Back in 2009, in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal and a profound crisis in the British political system, David Cameron made a speech that electrified the Conservative Party and promised to usher in a revival of democracy. With great rhetorical flourish, he expounded his core conviction like an article of faith:
“I believe the central objective of the new politics we need should be a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power: from the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities; from the EU to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy. Through decentralisation, transparency and accountability we must take power from the elite and hand it to the man and woman in the street.”
It was wonderful Whiggish stuff, which is no real surprise as it echoed (indeed, lifted almost verbatim) the words of self-professed Whig Daniel Hannan MEP and his Roundhead compatriot Douglas Carswell MP, who had co-written just months before: Continue reading →
Dementia is a purgatorial madness. Whatever form it takes – Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Fronto-temporal, Creutzfeldt-Jacob – it is not only the patient who suffers, but their entire family.
The disease reduces the victim to a shell of humanity, emptied of all joy, emotion and recognition. As cognitive ability declines, so too does the memory, the capacity to feel, dexterity in language and the intelligence to reason. Tears give way to mourning; despair to grieving for the living. Loved ones become strangers; relationships are turned to shadows. It is a dreadful affliction; terrifying for the victim, and profoundly distressing for all around to witness. Continue reading →
I’ve never been to a First Night of the Proms before: it’s so much more elegant and stylish than the Last, and this one had a musical coherence of ambrosial heights. Or perhaps I should say Neptunian depths, since the overriding theme was oceanic, and the tide of surging waves bathed the audience in a symphony of wonder. Continue reading →
It was right to privatise British Rail, Coal, Gas, Petroleum, Steel, Telecom, Airways and Shipbuilders, along with Electricity, Cable & Wireless, Britoil, Jaguar and Rolls Royce. Removing these moribund monoliths from public ownership injected some free-market discipline and Hayekian economic stimulation into the industrial sclerosis which had bedevilled the country throughout the 1970s.
Denastionalisation led to a transformation of industrial working culture and unimaginable efficiencies in productivity. Thatcherism was the people’s capitalism, and The Lady was to be greatly admired. Continue reading →
The House of Commons has inched closer toward legislation that will, at long last, give the British people an In-Out referendum on our troubled membership of the European Union.
The whipped private member’s bill proposed by Conservative MP James Wharton may be an irregular use of a technical parliamentary process; it may not have much cross-party support; it may be a cynical device to stem the rising tide of Ukip; and it may not be binding on a future parliament. But there is no doubt that if this Bill were to become law and the Conservatives were to win an outright Commons majority at the next General Election, it would be political suicide for David Cameron (or any Conservative leader) to repeal this particular sovereign Act of Parliament. Continue reading →