Via Paul Waugh.
Via Paul Waugh.
In the Indy this morning the left-wing columnist Steve Richards identifies the key truth about the ideological under-pinning of the heavily under attack Big Society programme which seems to have escaped most of his allies on the left. When Cameron said “There is such a thing as society, but it is not the same as the state” it wasn’t a rejection of Margaret Thatcher’s famous dictum, it was a restatement of what she said:
“I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.”
That he set the chattering classes into paroxysms of delight over a Tory leader’s supposed rejection of Thatcherism shows that on the whole, with a few exceptions like Jon Cruddas, most of the left don’t understand right-of-centre thinking because they hold a mental caricature of centre-right and right-wing ideology in their minds, attributing malice to their opponents. The Big Society is about displacing Big Government as the key actor in society, so when the left-wing quangocracy, unions and their media allies complain that charities are losing their taxpayer subsidy and this undercuts the Big Society agenda, they misunderstand completely. A charity that relies in the main part on taxes is no more a charity than a prostitute is your girlfriend. Since Edmund Burke conservatives have wanted Little Platoons to take the lead in civil society. If David Miliband’s Movement for Change had actually set about being the change rather than just (as his brother Ed wants) campaigning for Bigger Government, it too would have been one of Burke’s “Little Platoons”. Radical whigs and liberals have always wanted to disperse power away from first the monarch and in modern times from the state. The Big Society agenda is not about the state delivering through para-statal bodies, it is about society delivering for itself. Ask not what your government can do for you, but what you can do for society…
Expect the Prime Minister to very soon deliver a speech reaffirming his Big Society agenda, “when you are right, you cannot be too radical”. The speech will have a touch of a mea culpa, though it will not be a retreat, it will be a call-to-arms at the start of the Big Society revolution unlike Blair’s late recognition in 2005 that “Every time I’ve ever introduced a reform in government, I wish in retrospect I had gone further.” Expect more squeals from those still advocating Big Government solutions…
As the Tories prepare for their annual fund-raising Black and White Ball in Battersea Park tonight, Guido is hearing there might be a few little unwelcome visitors from UK Uncut. Either way he will be chatting about this so called “clicktivism” on tomorrow’s Daily Politics. Given the price tag of the tickets (£4,000-a-table), you can see why the party might be targeted - the headlines will write themselves.
Guido presumes that at £10,000-a-table the lefties will be trying to crash Labour’s equivalent ‘Celebration of Equality‘ fundraiser next month…
Guido has certainly warned that Sadiq Khan is a bit of a liability before, reporting last month that the one time campaign manager had been cut out of the loop by Ed Miliband, losing his place at the top table and sidelined from the policy forums that went to Hain and Byrne instead. Miliband can lose a shadow cabinet member but could be very awkward to lose one of the inner circle.
Note that the Labour machine have not criticised the content of Cameron’s speech, rather the timing and critique of their own record. Except Sadiq gobbing off. On message and definitely not pouring petrol on the situation, the shadow Justice Secretary accused Dave of “writing propaganda for the EDL” in this morning’s Mirror. Sayeeda Warsi is on the attack:
“For Sadiq Khan to smear the Prime Minister as a right wing extremist is outrageous and irresponsible. It is right that we make it clear: extremism and Islam are not the same thing. He must apologise, and Mr Miliband needs urgently to disown his colleague’s baseless accusation.”
Miliband knows this is a vote losing gaffe. But is he confident enough to be able distance himself?
Sir Ronnie “PFI” Cohen donated £1.8 million to Labour in the past and bankrolled Gordon’s ascendency to the top. Regular readers will remember that at one time the venture capitalist had a direct debit paying £20,000 a month to the party. He pretty much owned Gordon Brown.
Bad news for Ed Miliband then, as it seems this once loyal party donor has drifted away. Guido was most surprised to see Ronnie pop up on BBC 4′s “Justice: Fairness and the Big Society” as an audience member, quick to spin for Cameron:
“The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger. Those left behind find it extremely difficult to rise out of poverty. The government hasn’t been able to do anything much about that even though it’s cost an absolute fortune for decades… I think what the Big Society really means is that space between government and the private sector, which needs to deal with social issues in a professional way. And Cameron has said that every penny out of the hundreds of millions of pounds that are unclaimed assets in bank accounts will got to create a Big Society bank, who’s role will be to empower those who want to help others.”
Watch here from exactly 40 minutes in.
If the Tories hadn’t made enough of a mess from dodgy non-domiciled donors it would be worth trying to turn Ronnie…
Ed Miliband told Piers Morgan that he was a bit of “a square” at university, hence why he never took drugs or slept with as many girls as Nick Clegg. While Guido didn’t have much trouble believing this, with a little help from his mortar-boarded co-conspirator he has been digging around that vessel of truth – the 1980s Oxford student press.
While yes there is a vast amount of extremely dull comment from one “Ted” Miliband, president of the Corpus Christi JCR about rent hikes and other pressing issues of the day (you can have a read of some his greatest moments here,) it was a mention of the Ted’s Labour club that really caught Guido’s attention:
In PMQs at the end of last year, Miliband declared he was proud of his student politician days while the PM was throwing bread rolls and trashing restaurants. The quip was widely seen as a good hit on Dave’s Bullingdon days, but it seems little “Ted” was prone to the odd bit of smashing stuff up too. Oh to be the ruling elite…
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so Guido was highly amused to see the Daily Mirror attempt to steal his Curse of Jonah meme and apply it to “Disaster Dave”. While the fact that Cameron saying good luck to the Scottish not British “star” Andy Murray, off-form Lewis Hamilton and the England World Cup team did coincide with losses, it’s odd the Mirror couldn’t work the England cricket team, who Cameron wrote to before they departed for down south, into their story.
Cameron may well yet bring down planes from the sky, floods, fire and a banking meltdown, but until then there will be only one Jonah…
Today is the day that Tom Watson predicted Andy Coulson would resign. He was clearly woefully inaccurate, out by 96 hours, but then he also said it would be over by Christmas. In the same long rambling piece from a couple of weeks ago, Watson suggested that the same excellent source told him the Cameron was planning to go to the country in May. Needless to say most people dismissed the idea immediately, and they are highly likely to be right, however since Watson’s Coulson tip nearly came true, Guido has been thinking. The CCHQ research department has been restocked after being raided for SpAds, the press office has been boosted by the unexpected return of Henry Macrory and the digital team is beefing up. Are they on a war footing?
The LibDems would be obliterated by an early election and Miliband has not had enough time to settle into the role, so you can see the logic. The only problem being that Dave doesn’t want to obliterate the LibDems.
UPDATE: Eagle-eyed commenters notice that Political Betting suggested yesterday that Tom Watson’s source should be revisted. Guido hadn’t seen the piece, it was the jobs in CCHQ that got him thinking, but they do point out another factor – the Tories are certainly the only ones who could afford an election.
Those No. 10 sources have been whispering about Sayeeda Warsi to James Forsyth again:
“…there was a ‘general awareness’ that Baroness Warsi was to give a speech on faith, they did not know the specifics of what she was going to say. They say that no text was cleared by Downing Street. They claim that the first they knew of the controversial lines in the speech was when they were informed that Warsi’s team had briefed them out to the Telegraph.”
Given it was Forsyth that got the “disaster waiting to happen line”, there is a clear pattern emerging here. Perhaps if Warsi had thought to get her speech checked out then someone might have spotted the huge wedge she has driven through the middle of her party. The speech criticises those that frame the debate about Islam into moderates and extremists:
“It’s not a big leap of imagination to predict where the talk of ‘moderate’ Muslims leads; in the factory, where they’ve just hired a Muslim worker, the boss says to his employees: ‘Not to worry, he’s only fairly Muslim’. In the school, the kids say: ‘The family next door are Muslim but they’re not too bad’.
People like Michael Gove? Look what he said in 2007:
“…we cannot effectively champion the interests of moderate Muslims and of our pluralist, tolerant and liberal society, unless we show a determination to tackle extremism. It is the extremists who, in the past, have crowded out from the debate the moderate voices in the Muslim world.”
Despite a reshuffle on the horizon, Cameron is going to find it hard to be able sack the first female muslim in the cabinet, but that isn’t stopping the negative briefing. At the end of the day her competence should be the only deciding factor on whether she keeps her job.
Guardian hacks were very excited to have discovered – and were planning to splash on – the fact that the Prime Minister celebrated one evening this Christmas around at the home of the Chief Executive of News International. This is set against a background of the Guardian waging war on News International and Downing Street’s spin chief Andy Coulson over the News of the World’s phone hacking. There is also the slight matter of the government imminently taking a crucial decision about the Murdcoh takeover of BSkyB. Is it a shocking revelation? Dave and Sam have socialised with Rebekah and her husband “Champagne Charlie” Brooks before they were even at the couple’s wedding party. In the eyes of the Guardianistas this is yet more evidence of the unhealthy closeness of the Tories to News International. Never mind that Gordon Brown was also at that same party…
It is not the first time they have socialised, Sunday lunches at Chez Cameron are not unknown, because in truth they are near neighbours in Oxfordshire, the Camerons are in Witney and the Brooks’s are in Chipping Norton, some ten miles away. Wonder what shared concerns they could possibly have discussed?
Guido’s Column | Sun
NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:
“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.
Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).
Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.
I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”