Friday, August 18, 2006

Old Etonian Values

Old-Etonian David Cameron has unveiled the final version of his “Built to Last” statement of Conservative values. It is, as one might expect, light on detail and heavy on sound-bites (I fear we will hear a tremendous amount of waffle about the “responsibility revolution”). It tells us that the Tories “cherish freedom”, they want to “advance opportunity”, “to raise living standards and the quality of life for all”, to “fight social injustice” (Tories?), to achieve a “better balance between work and life” and “action on public health that enables everyone to lead healthier lives”. And they believe in motherhood and apple-pie, tree-hugging, sugar-and-spice and all things nice. Mind you, it's not that they set their aims low, they want everyone to “fulfil their potential and to find true and lasting happiness” (a fairly ambitious aspiration for a political party, I would have thought, not far short of Marx at his most utopian). In-between are the clues to what they really stand for: “fairer, flater and simpler taxes” (a tax regime more regressive than the regressive one we have at the moment); “deregulation for employers” (fewer rights and less protection for employees); and “giving schools greater control over their own affairs” (better schools for posh kids, bog-standard comps for the rest). There isn’t much here that Blair would quarrel with, except the promise to get rid of ID cards if they are introduced (but I wouldn’t bet on that surviving election to office). For the most part, however, the document is just “feel-good” piffle.


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