Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Whole lot a blurring going on

Private Eye Cover
Originally uploaded by
My fascination on British politics has been long-lasting. I wrote earlier this year a big article for Suomen Kuvalehti on the rhetorical talent of the man in the left in the picture. Even if it would not be Blair talking, I love to follow a political setting where wording is appreciated.

Well, now there´s a genuine hype around the man on the right. David Cameron is the new leader of the Conservative Party and at least based on his first interview with the Guardian/Observer he seems to go for the same strategy as the guy on the left: reaching out for all, especially the socially conscious and increasingly wealthy middle class.

Few quotes from the interview:
"We think immigration is good for Britain; we think that there are clear benefits in a modern economy from having both emigration and immigration, but that net immigration has to have a very careful regard to good community relations and the fair provision of public services."
"I´m passionately committed to giving people who are being tortured and persecuted asylum, and that means not just letting them in."
"Political clubs ought to be open to everyone. Politics is an equal opportunity thing."

But then my favourite part of the interview: Cameron, who says he is a liberal Conservative (what an earth is that, I would say contradiction in terms) says he is a practical person and not a deeply ideological one. I find these kind of comments really worrying because they really make people dislike politics and politicians with values and belief. Politics should not be about management but about working towards certain goals with clear values.

The most worrying thing is that when you read more closely what Cameron is saying, he is driving a small government policy. The following statements are far from practical solutions but strong value statements:
"Rolling back the state must never leave the poor, the vulnerable and weak behind, and that´s where the state clearly has a role."
He says that the state should give over much more of its work because voluntary bodies are "doing the most innovative and incredible work".
"There is such a thing as society. It´s not the same thing as the state."

Hmm...I think it is quite classical conservative rhetorics to brand public sector as ineffective and promote voluntary work where it would save costs.

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