Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Dave's morality tests - back to basics or cones hotline?

David Cameron made a speech in Glasgow yesterday which is written up in the Times as being a call for people to take more responsibility for their lives and to stop thinking opf themselves as victims.

I suspect that much of what he says is fair enough. But the question for me is how this effort will be judged a month or so from now. I tend to think of two of John Major's efforts as being the benchmarks in these matters. On the one hand, you have the cones hotline - a silly little idea that got blown up out of all proportion because there simply weren't any other ideas around at the time. On the other hand, there was back to basics, a fairly serious idea which got twisted by the media who used it to run sleaze stories about every Tory MP they could.

One section of Cameron's speech that amused me was this:
We as a society have been far too sensitive. In order to avoid injury to people’s feelings, in order to avoid appearing judgemental, we have failed to say what needs to be said.
Try saying that in a William Hague accent. Is Cameron coming over all Yorkshire - 'I call a spade a spade'?

But what about Cameron's own past? He has famously refused to answer questions about his life before he entered politics and, specifically, about rumours that he used cocaine. How does that square with his demand for moral authority? In the light of his new 'tell it like it is' conversion, will he tell us what happened and condemn his own past behaviour?

And I can bet that his meetings with fellow MPs will be fun:

'Oi, Gray, how dare you dump your wife when she had cancer and run off with your secretary. That's disgraceful behaviour and has no part in a morally absolute Tory Party.'

'Look Wintertons, your shenanigans with the allowances system, whilst technically within the rules, bring shame upon us all. I am asking the Queen to strip you of your knighthood.'

'Osborne, that tie is horrible. Take it off.'

1 comment:

Tom Papworth said...

All depends how he plays it.

Surely, the liberal position (which is the one I would adopt, but may not be the one Cameron adopts, he not being a liberal) would be not to condemn or excuse, but also not to intervene or compensate.

If you want to eat yourself to death you are free to do so: I will not judge, but neither will I force others to yield money to the exchequer to pay for you to attend awareness courses or to give you free gym membership. Similarly, if you choose not to work that is up to you and I will mind my own business, but don’t expect the taxpayer to feed and clothe you.