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The (would-be) Emperor has no clothes

And so Dave Cameron stands up and says “Only conservatives offer real change” and the media report this more or less at face value.

We have a vast regulatory welfare state under Labour. We will still have a vast regulatory welfare state under Cameron… no? Well how many million state employees will Cameron fire in his first term in office? What number did he put on it? Anyone? Has he said he will have a massacre of the QUANGOs? He has loudly promised more green regulation and sticking it to the financial sector but where exactly will he de-regulate? Yet the media just repeats Cameron’s claim to represent anything other than more of the same as if it is a self evident truth. Yet “Big Society” looks a lot awful like the same old “Big State” we have right now.

Are you unable to resist the urge to vote? Well someone is actually calling for two million less state employees over five years. Dave “I represent change” Cameron? Don’t make me laugh.

25 comments to The (would-be) Emperor has no clothes

  • WillS

    Being a fair way off the mainstream political spectrum here in the UK I must admit to a fair amount of amusement at the antics of the three lefty-centre statist parties as they try to differentiate themselves on the basis of virtually no policy differences whatsoever. It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks watching Dave try to reclaim some UKIP voters.

  • llamas

    There’s nothing in the street
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Is now the parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    Don’t get fooled again
    No, no!

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

    (Copyright Pete Townshend/Decca/MCA/Polydor, 1971)

    llater,

    llamas

  • Ian Bennett

    llamas, that’s my regular party-piece at the open-mike night that I attend at my local pub. I played / sang it last Tuesday and will probably do so again just before the election. I’ve been doing it for quite a while, but it’s taken on a new significance lately.

  • JohnK

    The collapse of iDave has indeed been amazing to behold. I suppose it just goes to show what happens if a party chooses as its leader a PR hack who stands for nothing, nothing at all. The Conservatives have just found out that the LibDems have got someone who stands for nothing better than their nothing man. And they are left holding…nothing.

  • Laird

    Heigh ho!
    Don’t worry
    Nobody can win
    (Heigh ho! Heigh ho!)
    No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in!

    Oh, great, great slumbering nation
    Awake! Set yourself free!
    Oh, smell the comforting bacon
    Taste the bromide tea

    An’ give a little chirrup as I ladle on the syrup
    Promises are cheap
    Let me bear your crosses
    Make me Boss of Bosses
    Then you go back to sleep! ha ha ha…

    Heigh ho!
    Don’t worry
    Pop your cross in the bin
    (Heigh ho! Heigh ho!)
    No matter who matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in!

    (copyright Neil Innes / Vivian Stanshall)

  • pete

    Cameron’s party might be elected and then he might get rid of some of the bloated public sector workforce.

    Farage’s party is not going to be elected and it will not get rid of anyone.

    Mrs Thatcher didn’t promise she’d get rid of thousands of uneconomic, state employed miners. But she did. But she needed to be in power to do it.

  • Paul Marks

    The Cameroons have a plan – not a plan to win the election, but a plan to divert blame from themselves if the election is lost.

    The plan is a simple one – “it was the fault of the right”. Supposedly the people would be flocking to support the great one if only it were not for nasty people like Perry de Havilland (and little me) saying nasty things about the great Dave.

    The minor detail that most voters have not actually read our attacks (sorry but Samizdata does not get that many visits from the 40 – 50 million British voters) will be ignored in the rush to try and save Cameron.

    In reality the Conservative party should be miles ahead.

    13 years of farcical Labour misrule (most recenly attacked in Richard Littlejohn’s new book).

    The worst recession in British history (and the present “recovery” is FAKE).

    And the largest budget deficit in peacetime history.

    This is an open goal.

    And David Cameron is messing it up – David Cameron (not Simon Heffer, or Perry de Havilland or even the evil Paul Marks) DAVID CAMERON is messing it up.

    For example, when asked how will you deal with the biggest budget deficit of British peacetime history one does not reply by saying “I will cut waste” – as that is such an obviously inadequate (indeed absurd) reply that even a half awake voter is going to laugh.

    But it is more than this.

    Perry talks about the “metacontext” – what I would call “the basic ideas by which people try and make sense of the world around them”.

    And the Cameroons (not just Cameron himself – but the group around him) have allowed the left to dominate the formation of this in Britian.

    What caused the crises?

    “Greedy bankers” – a doctrine unchallenged by the Cameron group (indeed little George concentrates on trying to be more anti bank and anti business than Labour).

    But the voters know that the Conservatives are the party of business (if the Conservatives are anything) – so if “greed” is to blame for the crises why should one vote Conservative?

    “Public spending stimulates and supports the economy”.

    This doctrine (the doctrine of the Economist magazine, the Financial Times and the rest of the establishment) is the real reason why Cameron and co will only talk about cutting a bit of waste here and there. Because they believe the vast majority of government spending (99% of it at least) is totally vital for the survival of the nation.

    At least Cameron and co never challenge this “meta narrative” and if this story of Brown and Clegg (and the “great economist” Vincent Cable) is correct – again WHY SHOULD ANYONE VOTE CONSERVATIVE?

    There is no effective response to this – in terms of economic policy.

    “Ah but not everything is about economics Paul – remember we are the party of TRADITION and of the NATION”.

    But Cameron has done nothing more than urinate on all “tradition” (all social conservatism) since the first day he became leader – and he is still rushing off to play (play very badly) “idenity politics” by seeking votes of people “as gay” or “as women” or “as ethnic minorites” never on the basis of principle never “as Conservatives”.

    As for “we are the party of the nation” – how can a man who broke his word of honour (his “iron pledge”) on the E.U. Consitution (the so called “Treaty of Lisbon”) be taken seriously as a defender of Britain?

    Of course he can not be taken seriously in this role.

  • Kevin B

    Yet the media just repeats Cameron’s claim to represent anything other than more of the same as if it is a self evident truth

    But to the media it is self-evident truth that the Tories are nasty right wing extremists who’ll throw granny into the street.

    Just like it’s received wisdom in the media that the reason the economy has tanked is that a load of unregulated bankers took advantage the laissez faire conditions to crash the economy for their own nefarious purposes.

  • John B

    Farage sounds quite good, actually.
    I do believe that were UKIP to form the next government, the UK might stand a chance. The world, even, might move in a positive direction.
    Sad that won’t happen.
    I guess Control learnt from 1979, and they won’t make THAT mistake again.
    Interesting to think though. If UKIP were to get in, how long would it take for it to be infiltrated, neutralised, and the process to return to business as usual?

  • Alice

    Remember how during the Blair years, the media used to gush on about George Brown? If only Brown where is charge, …. Took about a year, maybe, for that to fade into their current hatred for him.

    So let’s make this election interesting. Assuming that Lil’ Dave ends up on top, how long will it take for the media to turn against him? Should we be thinking years, months, weeks, days, hours?

    On the other hand, if we want to be constructive, we should be looking beyond this “election”, which clearly will not change the economic fact that Britain is on the Eve of Destruction. What should we be doing now, to prepare for the aftermath of Peak Government?

  • Eric Tavenner

    He’s right conservatives do offer real change. His problem is he’s not one.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Eric Tavenner (and the other commentors).

    As for a Cameron government…….

    The msm (both in Britain and elsewhere) would soon be blaming the economic collapse (for there is going to be one – regardless of who is elected on May 6th) on Cameron’s “free market policies”- a “laissez faire” unregulated economy and “savage” cuts in government spending “taking money out of the economy” (as Gordon Brown and Vincent Cable are warning would be terrible).

    “But this would all be lies Paul – Cameron would not cut government spending and he would not deregulate the economy”.

    Of course not – but that would not stop Time and Newsweek (and so on) saying he had. Or all the three “free” news networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) and PBS – and (of course) the rent-a-quote academics (Krugman, Stiglitz and so on).

    So as regards the United States (and, sorry fellow British people, it is the survival of the United States, not the survival of Britain, that the future of the West depends on) a Cameron government would be a negative factor – both for 2010 and (even more) for 2012.

    It would allow the left (i.e. the establishment who control the “mainstream” media, the “education system” and so much else) to say “the unregulated free market has been tried – and it has failed”.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It is hard to avoid sniggering at the plight of the iDave wing of the Tory Party, although the consequences of a possible Lib-Lab coalition, taking this country further down the shithole of statism, is awful to contemplate.

    The Tories’ whole tactic was to look and sound like the LibDems, with lots of soft-focus stuff about hugging trees and trying to stop us taking cheap flights, bashing big business (hence the influence of that strange character, Philip Blond and the likes of Zak Goldsmith), bashing the banks, avoiding any serious debate on the EU (which happens to be the gorilla in the living room in this election), not providing much clear strategy ideas on foreign policy, security, etc. Apart from making some vaguely sensible noises on schools and the ID card issue, there is nothing for anyone who can be thought of as Conservative to want to vote for in this lot.

    And throughout it all we are asked, as with Obama, to share in some sick-making narrative about what an ordinary guy “Dave” is, how he loves the NHS and all the rest of it. Fine, his personal family life has been marked by tragedy that I hope never to face myself. But that is not a reason to vote for him.

    In case anyone thinks I am being an inverted snob, that’s not the case. I could not care less that Cameron and some of his friends were educated at Eton and have privileged backgrounds. Inverted snobbery is as bad as the other kind, and in some ways, worse. What bothers me is that Cameron has tied the Tories to the same, narrow, wrongheaded piece of social democratic swamp in the middle of politics and is finding it to be very crowded there.

    We’re fucked.

  • Paul Marks

    For example, when asked how will you deal with the biggest budget deficit of British peacetime history one does not reply by saying “I will cut waste” – as that is such an obviously inadequate (indeed absurd) reply that even a half awake voter is going to laugh

    Maybe the half awake voter will laugh Paul, unfortunately if DC told the truth the same voter might switch votes. The truth is that politicians can’t always tell the truth if they want to win an election. DC picked a good time to lie IMO. In an election you have to know when to tell the truth and when to lie.

    But Cameron has done nothing more than urinate on all “tradition” (all social conservatism) since the first day he became leader – and he is still rushing off to play (play very badly) “idenity politics” by seeking votes of people “as gay” or “as women” or “as ethnic minorites” never on the basis of principle never “as Conservatives”.

    This reminds me of leftists arguing that Neil Kinnock should have moved the party further to the left and not the centre and would pick up more votes as a result. They were proved WRONG! It’s no good saying they would pick up some UKIP votes because if they moved away from the centre they would lose more. You could say Tony Blair urinated on all “tradition” (socialism) too, but they are still in power. Remember this, Labour introduced Marxism by the back door (unfettered imigration). If the Tories got in they could do social conservatism by the back door too. Parties have to stay in the centre to win an election, it is pure mathematics. It is the ONLY way to win.

  • DC picked a good time to lie IMO. [...] Parties have to stay in the centre to win an election, it is pure mathematics. It is the ONLY way to win.

    SO then tell me this…

    Cameron is facing a repulsive and HUGELY unpopular PM and yet he is in real danger of either losing this election outright or ending up with a hung parliament. THAT is where his naked insincerity and being a barefaced liar has got him. The ‘centre’ is not what you think it is… not any more. The old verities are questionable and those “mathematics” may no longer add up.

  • AKM

    ytheleus: “…If the Tories got in they could do social conservatism by the back door too.”

    You do realize this is a (minarchist) libertarian website? That isn’t even remotely going to persuade any of the readers or writers here to vote for Dave.

  • You do realize this is a (minarchist) libertarian website? That isn’t even remotely going to persuade any of the readers or writers here to vote for Dave.

    Yes, indeed. I wasn’t trying to persuade anyone to vote one way or the other. I was merely pointing out that political parties have to occupy the centre ground to stand a chance of getting elected. But once in, they can pursue their preferred ideology by stealth.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “…watching Dave try to reclaim some UKIP voters.”

    He isn’t trying to do that.

    If he were trying to do that, he knows exactly what he would need to do or say – it’s not like the aims of UKIP are exactly a secret.

    What he’s been doing is taking his core vote for granted and trying to woo Lib Dem voters. Well guess what, the core vote don’t like being taken for granted and having everything that’s important to them denied, ignored, derided, or abolished. And why would the Lib Dem voters vote for a fake Lib Dem party when the real thing is on the ballot too?

    So he’s blown it, and the result will be that he’ll be leading the second-biggest party – the Opposition – and will be completely powerless to do anything while the Lib/Lab coalition gets on with implementing PR, the main result of which will be that there will never be a Conservative government ever again. Well done, iDave, take a bow.

    Plus, of course, we have the IMF coming soon, inflation on the way up, etc etc etc.

    It’s back to the 70’s, but with no rescue in sight .

  • Indeed Andrew… a perfect description of where the “Middle Ground Fallacy” gets you.

    In an era of plainly observable de-massification in marketing and markets generally, it is remarkable that observers of political processes should think the old verities were eternal.

  • …it is remarkable that observers of political processes should think the old verities were eternal.

    Well you are right in the sense that the position of the centre ground is not constant but changes over time. The trick is to know where it is now. The biggest change in the focal point for any policy area is immigration as far as I can see. Here the nucleus of opinion has shifted significantly to the right. However, there is no ‘middle ground fallacy’, there can only be a miscalculation as to where it is.

    What he’s been doing is taking his core vote for granted and trying to woo Lib Dem voters. Well guess what, the core vote don’t like being taken for granted and having everything that’s important to them denied, ignored, derided, or abolished.

    The evidence doesn’t support this. Since the leaders debate the Lib Dems have gained in equal measure from both Lab and Con. The core vote will still vote for their favourite colour despite any feeling of betrayal, that’s why they are called the core vote.

  • Paul Marks

    ytheleus.

    If someone will “lie” (your word) in opposition they will lie in government.

    Someone who is even going to suggest either serious reductions in government spending or the return of powers from the E.U. can hardly turn round and do these things once in office – because they have no “mandate” to do so.

    Also you give no evidence what so ever that Mr Cameron even wants to do these things.

    As for “moving to the centre is the way to win elections” – by “centre” you mean “left” so please be honest enough to say so.

    Nor is it even true.

    For example, David Cameron did not win a single vote by breaking his word of honour (his “Iron Pledge”) to allow people a vote on the E.U. Constitution (the so called “Treaty of Lisbon”) – but he did LOSE a lot votes.

    He lost support partly on the merits of the case (the E.U. Constitution will take away what is left of British independence), but also because his action (breaking his word) showed that Mr Cameron was, to use technical language, a lying piece of shit.

    Exactly the sort of thing that you say “wins elections”… not for anti socialist political groups it does not.

    The state can not be rolled back “behind the scenes” (as you seem to think) as the methods of the left are good – FOR THE LEFT.

    One can increase government spending and regulations by stealth – but one can not reduce these things by stealth.

    Whether God exists or not – it happens to be a fact that the universe is constructed in such a way (by design or accident) that rolling back statism (and rolling back P.C. Marxist Frankfurt School identity politics – i.e. the social conservative desire) can only be done OPENLY and with a MANDATE.

    Once the thing is in committee rooms and behind closed doors – then the battle is lost (by definition).

    Harris did not roll back statism in Ontario “by stealth” and no one else has ever done it by stealth – because IT CAN NOT BE DONE BY STEALTH (see the nature of the universe and the fundamental difference between the nature of the collectivist project and the aim of increasing freedom).

    One must make a case openly and honestly – gain a mandate and then act upon it.

    “But the people will not vote for that”.

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

    It remains the only way – one must just argue harder and point to the bad effects of collectivist policies.

    One can not “use the methods of the left against them” for these methods will only produce the aims of the left (collectivism and so on on).

    This is because such means (lying, corruption, and so on) actually shape the ends.

    As much for people “on the right” (such as Richard Nixon and Edward Heath) as for people “on the left” (such as LBJ or Harold Wilson).

    Use the language and methods of the left and you get the objectives of the left as well.

    That is not my fault – it is the nature of the universe.

    The only chance of true victory (of reducing statism even by 1%) is to oppose the left openly and honestly.

    “But we will lose” – most likely so, I did not say “likely victory” I said “the only chance of victory”.

    And even if we lose it is still “better to have fought and lost, than not to have fought at all”.

    David Cameron, who has never fought, he has no honour and, therefore, even if he won the election would find that he could achieve nothing worth achieving.

    Assuming that Mr Cameron actually wants to achieve anything worth achieving (assuming that he wants to get this country out of the E.U. – so that he can deregulate and roll back government spending) and, I repeat, you give no evidence at all that Mr Cameron does want to achieve anything like that.

    The only evidence I see is that Mr Cameron wants to be Prime Minister because he wants to be Prime Minister – office for its own sake.

    Another Richard Nixon or Edward Heath.

    Supporting such people makes the victory of the left certain – regardless of the results of elections. For such folk serve the agenda of the left as much as they would if they believed in it themselves.

  • Paul Marks

    In short.

    “The Devil laughs when someone plans to use the methods of the Devil against him – for such people are among his most useful, if unwitting, servants”.

  • Paul, that was an excellent comment, – thank you so much.

  • I was referring to the long one.