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Malcolm Stevas
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Christianity, who cares? Any mention here of Christianity brings the bible-bashers swarming out of the closet, waving their placards... I don't want a PM who flaunts his bible, just someone whose grasp of economics is sound, who is patriotic and ready to do everything possible for this country and sod everyone else, and who means what he says. In his personal life, I couldn't care less if he's an animist or an atheist. But as others have remarked, Dave wants to be all things to all voters, like Blair. He just can't carry it off convincingly. As the late Christopher Hitchens remarked, the big thing about Cameron is that he's content-free.
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2011 on David Cameron's Christianity at thetorydiary
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What on earth does this mean? Have you missed your medication? I have no time for the Left but I'd never actually thought they were in league with the Devil...
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2011 on David Cameron's Christianity at thetorydiary
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Drivel. You can't help the poor (etc) by sabotaging the economy, which is what every Labour government has done without fail. That the Conservatives are not hugely better doesn't exonerate your Socialist friends from blame. It is not a proper function of government to be evryone's charitable uncle: they need to protect the nation against external threats, safeguard the currency, and conceivably make the trains run on time, but not much else.
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2011 on David Cameron's Christianity at thetorydiary
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You're being intentionally obtuse! It's you who mentioned babies, in a transparent bid for the emotive propaganda vote... It's not even an original response, but thoroughly hackneyed: "What about the cheeeeldren..." whine the Leftists who want to keep on pouring our money down the State-administered plughole. As I tried to suggest earlier, children can be cared for by charoties, in the hope that they might not repeat the character defects of their feckless parents; but where adults are concerned I see nothing commendably moral about subsidising their parasitic lifestyle, and nothing immoral about declining to do so. You are entirely free to adopt a few, housing & feeding them, and thereby putting your money where your mouth is.
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I suggest you support the sort of charities that might look after the children of the people I described. "Sad" is the mildest word I can think of to describe the post-Socialist morass that is the Welfare State and its apologists. Funny how it's the Left that tries perpetually to claim sole rights to social compassion, when its policies cause so much desperate social damage.
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"Saying that some men who won medals in wartime are the same men who would be locked up in peacetime is hardly revolutionary stuff." But you didn't say that. Try not to be so cursory and slipshod. One has to answer the points that you make, or appear to make, not something that you claim subsequently is not what you meant at all. It's not the State's function to create jobs or tinker with monetary policy in a doomed attempt to skew the (economic?) environment - but as a Socialist you wouldn't agree.
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I think the "underclass" under discussion means rather more than simply unemployed people. There has always been a rump of the socially incompetent and permanent misfits who don't want to participate in society, and while in former times they either starved to death, begged on the streets, or became bandits hiding in the forest, these days they sit on sofas in council houses watching TV and living off benefits. This class must inevitably grow under the Welfare State - if you're that way inclined and have no conscience about parasitism, it makes perfect sense. There are jobs - if my teenage son can just stroll down the road and get a temporary job it can't be that hard - and yes, the people we're talking about are lazy and feckless. Withdrawing their benefits should prompt them to behave more responsibly - or they can always die, I suppose. Maybe you could take on a few of them.
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The latter part of your opening para is exactly what we have now, surely - ?
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I was right, you don't know the difference between "liberty" and "freedom". Which writer[s] said the class system was supended? Absolute nonsense. That's a nasty little prejudice you have there, about the winners of military decorations; my uncle won the MM, but he was from the rural peasantry so perhaps you'll spare him your bile. Your idea that the Welfare State (if I understand you correctly - not always easy) was a Machiavellian plot to contain the lower classes is wonderfully batty but does far too much honour to the subtlety, and ability to think in the long term, of our political class. No, it was idealism of a sort, coupled with traditional Socialist economic illiteracy and lack of commonsense.
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No, it was the 1950s, when the values espoused by the literature I mention were generally accepted as norms, and not just among the middle and upper classes. I was there - you weren't. You're confusing "liberty" with "freedom", probably not for the first time. The Welfare State gives freedom to many, not simply to dust themselves off as you claim, but to live parasitically upon the productive majority: it is a bloated, corrupted travesty of the ideal that its (naive, deluded) founders envisaged, and it simply cannot continue in its present form. It is not just unaffordable, it diminishes political liberty by expanding the power of the State, by increasing the numbers of employees dependent on the State, by creating a huge client-state for the State, and by removing coercively large sums of money from productive citizens in order to pay for it. The symptoms described here by Anderson and commenters are in large part exacerbated by the Welfare State, not diminished.
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"..the post-industrial society has little place for those at the lower end of the educational spectrum.." Inevitably so. But the post is not so much about the non-academic or even the ineducable, as the Lumpen lower elements that have represented the bottom of the social heap in any society we've ever heard about. "It's always been clear that we should spend now to save later.." You need to qualify that. Bien pensant politicians and political influencers, principally of the Left in recent times, have continued to insist that with a bit more push and lots more (other people's) cash, the social pathologies described would dissolve. This flies in the face of millennia of evidence - see above - that a great many people are just irredeemably debased and stubbornly refuse to be "improved". A great deal of effort and money has been wasted in a lost cause - usually, the money has come from people who didn't think it should be spent like this in the first place. But though politicians hardly ever know best, they certainly enjoy force majeure in what passes for our democratic society, so the money gets wasted anyway.
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Mr Anderson's background does not dispose him to appreciate the underclass, but even so, I found myself alternately chortling, gasping and shaking my head at his confident nostrums. I laughed at his evident astonishment in the case of the mother who ran away to play bingo in Brighton: anyone who has even brushed up fleetingly against the Lumpenproletariat is aware that all the social workers in the world - including the sort of robust 1950s matronly former WAAF officers with RADA accents conjured up by his starry-eyed description - will not deflect a solid rump of society's losers from their chosen course of self destruction. As for the Baden Powell stuff, forget it! I too read Stalky & Co, and Swallows and Amazons, but that is now not so much a different era as a distant planet... Anderson is right to condemn the cynical illusion that is the "Welfare State": it is a bottomless pit down which the nation's treasure is thrown, to appease the conscience of Leftist chatterers. The losers in society clearly cannot be abandoned, but the vast juggernaut of the Welfare State in present form is not remotely affordable, and it is inimical to political liberty. It has to be accepted that for a large part of the comparatively small constituency of the irredeemably bad, containment rather than correction is all that can usefully be done.
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Glad to see you can write with commendable brevity on occasion. "Sickening"? With views as eccentric as yours, you ought to cultivate a thicker skin and not be so easily sickened.
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I know the derivation of "tithe"... You're saying that physical & spiritual blackmail is OK if it's only at the rate of 10%? In any case, extracting tithes under duress hardly represented the limit of Church oppression.
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There's no accounting for stupidity but I doubt that the LDs want to behave in the petty, juvenile way you outline. They just have different ideas - deeply mistaken ones IMV but shared by quite a few, not least the more left-wing Conservatives. And is this country typified by "small-c conservative" attitudes? With around 40% of those polled apparently wanting a return by Labour it's difficult to argue your case. This is the key fact that no-one wishes to address: well over a third of the electorate seems to believe that the Labour Party, despite its near-century-long record of screwing up the economy, of leaving things worse than they found them, of having thoroughly perverse and dangerous ideas that have done even worse things to our economy, our culture and our education system than the Conservatives managed (which is saying something), is worthy of governing us. I am certain this must have been a prime factor in the decision of many to emigrate: it should have caused me to, when I was young enough for that to be worthwhile. It is difficult to believe trying to achieve things in this country is worth the effort, given this daunting demographic: half the population has values diametrically opposed to the other half. Doesn't begin to make sense.
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If you were a real libertarian then you would recognise Christianity is the way to freedom. There is nothing free about someone holding a gun to your head for your money. That's pretty much what the Christian Church did to us for most of its history, to enable its princes to live high on the hog while our ancestors struggled to pay tithes. I don't think enslaving oneself to pre-medieval superstition is liberating, and it's the antithesis of libertarianism.
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Are you and "Ken" co-conspirators in this wonderfully rich piece of comic satire? It's convincingly wacky, had me going for a minute.
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Well, perhaps predictably this post certainly brought out hordes of god-botherers, quoting and no doubt mis-quoting at one another from texts as arcane as they are ancient. One of my favourite quotes about (not from) the Bible is by the late Christopher Hitchens: "The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for traficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals."
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No - and it's not even good PR.
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I'm rather worried about that 40% and their "life force or spirit" - they can't all live in Totnes or Glastonbury...
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What on earth do you mean?
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I read this expecting to see something striking, different, positive, even controversial. Instead it's just another Cameron-Chameleon speech, saying what a particular audience wants to hear - and not saying it very well. In fact, if the quotes are anything to go by, it's a speech I couldn't have sat through without nodding off or walking out. Cameron is no orator. And is this the same D.Cameron who said not long ago, "if we want to remind ourselves of British values – hospitality, tolerance and generosity to name just three – there are plenty of British Muslims ready to show us what those things really mean.." - ? Mr 2-dimensional plastic man, all things to all voters. Hooray.
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No, it shows that most Feltham & Heston voters are bone idle, apathetic layabouts who'd rather watch TV and/or who don't deserve democracy. Maybe they don't know what democracy is.
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Naive? Maybe - but then, I disparage "tactical voting" and think people should vote according to principle. No matter how much I dislike and despise the majority of our current crop of politicians (they are not statesmen, and neither they leaders) I actually think politics are important: there is too much government, there are too many politicians, and their level of patriotism combined with acuity & honesty is depressingly low, but politics should be taken seriously. If the voters in that admittedly bleak, dismal, soulless wasteland adjacent to Heathrow felt the way you suggest, more fool them - they should have got off their arses and damn well voted. The only times I failed to vote (very, very few in 40+ years of eligibility) were because after serious consideration I felt no-one deserved my vote - not because of the weather, or Christmas, or any other similarly trivial reason. I wouldn't want to see compulsory voting but I think 71% of the F&H voters should feel ashamed of themselves.
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How many monolingual speakers of Welsh or Gaelic are there? Seems an unnecessary extravagance to me. Other than that, spot on.
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