Friday, 24 February 2012

Top-down, Or Not Top-down, That Is The Question

Cameron was in majestic flow yesterday, wasn't he? (emphases mine)
I say that core belief – in social responsibility, not state control – is something we’re never going to change.


Because if you look at the scale of the challenges we face…

….from youth unemployment to family breakdown to drug and alcohol addiction…

does anyone think we can turn these things around just by government changing laws or passing down edicts from above?

Of course not.

We’ve tried the top-down approach to running a country and we’ve seen it fail.
Very good, Dave. You've assuaged a few of your donors, now have a biscuit while I remind you of what your Department of Health is doing.
David Cameron has signalled his appetite for reform, including the possibility of minimum [alcohol] pricing as already being taken forward in Scotland, and tougher rules on promotion and marketing.
Sorry, my mistake, that was you.

OK, how about this?
The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Andrew Lansley): The Government will publish a consultation on the packaging of tobacco products in spring 2012.

In March 2011 the Government published “Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England” which set out how our comprehensive, evidence-based programme of tobacco control will be delivered within the context of the new public health system over the next five years.

The tobacco control plan included a commitment to explore options to reduce the promotional impact of tobacco packaging and to publish a consultation paper.
Are these not examples of a "top-down approach to running a country", Dave? You know, the approach you admit is a failure?

And wasn't it you who said that the potentially business-crippling living wage was "an idea whose time has come"? Funny you didn't mention that to your Business in the Community audience, eh?

Chuka Umunna calls Cameron "totally confused and inconsistent". For once, I'd agree.

Let's chip in anecdotally with an interesting conversation I had, an hour after Cameron delivered his guff, at Sainsbury's in Puddlecoteville.
DP: Hi, can I have some Swan filter tips and a multi-pack of Rizla green papers, please? (for the Cuban Golden Virginia in my cupboard)
Cue lots of searching around as stock was all over the shop ... literally. I spied Winston Blues at the top left of a section of their gantry, so - although I wouldn't normally - asked for some. After all, it won't be long until I'm not even allowed to see them.
DP: Up a bit. Left a bit. No, you've gone too far, they're just to the right of the Pall Malls. No, not those, Winstons. Yes, that's them. Sorry to give you the runaround.

Shop Assistant: Oh, things are all over the place at the moment, we're having to move all the stock out and it's confusing.

DP: Because you have to get the shutters up soon?

SA: Yes, on March 20th. It's going to be an absolute nightmare! Costing a fortune too, according to my Manager.

DP: Well, they say it's going to be much easier for you, apparently.

SA: Yeah? {with fiery eyes} They should come and spend a couple of hours behind here, then!
I briefly considered saying "wait till they get the plain packs in", but I thought it best to leave her to experience that particular delight for herself further down the line.

Now, guess which party vehemently opposed this madness in opposition - on the basis of it being harmful and costly to business, without there being any evidentiary benefit - but allowed it to go unchallenged once in office, when they could have easily quashed it and been, you know, pro-business, and against 'top-down' edicts which Cameron yesterday said don't work. I'll give you a clue, it's run by someone called David Cameron.

Is he just marking time until the book deal, or does he really not know whether he's coming or going?


Curmudgeon said...

It's a characteristic of a skilled politician that he can make an audience feel that he's on their side even if in reality he's sitting on the fence. You can imagine Cameron making a similar speech making out how Eurosceptic he was.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Well put. If that were to translate into Cameron's government saying a lot but doing absolutely nothing, I'd be all for it. I have my doubts, though. 

Jay said...

Dick_Puddlecote said...

That was taken Nov 4th 2008. Trust me, I remember the occasion (it's in my FB pics). ;)

Jay said...

Just a gentle reminder, is all...

moonrakin said...

Going a tad off topic  - but isn't there a certain amount of irony in the recent drunken brawling in The House of Commons Bar and the massively subsidised booze prices therein? Hypocrisy at Westminster? Who-da thunk it?

Why aren't the alcohol bansturbators squawking and ruffling their feathers over cheap booze causing characture Scots Labour MPs to headbut Tory twits?

Personally I'd appreciate some fisticuffs in the chamber itself. Having recently had to scan through many hours of HoC video to find a few nuggets - I am incensed enough to want to punch a few of them myself.

They should pay the going rate for booze in the capital and the  ₤250,000++ pa subsidy to the press bar should also be scrapped.


Bill Quango MP said...

Well, our hopes were never very high for the Cameron government.
Sadly, even those low expectations shan't be met.

If he can get the schools and the boundary reforms through by 2015 I'll consider it a minor success.