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Can a Whig give the coalition some soul?

By Angela Harbutt
September 7th, 2010 at 1:03 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in coalition, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats

Its been  a bit of a depressing summer for many..all that talk of cuts, hacking and slashing – we might be forgiven for thinking that Freddy Krueger has hit town. But the really depressing thing for me has been lack of a philosophy behind the slicing and dicing. Yes I know our coalition partners will point us to  “The Big Society”. But, to be honest, I still don’t understand it….the journalists and political commentators don’t understand it… hell I don’t think even David Cameron understands it. So it was a real  hallelujah moment when I was handed a copy of the Sunday Times to read. For there in black and white was the answer of course…in the slightly retro-looking form of  Friedrich Hayek.

In his article, Liberal Vision’s old friend and founder Mark Littlewood, now of  The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), serves up a convincing argument as to why Mr Hayek and his “Constitution of Liberty” has all the answers …(well most of the answers anyway).

In his article (which you can read in full on the IEA website) he says…

 “Although one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Hayek has never been a household name. Remarkably, for a man who was born at the tail end of the 19th century, won the Nobel prize for economics in 1974 and died nearly 20 years ago, that may be about to change. Thanks to an extensive feature on the wildly popular Glenn Beck television programme in America, Hayek’s masterpiece The Road to Serfdom zoomed to the top of Amazon’s bestseller charts in June.

This is unusual enough for a philosophical tract, but is astonishing for a book originally published in 1944…… downloaded from our website tens of thousands of times over the summer.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of another great Hayek text, The Constitution of Liberty. Anyone searching for an intellectual basis for a genuinely Liberal-Conservative approach to government should read it.

Hayek argues for strict limits on state activity and intervention. But he offers a very different take on the nature of the individual from that often – if wrongly – associated with free-market capitalism. Hayek sees individuals as intrinsically social beings. His vision of a free society is not one where men and women are trampling over one another in pursuit of narrow, venal self-interest, each using their own freedom of action to exploit others. Hayek believed each individual would benefit as much from the exercise of others’ freedom as their own.

This optimistic view of human nature should be what guides the British government as it grapples with the shocking state of the nation’s public finances and attempts to provide some coherence to its big society agenda.

Interestingly, and importantly for the coalition, although beloved of Margaret Thatcher, Hayek was not a Tory. He described himself as a Whig. And Mark Littlewood may well have had another annoying moment of foresight when he argues later in his article that the coalition should seek to rediscover the best elements of this Whig tradition.

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Tory quote “If this was a safe seat we wouldn’t have to do this work”

By Angela Harbutt
May 4th, 2010 at 12:09 am | 4 Comments | Posted in Election, UK Politics

Aarggggghhhhh. Really.  Joanne Cash – the infamous Cameron cutie standing in Westminster North really did just say that.

I just caught the BBC ONE Local London News. They ran a piece on fight in the seat. Just at the point when I was about to switch over to catch the tail end of the snooker, I was stopped in my tracks. OMG. No . Yes. No ..OMG… Yes!!!

She really did say 

“If this was a safe seat we wouldn’t have to do this work”.

If ever there was an argument for a change to the voting system of this country then this idiot woman is it. In a nutshell!

It’s what I hate about these “New Tory” politicians (and Cameron Cuties in particular). They seem to think that being an MP is some sort of X-Factor for the privileged. Can’t you just tell that they would prefer not to have to talk to the trolls if it could possibly be avoided. Don’t you just know that if they were to be voted in with some huge majority,  90% of the constituency (celebs and millionaires excepted) could go hang. Surgeries would only happen if enough surgical wipes could be supplied. And notes would be taken in beautifully crafted Smythson notepaper – and then handed to some earnest young wannabe to ..what …file?

This ladies and gentlemen is the Tory attitude laid bare. It’s why they dont want PR. Its why they like the old two party system. Why they love first-past-the-post. Ideally you only have to meet grubby people once every four or five years and really only the once every ten if the opposition is inept and your majority is sufficiently robust. 

This  is what people are and down this country are fighting against. 

Big Society?….High Society more like.

May no MP, ever again, feel it acceptable to say in public “if this was a safe seat we would have to do this work”

Of course, lest we forget this was THE Cameronista who, having being parachuted in by Cameron, (nothing to do with the fact that she is married to Octavius Black – an old Etonian mate of Dave’s)  resigned and then “unresigned”following (1) a row with the local party and then (2) Cameron’s intervention (yes in that order) ….. And blood all over the local constituency floor. Hmm David Cameron heavy-handed centralist control? Surely not?

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