Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Big Gordon And His Even Bigger Government

I was intrigued by the reaction this morning to Gordon Brown's speech yesterday. "Reaching out for Middle England", they said. "Stealing the Tories' clothes", they said. "Could have been made by a Conservative", they said. So I read it.

In part these analysts were right. The first half of Brown's speech could have had many a Conservatives dancing in the isles: rewarding hard work; tributes to the police and armed forces; proud in being British; believe that families who work hard should be able to build a better life for themselves and their children.

Fine. I can cope with most of that. Even if he does profess to have pride in a nationality that hardly exists anymore. So I looked further. I looked for the "top-down" approaches, the signs that the State knows best, the big-government intentions. And boy, did I find them.

In education, "a personal tutor for every secondary pupil throughout their school years". On other words, a representative of the State to "guide" (indoctrinate) children for as long as possible.

Signs of the individual being expected to serve the State rather than the other way round: "I want every young person in Britain to be able to say: 'this is my country. I contribute to it. I help make it better' " .

And did he really mean it when he said "for every college or school student, A-levels and diplomas" ? Does that mean qualifications for all ? And apparently "just" 42 per cent of school leaver going on to university isn't enough. Degrees for all, by the sound of it.

And there was plenty of evidence that he wants to nanny us from cradle to grave. He talked (quite seriously, it seems) of the difficulties for families who have to "make breakfast, get the kids to school with their homework done, make sure no one forgets their P.E. kit or a school play rehearsal". For God's sake, Gordon, give us some credit.

In housing; we're going to have ten "eco towns" as Brown continues to have to come to terms with a failed immigration system and an ever-rising population, as well as the consequences of family breakdown made more prevalent by a welfare system that actively encourages it.

Signs that Nanny knows best; "new rights to higher maternity allowances but you have to meet with a health visitor". Pardon ? why the hell should anyone have to meet a bloody health visitor ?

And what about this as an assertion that we know what's best for every child in the country ? "We all remember that biblical saying: 'suffer the little children to come unto me'. No Bible I have ever read says: 'bring just some of the children.' " In other words, no child is independent of the State; the State will interfere in every way it can.

Perhaps most sinister of all was the (repeated) promise that the government will use "unclaimed" assets in "dormant" bank accounts to build new youth centres.

And this might be another dark threat: proclaiming "the right for company boards to make their own decisions, but obligations to the rest of society too". What obligations, exactly ?

By the way, there was one promise which was well worth keeping an eye on. "But let me be clear any newcomer to Britain who is caught selling drugs or using guns will be thrown out". That I'll believe when I see it.

We shouldn't be fooled by the declarations of patriotism, by the religion-fuelled passion for hard work, or in the protestations that families matter. This man believes in big government. He does not trust his people to make the "right decisions". He believes in that State doing as much as possible. With an ever-greater role for the State will come an inversely proportion fall in the the rights and freedoms of individuals. And it's going to cost a fortune.

This speech could have been made by a Conservative, could it ? Well, by David Cameron, possibly. But that's not much of an advert.

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