Monday, July 14, 2003

Every Other Blogger Has Said It ....

I suppose I may as well add my voice to the chorus - that Oliver Kamm is good.

On John Major .....

"John Major became Foreign Secretary because he wasn't Geoffrey Howe, Chancellor because he wasn't Nigel Lawson, leader of the Conservative Party because he wasn't Michael Hesletine, and prime minister because he wasn't Neil Kinnock. His political success, in short, depended on his being less offensive to his party than anyone else, and on the Labour Party's continuing to be even less interested in public opinion than the Tories. All that changed when Blair became Labour leader; like Margaret Thatcher, he has innumerable detractors but he is plainly prime ministerial and he thereby commands respect."

And on his successor as Prime Minister .....

"He deserves credit on economic management and welfare reform (including the cuts in benefits), criticism on the pointless affectation that decries what it calls 'elitism' but which actually means excellence, and strong support on his willingess to intervene militarily in order to effect humanitarian ends. "

I would take issue on two out of those three though. Blair's economic management consisted of continuing Ken Clarke's (successful) policies, until the pressure to tax and spend conquered, and he abjectly failed to bite the bullet on welfare reform.

His 'pointless affectation' has real effects as excellence becomes increasingly confused with elitism. As Peter Hitchens said of the Gordon Brown/Laura Spence affair, where else could you make political capital by attacking your country's finest universities ?

Only on international intervention does Blair sit with the angels. And I'm not sure even then that Kosovo was a good idea. But compared to the Major/Hurd Bosnia shambles he's like a good deed in a naughty world.

Economic management ..... ?

Not a week passes without another famous UK name relocating overseas. And the Start-Rite story has a chilling descant. One of the reasons they packed up is that all the individual components of the shoes were already made overseas.

A friend who works for a car manufacturer is moving to Shanghai for a few years.

And what used to be called 'British Rail Enquiries' may be moving to Bombay.

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