Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Up with good things, down with bad things!

I was unreasonably tickled by the headline on the BBC front page yesterday, heralding the Tory manifesto launch: Conservatives ‘to make Britain better’.

So there you are then.

The other day I did at last think of something approximating a fundamental ideological difference between the two main parties. On a local BBC politics programme a Labour candidate answered an audience question about investment in manufacturing by stating: “We know that in Britain we can’t compete by manufacturing the cheapest widget, but we can be leaders in cutting-edge technology. That’s why we’ve given tax breaks to hi-tech industries…”

That kind of top-down thinking – that Government knows best and will attempt to manipulate the industrial landscape by tinkering with the tax system to promote those it thinks can compete and penalise those that can’t, rather than cutting financial barriers across the board and letting businesses decide these matters – is New Labour in a nutshell. They are, or hopefully were, the Great Tinkerers.

10 comments:

worm said...

....and thats why I shall be voting for the first time this year, and putting a big tick in the blue box.

Sean said...

I think the word you are looking for Brit is Corporatism.

If you think things are all of "one whole" then tinkering is just the process of perfection.

Gaw said...

I've adapted you just a little:

That kind of top-down thinking – that Government knows best and will attempt to manipulate [marriage] by tinkering with the tax system to promote those it [approves of] and penalise those [it doesn't], rather than cutting [tax and benefits] across the board and letting [individuals] decide these matters – is the [n]ew [Tories] in a nutshell. They [will be] the [New] Great Tinkerers.

Sean said...

Marriage is not top down though Garth is it? its part of common sense (a shared truth shared by most or all) probably part of our moral instinct.

Sean said...

Sorry about that I was bamboozled by cleggy hard wiring fairness into society.

There is a big difference between recognition and the common good that might produce, and telling people how they must live their lives.

Brit said...

Gaw's point is perfectly fair in the abstract, but my objections are based on pragmatism rather than principle - ie. I'm not a libertarian and am quite willing to be inconsistent if I like some bits and not others.

Gaw said...

It's the uselessness of the tinkering I really object to. Fiddling around with the tax system - illogically, unfairly and ineffectually - may provide some activists with a warm and undeserved glow. But the elephant in the room remains, i.e. the benefits system, and its encouragement of fatherlessness. It's a big intractable problem that is (on the whole) an inadvertent consequence of the welfare state.

Mark said...

Hmmn, there are so many elephants in the room these days I doubt there is space for anything else. I'd add another elephant, which is the extent to which the financial sector calls the shots, with disastrous consequences as we know. This makes claims that the government is really doing something about X even more fatuous, because if Wall Street and the City don't like it then chances are X won't happen anyway.

The Tory in my constituency is a "Domestic Violence Champion" according to her biog. I'd guess the copy-editor was asleep. I'm thinking Greens or Lib Dems, both of whom are fielding excellent candidates, failing the appearance of Adge Cutler and the Scrumpy Party who, sadly, seem to want to give the 2010 election a miss.

Willard said...

I agree. Labour have proved themselves to be incapable of leaving alone anything that's working.

I don't know about you, Brit, but I'll be voting Tory! I can't wait to open my own school, purchase my local post office, take over my local library, and then run the local sanitation department in my spare time!

Brit said...

LOL, Willard, v good. Not everything is better bottom-up...

And also v true Gaw and Mark.