Sunday, February 28, 2010

David Cameron’s speech was dripping with Blond and Kruger


It was a tour de force in many ways: David Cameron has the mental agility and capacity of a Shakespearean actor to memorise hundreds of lines and thousands of words, and his ability to incarnate his political philosophy and communicate the intense reality of his feelings to an audience is worthy of the applause of Stanislavski himself. He is a consummate actor in the mould of all the political and religious greats: he conceded that he is a ‘salesman’, and found in the term more compliment than shame.

And so he should.

Politics, like religion, needs people who can communicate and enthuse: if you are a tedious dullard, you inspire no-one to enter the kingdom of heaven and guide none to their earthly salvation. Just as Christianity has been corrupted over the centuries through the interference of man, so conservatism has been misrepresented and perverted by politicians and their parties. No pope or archbishop is Jesus, and no Conservative politician is Burke. All we can do is interpret their words and attempt to discern and interpret their teachings in another era and in a different culture.

The conservatism of Disraeli was not that of Churchill, which was not that of Macmillan, which was not that of Thatcher. And the conservatism of Margaret Thatcher is not that of David Cameron.

Yet a common thread courses through the veins of these leaders: the organic mutability of conservatism and the adaptability of the Conservative Party.

David Cameron’s speech was pitched perfectly for postmodernity: there was sufficient conservative meat for the traditional Tories, a few pounds of flesh for the reformist Whigs, a few sinewy morsels for the liberally-inclined and quite a few marrow-filled bones for those who have never before voted Conservative.

There was no overarching coherent theme (‘change’ is a process, not an objective), though the policies which were outlined were cohesive: if David Cameron delivers on his ‘localism’ and co-operatives, his diverse and ‘small’ schools, his commitment to abolish RDAs, his plans to permit referenda and public petitions in Parliament, his devolution of politics to the lowest level possible, he will be one of the greatest reforming prime ministers in British history.

Which is why the Blond ‘Red Tory’ philosophy irks.

‘Compassionate Conservatism’ does not have to be shackled to ‘Christian Democracy’ and Roman Catholic social teaching: indeed, Margaret Thatcher dedicated her entire premiership to liberating the British economy and eradicating corporatism and statism. Yet by embracing the Milbank doctrine of ‘a civil state, a moralised market and an associative society’, Cameron risks rejecting the best of Anglo-Saxon dynamism for the worst of the Continent’s bureaucracy. The moment one moves to control supermarket prices or interfere with sales, the next step is to prohibit the repossession of homes, and then to replace the minimum wage with a ‘living wage’, to control excessive interest rates on bank lending and herald the end of ‘cartel domination’ and a limit to ‘inappropriate speculation’.

This is not a credible economic model: the state gets bigger, bureaucracy becomes bloated, intervention abounds, the cost of government increases and we are all made poorer.

And yet the Kruger ‘fraternity’ theme gives hope.

There is indeed an arid emptiness in Western culture which is caused by the ‘cult of individualism’. Communities are fragmented, families divided, and society disassociated. In his book On Fraternity, Kruger notes in The City of God that Augustine quotes a Briton who says: “The Romans make a desert and they call it peace’. And he suggests the Conservative Party might be said to have made a desert and called it freedom.

And so Cameron has appropriated some body, mind and spirit ‘wholeness’ themes to connect with those individuals and groups who have never before voted Conservative. By talking of children, families, relationships, welfare and community, and by adopting some distinctly socialist ideas (or, rather, adopting some traditionally socialist themes), he conveys a conservatism which cares for the integrity of the natural environment and for people’s harmony with it. His ‘broad church’ approach, through its ‘compassionate’ or ‘progressive’ influence, is actually the approach of any mission-orientated church. Due to the present deep divisions along religious, philosophical and political lines, there is an arguable need to find alternative principles to guide the construction of just institutions which will permit peaceful cohabitation and the pursuit of an overarching common good. Beyond issues of liberty and equality is, as Kruger observes, fraternity, which he defines as ‘the spirit of unofficial cooperation, aimed not at general formulations or national policies but at specific actions and local needs’.

Just as the Church of England is having to justify why it should remain a privileged participant in the political system, so the Conservative Party is having to come to terms with no longer being ‘the natural party of government’. David Cameron is appropriating Blond’s ideas because they sound more compassionate, but the substance has been tried and well-tested, and consistently been found wanting.

But Kruger is far more than mood music. His dialectic latches on to people’s intuitive quest for meaning, for rootedness, for an assurance of identity. By heeding these deepest of human needs, David Cameron is articulating a conservative liberalism for the postmodern era: it is more feeling and intuiting than it is thinking and sensing.

Whether or not it works remains to be seen.

29 Comments:

Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Neither Cameron nor Cranmer can pull the wool over our eyes. The Tories will keep us in the European Union. To those of us who love freedom, that puts them beyond the pale.

28 February 2010 at 18:07  
Anonymous Whyaxye said...

Your Grace's relief that "Dave" seems to have hit upon a presentational trope that is simultaneously rooted in obscure political theory is palpable. The rest of the country will probably be wondering why the 1930s Myers-Briggs reference makes a position "Postmodern" rather than eclectic. Or more probably lamenting the fact that an unprincipled old Etonian has been sold sometihng that makes him slightly more electable.

28 February 2010 at 18:55  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Salesman he might be, Your Grace, but he isn't selling anything I want to buy. That little speech of his merely consolidated my intention to vote UKIP and be damned.

28 February 2010 at 19:18  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

The European People's Party looks forward to the Tories' return when all this electioneering is over.


Soar Alba!

28 February 2010 at 19:34  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Do you know what, I actually feel sorry for the bloke. Credit where it is due, and His Grace has highlighted this more eloquently than what I could, Cameron is just that little bit out of kilter though. I feel like throwing the towel in and not bothering voting to be honest. What ever happens, who ever wins, then make no bones...if the economy is ever going to be put right and square, then there will have to be some savage implications.

One thing rings out louder than anything else to me, and it is the fact that Labour do not deserve to get anymore time to wreak any more havoc on my life and loves. I have to say that you have to be a complete twat if you think you want more of what this dastardly bunch of slags have done to this nation.

Decisions - decisions.

28 February 2010 at 19:41  
Anonymous not a machine said...

It is a bit odd your grace has posted somthing I have been thinking about , in part as I travelled past my church and saw the lights on for evening service ,I suddenly felt some anguish as I wondered who would be there.
I then recall a church meeting some time ago, that morning services were preferable as more people these days liked to make the most of sunday and go for lunch or for a walk. Very little objection was raised about the downgrading of evening service.
Looking back I can see that being busy is very much a by product of the perception of time and what one feels compelled to fill it with.

The corporatists of course want people to be filled with anguish and drive to buy their goods and make there pitches drool accordingly .

The socialists enforce attendence by any means to there herectical sermons and ultimately create forces they themselves cannot escape from , making a very hell like enviroment in the process.

The liberals always end up making promises that do not work and expensive quack cures.

So then almost like evolutionary politics we have the modern conservatives , embracing , transparent and with few dividing lines . Since David Cameron was elected as conservative leader he has been through a number of a number of tests and challenges , circumstances have changed the country has been taken into an ecnomic ghost train ride of inditermable end by the labour farce we have had to endure.If by now he hasnt travelled the country and realised what a bad state it is in he will be in danger of forming a goverment that all too quickly puts in place a series of levers that may act too quickly on strcutures too unfit to change to make to them function properly .

After the dinner party is over , the washing up needs to be done , the kitchen cleaned , hats and coats handed out and couteous arevoirs.

I do not mind any evolutionary thinking in political terms , Desrali if he were alive would be still aghast at aeroplanes and horseless carridges traveling at impossible speeds. But these things are enviromental and about material delivery .

If the conservative party have arrived at a terminus called management ,circumstances may dictate we stay there for a while .

He has already had a swipe at the sexualised hedonistic corporatist enviroment of the cheap throw away economy , which as an argument of social dangerous experiment , has took some considerable time to develope .

The mind controlling evil of this Labour goverment is perhaps the most difficult challenge and no party has yet come forward with a coherent idea of what to do after the "post beauracratic age" and its insdious delivery systems of bondage that are so opposed to christian belief.

This election should see an end to certain evil experiments that have been conducted upon this country its once settled people.We can only hope that both and he and his future cabinet , do not drink from the well of entitled professional mangement speak , and get us all drunk once more upon its duplictous spin.

Abandoning the church , and even the church abandoning god is where we have ended up , and pretty lost we are , as a result.

The question that highly technological delivery systems make better humans and ergo society , is perhaps the most challenging question , decisions on controllable logical choice or decisons of educated and christian conscience. Machines and data banks or people who love jesus .

In my mind the first makes one too busy, self important,angusihed and indivdual to follow the latter. Does the human level of understanding still matter is a question to bear in mind as the political parties reach out there hand to select the challice which will give them power .

28 February 2010 at 20:12  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

It's quite funny. The great pudding is highly likely to blow it! Talk about 'snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory'.

Go Cameron!!!

(as it were)

28 February 2010 at 20:13  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

As an after thought, who the hell is Blond And Kruger? They sound like a pair of 70's TV cops, like Starsky and Hutch!

To imagine that such individuals are acting out beneath the surface of my ignorance is rather scary. Can we keep it simple, there again, nothing is simple I suppose.

28 February 2010 at 20:32  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Jared Gaites, I thought Blond and Kruger sounded like a South African beer (!?)

Your Grace, the tories are clearly doing something wrong (e.g. abandoning principle in the lust for power??), when the sunday times suggests brown will be the Prime Minister after the election......

28 February 2010 at 20:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tories have lost so many votes to ukip, eng dems and other smaller parties, they have ignored the desires of the english majority to have their own parliament, to address the barnett robbery and also to give us what scotland gets free, we also want a referendum on european membership, the tories fail on all these, dave is a loser, how can anyone come second to gordon brown???????

28 February 2010 at 20:41  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Stanislavski?

More like the theatre of the absurd.

You should tell Cameron - never ever treat your audience as if they were chimpanzees.

It's over for our Party.

Peter Hitchens was right: now for a true conservative party to emerge.

28 February 2010 at 20:41  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Jared Gaites (20:32)—This is Phillip Blond. Perhaps His Grace will enlighten us regarding Kruger.

28 February 2010 at 22:06  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Certainly.

This is Danny Kruger, and so is this, and so is this.

28 February 2010 at 22:26  
Blogger D. Singh said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM

28 February 2010 at 22:33  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Your Grace, you’re a gent.

28 February 2010 at 22:46  
Anonymous Ready To Leave said...

"The conservatism of Disraeli was not that of Churchill, which was not that of Macmillan, which was not that of Thatcher. And the conservatism of Margaret Thatcher is not that of David Cameron.

Yet a common thread courses through the veins of these leaders: the organic mutability of conservatism and the adaptability of the Conservative Party. "

I hope you're right, your Grace. But after twelve years of damaging Labourism they are still in danger of winning an election!

It makes me think that Britain cannot be saved.

1 March 2010 at 00:50  
Anonymous GTGTWG said...

Why YG, salesmen are full of SH!T don't you know!

1 March 2010 at 06:14  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace is correct to back Dave. Call it a battle between the heart and the head. The heart says Ukip because they are the nearest thing to the Conservative party of old. But the head says Dave because he seems to understand what is necessary to neutralise the Lib-dem vote and win over the Labour swingers.

The chance of Ukip winning power is zero, and same again for the Lib-dems, so neither are a realistic proposition in terms of defeating Labour.

If Britain is to rise again it is essential that the Conservatives seize the Treasury benches.

There is no alternative, to coin a phrase.

1 March 2010 at 07:56  
Anonymous graham Wood said...

Our votes will not be for a Blond or a Kruger. They will be, or not be for one David Cameron.

Quite simply, and yet again.
If Cameron cannot be trusted on something so fundamentally important as to how Britain is to be governed (his promise broken on the Lisbon Treaty) - then how can he be trusted on lesser matters of policy?

As it stands its a matter of Vote Blue - Get more EU.
When he reverses this vacuous and undemocratic anomaly, I might be prepared to listen to him.
The man is a liar.

No thanks.

1 March 2010 at 09:18  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

There are two strategies that social ‘conservatives’ in the modern party hold which are contradictory and mutually destructive.

The first is the destruction of Christian institutions in civil society (for example, the closure of Catholic adoption agencies) and the second is the Blond and Kruger vision of ‘the little platoons’ acting as voluntary associations in civil society to enhance the quality of life that citizens should experience.

But in order for this to occur there has to be an overarching moral system of values that informs State action and which in turn permits the creation of voluntary associations. Policy thinkers believe that is impossible because: ‘Due to the present deep divisions along religious, philosophical and political lines, there is an arguable need to find alternative principles to guide the construction of just institutions which will permit peaceful cohabitation and the pursuit of an overarching common good.’

It is suggested, workable ‘alternative principles’ will not be found. This is because, as has been pointed out above, the Conservatives hold two contradictory policies.

In other words the Conservative party’s values for society are relative: the Conservative Party merely becomes another player presenting its vision amongst other competing visions and therefore having to justify its existence (the same for the Church of England). The effect of this position will lead to voluntary associations across communities believing that their vision is not only superior to the neighbouring association’s vision but to the State’s vision. This in turn will lead to strong isolated communities and mutually hostile communities. As we witness today.

For mutual cooperation to cross communal boundaries a shared national system of values is required (as Mr Rottenborough points to the work of the left-liberal sociologist Robert D. Putnam). The system of national values that the socialists tried to impose (human rights) has led to fierce competition for each community to acquire victim-hood status which in turn is supported by law enforcement – and as we know where group rights conflict there is always a winner and a loser – the majority losing out to the minority – which is a sure recipe for social conflict.

The alternative model is to impose implicitly through State policies Judaeo-Christian values (for example, Cromwell’s readmission of Jewish people) such as duties and de-emphasise rights through legislation.

Of course, this is not possible as the destructive laws from the EU are calculated first to destroy a sense of nation-hood (the first principle of community) and then destroy local communities through fragmentation by the device of rights (new winners and losers).

1 March 2010 at 09:39  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

"It is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the muslim way of life,not the other way round".He does not sound very much like the champion of the indigenous peoples rights,does he.Still i am sure that all that will be cleared up when obamas maoist pr advisor flies in to conduct the campaign,since we do not have the skills in this country to manage a general election.

1 March 2010 at 10:25  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Thank you Mr Rottenborough, and His Grace.

It Strikes me that politics should be less bloated. I mean, I have no formal educational background in philosophy or politics, and reading much of what was in all those links and what Mr Singh has added, it strikes me that much of the debate is bloated with superfluous crap. We need policies that have plans behind them based upon a more reality based point of reference. If people are actually trying to figure out which direction to travel based upon all this bloat, then it is no wonder in my mind why we are in such an unholy mess.

It all sounds like a quantum perspective of life, rather like quantum mechanics; full of theory and with no chance of ever getting there.

1 March 2010 at 11:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His comment about BNP leader Nick Griffin was a disgrace.

1 March 2010 at 11:22  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

A finely argued piece Cranmer.

However when the average British voter puts their x on the ballot paper they are not voting for a particular political philosophy or because they belong to a particular social class in the way that they might have done in the now distant past. As the centre has been the battleground for the last few elections, the distinctive character of all political parties has all but disappeared.

The forthcoming election will be driven by fear (and loathing). Fear of course that the future will be mean economic hardship for all but the privileged few. All the parties are being coy about the degree and extent of the austerity that will follow the election and the electorate know that they will not be told the truth by a political class that is loathed by most of them.

Enter the LibDems. Less tainted by the expenses scandal and totally untainted by office they will pick up an increased share of the popular vote and may just get enough seats to hold the balance of power. In that event Vince Cable will be Chancellor. By common agreement he is infinitely more competent than Osborne or Darling and would be the choice of the financial markets.

The excepted wisdom that a hung parliament leads to weak government may prove to be incorrect. A coalition with a LibDem chancellor might suit all parties. Swingeing cuts will have to be made and the public sector will have to contract, the pensions crisis will have to be addressed and sacred cows like the NHS abandoned. Ok we will end up with a proportional voting system but that too may not be a bad thing. It stops governments from doing too much and could result in smaller government that I am sure would please you conservatives.

1 March 2010 at 12:54  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Mr Singh (9:39)—For mutual cooperation to cross communal boundaries a shared national system of values is required…

Amen to that but how to resurrect the national system of values that we once took for granted? In a multicultural—and, perhaps particularly, a multi-faith society—it may be that the best we can hope for is that areas of England will become overwhelmingly Muslim, others will remain Christian, and each area will adhere to its own set of values. The Muslim caliphates would, I suppose, initially arise in east Lancashire and west Yorkshire, the west Midlands, and east London.

@ Anonymous (11:22)—Agreed. To describe any human being as a ‘ghastly piece of filth’ is monstrous. I’ve just posted this on a Telegraph blog:

❛Frankly, I’m worried it’s going to be Pim Fortuyn all over again. He was vilified and demonized by the Dutch establishment to the point where a nutcase thought he’d be doing the world a favour by killing him. In fact, the pattern is repeating with Geert Wilders; Doekle Terpstra has said of him: ‘Geert Wilders is evil, and evil has to be stopped.

Pim Fortuyn: the new Mussolini. Geert Wilders: evil. Nick Griffin: filth. One down, two to go.❜

1 March 2010 at 14:22  
Anonymous 150 Wat Tyler said...

Diversity Dave's last refuge: phoney patriotism

Samuel Johnson and Enoch Powell are no doubt slyly winking at each other in their graves.

And the pretend baroness didn't 'destroy' the real patriot, Nick Griffin, on Question Time, either.

Let's see the pretend baroness debate the issues one to one with him, without the other hostile panelists, the biased host, the loaded audience and 500 traitorous 'anti-fascist' halfwits outside - and with him being allowed to speak for more than two seconds without being shouted down.

The Conservative Party conserve nothing

1 March 2010 at 15:23  
Blogger Nephilim Child said...

Your Grace,

More Bland than Blond,repeating platitudes without notes....YAWN!


Oh how our wounded country aches for a leader with vision.

If I want a salesman I go down to the kitchen warehouse.

1 March 2010 at 16:45  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Where the blazes is His Grace?

I need my intellectual fix.

1 March 2010 at 18:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

ghastly piece of filth

Language of Der Stuermer

1 March 2010 at 20:10  

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