Thursday, 11 October 2012

More for support than illumination

David Cameron went to a posh school and wants everyone to go to a similar school. Yesterday the theme of his speech may have been aspiration and there is nothing wrong with that, but does he really expect anyone to believe that all schools will become like Eton. I can't believe it, I don't think most people would believe it, in fact I don't even think David's audience believed him. The local comprehensive does not have Eton's facilities and never will. I suppose David is right and aspiration is always possible but when does this simply become not the politics of greed but the politics of envy.

David's adoring crowd liked the idea of the aspiration nation, it sounds so much better than a divided nation but you do need division in order to promote aspiration. If you cut benefits then you have to admit that benefits are not being used appropriately. If you explain why benefits should be cut and give specific examples of how overpayment is being made then that's fine. If you just want to hurt those on benefits then don't explain yourself, just announce it to a Tory conference.

I was also moved by David's emphasis on getting rid of red tape. One business had plans to build in Liverpool but planning took so long that the company went abroad. Wouldn't it be nice to know the detail as it sounds like we won't get any further investment in this country. Could it be that the company wanted to carry out an unsafe practice which is legal in other countries? In this case we should be looking at criticisms of those countries. I don't know because David didn't tell us.

Whether it is welfare savings, school reform or simply a nice anecdote, this speech was similar to a drunken man using a lamppost, more for support than illumination.

Change the world

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