Thursday, 7 October 2010

There is always an alternative

David Cameron's objectives at the Conservative Party conference have been to rally his own troops, whilst keeping his Lib-Dem Allies on side and to feed the rest of us this simple PR message: 

1. The financial crisis and the deficit are unprecedented.

2. Point 1. is the fault of Gordon Brown, overpaid public sector workers and benefit scroungers.

3. There Is No Alternative to massive, immediate, painful cuts.

4. The Big Society will make everything better in the end.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Lest we forget:  

The crisis of the 2010s ... is a crisis about the power of the financial markets.

No one holds Britain's enfeebled unions responsible for the Great Crash of 2008. If you want to blame the left by blaming Gordon Brown for breaking every rule in the book and running a deficit during a boom, do so by all means and be my guest. You would do better to blame him for his failure to regulate the banks, however.

Your taxes are rising, your services will be cut and, if you are unlucky, your jobs and homes will be on the line not because Brown spent too much on hospitals and diversity outreach officers but because the most overpaid men in the world created a recession and compelled the rest of society to bear the cost of their folly.
Nick Cohen, summing up the things that David Cameron would like you to forget.

Furthermore, taking inflation into account, the current public debt isn't that catastrophic:

Labour reduced public debt and it has only risen by a modest amount in comparison to most of Britain’s recent history.

1 picture = 1 kiloword. Via.

After the cuts, apparently, comes The Big Society. There was a "Big Society" before there was a welfare state. Back then, it was called charity (and it was all fields round here):

Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim.

Said Clement Attlee, going on to think about the alternatives:

In a civilised community, although it may be composed of self-reliant individuals, there will be some persons who will be unable at some period of their lives to look after themselves, and the question of what is to happen to them may be solved in three ways - they may be neglected, they may be cared for by the organised community as of right, or they may be left to the goodwill of individuals in the community. The first way is intolerable, and as for the third: Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals. A right established by law, such as that to an old age pension, is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man to a poor one, dependent on his view of the recipient’s character, and terminable at his caprice.

Lifted shamelessly from here, because it bears much repetition.