Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cameroonian Highlanders

On David Cameron's trip to Scotland he dissed the English with a disgraceful speech containing gems like this :

Another aspect of English cultural insensitivity that rears its head in the media is the vexed question of sporting identity. Why is that Scottish sportsmen and women who win are habitually claimed by English media commentators as ‘British’ only to be promptly redesignated as ‘Scottish’ the moment they lose ?

I'm sorry, but I just don't recognise this as reflecting reality. Think of racing drivers, from Jackie Stewart to Coulthard - did they become Scots when losing, Brits when winning ? Andy Murray has some strange politics - but I'd still love him to win Wimbledon. It sounds more as if Cameron's researchers grabbed the nearest (untrue) stereotype they could, presumably thinking that any old tainted red meat is good enough to feed the rabid Anglophobe. Cheap, untrue, and nasty stuff - insulting to the English and to Scots.

Stephen Pollard has a post which sums up my feelings on Tory Blair perfectly. He quotes an Observer writer on DC.

And David Cameron says sensible, liberal, moderate things. Some of them are so sensible as to be truisms . For example: we should consider 'general well-being' as well as gross domestic product when measuring national success; big business has responsibilities to society as well as duties to shareholders; public-sector workers deserve respect; sometimes private enterprise might not have all the answers in public-sector reform; globalisation has losers as well as winners; kids in hooded tops aren't all bad.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a check list of what's wrong with the Cameron Conservative Party. Every single one of those sentiments is the exact opposite of reality. And the electoral need for Cameron to mouth them is the perfect demonstration of what's wrong - and getting worse - about Britain. Business owes no duty to anyone beyond making profits (within the law) by servicing its customers' needs. Genuine globalisation (with a world wide free market) would be the greatest possible boon. The concept of 'general well being' is subjective drivel, and dangerously so in the hands of government. The public sector is necessarily worse at provision in the interest of its consumers than private provision. Etc. As Private Frazer put it: We're doomed. Doomed.

You said it.


Anonymous said...

Big business has no responsibility to give a rat's arse for "society". John D Rockefeller and John Ford didn't give a rat's arse about the American working man, but they benefitted the American economy (obviously, thereby, the working man and his family) beyond the imagination of kings.

People could afford to buy their own homes - by their own labour. Unimaginable to an earlier generation that had lived in immigrant ghettoes. Capitalism freed them and set them on the road to being capitalists themselves.

Britain was (and is still staggering on, despite Tony Blair and the Blairina) a rakishly capitalistic country. Who else would have gone to India 350 years ago and set up the East India Company? One of the most successful companies in the world, and one of the most successful relationships between nations? Capitalism.

Dave, Dave, Dave - there is no capitalist in the world who gives a shit about climate change. The people who believe in climate change as a religion don't vote Tory. Don't waste your time. Talk to the wealth producers and people with ideas for making money. That's all we care about. Everything else comes after.

Let us have a reality check, preachy Dave. The business of business, big or small, is to make a profit.

Dave, Dave, Dave, read your PJ O'Rourke. "When the water level rises, everyone's boat goes up."

Just facilitate business doing what it does best, Dave, and STFU. That is the very, very best thing a government can do. STFU.

Anonymous said...

If Dave thinks Richard Branson is going to vote Tory, he is one sick puppy.

Anonymous said...

I like Cameron - he enables me to feel absolute contempt for politicians rather than disdainful contempt.

It is like watching The Magic Roundabout - how I wanted to throttle Dougall and send Zebedee into was tedious and childish and we have Westminister Politics and it is just the same.............childishness is the end-phase of England as it prepares for disintegration

Martin said...


Globalisation is nothing more than a wage arbitrage betweeen the labour of the First and Third Worlds. The only outcome of Pollard's genuine globalisation is everyone in the world earning £4.50 an hour.

Vertity is wrong, wrong, wrong if she thinks she's going to be made better off by globalisation. She's not.

"Billed as the great equalizer between the rich and the poor, globalization has been anything but. An increasingly integrated global economy is facing the strains of widening income disparities -- within countries and across countries. " -

Stephen Roach, Chief Economist of Morgan Stanley -

I'll take Roach's economic analyses' over Pollard's any day.

Moriarty said...

Ah yes - 'widening income disparities', the metric that gets used whenever absolute poverty is falling but no one wants to admit it.

Actually, I do agree that businesses have responsibilities to society, the same responsibilities that individuals have. You know, the ones that politicians ignore when they manipulate laws for their own benefit. Short-termist attitiudes are almost universal these days.

Anonymous said...

Globalisation was invented by Bankers who wanted to make Product Markets as fungible as Money Markets...............

It has rewarded Bankers hugely but probably will lead to a series of Resource Wars

Anonymous said...

As a long-time soft-left liberal who has serious reservations about the Government I am really grateful for the Cameron-hating Tory Right (cheerleader Simon Heffer) for reminding me why I shall probably have to vote Labour again, albeit with a peg on my nose.

Anonymous said...


You missed the point of Roach's essay which is that "history tells us that the pressures of widening income disparities are often vented in the political arena. The steady drumbeat of protectionism is a very worrisome manifestation of that lesson" In other words, without globalisation we in the prosperous West keep our high wages (and high prices) and those in the less prosperous East get poorer. Nice!


You can safely vote for Dave - he and Blair (and Brown and Ming) will ruin all of us - you included.

Anonymous said...

As a long-time soft-left liberal who has serious reservations about the Government I am really grateful for the Cameron-hating Tory Right (cheerleader Simon Heffer) for reminding me why I shall probably have to vote Labour again, albeit with a peg on my nose.

Hmmm, a Poly Toynbee quote is probably not the best way to convince anyone you're uncommitted!

Excuse me for being obtuse but surely it follows that if the Tory right liked Cameron, you (on the soft left) distance yourself by voting Labour. Alternatively you might say that Cameron hasn't done enough to alienate the Tory right so you will vote Labour.

As it stands, your comment makes no sense whatsoever. Perhaps you should vote Liberal.

Anonymous said...

I know it sounds trivial, but that sports reporting grievance affected my whole outlook when I was growing up in Scotland.

I heard the grievance (or some form of it) aired regularly, but never actually heard an example of the sort of thing they had in mind on TV or radio - and I was listening out. Generally, reporters were pretty scrulpulous on the Scottish/English/British thing.

Scottish nationalism was always too grievance-based for my liking - often boiling down to plain anti-Englishness. But the fact that it had to invent grievances made it simply contemptible, I thought.

And now Cameron's footmen have dragged it up as something to pander to Scottish prejudices with - even more contemptible.

Anonymous said...

The day western libertarians move en masse (though not collectively of course!) to Sierra Leone or somewhere else the state has ceased to exist, I will take them seriously.