Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Cameron A Libertarian? In Our Dreams

Jackie Ashley, who was once described as, well, not very clever, has been spewing forth on CiF. And it initially appeared that she was as deluded as described on reading this.

There has always been a big divide between anti-state, or libertarian, conservative thinking; and moralistic, traditional Toryism. Up to now, most observers would have put Cameron and George Osborne (more liberal than his boss) in the first group.
Cameron? Libertarian? Up to now?

I don't know which observers she is referencing here, but it's certainly not a description which would ring any bells in Puddlecoteville. He's not shy about divorcing himself from the idea of liberty at all. In fact, he boasted about running away very quickly from such a stance, to huge applause, at conference 2008, and also showed that he didn't have the first clue what the word 'libertarian' means, let alone being classed as one.

And then, reading further, it became clear. She wasn't deluded at all. She was merely precariously propping up a straw man and, having done so, Jackie proceeds to knock it down.

I thought modern Conservatives wanted less of the state. I thought they'd spent the last few years accusing Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman of too much finger-wagging and "nannying", telling us what do when it comes to smoking, drinking, bringing up our children. And now, what's their big thought for the first week of campaigning? Just the same sort of meddling, but from a socially conservative angle.

It leads me to think that, if the Tories win, they will be just as keen on meddling and lecturing and just as ready to use state power and authority.
Of course they will. There was never really any doubt once the buffed blue bore caught a whiff of power.

The problem, of course, is that Jackie was never going to come to any other conclusion. Her kind sneer at libertarianism as much as they dislike moral rectitude, but one is easier to slap down than the other, so the message is subtlely shifted.

In the week ahead, Cameron and co are going to have to get their message clear. Are they high Tories with strong moral principles to be imposed on the rest of us, or are they metropolitan liberals?
And there it is. Having incorrectly lined up Cameron as a libertarian, espousing freedom, she cuts the idea off at the knees by correctly pointing out that he isn't anything of the sort.

Then, she decides that freedom is something that The Guardian have been promoting in their authoritarian kind of way, and so emphasis is shifted away from that to something that Cameron, might - just might - impose on us. Always ignoring the fact that many may quite like the idea of morals trumping metro liberal heart-bleeding.

Yes, she is writing for the Guardian and it is to be expected, but damning a political leader for abandoning a wholly imagined recent position would be laughable except for the fact that the very reason Cameron is so wet is precisely because of faux-balanced lefty trolls like her.

There is nothing wrong with a libertarian outlook on life, and there is nothing wrong with instilling values such as personal responsibility in the public at large. As such, it speaks volumes about the prevailing political atmosphere, perpetually cemented by shrieking lefty harridans like Jackie, that the idea of promoting true conservative ideals scares umpteen shades of blue out of the Tories.


Mark Wadsworth said...

It's Indian Bicycle Marketing.

Three parties, three more or less identical products, so they have to exaggerate the tiny differences between themselves to the n-th degree, usually in a negative manner.

For example:

Labour accuse Tories of wanting to 'slash spending' (when of course they are arguing plus or minus about 2% of future spending plans).

Now, we know that what Labour said is not true, but why would the Tories rebut this? Tory voters think, great, spending cuts = tax cuts; Tories think, great, people are voting for us and we haven't even promised anything.

The Tories have at no stage offered any sensible tax cuts, apart from the a couple of gimmicks, like freezing the second-least-bad tax (Council Tax) and lifting the threshold for the morally repugnant but economically non-damaging Inheritance Tax.

Demetrius said...

Cameron should put his DNA on line, that would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

In a one party state, resistance to
that state is not bound by any
convention or laws made by that state.In the eternal fight for
liberty and honour there are no
rule books,the ends justify the means. End of.

Hell on Earth

Ian R Thorpe said...

I never thought of Libertarians as anti - state, that is anarchists surely.

Libertarians just don't want government meddling in peoples' private lives.

Libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarianism and all the main parties (Lib Dems included) seem to be progressing steadily towards authoritarianism, government by control freakery.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Ian: Very true. Not anti-state but advocates of a smaller one. Another subtle sideswipe.

Letters From A Tory said...

It's hard to support a party that keeps announcing more big government initiatives despite claiming to like small government.


Thankfully, my hatred and anger towards Gordon Brown's record as Chancellor and PM keeps me onside.

For now.