Thursday, October 04, 2012


'Red Tory' Guru Accuses Cameron of Betrayal

Back in the good old days Philip Blond produced the curiously titled approach to politics, Red Toryism; 'Eh?' you could almost hear balding old buffers in The Athenaeum exclaiming. But now they no longer need worry as it's all fallen apart and Blondie's furiously attacked Dave for betraying his dream of a Red Tory future.

Blond plaintively explains,
'In 2009 I argued for a new one-nation approach to Britain's problems, and Cameron appeared to agree. The principles of re-localising the economy, re-capitalising the poor and re-moralising the market were echoed in Cameron's speeches and policy ideas. I did and still do believe in all this. I advocated a bottom-up civic renewal of our society; plus I wanted to recover social conservatism not as a reactionary war on single mothers or gay people, but as a conserving force to restore the family and loving human relationships as the primary agent of renewal, and the first front in the war on poverty, human neglect and social dysfunction. Crucially I argued conservative economics were not delivering on conservative principles and that current versions of free-market economics were re-inscribing class and caste.

"Cameron to his great credit spoke to all of this and offered as its realisation 'the big society' – a whole package of measures to add to community empowerment, civic life and community businesses. It was unfortunately designed to work alongside rather than convert a dysfunctional economic model. But despite appalling communication and a belief it was just about volunteering, it gave a sense of social rejuvenation and structural shift. Big society was Cameron's unfulfilled promise to do and be something different. I have to say I thought the Big Society was Steve Hilton's 'Big' idea, not Blond's but gurus flock around opposition leaders, as we've seen from Miliband's progress and who knows who influenced whom. Whatever the provenance of the Big Society, what does Philip Blond think of where we are now?

what a disappointment and what a tragedy this promised renewal of one-nation conservatism has become. Make no mistake: a radical Toryism has been abandoned, the once-in-a-generation chance to redefine conservatism on something other than a reductive market liberalism has been lost.

Blond argues Cameron has surrendered to the dead hand of the ('smug and indifferent') Treasury and allowed his shining new brand to be 'retoxified'. Yes, the deficit has to be dealt with but the means employed are 'defunct and outdated'. He concludes: "Rather like some ghastly ghost story, the various shades of the conservative past have returned and overwhelmed the good that Cameron originally represented."

'One Nation' is the common ground of British politics now, insists Blond, mindful, no doubt of Miliband's successful encroachment yesterday, and he hopes, I guess, Cameron has not totally lost his memory of all those cosy chats before he became PM. Oh dear! I fear he is mostly right but as balm to his wounded psyche suggest he form a support group with Lord Glasman and other rejected gurus.

The notion of "one nation" is political and philosophical poppycock. An empty expression from an empty mind. Anyone who espouses it obviously has the intelligence of your average placard-slogan scribbler.
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