).

      We need to make Nick understand that the only salvation for his party and the only move that will ensure he is not remembered by history as the little rat-thing that sits of the shoulder of Jabba the Hut is to say “enough” and withdraw his support.

      Maybe that is what the Tories are sensing. Maybe that is why there is such swiftness and arrogance to their measures.

    • Jamie permalink
      February 17, 2011 10:19 pm

      Robert

      You could try the 38degrees website. It is an active democracy website that facilitates petition writing and the sending of voter opinions to politicans etc.

      They are the group responsible for the 500,000 signature petition that has forced the Condems to u-turn on selling off UK forests. They have had many other notable sucesses.

      They have an active campaign supporting positive money which you can join by just typing in an email address:-

      http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/tame-the-vampire-squid

      You can suggest campaigns that you want to see and they will be democratically considered by the 10s of thousands of community members.

  2. Dave C permalink
    February 15, 2011 9:50 pm

    When did our society start to die?

    I know I grew up in in the country but people seemed to care and we looked after each other.

    Did it start with Thatcher or was it earlier?

    Do we need an incentive to care or are we so self obsessed always looking after number one?

    Maybe we are just following the example set by our bosses, the FTSE 100 or our leaders who seem to be interested in the bottom line …

    • Neil Mac permalink
      February 16, 2011 2:05 pm

      Having lived through it, I have thought a great deal about the question you pose. My conclusion is that yes, it started with Thatcher as she stridently trumpeted and openly legitimised greed and selfishness.

  3. Andy permalink
    February 16, 2011 11:36 am

    An excellent blog.
    Well written and unsightful.

    1980 is back isn’t it. I’m not sure I can arsed to go through all that again. Looking forward to the Toxteth bit.

  4. Rich Johnson permalink
    February 16, 2011 1:16 pm

    I quite liked Cameron’s subtle manipulation of the criticism into “people will say I’m naive,” because naivety is a nice but-I-believe-in-better brown eyes welling with tears thing to be accused of. “People will say I’m a shameless ideologue whose privilege renders me immune from the harsh effects of my policies” doesn’t sound so fluffy.

    Also, the idea of the Big Society, as you say, does seem to devolve responsibility for failures away from government onto us. “We stopped funding your library,” says the Big Society, “and you were outraged, but you didn’t step in to run it. You can’t really have wanted it much, then.”

  5. February 16, 2011 1:18 pm

    Brilliant blog. I completely agree with what you say about volunteering being politicised.

    I don’t want any work I do in the community to be part of his Big Society, I don’t do it so Cameron can claim Party success off the back of it.

  6. Neil Mac permalink
    February 16, 2011 1:53 pm

    The term big society, whether used as a proper noun, or as a compound adjective, is meaningless.

    It has never been about anything more than ideological financial cuts, many of which have nothing whatever to with the financial crisis. These vital services, such as Public Libraries, which Tories millionaires rarely use and know little about, are well-loved and well-used by real people, and they use only a tiny fraction of local authority expenditure.

    For a prime minister who, not too many months ago, was caught red-handed with his fingers in the till claiming almost 2,000 pounds in expenses to which he was not entitled, to preach to us about personal responsibility is sheer bare-faced effrontery. The man has the hide of a rhinoceros, but it is a shame to compare such a magnificent animal with a thoroughly dishonest hypocrite.

  7. Cindy Italiano permalink
    February 16, 2011 1:57 pm

    Hi, I loved reading this article and pretending I fully understood what it meant; it gave me a real sense of empowerment that my mundane and pointless life desperately needs.

    I’m quite a dilettante when it comes to the subject of…well anything really, and politics is no exception. Most of the people I admire have at sometime been Tory bashing champions of the working class; many of them having had the pinnacle of their career during the 1980s when Tory bashing (and that decade’s particular branch – Thatcher bashing)was at its fashionable zenith. Therefore as a rather pretentious person constantly searching for an identity (and despite my obvious and undeniable lower-middle class upbringing)I find it most enjoyable to adopt the persona of a socially conscious, working class, hater of anything Tory. I’m so glad it’s now back in fashion!! It’s just a shame that the Tories can’t re introduce the Poll tax to give us all something to really complain about!

    Anyone fancy a good old fashioned strike?!

    • February 16, 2011 5:04 pm

      Thank you for your comments. I would try to explain that you don’t need to be working class to believe in a fair, safe world, but you would only pretend to understand.

  8. Neil Mac permalink
    February 16, 2011 1:59 pm

    I agree with Sophie neither I, nor any of my family or friends, will ever volunteer for a position which has thrown somebody out of a job. Nor will we touch the so-called big society bank (much of the capital for which is being taken from dormant bank accounts – it doesn’t even belong to the government). I have come to the conclusion that our parliamentarians are nothing more than a bunch of thieves.

    In the late 1930s the novelist Graham Greene prophetically wrote in one of his books (forget which now) “Some embezzlers go to prison, others enter parliament”.

  9. Nik Halton permalink
    February 16, 2011 5:00 pm

    Apparently BS is all about Cooperatives. Groups of local people to band together to move power away from corporations, move profits away from the hands of the few and in to the hands of everyone.

    That’s fine if you are talking about a profitable enterprise like the Port of Dover (seemingly the Poster Child for BS) or Cameron’s village pub – which will presumably turn a tidy profit form the constant stream of stressed journos and paps camping out there.

    But I still do not understand how the same principle of cooperativism applies to an unprofitable social service like a library, or meals on wheels or care for the disabled.

  10. Rob permalink
    February 17, 2011 10:59 am

    “We know members of the Tory party are not part of it”

    Ok, so the thousands of people in the country who are members of the Conservative Party and also involved in volunteering locally as well as fund raising are written off at a stroke?

    I think that kind of partisan nonsense lifts on the veil on what might have otherwise looked like a thoughtful article.

    Take a look at the guy who did more than reach into his pocket to help the homeless – John Bird set up The Big Issue and is fully behind the “Big Society” agenda. Go tell him he’s wrong.

    • February 17, 2011 11:37 am

      True. My comment is not entirely fair. But I find what starts like a thoughtful article, ends up an angry article. And some of that anger is directed to those who supported this government. However, I don’t claim to be Wikipedia. I am partisan and often full of nonsense.

  11. February 17, 2011 11:00 am

    Totally superb blog. I agree with all of this, BS is the biggest BS ever – just more attempts to save money by pushing services onto us via guilt. I pay my taxes for other people to do these things.

  12. Buck permalink
    February 17, 2011 11:01 am

    Great post.
    All I know of BS is that since the Tories got in my wife has lost colleagues through cuts at the C.A.B. and is facing losing more. While my sister in law, a high ranking nurse, has just been given her notice.
    Still, it will free lots more people up for voluntary work, until they get their benefits sanctioned.
    Your reply that the Tories are moving swiftly because they know they are losing support is something I have noticed. As the prophets, Iron Maiden put it: “the devil sends the beast with wrath because he knows the time is short.”

    I think it is too late for Judas Clegg and the LibDems now. I can’t see how I could ever vote for them again.
    Again, good post.
    Buck.

  13. John permalink
    February 17, 2011 11:07 am

    I think you summed it up in your first paragraph

    “I absent-mindedly patted my pockets and said ‘Sorry’”.

    When the majority of us stop reacting like this and start to maybe question how much of the problem ‘we’ all have been, and more to the point how, much of the solution we all could be things may actually progress.

    • February 17, 2011 11:32 am

      Living in London, brings a desensitisation to such things. I did a play in the Waterloo area a year and a half ago and then again two months ago. Standing outside the Old Fire Station pub around 10pm is where I see the difference. The number of people begging is multiplied by 10 in my estimation. I give some change to the first person that asks, a cigarette to the second, an apology to the third and fourth. Then I glaze over. I am not proud of it, but there it is.

    • February 17, 2011 12:41 pm

      Well said. VERY well said.

      There’s a homeless gentleman who sleeps rough on occasion in the doorway of a building I pass when walking my dogs each night.

      I stop to have a chat with him often. Nice guy. Sad story.

      When it was very cold in December I took him coffee in a thermos cup and a sandwich and offered to ferry him to the local shelter. I gave him twenty quid too, though he seemed more touched by the thermos cup than the cash. He’s still got it actually. The local McDonalds (evil big rich corporation) fill it for him for free each night, apparently.

      I do not pretend that a cup of coffee and a bacon sarnie changed the man’s life or that twenty quid will solve his problems. But thirteen years of throwing our grandchildren’s money at social issues doesn’t seem to have given him a home either, now does it?

      With you left-wingers its always money, money, money. It’s always “The State” that has to do the work – which is such an easy way of saying: “Not me, somebody else. Anybody else.”

      A little humanity once in a while is worth a lot. Your “I absent-mindedly patted my pockets and said ‘Sorry’” makes the point perfectly. Next time – try harder instead of posturing about the cruelty of the world. Take a little responsibility yourself.

      Flame away.

      • February 17, 2011 1:31 pm

        No flames in sight, dear Steve. The fact that you do not recognise the feeling of ignoring a homeless person, because he is the 10th or 100th or 1000th one that has asked you for change this week, is probably a function of your living – according to your blog – in the lovely Georgian Market Town of Wisbech (population 20,000) rather than SE London. Just different perspectives, that’s all.

      • Newbunkle permalink
        February 19, 2011 2:19 pm

        No, its not all about the money. Wealth disparity is just a side effect of the problem. The thing is, wealth disparity exacerbates (thanks Shaun of the Dead) the problem.

        The real reason for the mess we’re in is because some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to cut other people off from their natural resources.

        This world doesn’t exist for some people more than others. Nobody has any special right to its use. Yet, this is exactly what the country deliberately inflicts on people.

        When you do that, people become desperate, and in many cases they become dependant on others to help them. That drives wages down because they have no choice but to take the first deal that comes along. It’s exploitation, and not dissimilar to a drug dealer abusing someone’s addiction.

        In the absence of our society, those people would have completely free and fair use of the land, just like every other living thing on the planet. So how can our kids be born with nothing?

        Ask yourself why Joe McHomeless can’t just go and build his own shelter or plant his own crops. Because society deliberately prevents it, that’s why.

        We supposedly believe our human rights can’t be taken away. You can’t even become a slave voluntarily – the law won’t allow it. But we deliberately take away peoples’ share of the world. We don’t just allow it, we make it happen.

        Well, when I say “we”, I really mean our wealthy landowners. Many of these families have had their estates for centuries, and they didn’t always buy it fair and square either.

        People (well, any animal really) have a natural right to use their environment to survive, and as equals we should have an equal share of it. None of us created it after all, we’re just guests here.

        When the greedy deliberately keep other people’s lives on a knife-edge, its inevitable that some are going to slip. That’s not “bad luck”, it’s deliberate cruelty.

  14. Tom Phillips permalink
    February 17, 2011 11:37 am

    It would be interesting to know if the rest of the Cabinet, like Francis Maude, believe their job is a form of volunteering.

    And if they too bask in the reflected glow of those who give their time to read newspapers to the blind, visit the elderly or paint homeless shelters, as Maude appears to.

    If so, then I have a very different definition of “public servant” to theirs and I fear I am more divorced from my leaders than ever.

    Very good blog, thank you.

    • Neil Mac permalink
      February 23, 2011 7:59 am

      I believe Francis Maude was very embarrassed when asked how much volunteering he did. It turned out to be none. However, have a look at his track record on false parliamentary expenses – he certainly filled his seemingly bottomless pockets there. The words dishonest hypocrite come to mind.

  15. 1nothingspecial permalink
    February 17, 2011 11:38 am

    My highlight of yesterday was cameron saying that that criminals aren’t only not part of the big society, but not part of society at all!

    Really gives ex-offenders confidence that they can re-integrate into society when the leader of the country says that doesn’t it? Really helps and supports them not to reoffend…

    • Neil Mac permalink
      February 23, 2011 8:01 am

      The list of groups the Tories appear to hate and despise grows longer. It would be easier for them to tell us who they do like – Oh yes! It’s wealthy financiers, especially those who contribute to their Party funds.

  16. DJ Londinium permalink
    February 17, 2011 11:43 am

    Great blog – thought provoking – (just looking at the comments it has inspired is an inspiration itself), as well as helping me see that there’s a few of us questioning the Big Society schtick from a similar perspective of sceptisism.

    GS in criticising the BS.

  17. February 17, 2011 12:28 pm

    You’re quoting Shakespeare? I’m sorry, but that’s just a tiny bit pompous . . .

    I think Cameron’s main problem with the Big Society is his timing. Had the idea been proposed in more economically rosy times, it might have been better received. Instead, it’s left looking like a smokescreen for the cuts–something Mr Cameron insists it is not.

  18. chas permalink
    February 17, 2011 12:45 pm

    We won the quiz the other night because we all knew that Maggie Thatcher married a divorcee in 1951. Also that acid rain is made up of Nitric and Sulphuric Acid. Apart from that, the dump up the road is closing, ditto the friendly library, the County Council is run by a bully who knows how to get spineless men to do what she wants, and what she wants is cuts, and lots of them.

  19. February 17, 2011 4:40 pm

    It’s Thatcher’s fault? I’ve not heard that one before.

  20. Wills permalink
    February 17, 2011 5:09 pm

    I’m not as impressed with the argument as some here. Yes, I can see all the downsides of the current Government. But what alternative is being put forward?

    Back to the bloke on the Strand. He’s begging; you sideswerve; he calls you on the Big Society; you get angry. Comes down to – the money is in your pocket, you don’t want to give it to a down-on-their-luck beggar.

    So what do you want? The beggar to starve? “No.” The beggar to be forced into gainful work a la Tory policy? “God forbid.” The beggar to be moved on or penalised by the police? “What do you take me for?” The beggar to be given a home and income by the state (if he isn’t already)? “Well…”

    Actually you don’t know what you want, you just know you don’t want to be put on the spot and made to feel guilty as if it’s your responsibility when you’ve little enough money as it is. And that’s it. That’s the depth of the analysis.

    Well, every public penny is going to some Strand-beggar, in one way or another. Some of them in need; some of them in greed. It is any government’s job to separate the needy from the greedy, to ensure that the money flows in the right direction, to suck it from our pockets and put it back into our pockets in the right proportion. Are the Coalition’s proportions right? Of course not. But it’s not enough to say “It shouldn’t be sucked out of my pocket and it should be put in my pocket.”

    My test for political honesty is when someone supports a measure that will make themselves, personally, worse off but will benefit others. I don’t see this anywhere in your analysis. Just someone who knows they are justified in not giving their own money away.

    • February 17, 2011 5:25 pm

      Thanks for your passionate comment. I never made a claim of deep analysis. I was just expressing myself.

      I do not claim to have the answers, but I did not put myself forward for election. The jobs I put myself up for, I can do.

      The basic flaw in your repost is that this government is interested in any sort of redistribution. This is not borne out by facts in their tenure. My feeling is that they want to take the money from me, you and the tramp and give it to Barclays and Vodafone.

      • May 23, 2011 10:36 am

        I agree with Wills here. It’s all very well to complain about the situation but how about trying to help it.

        The essence of your response is that you are exempt from helping because you didn’t put yourself up for the election, but how about making constructive comments because you WANT to help.

        You clearly feel strongly about the subject because you created a blog on the topic, but all you set out to do here is complain. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.

      • May 23, 2011 11:14 am

        Sorry if I don’t conform to your idea of what a good serf ought to be – sleeves rolled-up and complaining mouth shut. I have very serious issues with these policies because they are obfuscating the real issue. The real issue being that we are asked to make up the shortfall for private company cock-ups, while the private companies in question are already posting profits. In order to make constructive comments, the basis of the debate has to be (a) honest and (b) sane. Until such time, al I can do is say so and hope someone listens.

      • May 23, 2011 11:48 am

        You completely missed my point. I am not suggesting you get to work complaining mouth shut.

        My observation is that if something frustrates you so much you could make constructive efforts to overcome the problem, rather than just discussing it.

        The other option is not to complain at all.

        Complaining about your issues but expecting everyone else to overcome them is a dead end.

      • May 23, 2011 11:51 am

        We just disagree on this one. Discussion, political debate, voicing (and sharing) one’s opinion is not doing nothing. It is everything and it is what there is not enough of.

  21. February 17, 2011 5:29 pm

    I love and hate this post.

    I love it because it’s well-written, well-researched, and I agree with pretty much everything you say. I had (naively) hoped last May that the ConDem coalition might actually be more than a Tory Government.

    I hate it because I have been drafting a similarly-themes piece myself. But it would be worthless now. This has nailed it. Well done!

  22. Lesley Davis permalink
    February 17, 2011 9:23 pm

    Cameron is, however, passionate about the BS apparently. This is all the explanation that we are going to get. Like all this government’s other policies, this seems no more than empty rhetoric. The only positive is that the damage that they are doing is fast and furious. I will be astonished if they last the course at this rate. Surely the Lib Dems will have to fight back (not Clegg you understand) if they are going to have any future in politics.

  23. sanabituranima permalink
    February 18, 2011 1:05 am

    Thanks for this.

    How can I post that little interview on my own blog?

  24. Dan M permalink
    February 18, 2011 1:29 pm

    I think we’d all agree that cuts are not ideal; seeing people lose their jobs and public services close down because of a lack of money is not anything any of would take pleasure from seeing. However, I find it astounding that many people insist on taking such a narrow minded partisan view of the role that the Conservative party are playing. It really amounts to nothing more than cheap opportunism or a self conscious attempt at taking a ‘trendy’ swipe at the Tory party.

    David Cameron is pretty much a guy that has been given a big mop and bucket and is standing up to his ankles in the muddy water left by 13 years of Labour economic mismanagement. The mess that the New Labour Government left this country in is appaling. Gordon Brown’s missguided economic policies are what have caused the huge deficit – it has nothing to do with Tory policies. People losing jobs is a Labour problem now being dealt with by the Conservative party. I don’t envy Cameron his task at all; he faces arguably the hardest job that any post-war Prime Minister has ever been given. He’s almost damned before he’s begun.
    I voted for New Labour in the past but I didn’t at the last election; I felt utterly dissapointed and ashamed of the mess that Gordon Brown caused (and the pointless war Blair took us into, but that’s another matter).

    I am furious with the cuts and angry with the state of the economy but I recognise who’s to blame. Bashing Cameron is nothing more than shooting the messenger – pointless and purile. Give him a chance, and if in 2 or 3 years time the coalition’s policies haven’t worked then give them a deserved kick and vote them out at the next election.
    Partisan politics is wrong. If everyone supported a Political party with the same loyalty and blinkered determination that supporting a football team demanded we’d be stuck with the same government forever – it’s the enemy of democracy.
    Give the new boy a chance.

    • February 18, 2011 3:55 pm

      As much as I love the spirit of the comment, I disagree with the sentiment. I dislike DC and do not trust a word he says. I believe his programme is driven by ideology more than necessity. His policies are in many cases irreversible.

      The primary contributor to the deficit is the bail-out of the financial sector. And when the financial sector is the only part of the Big Society not being told to tighten their belt, I cannot and will not wait a couple of years.

      • Dan M permalink
        February 18, 2011 4:57 pm

        The bial-out of the financial sector was to prevent the country from becoming bankrupt and was unavoidable. The fact that the financial sector isn’t part of the belt tightening is a further measure to help prevent such a scenario and encourage economic growth. Banks will lend to even fewer people if restrictions are imposed upon them.

        There is no such thing as an irreversible policy, especially under the parliamentary system of democracy that we have.

        You accuse Cameron of being driven by ideology rather than neccesity. So not paying for things we can’t afford is ideological?
        I’m sorry but your whole article and stance seems to be totally driven by ideology. Having read some of your other posts you seem to be very much ideologically opposed to even considering supporting Conservative party policies. You glory in mentioning Thatcher and being disturbed by dreams of her (21 years after she was removed from power I find this hard to believe) and delight in making comparisons between her and David Cameron. You even claim to be totally against dating a Conservative party supporter in another of your posts. Is this not an ideological stance?! The fact that you claim to dislike and distrust Cameron is purely ideological.

        You will not wait a couple of years for improvement? What instant solutions do you propose?

  25. douglas clark permalink
    February 19, 2011 5:24 am

    That is a truly superb post.

    “it is in danger of making those of us who already volunteer, cynical and sceptical about continuing. I do not, after all, want the work that I do in the local shelter to be politicised and claimed as a victory by HM’s government”

    That is so sadly true.

  26. Eleanor Adair permalink
    February 19, 2011 1:46 pm

    Thanks for expressing how I also feel about this sad situation and does anyone ever learn from the mistakes of history?

  27. February 25, 2011 7:33 pm

    Believe nothing you hear, and only half of what you see.

  28. Eddie Johnn permalink
    October 8, 2011 4:35 pm

    Great blog…..makes me realsie I am not the only one sick of his smarmy face and BS.

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