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Samizdata quote of the day

I suppose David Cameron never had much a chance with people like me, in that I hated him almost before he was born.

– Paul Marks

31 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Novus

    I don’t dispute the anti-Cameron sentiment, but isn’t “hating someone almost before they were born” solely the preserve of the classist, inverted-snobbery-ridden left? Surely there are more concrete reasons to hate Cameron than his background, which is surely irrelevant?

  • Cameron is a well known ‘type’ and I must say that having grown up surrounded by them (the type being ‘chateaux bottled parasite’), I agree with Paul. Cameron is just conformation that all of a certain set of prejudices held by me (and Paul, clearly) are soundly based.

  • Hey, it could be worse. He could be an Anglican Bishop.

  • RAB

    I heard him on the radio today giving his opinions on Browns pre-budget speech.
    He was so easy oily, so full of smarm that-
    Dammit! I’m going to have to have another shower…

  • Nick M

    Paul is on a bit of a roll at the mo. Fair play to him. What is there to actually like about “Dave”?

    I’m lower middle class in origin. I didn’t ever taste the Cameron silver spoon in my mouth. If you’re minted like our “Dave” then high taxes and a collectivist agenda won’t matter as much to you as they do to the likes of me.

    I’m not on some anti-rich toff crusade here. I’m state-school Geordie scum and yet I never once felt it amongst the many privately educated kids I went to University with. The way I look at it, I did well on less cash. At a very basic level, I got where I am now by being smart – specifically the solving of tricky equations with only my wits and a mechanical pencil – the fact that some public school kids were as good, better or worse than that is a matter of completely supernatural irrelevance to me. I wielded my pencil well in the course of the finest sciences and that’s all I give a toss about.

    I met one public school tosser at Nottingham University. One out of a very large number of students of which a rather large proportion were educated privately. Why do I mention that? Because I suspect our Dave is one of those few twats who get the finest education money can buy and still turn out as total wankers.

    A lot of people who know me regard me as being vaguely unhinged. Well, there are some fairly good reasons (which I won’t go into why right now) but the reason they cite is my inexorable drift to the “right”. They wonder why I believe that sort of stuff while not exactly being the second coming of Bill Gates.

    Well I don’t believe that my (relative) poverty is the fault of the evil rich. I have never believed that a public school education gave someone an “unfair” advantage – I’m way to competitive and smart to think that. I’d like to be rich (who wouldn’t?) but overall I’m reasonably happy puttering along in my little rut. But, but, one day I would at least like the option to use my skill, intellect and imagination to aspire to greater wealth. I want the nice things in life (almost) as much as the next person (at the mo I’m usually pretty happy with my Thinkpad and my Thalia*) and I really can’t stick the likes of Cameron or Blair for the way in which they keep trying to stymie that aspiration simply because (as I see it) they feel they’ve got enough that they won’t really mind if the rest of the populace is taxed to absolute buggeration just so they can look “caring”.

    I don’t know if I can be bothered to become rich. I don’t know if it would even work… Hell, so much could go wrong. What I do know is that the policy of Her Majesty’s government and it’s loyal opposition is putting me right off. I could expand my businesses and employ people but that would cost so much it isn’t worth engaging in a small-scale expansion right now. Quite how someone goes from being a sole-trader to employing their first 2-3 staff is beyond me.

    The Tories are supposed to oppose the government, not co-opt their policies and embark on a doomed election campaign for which the tag-line will inevitably be essentially, “Same old shit from us, but it’ll be new faces and aren’t you bored with the current lot”.

    I think “Dave’s Tories” have spectacularly miscalculated that because this Labour Government hasn’t gone absolutely Harold-bloody-Wilson-nuts that the secret to success is to emulate them. Blair hasn’t totally fucked the country financially. We are running on an even keel. We could be doing so much better though. Why doesn’t “Dave” appeal to that?

    My theory is that “Dave” is well off enough to quite simply not comprehend the concept of wealth creation or why that is important. He has also bought into the green agenda of total nutcases who 20 years ago would have been seen as the self-fighters with food in their beards that they really are. So if allowing the individuals who might create wealth in this country to do it isn’t on because it will (obviously) destroy the global environment then the only alternative is to take cash from the rich and give it to the poor.

    Well, I’m not poor. I’m not rich either. I don’t want a government to steal money from others to make me a little more comfortable. I want a government to allow me to make my own pile for myself. “Dave” won’t do that. His pollsters and “Zac” Goldsmith won’t let him.

    *Thalia. Amongst other things I build computers. I always name them after classical Greeks, usually females. Lazarus was an exception to that but Lazarus was (re)built under pretty exceptional circumstances.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I don’t hate Cameron for his ancestry, but for what he says. There are many toffs who are smart, wise and intelligent, like the late Keith Joseph. Howe, Lawson, Whitelaw etc were pretty posh. Hayek was an Austrian aristocrat of the old Vienna variety who brilliantly defended the advantages and benefits of inherited wealth. Lord Acton, that great liberal, was obviously posh. The old Liberal Party (not the LibDems) were often pretty upmarket. And so on…

    No, I have no problems with people who inherit wealth but what I do hate is when such people, such as the aristos who are Greens like Jonathan Porritt, or Lord Melchett, insist on pulling up the drawbridge of enterpreneurship so they can enjoy their lives without being disturbed by the hoi polloi. That is what angers me.

    I think some of us are making a mistake into turning hatred of Cameron into a class issue. To be fair, I don’t think the commenters on this thread are doing this or at least not that much. But let’s focus on the real problem: Cameron, and his allies like the repulsive George Osborne, are scheming liars, shallow, devious and likely to wilt under pressure. They are also unforgiveably young.

  • Julian Taylor

    There’s also the saying that we get the leaders that we deserve. I would hate to presume that the British people deserve two similar sets of greasy, lying scumbags in a row, namely Blair and Cameron’s administrations.

  • I don’t follow British politics all that much, but what little I do follow makes me think that this guy is a real nitwit. What else could one conclude about anyone who builds a windmill on his roof? He should at least have the good sense to challenge it to a joust, although being the media hound that he is, he’d do a focus group study first…

  • A nice decent post by Nick M at December 7, 2006 02:13 AM: my kind of guy (or at least one of the kinds that are really worthwhile).

    Best regards

  • Johnathan writes:

    They are also unforgiveably young.

    There are intersting arguments (eg of experience versus energy) concerning youth and age, for any job.

    However, I see one overriding argument against young leaders, except in extremis.

    As we are usually kind to people, or aspire to be, it has to get pretty bad to kick them out. Thus, we are likely to be stuck with a young leader for too long, despite any lack of judgement or other competence that s/he might have.

    Solutions two: durational limitation, eg 8-year USA presidencies; choosing only pretty old people for the job.

    Tory Party please note!!

    Best regards

  • Freeman

    I enjoyed Nick M’s “essay” which had such a good ring of authenticity about it. So I hope he will not take offence when I wonder whether his judgement is a tad premature when he says that this government hasn’t “gone abolutely Harold-bloody-Wilson-nuts”. It’s too soon to be sure: all of the major government-provided services have serious faults and, to take just one example, some senior people in the NHS have said it could well be about to “implode”.

    The dreadful state of these government-provided services is all the worse for the fact that seemingly the more they spend on them the worse they become. If these were modest sums one might tolerate the situation. However, recall that since coming into office in 1997 this government has spent some £100 billion of pension funds, including tax revenues totalling around £4 trillion. Where has it all gone? Certainly not on a good infrastructure.

    My fear now is that a PM Brown will drive the financial train completely off the rails (think PFI debt also), and Cameron and his ilk show no indication that they have any alternative plans. Maybe that will not matter, as any post-Brown administration could well be forced (like Callahan) to operate in an economic recovery mode.

    What I do take mild excepton to is Taylor’s comment that it could be worse if Cameron had been an Anglican Bishop. Well, no actually. If he were a bishop he would surely be pretty harmless, but as Conservative leader the opportunities for causing damage are boundless.

  • MarkE

    Worse than his youth is the lack of experience. Apart from a stint at Carlton TV (where, I understand, he didn’t impress), DC has never worked outside politics.

    In my last contract I worked with production line guys with about 2 GSCEs between three. Before that I was part of a minority not holding a doctorate in a scientific discipline. I’m currently in a head office role with professionally qualified colleagues. I’m a sociable guy and talk to my colleagues but DC has never had that opportunity; how can he claim to know what “the people” think or want?

    The same applies to most of the current crop of career politicians of course, but somehow DC is more objectionable.

  • Nick M

    Freeman, oddly enough one of my biggest worries about a post-Blair government is that the wheel will finally come off. I think Blair is bloody minded enough to really screw the pooch of state in his last days. God, I wish we had a two term rule like the Yanks. I find the idea of Mr Brown taking over terrifying purely on its own merits mind. I worry that one way or another we’ll go totally enviro-mentalist and end up totally fucked.

    Brown vs Cameron. Is there a right answer to that? I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I can’t identify one of the major parties as the least worse choice. Of course we could go with ABG and end up ruled by the likes of David Millibland or some other apparatchik…. Now that doesn’t even bear thinking of. Or end up with a Lib-Lab pact where Ming gets something anodyne to do in the cabinet (with frequent naps). Could this get any worse? I dunno. I saw George Osborne was allowed to stay up late last night to make a joke about the Reichschancellor… I hope he had finished his Geog prep beforehand. For the love of God, why didn’t they just bring back Billy Hague? Or anybody other than the suits full of bugger-all that currently rustle in the heady breeze of Westminster.

  • Nick M writes:

    I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I can’t identify one of the major parties as the least worse choice.

    Could I put in another plea here.

    Please, always vote.

    If you don’t find any of the candidates to your choise, write on the ballot paper: NONE OF THESE (or NOT).

    Though such papers will be recorded as “spoilt”, such an indiacation does carry some weight. This is to the various returning officers and, through them, eventually to Parliament, the various political parties and to the population as a whole. If such action is done in sufficient numbers, it increases the chance of some sort of electoral and/or political reform. [And it’s less effort than marching.]

    Best regards

  • Apologies for the poor spelling in my last post.

  • Yes, excellent post Nick. Only one thing worse than snobbery is inverse snobbery, for those who do it should know the ignorance of it.

    JP: No, I have no problems with people who inherit wealth but what I do hate is when such people, such as the aristos who are Greens like Jonathan Porritt, or Lord Melchett, insist on pulling up the drawbridge of enterpreneurship so they can enjoy their lives without being disturbed by the hoi polloi. That is what angers me.

    And it angers the heck out of me too – ladder-kickers! They are either outright Sociofascists or still in the closet/in denial.

  • Nick M

    After a flirtation with voting Tory (which I won’t do with “Dave” in charge) and a few elections in which I have absented myself I came to a similar conclusion to you. If enough of us vote “None of the above” they will have to listen.

    Well snobbery and inverse-snobbery are essentially the same things. They are petty tribalism. Utterly pointless, futile and evil in such a nit-pickingly perverse way…

    Thanks for picking up and re-iterating JP’s excellent point about the ladder-kickers. That was what I was really trying to get at in my earlier view. Jonathan said it better properly though and I tip my hat to him.

    OT: I’m listening to R2 and they are discussing the morality of the 16 year old Geordie lass who has chosen to discontinue treatment for the leukemia that is killing her. At times I utterly despair of this country. The fact that an intelligent, articulate 16 year old (with the support of her parents) decides should be enough. But R2 still feels it is a matter for discussion. Some medical ethicist even said that “ownership of one’s own life” is an important concept as though he’d just come down Mount Sinai with the phrase still blazing on stone tablets. I’ve always inherently believed in self-ownership. I despair.

  • Nick M

    My third para there was a little delinquent, sorry. It should still make sense if you squint a little.

  • Steve

    I’d call it bigotry. Not something to be proud of. Not that I have any time for Cameron, but I base my opinions on evidence.

    Given the complete unacceptibility of Labour and the moral and intellectual vacuum that is the third party (whatever they are called), my hope is that Cameron has judged that being a prat is the only way of culling the turkeys that will otherwise vote for that slimy socialist Brown. He could be canny and courageous. Its a slim hope. I put it at 2%. Otherwise, he’s a prat.

  • Steve,
    2% has got to be generous. Have you read the rant about him at EU Referendum? It does a pretty good job of pushing that 2% down to about 0.1%.
    Incidentally, I’m desperately trying to persuade people to call him Webcam, which I think sums him up fairly well: well-connected, intrusive, limited processing power.

  • John K

    The only decent thing I can find about the NotConservatives and LibDums is that they are both against the ID slave card. I think the only parties in favour of the slave card are NuLabor and the BNP, which is appropriate, as both are fascist in their outlook, though the BNP at least wants the people to be armed, so they are less authoritarian than the NSBAP.

  • Midwesterner

    As an outsider looking in, it seems that Paul is saying people from that particular background tend to choose a certain path in life.

    Call me generous, perhaps, but I interpreted Paul’s comment to mean that he hated the path Cameron would choose from almost before Cameron existed to accept that path as his own.

    The only bigotry I see, comes in the possible assumption that Cameron would indeed take the default path.

  • dolt

    My chum and me have argued about this. He’s on the tories’ candidates list.

    He reckons that Cameron is policy-lite so he can get elected. Then, suddenly after getting power, the party reveals it’s true colours and we’re back to proper Tory values etc.

    Leaving aside whether that’s a proper moral position – (it’s not) – it seems that my mate actually has forgotten anything about what they’re supposed to stand for. My mate hasn’t a clue, basically. In fact he seems a bit left wing to me, and has bought into the big-government stuff entirely.

    I suspect he’s really only after a cushy number and an astonishing pension to retire on.

    Are they all like that ?

  • RAB

    I have no problem with Tony and Daves class,
    some of the poshest people I know are also the nicest.
    It is the dislocation from the lives that the rest of us lead, that class confers is the problem.
    Dave and Tony grew up in households where having anything you wanted, be it a new bike, computer etc was not even a question. Like Nick M (you are blooming young sir! I put it down to the misses) I grew up in a middle class home where the decision to buy me a stereo for my birthday or replace the ailing washing machine was an either or situation.
    I would like to take Tony and Dave out for a drink. Not down the Ivy for a glass or two of wine but to any of a dozen pubs within walking distance from me.
    They would be very suprised at the scene that unfolds .
    We wont have got comfy at our table and taken a couple of sips before someone will sidle over and ask if you’re alright for tobacco. It is your friendly neighbourhood baccy smuggler. Then comes the guy with the dvds and cds. Later in comes someone with Cheese, meat , Whiskey, vodka etc.
    Of course there is the Hash seller in one corner and the skunk merchant in the other. In fact in some of these pubs, you can buy a bag of weed faster than it takes to get served at the bar.
    Then when all these commercial transactions are delt with, perhaps they would care to listen to these people as they read the newspapers, smoke their rollies and down another.
    They may find that these people are intellegent, funny, down to earth realists, who are quite capable of entreprenneurship (hence all the black market activity),
    But they have been stifled by the wet blanket of the Welfare State.
    I would point out to Dave and Tone, the folk I know for certain , who have never had a job but have just rubbed along all their lives like this.
    Their horizons stretch only as far as noon tomorrow.

    But Dave and Tony have never been places like this, or talked to the people like this, who’s problems they perport to solve, without having the slightest idea what they are.
    Back in 1997 Tony told Frank Field to go think the unthinkable on the welfare state.
    He came back and said “what I think we should do is…”
    He didn’t get any further.
    “We told you to think not do! Announce, Spin and announce again! But not do. That’s not NULab is about! Now bugger off and close the door behind you.”
    Dislocation, dislocation dislocation.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    And how does David Cameron feel about that Paul Marks?

  • RAB

    Completely unaware and couldn’t care less
    that such a smart man is in the position he is!

    The only way I will vote Tory is if they bring back

  • Paul Marks

    The context of my comment was me banging on about the “progressive” Conservatives of my youth (early 1970’s) the people who supported getting rid of the old coinage, the old counties (indeed anything traditional) just to seem “hip”, “up to date”, “modern”…… (the ultimate expression of this attitude was with the Young Conservative poster produced by John Gummer – which said, in phycodelic [spelling] purple “Y.C.s care do you?”) And who brought Britain a big rise in government spending, an explosion of the money supply, price controls, the three day week (and so on).

    The leader of these “progressive” types was Edward Heath – a man of quite modest background.

    It could be said that Mr Cameron’s money (which comes from inheritance and marriage) is rather better than Edward Heath’s money – which seemed to come from nowhere (in that he was not born with money, never married, and, as far as I know, never worked a day in his life).

    Sir Edward’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China (which went back to his support of Chairman Mao, the greatest mass murderer of human history, rather different than President Nixon’s relationship with the “Great Helmsman” in that Nixon was playing power politics whereas Heath claimed that Mao was a great and good man) solved the mystery of the source of some of Sir Edward’s financial resources.

    Mr Cameron (in his obsession with being “up to date” and so on, and his lack of any free market principles, or concern with British independence from the European Union administrative machine) is very much in the “Progressive” mold – and as I hated such people as far back as the early 1970s’ I indeed hated Mr Cameron “almost before he was born” (as he is quite young).

    All this being said, there still is some truth in the “inverted snob” charge.

    I rejoice in the good fortune of people born with money and connections (for example I am happy to see the aristocrat with his estate and great house). However, any implied claim by such a person that their position in life is due to either hard work or talent when I know it is not, or (even worse) an implied (implied through manner) claim that their opinions are automatically worth more than mine, tends to put me into a rage.

    Let the”toff” stay in his carriage and I will cheer and wave my cap. But if the man comes out of his carriage and pretends to be an “ordinary person” and AT THE SAME TIME by definition superior in his judgement and opinions (for example, that they have no need to present evidence or logical arguments about a political matter – their social contacts mean they simply know things that I could never know) – well then I am tempted to reach for a brick.

    I know this feeling is somewhat unjust, but it is what I feel. Of course I dislike (to put it mildly) anyone, of whatever background, who mistakes skill with language (knowing lots of words and how to use them in an attractive way) with understanding any other subject (politics, history, economics, philosophy and so on).

    I am always happy to come upon someone who really knows a lot about a subject (not just facts – but has also thought about the matter) and I will listen to them, even if they have only a limited vocabulary and find it very difficult to string words together. But I have no interest in elegant waffle.

  • Paul,

    Your last paragraph reminds me of a phrase that occured in various forms in The Difference Engine that resonated with me: “I’ve found that one always profits by talking to a technical man who truly knows his business.” – Edward Mallory.

    I made the inverted snob remark to highlight that attitudes cut both ways and it is something we all need to be mindful of – it is a saint indeed that escapes it entirely.

    “Progressive”. Up there with “deprived”, “social justice” and “modern”.

    I demand freedom, not choice. I need improvement, not change. We expect investment, not spending.

  • galileo

    QUOTE: Hey, it could be worse. He could be an Anglican Bishop.

    The trouble is that – with the exception of John Sentamu and a few others – it’s twits like him who DO become Anglican bishops.

  • RAB

    Ah the traitor Heath!
    We are of one mind on the “gentleman”
    In my opinion, he was worse than Burgess, Mclean Philby etc.
    What has happened to investigative journalism? I am still waiting for the lowdown on where the women hating old bastards money came from.
    Interestingly, I read a piece by the author Lesley Thomas, about the hassle of moving house. He was moveing because the house was too big and he could barely afford it anymore.
    Now the writer of Virgin Soldiers has made a bob or two in his time, far more than I can calculate from Mr Heath’s Parliamentary salary over the years. Yet the house Mr Thomas was selling was directly next door to Mr Heath’s in Salisbury.
    Mr Heath appeared not to be under any finacial pressure to downsize.
    I also heard from a very senior police officer that there were suspicions of his smuggling aboard his yacht. He did spend a lot of time in Morrocco after all.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Edward Heath, now there was an odd one. My uncle, who was an enthusiastic sailor for many years, once met Heath at the Chatham Yacht Club and was struck by how friendly Heath was and how much passion he had for sailing and music. And yet in other parts of life Heath was infamous for being a cold fish.

    His behaviour over the EU negotiations and subsequent petulant behaviour towards Mrs Thatcher damaged him in many people’s eyes. He was not without merit – he was physically brave – but in large part I think he was one of the most destructive politicians of modern times. It was a tragedy that Iain Macleod did not become leader, since although he was on the left of the party, had the warmth and human touch to be a popular and wise leader.