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Gawain
Surrey
Interests: British and World history, particularly the 17th and 18th centuries and the history of ideas. Rugby Union. Sailing.
Recent Activity
There is an element missing in the argument. Charities have become NGO's and have been co-opted by the "Labour" movement as another arm of the state, but, this doesn't quite go far enough. I would argue that the charitable sector has become corporatised. Not only are they becoming increasingly reliant on the state they are managed and marketed as if they were supermarket chains. The very use of the phrase "charitable sector" emphasises this. More insidiously, the voluntary spirit is being suborned to give these charitable corporations a competitive advantage. Isn't that why the high street is increasingly becoming dominated by "Charity" shops run by volunteer labour which the increasingly threatened commercial shops can't compete with ? Roger Scruton is right to remind us what the charitable instinct achieved in the past. Unfortunately, in our current economy this type of charity has become the preserve of the small group of financial and managerial oligarchs that have enough spare income and time to exercise it. For most people charity seems to have become a disconnected and depressing process whereby the charitable act is delegated to the charity brand that makes us feel good. If charity really the work of volunteers, giving to others and receiving their gratitude in return our Charities will need to become less corporate and more local. Above all the economy will need to adjust to allow more people the time to engage and to volunteer.
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2012 on Charity at ConservativeHome | Thinkers' Corner
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Even the Liberals can't match the battiness of the French official who is being quoted as saying that "The UK is like a man who shows up at a wife swapping party without his own wife". After the Strauss-Kahn affair this just reinforces all the worst stereotypes about the French. I now understand why Cameron was looking so po-faced and politely declined to participate. Still, at least he now has a good excuse to miss the next wife swapping party they'll have to organise shortly to save the Euro, yet again !
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He can't call a "spade"a "spade". I no longer believe a word that Cameron says on Europe. Every time he speaks on the subject I feel as if I am trapped in a burning building with no exits.
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OOOhhh scary !! When are pro EU commentators like Rennie going to realise that scare tactics from discredited European politicians don't have much effect any more. If Germany freezes us out of the Eurozone they might be freezing themselves out of our market, which their exporters really need. They might also be freezing themselves together with a France that is about to lose its AAA credit rating. If they follow the precedent of their history it is very probable that the Germans will make a bad choice. Let them get on with it and lets get out of the EU. We are better off out
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None of the politicians in Europe are being honest. They are trying to sort out an economic, financial and constitutional crisis of their own making without explaining what they're doing to people. Schoolmasterly declarations from Hague that now is not the time for a referendum because our noble politicians need time to sort this all out in our best interests no longer resonate. They do not have a clue what to do. With every day that passes, with every new business destroying regulation that appears out of Europe, with every new failed Euro rescue I become more convinced that we are better off out of Europe. I don't mind getting there step by step but we need to start the march down that road as quickly as possible.
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Mmmmm ? A weak Chairman of the Conservative Party, serving in a weak Coalition government, highlighting the weakness of a flaccid Leader of the Opposition just highlights to me how weak our political system is and how weak all our politicians are. There doesn't seem to be anyone in public office at the moment who could fight their way out of a rice paper bag.
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Well done George Eustace and the MPs that attended. They now need to be determined and relentless to try and reverse the EU ratchet so there is instead a presumption that Brussels will give up power. There is nothing wrong with learning from an opponents tactics. Like many on this board I'd prefer to be out but a referendum is a dodgy mechanism that can easily backfire. I would prefer to keep a referendum in the back pocket for when Brussels tries to change the treaty. In the meantime I would like to see some positive results in Parliament from this meeting. This group should start acting as a de facto scrutiny committe over EU legislation.
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How about a futuristic drama about a Scottish First Minister breaking up the United Kingdom by realising arab terrorists, discriminating against English students by raising their tuition fees and allying with Brussels on every issue against English interests.
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George Eustace would make a very good leader for this new grouping. He is calm and reasonable in debate and can put across a eurosceptic viewpoint in an accessible and appealing way. It is very good to see the new intake of MPs taking up the banner on this. I just pray that the party as a whole will rally around their colours. Osborne is muddled and far too "political". He needs to know that the party is mainly against a European super state and wants the UK to negotiate a less intrusive relationship with our European neighbours before he is tempted to do one of his "clever, clever" deals that ends up shafting us all. I was alarmed to read during the week that the Treasury is "minded" to resist the Tobin tax ! I am "minded" to believe that the government is soft on the EU.
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The release of the West Midlands Police video showing 'gangsta' goons firing live bullets at police lines emphasises what a mistake Cameron has made. The momentum to get the criminals has been lost. The liberals in government, the police, the legal establishment and the media have wrested back control of the agenda and we are being swamped with a narrative attacking harsh sentences, knee jerk reactions combined with accusations of racism. Labour are playing their part by re launching "hack gate" to distract everyone. If you listened to the BBC you would think that the insurance companies caused the riots !! Cameron is now going into a conference season where the Liberals and Labour will have stolen his thunder or poured cold water on any announcements he might make. I am now convinced that the best thing for the country would be to provoke the Liberals into collapsing the coalition so we can have a quick general election ! If we get a Labour government, so what, it just accelerates the inevitable and will force the country into a worse crisis where we will have to face the evil truth about the state we are in.
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Completely agree. I am abroad on holiday at the moment and just catching up on the appalling events back home. I managed to drag myself away from the beach to catch a little of the Politics show hosted by Andrew Neil. I could not believe that Nick Robinson featured as a pannelist. So at least one third of the programme consisted of one political journalist interviewing another political journalist about what each one thought the politicians might be saying ! Surreal. I switched off. The British Cuts Corp has a great deal to answer for the way we view the country and the way the rioters view it.
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Cutting MP's pensions in line with the rest of the public sector and the private sector should provide the paltry amount of revenue to make up for the abolishing of this useless tax.
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Andrew makes a powerful argument and it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue that the present economic and social structure is too heavily rigged in favour of the wealthy. My present bugbear is the examination system (we have two teenagers at home sweating on results). Most kids in this country take the state GCSE and A level exams. But, the kids from wealthy families that mine play sport with are doing IGCSE, pre U and IB exams. The best private schools have picked up the ball and are playing on another pitch. So it does not matter how hard my children work, they cannot compete fairly when money buys access to a different and supposedly 'superior' set of exams. To my mind this sets the problem that Andrew identifies in concrete terms. As a conservative I am comfortable with free choice and private education, but, as a conservative I believe in equality of opportunity. Rigged systems defeat equality of opportunity. It also highlights the role of government. Government should allow a diverse and vibrant education Market to flourish but I expect it to set the boundaries. In my view, one of those boundaries should be a robust, fair and universal examination system. Everyone should be judged on the basis of the results in the same exams. It also leads one to a critique of the left. It was the Left's insistence on absolute equality and all sorts of other social engineering that ruined the exam system. The state examination system should be good enough to measure the full range of talents in the country and private schools should want to use it. Government has a role. So I can agree with Andrew and still be conservative. PS. More of this type of discussion please, it's so much more interesting than media fluff.
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All talk and no trousers. Spin will not get the economy growing, they will actually have to cut the regulations. I now find Osborne irritating. He seems to think that people will still fall for the old New Labour trick of announcement and re-announcement. Well, Georgie boy, we're used to it now. Feeding a few warm words to the newspaper hacks does not mean it will happen. With Vince Cable there to frustrate everything the chances are that nothing will happen !
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The real danger is that the Conservative Party just is not fit for purpose. Cameron is scared of his own shadow and precedent suggests he'll spin the right words on Europe but do nothing. Osborne is weak as he is failing to reduce the deficit and has no clue how to promote growth. The MPs are divided into warring cliques. The Party chairman is invisible. Add to this the yellow bindweed suffocating everything and it looks as if Clegg wins hands down. Given that background the Conservative MPs need to take a grip. Above all they need to organise and box clever. Play the same game Europe and the Liberals play. Set your target and fight doggedly for every small incremental change that takes you in that direction. If the Liberals resist make sure the Eurosceptic press knows that they are acting against the country's interests. Above all they need to find a leader. Someone young, media savvy and sensible. Bill Cash and his like are right but they are perceived as "nutters". This is the chance for the new intake. Please take it, fir my children's sake !
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Deficit control is an aspiration and will not really happen unless the economy grows. The economy will not grow whilst we are enmeshed in the EU. The crisis in the EU is a once in a century opportunity to loosen some of the chains. Unfortunately, I suspect that Tim is right, we have an average government with an average PM who won't have the vision or guts to get us out of this mess.
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Until now this has all been very silly. It now looks like a disastrous melt down. If guilt by association applies to anyone with links to News International, Cameron's should now be the next resignation.
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So we have now accepted that the news media will be a monopoly of the BBC and the Guardian !
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I very rarely watch it and on the odd occasions that channel hopping leads me there I usually regret it. The current format doesn't work. There are too many panellists, which means none of them has time to develop an argument. The chairman is a BBC corporate man & therefore biased to the corporatist, centre left BBC world view and the audience is selected. The worst aspect is the audience involvement. If I want to know what the man on the Clapham omnibus thinks I can go and sit on a bus. The audience's role should be to ask difficult questions, not giving inarticulate and uninteresting answers that disrupt the debate. QT is now in the genre of Big Brother humiliation TV. It is humiliating for anyone who takes part and humiliating to watch. My advice is to switch on the radio version, it's much better.
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When will they learn ?! Politicians have no business in hospitals. Cameron and Clegg need to get back to their day job reducing taxes and immigration and working out how to deal with inflation. If they look after the economy better they'll have the cash to look after the NHS.
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Cameron is very, very lucky to have such an incompetent Opposition ! The NHS policy is a complete self imploding cluster **** up ! It is almost impossible to understand what the policy now is and the "debate" has become unreal. No one is explaining how you can stop reforms intended to limit the increase in NHS costs at the same time as the funds available will not increase and will probably reduce in real terms as inflation lets rip. The NHS establishment and the BMA in particular seem to have no concept of the costs of the NHS or where their income is going to come from and the government has just reinforced their belief that money really does grow on trees. This is going to be biting Cameron in the trousers for the rest of his life. Sub optimal !
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This whole NHS debate is unreal. There seems to be no appreciation, no, let me put it stronger there is a pathological ignorance within the NHS about the frighteningly difficult conditions the productive sectors of the economy face at the moment. These are the parts of economy that provide the NHS with the vast quantities of cash needed to keep the huge behemoth ticking over. The government and the Prime Minister in particular have got their priorities wrong. Unless more concentration is given to the economy and particularly the need to cut regulation and taxes to make it easier to do business and to employ people there will not be enough tax revenue to increase health spending in cash terms. The best way to help the NHS is to do everything possible to promote growth.
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The Prime Minister needs a dose of reality about the economy and industrial relations at the moment. The economy is very fragile and the public sector unions are gearing up for large strikes. I would bet that Ed Balls calls for a Plan B are being co-ordinated with the TUC. If the European bailouts collapse this will just help their agenda. In the Left's fevered imagination a "revolutionary" moment is approaching. It wouldn't surprise me if they brew up a summer of discontent with a near general strike, occupations of Trafalgar Square and more plan B bleating from the Red Eds. The NHS and crime policy are side issues. The government needs to be seen to be helping the private sector to create new jobs by reducing red tape and bureaucracy and taxes !
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The aides can think what they like. If the Tories have a majority after the next election the Tory MPs will have more clout and they won't accept Liberal carpetbaggers. That is even if the Liberals wanted to stay in a coalition, which is a dubious proposition. I am getting very worried that Cameron and Osborne have really lost it. They are letting their bag carriers gossip and brief about the next election already whilst they fly off for to hob knob with the Euro elite. Meanwhile the economy is stubbornly refusing to improve, they have lost control of inflation and they are failing to reduce the deficit much. It looks from the outside like they are winding up the Tory right as a diversion to hide the fact that they have no clue how to encourage economic recovery. If the economy isn't improving in two years time there will be no second term. In my view things in this country will not get better until the depressing, pessimistic Liberal/Progressive ground elder is dug out of the government's system, Cable and Huhne would be a good place to start !
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I applaud the tweeter who has exposed some of the sports and media types who have employed super injunctions. The injunctions being talked about stop us hearing about some pretty tedious gossip which provoke little more than a yawn. Martin Sewell implies the really important point that this judge made law may be an ill thought out thin edge of a wedge. No one cares about media luvvies and their pathetic lives, but, once politicians, large companies, government agencies or wealthy businessmen get in on the act the injunctions will be insidious. Parliament needs to debate the whole issue as a matter of priority to save the judges from themselves.
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